This is a personal account of being diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in later life by Debbie. It is reproduced with permission from the Bookfiends Kingdom website

Please note that it is a personal view and does not necessarily represent our views.

How do you feel when you get diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at the age of 56?

Well that's what has happened to me, it wasn't till I started to research and work on this project with my friend Vicky that I was more and more convinced that I was Autistic.

I had a terrific battle with my GP to get myself assessed. He did in the end send me to the local mental health team (MHT). They said "Oh they couldn't help me, I needed a counsellor." My GP then pushed again for me to see the Consultant Psychiatrist attached to the MHT. I met with this psychiatrist, who agreed that I did need to see a specialist with regard to an autism diagnostic assessment. I waited for a date to come through but then I got a letter to say the NHS would not pay for this, and if I wanted an urgent diagnosis then I would have to go private!

I then chose to see someone privately, I met with the new psychologist and I found that he was a person who I could talk to, and he seemed to understand that I needed to know where and why I had suddenly decided that I had this condition. I explained that I had a birth brother (10 years older than me) who I have never met that was diagnosed with chronic autism in 1972, having lived in an institution since the age of 18 months.

My adoptive parents were informed of this but chose to ignore the information because to them, I seemed a happy and stable child! This only came to light when I decided to find out who my real parents were, and was told of this situation in 2000.

I finally had my official diagnosis as of Friday 13th April 2007. But what a battle to get it done; and, to wait for all the reports and now to come to terms with and accept this frustrating disorder. Well, I know that I could get the help that I need from the Disabilities Trust, if they had more funding for homes and outreach workers for adults with autism.

I am a mum of 5 - Evanne (36) John(33) Katie(26) and twins Matthew(24) and Anna-Marie(who died aged 18hrs.) and a gran to 11 grandchildren - two of whom also have autism.

My children have all been shocked by my diagnosis and have been very surprised that this has been my lifelong problem. They now are beginning to see why things that have happened to me in my life have perhaps been guided by my mis-perception of life and the way I see and understand things, so very differently, from most people.

I have never been able to read peoples faces except their lips which I do because of a hearing loss. I do not understand that sometimes people are teasing or being sarcastic because I take everything literally. Someone promises something for a certain day, when it does not happen I get very upset and feel let down and consequently feel abused and misused by them. They on the other hand, may have not realised that I have interpreted their conversation in such a way. Mega misunderstandings all round!

I think the main problem I have had since being diagnosed is that authority figures can not understand, that I have 'A-typical Asperger's Syndrome'. I have even been accused of faking it and making it all up, because I have read books on the subject to review for this website! How crazy can people be! This is something a person is born with, and stress and major problems can magnify autistic symptoms. It can and is noticeable to someone who understands the Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

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03 May 2022