My daughter, Little Legs, was diagnosed last year with Autism Spectrum Disorder (and ADHD). She’s high functioning and a lot of her symptoms are masked. She mimics behaviours from others so to the unknowing adult, you wouldn’t suspect a thing. That is unless you know what you are looking for, when you are aware of the signs, you see it. For me it took a while to recognise the signs but I have always been sympathetic to Isabelle’s triggers, her sensitivity to sensory overload, I completely get it.
Truth be told, it didn’t seem alien to me that she didn’t like loud noises, or too much stimulation. I understood her need for personal space and finding interactions awkward. I understand her refusal to make/maintain eye contact and enjoyed her excitement when we talk about things that she is passionate about. For a long time, I thought that I was just being an understanding parent. Until I realised that her struggles were my struggles to.
My journey started with my regular visit to the GP to discuss my anxiety, something which I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. I was an incredibly shy and awkward child, truth be told, I’ve never really grown out of that. Each doctors visit, he would take his notes and we’d talk about a plan of action for the coming months. We would talk about everything, my relationship, my family, my daughter, hopes and dreams etc. Then one visit, I get “I’ve been your doctor for over 20 years and not once have you made eye contact with me, why do you think that is?” …………why?
It started to click into place, like those satisfying moments when you know that you are only a few steps away from completing a rubix cube.
That leads me to where I am now, on the pathway for an adult diagnosis of Asperger’s. I find relief in knowing that it’s not just me, that the way that I feel, I feel it for a reason. That when I’m feeling overwhelmed like all of my senses are firing at once, I’m not just overthinking it.
There’s a reason, I understand.