Life on the Spectrum

Getting a diagnosis

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.

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Comments on: "Getting a diagnosis" (2)

  1. evening spirit said:

    Oh, wow! I’m 35 now. And no, I’m not getting a diagnosis for myself, wouldn’t even dream of it. I’m having hard enough time getting diagnosis for my 9yo daughter. Actually I’m not trying anymore because I think getting it would cause her more trouble than it would do good. Before you ask, I don’t live in US but in former Eastern Europe. We’re still in the Middle Age Era . . .

    I love this post. The things you heard . . . are exactly the things I heard about my child. 😉 As for myself, when I first read about AS it was such a life-turning moment in my life, I suddenly realized that I don’t HAVE to make friends (I’m not something worse for never succeeding in that field), I don’t HAVE to go to social gatherings if I don’t feel like it and I MAY read about my favorite subjects until my head hurts because that’s how my brain works. It was awesome. ;p

  2. Nicely put. Being a self-diagnosed autie myself I can understand your frustration in getting a diagnosis – and it’s only because I argued hard and constantly that a specialist was brought in to diagnose my son; nobody wanted to believe me because they wanted me to be neglecting him so they could take him away from me instead. Sadly, parents all over the UK still lose their children in this manner – falsely accused of neglect and abuse when the symptoms of autism are *right there* for anyone to see. Even after diagnosis these parents don’t get their children back because they’re deemed “unable to cope”. It’s a tragedy that social services do their utmost to keep hidden from the public.

    I could rant on and on, but I seem to do enough of that on your LJ, lol! xxx

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