First, let me assure you I shall finish my employment tales one day soon. I really need to be in the mood. The emotions it raises….yikes.
Ahhh, yes; my diagnosis. My boys are quirky, but H is eccentric and intellectually gifted. D is more classic autism in his presentation and as equally, but differently, gifted as H. They are chalk and cheese who meld together so beautifully. It is through them being flagged by teachers that I came to see me.
Since I was 16, I’ve been professional hopping, trying to find someone who might explain my rainbow coloured fleece. Having no mirror, I could not understand why all the sheeple would exile me and hurl metaphoric sticks at me. I baa at the right times, I follow the herd and I eat grass. What is the issue?!
I didn’t know it isn’t sheeple to go off on one’s own for adventures, act as though rainbow fleece is desirable, shield other maligned sheeple from hurled objects, or baa in different accents.
My boys are not sheeple. D tries to be, and has recently realised he is never going to be alpha sheeple of the herd. H has never bothered. I am trying to get the boys to revel in their uniqueness and embrace it as the B-boys of the East Coast hip hop scene did in the late 70s. But I had to acknowledge that the rest of the world was experiencing problems encountering my boys. And me.
I had a weird flash of an idea while in Bali last year. Autism, Asperger’s. I looked it up on Google and was surprised I obviously knew NOTHING beyond the so-called classic autism in non-verbal children; yeah, ok….boys. *shame face* Everything I read explained my boys, and if mini me H is a spectrumite….weeeell, it meant I am too. I looked up women, Asperger’s and adult. Whoa be still my brain!! I opened up a whole new world.
One of the first resources was Samantha Craft, which then lead to Tania Marshall and to Rudy Simone. It wasn’t until I found Tony Attwood that I became certain I am an ASDer too.
In my desperation to have myself FINALLY legitimised, I looked up diagnosis for females and found a service in the city. It seemed to have good reviews. I emailed them and received an apointment soon after. I delayed it, because I was fearful I was wrong about myself. I learned about masking and the nervous breakdown/mask falling off link, which made me feel better about progressing with a formal diagnosis.
I was asked to fill in some questionnaires and email them back. At the appointment (which was 2 hrs long), I was asked to elaborate on a stack of never ending questions. I took tangents, I free flowed….all in sheer relief I had someone in front of me who knew what planet I live on. It was exhausting, but I did it. I felt ill afterwards. What if I presented as a normal, faking woman??!
I suspect the questions were relevant; if not ering on the side of male presentation of autism, yet HOW I responded gave three times as many clues. I was just myself, albeit nervous, nauseous and on edge a bit, and answered without trying to impress or cover over the ugly truth of who I am.
I came back the week after to be informed that I do have level 1 autism, as defined by the DSM-V. She said it was a clear cut case and I didn’t need input from my mum or others. She did note, however, my parenting of my boys and my descriptions of them really provided a lot of valuable information!!
It never occurred to me I might present as different to the world, in the same way I pick up on young women being deep, introspective, sensitive souls who bravely try to airbrush (clumsily) their differences away. My unkempt hair, fastidiously tomboyish but neat clothing, my sitting stance, my vacant-away-with-the-fairies stare…all this probably speaks volumes. I just don’t hear the music. People are surprised I am 43 yo. My greying hair gives it away, but my voice sounds young, I act immature (don’t say a word…), I dress like an introspective tomboy and I move like a teen. All this says something to the trained eye. I really could not have fooled the psych. She is NT and would see through my fakeness.
A piece of paper arrived a week later. It said I present as intelligent, have autism level 1 and any further reports can be requested. I am still in shock that others have had to go through much more for a diagnosis. Paet of me is pissed that I didn’t do fake NTing to my perfectionist level! All that effort and I didn’t pass?! Still, I am also pleased I know why I am not the usual cup of tea. In a world of English Breakfasts, I am a jasmine-lavender-rose-labdanum-carnation-clove tea. Take me how you like. I’m not too fussed.
I paid around AUD 800 for my two sessions, with no report.
H’s diagnosis a month later was very different. He went to an ASD specialist clinic. I provided my own list of reasons why teachers and I felt he has autism, I filled out two questionnaires at the clinic and I had an hour session straight after H had his. The psych knew within two minutes that H is a high functioning autistic (his words). H has a very strong personality with free flowing quirks that make him seem like a 4yo boy. Yet his IQ is up there *pointing upwards*. He has had his IQ tested three times already and it is very clear he is bright. H was diagnosed on the spot and a detailed 20 pg report arrived a month later.
I went ahead with a formal diagnosis to ease my mind. H got his diagnosis to prove to his school he isn’t willfully being a pain to some of the teachers. It is not US who need a diagnosis. It has always been others having a problem with us. We’ve had to pay for self portraits to be done to explain why we are so metaphorically ugly to the world. Putting the portraits next to others for comparison, it is clear that we are rainbow sheeple. Except H has sparkles in his fleece too. Poor D is yet to be diagnosed, but he is desperate to know why he is not alpha male worthy. He senses he has a fine set of ram’s horns, but he doesn’t yet know those horns have clown’s noses on the end. It is going to hurt him to discover this.
D is seeing the same man H saw. Wish us luck.