This is a pretty sensitive topic that I’m going to blog about today, but it’s something that I really feel the need to write about. There’s simply not enough down to earth information out there about it, and I feel there are probably a lot of people out there suffering because of it. I’m talking about high functioning Autism… also known as Aspergers.
Please note that I’m no expert on the subject. As of this date, I’m currently undiagnosed. All I’ve really got in my deck of cards is a lifetime spent struggling with the knowledge that something huge was wrong with the way my brain processed things that I was mostly unable to explain or define beyond “I feel stupid and completely incompetent because no matter how hard I try I can’t do certain things everyone else can despite people insisting that I’m merely not trying hard enough or not applying myself enough” and a really long list of separate diagnoses both self identified and professionally identified that all fall within the typical symptoms of the Autistic spectrum… along with high self assessment scores, including an Autistic score of 183 and a Neurotypical score of 23 out of 200 on a certain popular 150 question self assessment that combines Autistic questions, Neurotypical questions, and completely random questions that don’t count towards any kind of score at all… and the ever typical extremely high score on pattern recognition/pattern matching that most Aspies get on IQ tests. I remain undiagnosed for the same reason my son (whose therapist, a woman extremely experienced in working with Autistic children, identified as Aspie at 4 years old) remains undiagnosed… for some mysterious reason, the professionals capable of providing diagnosis don’t really bother with diagnosing it or even learning how to identify it, preferring instead just to focus (if they focus on Autism at all) on diagnosing those more severely affected by it, as if those higher on the spectrum don’t really need any kind of help with coping at all and can figure it out on their own. Umm…. no, it doesn’t really work that way, as I’m about to point out.
Me: I really struggled with learning speech and motor skills. By the time I was in kindergarten, I still wasn’t talking right, and thus spent the next 6 years in speech therapy, which BTW never really corrected my speech entirely. I slur and stutter to this very day, slightly if I’m paying attention and using my learned discipline and worse if I’m nervous or distracted, and have issues both thinking of the next word in my sentences when speaking and with actually forming and pushing those words out once I’ve thought of them. My writing skills are superb, and oddly enough, in this area I have very little trouble expressing myself… it’s just speech that has been a major issue for me. I have been picked on my entire life for my speech. Even now, full grown adults will make fun of my accent and the way I pronounce things, or show disgust when I accidentally let a little bit of saliva fly. So I don’t talk much to anyone unless I have to or I know them well. Those who really know their stuff note that I do pronounce my words very carefully and clearly and wonder at why I’m so well versed. All that speech therapy, and my attempt to constantly cover up my problems with speech, is why.