Saturday, 22 December 2012

I Have Asperger's Syndrome

I am not an expert in Asperger's Syndrome, but I am an expert in me.  Or, at the very least, I believe I'm the most qualified in the world to, potentially one day, be an expert in me.

When I was 9 years old, I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism now classified under the umbrella term ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).  When I was 11, that diagnosis was confirmed by a leading autism specialist.

ASD exists in 1 in 88 children and is more common in boys than in girls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  So as a female with ASD, I suppose I'm, well, rather unique.  But here's the thing I have discovered: studies and statistics (that I've read, at least) tend to focus on the children with ASD, but rarely make reference to the adults those kids grow up to be.  

I am one of those adults.  I struggled through school, where I excelled academically but was challenged by socializing.  Now, I am in my second year of university.  I live on campus, as I have for the past two years, in a residence building filled with other students. I have two best friends with whom I am, for the first time, comfortable enough to share my whole self, and a plethora of other acquaintances from class.  I clean my own space, keep up with schoolwork, and get good grades in all my classes.  

So why blog?  Well, I'm not quite sure what this project will entail yet, but I know that it's something I've been thinking about for a long time.  I sort out my thoughts much better when I write them (or type them) than when I speak verbally, and I have been considering starting a blog for a few years.  Now, it finally seems like the right time.  Now, I am an adult with Asperger's Syndrome, and while my experience is hardly one-of-a-kind, part of me wants to believe that it is, at least a little bit, unique.  I struggle with many things, and this blog will be an exploration of those things.  This blog will be a celebration of the small victories - like holding eye-contact for a conversation, or sitting through a movie with my peers, or working on a group project, or sitting on a floor - that are activities I would have been wholly uncomfortable with (by which I mean that I would absolutely shut down at the thought) but activities I now manage on a regular basis.  

There are a handful of things I am uncomfortable with, but there is a longer list of things that I am excellent at.  This is an adventure in which I will discuss those things.