Today marks 2 months since I was finally diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a mild form of autism. I’ve known a few people with this but, even though I thought I was different and everything else, it wasn’t until I spoke to the brilliant Ali Caitrin that I decided to go and get myself assessed. Do you know what I was told by my GP? That it was going to take up to 4 years to get diagnosed. 4 years!! That is horrific! No person should have to wait that long to get medical help. Though I have technically been waiting for 30 years so what’s another four?
Last October my GP managed to get me an appointment with a mental health service to do my first assessment. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be. The guy was actually really nice and looked like he wanted to hear about me. He gave me a questionnaire called ‘The Autism Spectrum Quotient’ (AQ). It’s basically a test to see how many of your traits match with the whole autism spectrum. If you get 32 and more, then it’s a good indicator that you have Aspergers. I found out this year that I scored 41!
After that, I spent at least an hour chatting about my life story from childhood to now. All the little things that my mum and dad were told were different about me compared to all the other kids. Some of the things were that I had never felt like playing with the other kids and preferred my own company, absolutely hating sudden change and only being able to write in black and red ink. It sounds weird but all of these things are still with me today and I’m not embarrassed by them.
It’s just me!
I had to get myself comfy since I had to wait another whole year to get my proper assessment…which I almost missed!!
My letter from the NHS had been sent to my old address and it was only after the doctor who was assessing me called to ask where I was that I found out it was happening that day! I’ve never got dressed so quick in my entire life! I kind of dived onto a bus and then did a speed-walk through town to get there. I was late but I got there. What I didn’t realise was that my assessment would take 4 hours to get through. Blimey!! We talked about everything, I did another AQ, she gave a bag of marbles to play with as I spoke (which really helped), had to look at a picture book and explain what was happening in the story. Oh, I also had to look at pictures of eyes and guess what emotion was in there.
The best thing was that I was told after everything the results…I had definite Aspergers.
Without any doubt.
I feel some relief that there is a reason for why I’ve not been like other people and that I’m not just ‘quiet and a little odd’ like my teachers called it. Another part of me wonders whether it will make any difference in my life having this autism diagnosis. I did get given a long list of places to get in contact with for different kinds of help. One of them is the National Autistic Society who are the main UK charity for kids and adults with autism. They’ve got some really handy information and I’ve even watched a Youtuber called Connor Ward who works along with them! Something to work towards…maybe even help someone myself!
Have you ever thought about being diagnosed? Do you know anyone who is on the spectrum?