Hannah Belcher 2

I am one of hundreds of Psychology graduates with lots to say but nowhere to say it. I am also blessed with having Asperger’s, which has increased my chances tenfold of starting up a blog. I was diagnosed recently in my early 20’s, considerably late by normal standards but worryingly average for females on the spectrum. I could rack my brain with why it took so long, but the truth is that hiding our autism is somewhat of a savant talent for us women. After my lengthy assessment, in which my mother had managed to produce a double sided A4 sheet of ‘worrying’ signs from my childhood, I asked her how she had not noticed. Her reply was, ‘because we just thought that was you’.

I have quite eclectic interests within psychology, prone to flit intensely between ideas in waves of borderline mania. After my diagnosis I decided there would be no better focus for my future career than to study my favourite and most experienced topic, myself. My passion for psychology goes deeper than an academic curiosity, I would liken it more to a necessary survival mechanism; I study how others behave and in doing so reduce my chances of highlighting myself as an alien amongst the crowd, possibly not very successfully. So now I am in my THIRD year at university studying for my PhD in autism spectrum disorders, specifically in women and those with mental illnesses; another topic close to my heart.

Away from the academic world my life is pretty routine. After finally convincing my former employers that I was in fact customer-relations-impaired and no amount of training would help, I started working part-time as a special needs assistant. I can’t say I am much better at this, but the children are less picky. I have now also been unleashed on the unsuspecting undergraduates at my university, who I occasionally teach/lecture. My other passions include music, literature, films, comedy, theatre, art, and photography.

I started to write this blog to discover more about myself and the journey I had been blind to for so many years. My main motivation for it, however, is to hear other people’s stories and discover more about autism as a whole. It is a very exciting time for Autism research, especially when it comes to females with the disorder and diagnosis, and I feel very fortunate to be in a position where not only could I contribute to that research professionally, but also see the personal effects it has as well, and to those thousands of individuals with the disorder. I chose the name ‘Aspertypical’ as a parody to the ‘neurotypical’ label given to all the non-autistically-inflicted individuals in society.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I would greatly appreciate any comments or ideas on any of my posts; negative or positive, neurotypical or aspertypical, human or alien.

To learn more about my story, read my first ‘Aspertypical’ blog post here.