I am autistic. This year I received an adult autism diagnosis.
I have been autistic all my life. Over the course of the last decade, on three separate occasions I booked and later cancelled 3 different adult autism assessments. But this past year, with the support of my husband, my parents, my family and closest friends, I went ahead with an adult autism assessment and was left shell-shocked by what the Psychologist told me and advised me to do going forward.
I have always known that I am different. I am one of 11 children and each of my brothers and sisters will tell you that I am unlike anyone else in our household.
My beloved sister will tell you that she could barely get into our childhood bedroom for I had filled every crevice with books, researching my interests. Staying up late at night to highlight my favourite words in the dictionary, later looking up synonyms for words I had just taught myself. I colour coded our wardrobes and constantly rearranged our furniture. I was lucky I had a sister who loved me dearly and who had the patience of a saint.
My mother will tell you that when I started school at 4 I was already an advanced reader, yet no one in the household had taught me. No one ever had to teach me anything, I would take my books and devour them. I would do my homework and then teach my brothers and sisters.
My Father’s Daughter
My dad saw that I needed space to study and do my research so gave me a key to his office. I spent many happy days and nights all throughout my education even into my university days studying at my father’s office desk. He eventually bought me my own desk for his office. So, he worked, and I studied whatever interest I had at that time. I will always be thankful for his love that saw my potential and ensured I had a space in a busy household to be myself and do what I enjoyed most, being on my own, researching.
Later I met my husband, who when he first walked into my study room, saw walls of books, and started to laugh, not knowing what to make of this woman he was falling in love with. I being so particular about order and rules and research, have been incredibly lucky to find a husband who is the balance our household needs. He accepts me as I am, and I will always be thankful for his nature and kindness.
As each of my children have grown older, the boys become more like me every day. Hailey so like my husband, Jack so like me. His interests and passions, I found myself just like my dad, making space for my child in my room. Jack comes in and hangs out with me everyday and evening. Researching his passions; diggers, dinosaurs, and bin trucks. He is my mirror and I, his.
The latter part of this year saw my attending an adult autism diagnosis / assessment. The Psychologist identified me as being autistic. He told me he has never in all his days met someone as exceptional as me.
He explained to me that the rate and manner with which I process information is exceptional. He told me of a study that was conducted on a handful of autistic individuals in the world who process information at the rate and manner with which I do. He said I belonged in that study.
Adult Autism Diagnosis
He wanted me to understand that I was being diagnosed as having Asperger Syndrome because of my exceptional visual mind; the fact that my mind was cinematic, that I could access immeasurable information within my mind in a moments notice, that I could “see” whole days as a reel within my mind. The fact I deconstruct information visually within my mind and reconstruct it back piece by piece until I have the answer I am looking for.
I have always found speaking so difficult as while I try to speak in that same moment, my mind shows be cinematic imagery of that which I speak about. I find myself speaking so fast, I call it a ramble, but he explained it wasn’t a ramble at all. With a large smile he told me that my ability to process information at the incredible rate with which I can, meant that when I spoke the information came out just as quickly as I tried to decipher the cinematic information and formulate words.
He told me that my intelligence was on par with leading academics in the world and he told me the questionnaire I filled out as part of the assessment stopped him in his tracks. He told me he had never read anything like it.
He advised I return to University obtain my Masters, and later a PHD in Autism. He advised that I begin writing academic papers on autism and the manner within which I process and access information. He said he would expect to see my name on books with a PHD after my name in a few years’ time.
He told me that the manner with which I process information would be of great interest to leading academics and experts in the field of autism and to ready myself for busy years ahead.
He told me there was only one word for me and that was exceptional and said going forward he was very excited to see what I do next.
I am so thankful to the Psychologist who has made such a deep irrevocable difference to my understanding of myself going forward but also retrospectively.
I am thankful to every person who has supported me here on Little Puddins and The Autism Educator. I owe an incredibly special thank you to Fiona Ferris of AsIam who I spoke to after my diagnosis. She and the AsIam team are incredible autism advocates.
I am Amanda Mc Guinness, I am Autistic.