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Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

So, It's Official!

 Hi everyone! I haven't written in a few days. For the past two nights, I have been busy doing my autism evaluation. For those of you who didn't read about it or don't remember, a bloggy friend did something really awesome for me... she paid for me to have an evaluation with Tania Marshall, an expert in female Asperger's Syndrome. I have mentioned before that, although I was told I probably had Aspergers by a therapist, and have always identified with most of the things I read about it, I was never officially diagnosed. Because I have an imagination and some form of social skills, at the evaluation I did go in for about 10 years ago (it was at University of Illinois and was free) the psychologist didn't think I had autism, and diagnosed me with ADHD instead. Actually, Tania Marshall told me that about 80% of females with Aspergers also have ADHD, so, I guess it does fit!

So, for the evaluation, the first thing I had to do was write an "autobiography" with some of my memories from childhood. Then I had the "in person" evaluation, which was actually on Skype. She went over my autobiography with me and asked me some questions about it, asked me about the rest of my life, and about my family history and previous diagnoses and junk. 

Then, before the next day, I had to send her something creative I had done (I sent her one of the stories I wrote and showed her the books I've self-published on Amazon), take the RAAD test online and send her the results, and get someone close to me to write a paragraph-long description of my strengths and weaknesses. And finally, last night, I met with her again on Skype and talked some more about my experiences. 

Most of the things I told her, she said they were very typical of women with Aspergers, It was almost funny how everything I said (even the things I thought were unique to me, like how when I was a kid I used to sneak into the classroom bathroom to read when I was supposed to be learning math) was actually pretty common. 

Because Australia is upside-down from us, where she was it was a hot and sunny summer morning, and where I live it was a dark and chilly evening. Yesterday I had also spent the whole day at the Museum of Science and Industry with my dad, and I was really tired from walking around all day. So it was 10:30 at night by the time the session was coming to an end. Tania told me, "Congratulations! You have Aspergers!" She kept asking me if I had any questions, but unfortunately I was so sleepy at that point, I couldn't really focus my brain. I was just glad to hear that what I've always thought was true, was finally confirmed! 

One very interesting thing is, if you go to Tania Marshall's website, you can see that she has written a book about females with Aspergers, called AspienGirl. It makes reference to the "Planet Aspien." The description explains that many girls and women with Aspergers (even before knowing they have Aspergers) have spent their lives feeling like they were aliens from another planet. 

Hmm... sound familiar??? I told you I was an alien! 

The anticlimactic part was when I went downstairs and announced to my parents that I had an official diagnosis of Aspergers. They pretty much said, "Uh, yeah, so? We already knew that!" I tried to explain to them the difference between thinking and knowing. But they were too busy watching TV to listen. 

Some people balk at the idea of getting a diagnosis. I know of parents, in particular, who become very sad when they find out their young child has autism. I think in many cases people see a diagnosis as confirming that something is wrong with the person (or themselves) and that they will never live an ordinary life. For me, though, that is a moot point! I already knew something was strange about me, and I have already not lived an ordinary life. But ordinary has never been a goal of mine, anyways. I'd prefer extraordinary! And maybe, now that I have an official diagnosis, it can help me learn more and do more to move ahead with my life and be independent!

At any rate, I am officially an Aspie... an AspienGirl.  Maybe I've finally found my home planet!

I already said it and I'll say it again, a million thanks to my friend (I don't know if she wants to be identified so I won't blurt out her name) for making this possible for me! 







5 comments :

  1. I think your experience has given you a sort of closure you haven't had before. I can sense some real purpose in moving forward for you. Your friend has contributed lots more to your well being than she ever imagined. Bless her!

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  2. Yay! I am thrilled that you have a diagnosis. And yes, it still matters even after you're an adult. I think we all want to unravel the mystery of who we are. Now you have a lot more information. You can look back at your past through a whole different (and possibly kinder) lens.
    Hugs from afar, Angel!

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  3. Congratulations Angel! Knowing is half the battle. Kind of like having cancer. The anxiety of not knowing is worse than the anxiety of knowing. Now you can set your course for the rest of your adventure called life. I'm so very proud of you of taking on the search without much support. You are a strong, intelligent and caring young woman.

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  4. Wonderful! It is good to be sure and now you know that you have a lot in common with lots of other people.
    I think the "spectrum" aspect of ASD is so interesting. I myself most definitely do not have Asperger's or any other kind of autism, but some of the behaviors and feeling are familiar. I am very introverted and have had depression and anxiety (I've been successfully treated for both). And while I never hid in the bathroom to read at school, I did it at home all the time!

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  5. What a wonderful friend you have, Angel. Just speaking with a professional can really make you feel so empowered. I think it's great that it happened right before the New Year...a time of new beginnings.

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