Sunday, May 25, 2014

I Thought I was Normal. I was Wrong.

I always thought I was normal.

I thought that how I experienced the world was pretty much the same as everyone else.

I knew there were some things that I just couldn't understand no matter how hard I tried.  I knew I have failed at every job I ever held because I couldn't understand the "politics".  I knew my mind worked in a way that was different than most people's.

Yesterday, my world collapsed and was rebuilt when I read a blog by Tania Marshall describing life as a woman with Asperger's.  In her short blog I saw my life.  All the fuzzy unknowns were brought into crystal clear focus.  For years I had thought that I shared some of my son Gabe's autistic characteristics but I had never once truly thought of myself as being even remotely near a diagnosis.

Autism is a spectrum disorder.  There are a wide range of characteristics and many of the traits are typical to all people.  The intensity of the trait is the variant.  In my job as a substitute teacher, I have meet hundreds of kids.  In many of them I see traits that are similar to Gabe and his autism.  I recognize them and adjust my interactions accordingly.

My focus has always been on Autism and Gabe.  I studied everything I could about it in order to help him become the best and most he could be.  His diagnosis at 36 months of age was definitively "Autism".  There was not a shred of a doubt.  Nor was there any leaning towards the now outdated (but still valid in my opinion) diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome.  For this reason, I never read much specifically related to Asperger's.  I also skipped over anything related to girls.  I was only concerned about Gabe.

Yesterday, for the first time, I seriously considered my life and Asperger's.  As I read Ms. Marshall's post, I saw myself.  What shocked me most was the fact that these things were being described as "not normal" for everyone.  I thought they were.  They were normal for me.

I shared the link on Facebook and mentioned my thoughts about possibly having Asperger's.  A friend shared another link describing more about Asperger's  (  I read with growing understanding all of the problems I have faced in my life and how many of them are because I truly am different.

I am unique.  I now know my uniqueness has a label.  That label will help me understand myself and how to better interact with others.  It does not change me nor do I want to change me.