This week, during World Autism Awareness Week, I have watched, read and participated in lots of things all about Autism.
I've read articles from adults; adults that were diagnosed later in life - part of the lost generation. I've talked with groups, at my work they have had talks and groups in from autism societies, schools and much more.
As our son was diagnosed 3 years ago now, we've learnt a lot and most of what I have seen I already knew or had read about. Even articles on the missed generation of diagnosis and how many adults are getting diagnosed now.
This brings me to say, at the beginning of this post (spoiler alert), that in this last 3 years, I have asked myself a few times now "Do I have Autism?"
One thing that did surprise me was when I was watching the Channel 4 documentary called "Are You Autistic?". The program had lots of different stories through it, one of which was around 2 people, 2 adults that suspected they had Autism. These were 2 adults that would fit into this lost generation of diagnosis.
Now that in itself didn't surprise me, it was interesting to listen to what they had to say, the tests they did and so forth. I thought a lot of what they were saying was almost the more classic indicators. BUT what did surprise me (before I go off topic again) was that they said during the program that they had created an online study/test consisting of 4 questionnaires.
They went on to say that this online test had been completed by 750,000 people. Out of the 750,000 that took the test, 87,000 people had scored pointing towards an autism diagnosis, and of those 87,000 pointing towards an autism diagnosis, 47,000 were women.
That really astounded me that, in the cross-section of people they researched 750,000 too test. 87,000 scored pointing toward a diagnosis. 47,000 were women. What also was interesting was how they talked about the gender difference in autism between men and women.
There's a gender difference in Autism? Now I had already learned a little on this. If you read back you know that we have been going through diagnosis steps with our daughter - although now they said they need to wait until she moves into secondary school.
The things I have learned is in girls, they have a great ability to mask their autism. They do an experiment in the program where they have 4 women who have been diagnosed. These 4 women do speed dating with 4 guys who do not know they have autism. They use social masking, which is what they have all learnt to do through the years, to see if any of the guys can spot their autism.
Amazingly, it seems that none of the guys picked it up. This goes to show how effective social masking is; which also show how difficult it can be to pick up autism in girls. This really backs up the process of diagnosis we've been through with our daughter and why the paediatrician has said we need to now wait until the bigger change of schools.
Coming back to the name of the program though, the thing I started to talk about before I ventured off.
So, as I was saying I've read and watched many personal stories; taken in lots of info and watched this program. For some time, the things I have learned through our journey, I have wondered if I could have autism too?
This really comes from knowing how different I was as a child and the differences I see today. Even my wife tells me that I am devoid of things such as emotion, as well as other traits that point towards autism. It really comes to light when other people say they spot differences.
For me, I've always prefered my own company a lot of the time, seeking out quiet after spells of interaction. I've never been good in teams, even though my job is working in teams. I tend to try and get separation, sitting next to people that are not on my team so I don't have to talk to them.
I really don't like too much interaction. I have a very close collection of friends, I tend to only have 1 or 2 close to me and don't need anymore.
Derealization. So, something I've often felt is a feeling I'm not in my own body and sometimes I do things to check I've done things. Derealization apparently.
Now, I'm not saying I have autism, what I am saying is that - looking at the wider diagnosis these days, I do wonder if I would be one of the lost generation or not. I would suspect that many of us would pick out autistic traits we have, we all probably have some. What it's important to do, I think, is if you feel you have a lot of these traits then maybe you should think of seeking a diagnosis.
It could be that you fall on the spectrum, maybe you don't, but trying to figure out a reason behind some of the things you may worry about doing - may help you.
Myself? I'm unsure if I will or won't. For me, I'm not worried about if I would fall inside the spectrum or not. I am who I am. Knowing, either way, would not change who I am or what I do. For some it may give an indication to why I seem to have little feeling, are more to the point - writing this, for example, is a long post as things such as my emails tend to be 1 line.
Are you autistic? Maybe you question for today?