Although she wasn’t diagnosed with Asperger’s until two years ago, our daughter was previously diagnosed in 3rd grade as ADHD of the inattentive type with generalized anxiety disorder. Looking back, it’s more clear that she was showing some slightly autistic tendencies since elementary school.
When we tried recreational soccer, she would stand in the field and look up at the stars. She would wander off and do her own thing at Girl Scout meetings. She would pull out a book in the middle of class and start reading (and not the textbook, either!). On top of that, although she could identify every single dinosaur ever studied, draw it and describe it, she could not seem to stay organized or turn in her school assignments. This still remains a problem today.
So, we took her to the psychologist to figure out what was going on. After two or three long testing sessions, she got a diagnosis of ADHD. It’s easy to understand why she was diagnosed as she was. The symptoms and characteristics of ADHD definitely fit (with the “inattentive” label since she most definitely was not hyperactive), and quite often patients receive a dual diagnosis.
Over the next few years, the social weaknesses became more and more evident as she had problems with making friends, bullies, looking people in the eye and facial expressions that did not always reflect what she meant. The homework struggles continued, although she scored far above average on standardized tests. The final straw which prompted us to re-evaluate, was during sophomore year when she began taking her health class curriculum to heart, and she began running 3-5 miles a day, and following a strict diet resulted in losing 20 lbs in 2 months and got down to 88 lbs. Fortunately the pediatrician and psychologist were able to talk some sense into her and she regained her normal weight over several months. Questionnaires were completed, more testing was done, and shazam! – a new diagnosis which made much more sense… Asperger’s Syndrome.
Even though we have this diagnosis — every day is a challenge with unusual decisions (that make sense only to her), achievements, disappointments, emotional highs and lows. Add teenage attitude to Asperger’s and it’s quite a roller coaster.
So, what’s your diagnosis story? Thanks to greater awareness, Asperger’s is recognized earlier now than it used to be, and even though we’ve got word that it will be lumped in with the autism diagnosis, it still gives hope and help to those dealing with the ups and downs of the spectrum on a daily basis.