I’m sure you’ve noticed a recent (subtle) focus autism spectrum conditions and how they affect individuals in the real world. The reason for the focus is that we’ve begun to suspect that most of us in our family are on the autism spectrum. Goldilocks and I, in particular, show marked Asperger’s Syndrome traits.
I’ve been researching the traits and challenges of autistic individuals for the last 4 – 5 years, and this research has given me a tool set that I can use in dealing with the girls in the most effective ways possible. It has also highlighted the coping mechanisms I’ve developed personally since childhood, in order to “blend” into what people think of as “normal”. The great thing about these coping mechanisms is that I can share them with Goldilocks and Red Riding Hood. When they face challenges that neurotypical individuals do not, I have a whole treasure chest of resources available to equip them to deal with just how confusing life can be.
An added (and unexpected) bonus is that I feel more free to be me. I no longer feel the need to conform to certain incomprehensible social mores. Or, if I do, I understand why I do, and am better equipped to do so successfully. This is turning out to be the case with my darling girls, as well. And I find that when we work through our home education programme, if I approach them with my “Aspie Goggles” on, my expectations are moderated and their responses and progress makes more sense.
In other words, this particular label suits our family. It helps us. There’s just one problem: officially, the label doesn’t apply to us. Not yet, anyway. Never one to take a doctor’s word for a final diagnosis, I decided to do comprehensive research and
beta testing” before I made it official. And I have. I am ready for the challenges and all that remains is a medical diagnosis. Even that is not a necessity, but it does make it easier to explain things to people. For instance, I’d love a band-aid to apply to social circumstances when the girls won’t engage, make eye contact, or give an acquaintance a hug or kiss. I’ve never forced them to do those things, and they’re not being rude when they refuse to do them. But it would be easier to have an “official” reason why when we’re dealing with others. A diagnosis also gives us access to support groups, places where we can safely ask our questions and share our experiences. Without an official label, we’re just interlopers feeding off the challenges of others.
This week we took a huge step forward. Based on the recommendation of friends of mine in the autistic community, we spent part of Friday morning with Action in Autism to begin to clarify my suspicions. The results are positive: the counsellor I spoke to agrees with my assessment, and has made an appointment for us to see a diagnostician early in April. We’re one step closer to having an official name for our super powers. Huzzah!
I stumbled across this video this morning, and the young lady presenting it eloquently describes just what it is that makes Asperger’s syndrome, and being an aspie, so awesome. Her words certainly mirror our experiences, so I hope you’ll watch it and find out a little more about what makes us tick.