Autism – What will I gain from being diagnosed later in life? It won’t change anything for me, so why should I bother?”

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People often ask me: “What will I gain from being diagnosed later in life? It won’t change anything for me, so why should I bother?”

Well, my answer as to whether or not anyone should “bother” to get diagnosed is this.

Firstly, on a purely personal level, it depends entirely on what your personal circumstances are and what the biggest issues are that you’re facing at any given point in time.

If you’re a person who’s main problem is that you’re always feeling misunderstood or blamed by your family member for being the way that you are, then perhaps receiving a formal diagnosis may help your family members to comprehend and accept that some of the onus for understanding both who and how you are, falls upon them to make more of an effort to accept you as you are, rather than allowing them to continue to always view you as being the one who needs to change.

Secondly, if you find that you may be in need of some form of formal support or assistance, then receiving a diagnosis may help you to better be able to access whatever support systems are in place within your area.

A diagnosis should also, at the very least, help others around you to become aware that you are genuinely more in need of care, understanding and support than they had previously thought.

Thirdly, if you want to increase your own levels self-understanding and awareness or further seek to validate your own understandings of yourself as being both true and accurate, then receiving a diagnosis may also provide these assurances for you.

But, if you are a strong-willed person who is confident enough to be able to self-identify with having Asperger’s, without feeling any twinges of doubt about it what so ever, then you’ll most likely feel that either the seeking out, or the receiving a diagnosis, is not for you as it holds little potential to offer you any great benefits.

And that’s okay.

But for me, I have found that those who benefit the most from older women such as myself coming forward and being diagnosed, are the generations of girls who are yet to come and the generation of girls and women who are still today, young enough to incorporate this deeper understanding of themselves as females who are Autistic,  into their daily lives and move on.

At my age, receiving a formal diagnosis offers me purely the ability to understand myself better and enables me to finally ask for the things I’ve known for so long that I’ve needed all of my life, things such as solitude, peace and quiet, but have never been made to feel as if it were okay for me to ask for these things, because I am a woman and women are supposed to love company and to always want to be social creatures.

I had no way of explaining to anyone, let alone myself, why I’ve always felt that I needed so much time alone.

Yet for girls of my daughter’s age, receiving a diagnosis is offering them so much more.

It is offering them the opportunity of being able to grow up with the gift of truly knowing not only who they are, but also understanding how they are, and that they’re okay.

That it’s okay to be different.

And this to me, as both a woman and a mother, is the gift of understanding that I truly believe is worth fighting for.

I am so glad that there were women in the past who had the strength, courage and forethought, to lead the way forward and to lay the foundations that so many of us today are now standing on, by arguing, on our behalf’s, that High Functioning Female Autism is a very real phenomenon.
Believe me when I tell you that I am all too aware that if no woman had ever dared challenge the male based status quo of the understandings of Asperger’s Syndrome of the past, that neither my daughter nor I, would now be diagnosed.

So how exactly does receiving a diagnosis later in life help anyone and what does it solve anyway even if you do get one?

Well, for one thing, it is likely to allow many women to make sense of their pasts.

To knit all of the previously unresolved elements of their lives, their personalities, their characteristics and their traits, into some semblance of a perspective that will finally make sense to them.

So if that one singular perspective that makes sense of your life is the one thing that you’ve been missing, then getting a diagnosis, even at a much later stage in life, can still provide you with a huge feeling of relief.

In terms of gaining greater access to benefits and assistance, if you are already financially secure or successfully working, then no, receiving a diagnosis later in life, may not help you in any way in terms of on the job support training and alike.

But what it will do, is benefit your children, and your children’s children.

And if you’re not a mother yourself, then please understand that your actions and your choices, may end up benefiting your sister’s or your brother’s children.

The knowledge and validity that we as women gain from receiving a formal diagnosis, could well prevent future generations of girls from having to put up with the kinds of constant bullying that are caused by male bias ignorance.

This will enable them to grow up holding all of the answers to all of the questions that we once, as children held locked inside of our own heads, like fragile eggs, and were too afraid to ask why it was that we were so different from everybody else.

If being diagnosed later in life can help to take away from another child, that awful sense of confusion and self-loathing that comes from knowing that they don’t belong, without ever fully knowing or understanding why, then I’m all for it.

So whilst a formal diagnosis may not seem to be such an important deal individually, in the grand scheme of things, I can see how each and every woman and girl, diagnosed today, can help create a stronger, better defined and more brightly lit path, for our Autistic girls of the future to walk upon.

Unlike us, they won’t have to spend over half of their lifetimes stumbling around in the deep and uncertain dark, and that’s a good thing.

I’m not sure whether holding ideas like these makes me a dreamer, or simply yet another deluded fool.

Either way, the more women and girls who are diagnosed today, the harder it will be for the powers that be, to dismiss the needs of Autistic Women in the future.

I understand that this way of looking at things is not everybody’s cup of tea, but it certainly is mine. So comment and let me know whether or not you agree.

Falling Into the Words of Others……. The Benefits of Reading Blogs

Black pearl and its shell

Sometime people ask me why I bother with blogging. After all they reason, “Isn’t caring for your son a full-time job in and of itself?  What with all the battles you go through just trying to get your son’s rights to have his abilities recognized and taken seriously by others, why on earth do you want to write about Autism? How do you even have the energy  to  write about anything?”

I must admit that some days, when the fights been particularly long and hard, and the shawl of defeat hangs itself across my shoulders like some desperately unwanted shroud that marks me out as a person who feels as shatteringly misunderstood and out-of-place in this world as the missing puzzle piece that has ironically become the universal symbol for Autism, I wonder why I bother blogging too.

But then I read the words of others and they enrich me in ways that help me pull myself back together and enable me to once again  begin to view life from a broader perspective.

A perspective that helps me replace my temporary and insular micro filter  of defeat  and instead enables me to attach a wider lens that lets me know that I am indeed part of a greater whole.

A lens that is in fact so wide that it incorporates all of the issues that are facing so many different people from more walks of life than there are colors in the rainbow.

Reading the words of others reminds me that life is like a pearl.

An organic composition that builds upon itself,

Layer by layer,

Feeding on past irritations,

Forming silently within the enclosed darkness,

That cements it into place.

And that it is only when the shell is opened up and those layers of irritation are revealed, that the pearl itself becomes transformed by the eyes of others, into a thing of beauty.

Blogging I think works in the same way. So regardless of whether or not the opening up of our shells brings either tears or joy, the mere act of making the effort to reveal ourselves, our lives and our stories, to the world, is an  achievement all in itself.

For some I know the process of blogging, of paring oneself back to bare bones to see who and what they are, of bring their true selves to the surface, is a painful one. For others it can be cathartic, light-hearted or even whimsical, but always, always without fail, regardless of what the topic may be or how it is presented, there are always pearls of wisdom to be found within the words of others.

Sometimes, I admit, I don’t find the pares straight away.

Sometimes it takes an event occurring within my own life to shake me and wake up to the memory of reading another’s words about a similar situation before I can understand the points I’d missed.

It is in these moments of missed recognition that I will go back and search through Word Press until I find the post I’m looking for. Often along the way I will find many, many more posts dealing with the same issues that I had previously and erroneously thought were not mine to deal with.

The more posts I read, the more pearls of wisdom I gather and the greater my own levels of awareness, understanding and compassion grows.

Some of your posts make me cry. Some make me smile. Others make my head nod up and down while reading along with the unspoken acknowledgment of a shared truth. Still others make me shake my head in exasperation.

Yet I have learned that regardless of whether or not I agree or disagree with a post, or whether it makes me laugh or cry, there is always some element of experience or knowledge that takes me out of myself, out of my life with Autism and expands my world view.

You make me aware that although all of our personal truths may indeed be different, they are all indeed truths and should be respected as such.

So I bear in mind, as I am reading your posts, that some of you may be speaking of truths that I have yet to learn and some of you may be speaking of personal truths that may never be my own. Just as my personal truths may never be yours to experience in real-time.

Yet regardless I appreciate the privilege of seeing so many different people, each living different lives, in so many different cities, with as many different faces,  telling their silent truths with words all across the globe.

Indeed this world that we all inhabit, our globe, is shaped like a pearl.

This is what makes me think now that wisdom can be found not only by looking deeply into the parts of us that hurt us the most, but  in the very act of opening up our shells and letting ourselves be exposed to the light cast by the minds of others.

For sometimes, it is only when being viewed through the words of others, that our own personal truths, our own pearls of wisdom, become finally apparent, even to ourselves.

This is why I love reading and falling into the words of others.

So thank you to each and every blogger whose words have allowed me to gain a new perspective and glimpse those pearls earned from your own hard-won wisdom.

 

Do I like your post? No but I RESPECT the hell out of you for writing it.

Disposable Half-Truths

Do I “like” your post?

No, it’s not the kind of post that’s likeable.

It’s filled with the pain of heartfelt truths.

The kind of truths that can only be found within the honesty of words,

That map out a razored  life experience,

Which in the very process of reading,

Cut all of  your followers,

To their bones.

So how can I like it?

RESPECT it,

Yes,

RESPECT you for writing it,

Yes,

But “like” it?

No

Why must we always be expected “like” a post in order to show that we’ve read it?

Why can’t there  a button on here for “Respect”?

A button that lets us say, “I don’t like the sadness you’ve experienced  and the painful truths about life that your words reveal, but I RESPECT all that you have to say.

I RESPECT the hell out of you for having the strength and the courage to speak up.

Yes we need a RESPECT button on here WP………