Diagnosis – ‘You may now officially blame it on the Autism!’;

“She seemed fine as a baby; in fact she was really good. She rarely cried, rarely needed me, and would just sit for hours happily playing by herself”, my mum proudly boasted to the young female Doctor during my three-hour autism assessment. My mum had clearly come ready for attack, from either her own emotionally stunted daughter, or the vicious doctors who would try to blame her bad parenting. Considering she went in expecting not to be able to recollect anything from my childhood, she managed to remember an exceptional amount; five A4 pages worth.
“Did you have any friends when you started school?” the mild-mannered doctor asked me from her page of interview questions.
“Yea, I always seemed to have friends, I just didn’t like playing games with them.” Was my vague and to the point reply. To which my mum piped up “You didn’t really. Most of them were the children of my friends and you sort of just followed them around.”
Thanks mum, the illusion of my semi-normal childhood was being shattered. There then ensued a never-ending list of all my weird quirks and behaviours, from selective-mutism, obsessive hand washing, limited diets, a fear of all things moist, hatred for the colour red, gagging at certain textures, toileting issues, severe anxiety, to all my obsessional interests with music, books and people, remembering conversations word for word and not always understanding people’s emotions.  Meanwhile I sat flicking my thumbs as I always do, drawing a mental map of the outline of the room. I counted the plugs as I went along, they didn’t look like normal plugs so I drew them extra carefully so I could recall them later if I needed to.

After three hours the assessment came to its end. My mum and I got up ready to leave, fully prepared for a break or even to go home whilst the doctor looked through the evidence on what we thought would be a tough borderline case.
“Usually I need some time to go through the evidence or talk it through with my supervisor, but I think the evidence is pretty conclusive. I am pretty certain you have Aspergers”. The Doctor then went on to congratulate me for making it in life this far, which rather ashamedly I took as a compliment and secretly hoped she’d provide me with my own special medal, or at least some sort of bravery award.

I was 23 when I received my diagnosis. I wasn’t even aware I could have Aspergers until a year previous, when it came to the attention of my exceptionally observant Art Therapist that I didn’t seem to process my emotions how other people do, they seemed somewhat stunted. Rather embarrassingly I had just completed a three-year Psychology Degree, and had even studied autism in my finals, yet never had it occurred to me that all the issues I had had in my life could be down to that. I assumed I was too social and functional to have autism, but in fact I had just learnt to imitate and hide my impairments really well. I asked my mum how she had never noticed given the list of weird behaviours I had presented since childhood. She said she had never placed them altogether, that they had always thought it was ‘just me’, they hadn’t seen anything wrong with it. Aspergers was the bigger picture I had been searching for.

I chose to write this blog as a way to collect all my thoughts, both from personal experience and from current research and theories. My dream is to go on and study autism, particularly females with autism, so maybe in the future people with Aspergers won’t have to wait so long to find answers.

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  1. I was also diagnosed at the age of 23-am 32 now and have to say it is just like reading about myself.Good luck in your future and lets get the message out there!!!
    All the best

  2. I am currently trying to get my daughter who is nearly 4 assessed and although she did the ados test and came back as having asd level 1 the paed says he is not convinced. I find it very frustrating when everyone tells me well she makes eye contact so she can’t be. So far everyone keeps telling me it is just spd and anxiety and today’s comments of get the thought of autism out of your head and that she will probably out grow her anxiety has not got me convinced at all. I read your story the other night and reread tonight because I feel my daughter is very similar and is very good at behaving and masking what is really going on I just wish they could see it

      • She has started kindy and is doing well while she is there but we don’t have a day where there is not some sort of melt down. I have just booked her into mind and hearts in Brisbane and they work a lot with girls so am hoping they can help

  3. I was just diagnosed with Aspergers in January. I am a 47 year old woman. I’ve been reading and studying about it…it explains so much of the problems I’ve had my whole life. My son’s psychologist diagnosed us. My son is almost 25. I had so many problems and yet nobody, myself included, realized there was actually something wrong with me.

  4. Just found your blog. I’m in my mid-40’s, and have just been diagnosed with Aspergers. I’d been wondering for a while whether I might have it, but didn’t really know how to find out. I moved house early last year, to somewhere that has an Adult diagnosis service, which I asked my GP to refer me to – and after several questionnaires and a 2-hour appointment with a Clinical Psychologist (with my Mum and Dad for half of it) I found out I have the condition.
    Ok, so now I know why I’m Me. Next question – what do I do about it?

  5. I’m 56 and I’m just now figuring out I have Aspergers. I’ve been successful with career and finding ways to fit in, but my relationships have taken the hit. I’m pretty much estranged from all of my family. Now at least I know why.

  6. I think I have aspergers but everyone around me says I don’t. I’m really frustrated and desperately want to get diagnosed. Everyone saying I don’t is getting to my head and making me doubt myself. My mother promised to set up an appointment to get me diagnosed months ago and still hasn’t. She even went as far as to lash out at me about me wanting a diagnosis as pretty ridiculous because I have an aversion to therapists due to many many bad situations with them. I’m stuck. Should I trust my instincts in believing I have aspergers despite all this??

  7. I am the mother of an Aspergirl. She truly is a superhero in my eyes. Had you known you had autism at a younger age. What would you have liked your parents to do? What sort of therapies (if any) would you have wanted?
    I find so much written about diagnosis. It’s so hard to find about therapies for someone not “so deep” in the spectrum(as my daughter likes to put it). She is homeschooled, so there is no need for her to mask her autism. Except when she is at the playground or any social activity we might attend where other children her age are present.
    People just think she is shy. When in reality she is afraid. She tells me this after. How can I help her? Who should we see?
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I look forward to reading more of your blog

  8. Hi, thank you for this blog. I have a family member with a BPD diagnosis . Twenty years ago she was given that. I would really like to know where and who should she see for an aspergers testing/ diagnosis? her psychologist?. We have struggled as a family for many years such a heart breaking story about her life and where she is at right now . Please offer any advice to me that you feel may be of help. Thank you. pjc

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