Saturday, 31 March 2012

My Diagnosis: Part 1

My diagnosis came about nine months after Micah’s.  As we learned more about autism, my husband and I realized that I had many of the characteristics so I saw a psychiatrist (because he was covered by OHIP) who has experience in diagnosing autism spectrum disorders.

As a kid, I never had a close friend to share things with.  I had some friends but was never totally comfortable around anybody including family.  At school I played with the boys a lot because they played more running games and the girls that I played with played ball games against the school walls.  I never got into playing marbles, baseball, or any games like that because I never knew the rules about how to play properly.  Everybody just seemed to know what they were doing.  Asperger's can be harder to spot in girls because many of us either hang back and keep quiet or are great imitators thus people have no idea we don't know what to say or do.  Many girls with asperger's also have more "acceptable" obsessions like horses or people, so we don't stand out as much as people who have obsessions with toilets or windshield wipers.  The problem with an obsession with people is that it can come across as stalking if it is not hidden and people find out about it.

Me on the left looking very unhappy!
I hated vacations because they were a big change in routine.  Going on trips crammed into the car with smoking parents and driving for hours to somewhere I really didn’t want to be was not my idea of fun.   I hated school breaks, especially summer break because my routine was broken and I never saw my school friends.  

I got made fun of for the way I wore my hair in braids, not the style at the time!  I also listened to the same radio station as my parents, not the current music that other kids did.  I was basically a little adult. Kids threatened to beat me up, but it never happened.
I have constantly worried about everything for as long as I can remember.  I remember being in daycare when I was probably five and there was a fire alarm so we had to leave.  I was worried about coats for my sister and me.  I am not sure why I worried about it, except maybe because we were supposed to wear them outside and a fire could destroy them.  

I once had a friend come with us on our boat for the weekend, but I ended up hating it.  I now know that I need space for myself and cannot be around people for that long having to do things with them and talk to them.  It was hard to know what to say and do for a whole weekend.  I couldn't just go off by myself and read a book.

My mother told me the basics about getting my period and when I got it, I had nobody to talk to because I had no close friends like other girls my age and was not close with my mother.  I was well past needing to wear a bra when my mother finally told me I needed to wear one. Things like that never occurred to me.  It was very uncomfortable at first because I had no practice.  I now know that girls with autism should practice things like wearing pads and bras before you actually need them because of our sensory problems.  I learned about shaving my legs and underarms when I overheard kids making fun of another girl who did not do that, so I got up the courage to ask my mother about doing it. 
Most people wish they could go back to being a kid but I don’t.  I hated it!  I can’t think of many good memories.