Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. Edward Abbey

22 December 2013

I find myself continually irritated by and uneasy about this casual erasure of who I am

Once diagnosed with Asperger's, trying to come out to others becomes a constant battle against being misunderstood. More so with close friends and family.

They say, "Oh I also hate going shopping, I must have Asperger's too."

or 

"She must have Asperger's too, she has HUGE control issues."

Trying to explain how for us it is different, to an neurotypical, becomes difficult. The best way to describe it is to compare the experience to when you were a small child.

"Small children, whether autistic or not, feel misunderstood and this is very upsetting to them. While non-autistic kids grow out of it, because we (autistic people) don't emotionally mature, we don't" - Aspergirls, Rudy Simone

Sigh.

The Aspergian need for control is a whole different ball game. "Control is her way of bringing safety and sensory comfort to an unpredictable, unsafe, uncomfortable world. She is also very particular about what stimuli gets into her brain. Perhaps you have fights about the temperature in the car that have nearly come to blows, or have duelled over what program to watch on the television. Maybe she will literally scream at times if she doesn't get her way. Spoiled brat? Probably not, she probably just came that way, straight out of the box, no assembly required." - Simone

Always
Unique
Totally
Intelligent
Sometimes
Mysterious

I have been reading extensively since self-diagnosing. Although I have suspected for about five years or more that I have Asperger's, I only recently realised that it is an absolute fact. The more I read about it, the more I realise there is no doubt about it. I always thought I was supposed to have some savant ability in order to "qualify". Well ,turns out that's not entirely true and also that one's special interests don't have to be some complex scientific endeavour, but can in fact be any number of rather dull subjects too. (Like the gestation periods of African mammals of the savanna. This was one of my special interests when I was about 6 or 7 years old.)

I've also learned that autism presents very differently in girls/women than what it does among boys/men. Our special abilities may lie in words and writing, as opposed to numbers and science. So there!

So it is with HUGE relief that I am finally, in my mid-40s able to start unravelling who I am.

Without this (self)-diagnosis, I would never have been able to fathom myself.

And by the way, trying to get a formal adult autism diagnosis in South Africa is nigh impossible. I've contacted the autism organisations, phoned psychiatrists specialising in the field etc. They all say they only work with children. It's like you just have to deal with it. You got this far in life, so you must be fine. So I've given up and reconciled myself to the fact that I am, what I am and I won't be able to get a professional to validate it. I just need to accept it.

My scores on the Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised indicate that I am quite well on the spectrum.


So yay for me.

The RAADS was designed to address a major gap in screening services for adults with autism spectrum disorders. With the increased prevalence of the condition and the fact that adults are being referred or self-referred for services or diagnosis with increasing frequency, this instrument is a useful clinical tool to assist clinicians with the diagnosis of this growing population of higher functioning individuals in adulthood.


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