I got my Asperger’s diagnosis when I was around 35 years old. I got it only after a long and frustrating search, going through so-called professionals who were quick to tell me why I couldn’t possibly be an Aspie.
Reason number one why I couldn’t possibly have Aspergers’s: “If you had Asperger’s, it would have been diagnosed when you were in elementary school.”
Well, gee, of course. Why didn’t I think of that? I went to elementary school from 1973 to 1981. Asperger’s was added to the DSM in 1991 — the year I graduated from university, and ten years after I finished elementary school.
Reason number two: “You’re a girl. Only boys have autism spectrum disorders.”
I’m sure Temple Grandin, one of the most famous autistics in the entire world, would love to hear that only boys are autistic. The statistics say that there are ten times as many boys diagnosed with Asperger’s than there are girls, but that could be just because the diagnostic criteria are written with boys in mind. The signs and symptoms manifest differently in girls.
Reason number three: “You’re too intelligent to have Asperger’s.”
The diagnostic criteria in the DSM state that people with Asperger’s have normal to superior intelligence. I’m probably more intelligent than the person who made that stupid statement to me.
Reason number four: “Your problems with social skills aren’t caused by having Asperger’s. Your parents just did a lousy job of teaching you social skills.”
Now, I honestly have no idea whether my parents did a good or a bad job teaching me social skills, because I really don’t know what a “good” job teaching social skills looks like. I do know that I have two siblings who grew up with the same parents, and neither of them appears to have any serious problems with social skills.
Unfortunately, the people who said these things to me were all so-called professionals. They were doctors and psychologists. I only got my diagnosis because I was stubborn and persistent. I know plenty of other self-diagnosed Aspies who have given up on ever getting a diagnosis because of “professionals” like these.