I grew up only knowing about a bad leg and foot, so having an autism diagnosis is the biggest thing that’s happened to me. Since my cerebral palsy diagnosis at 46, it has taken me an additional nine years of research to understand my presenting neurological symptoms and to find out those were part of the Autism Spectrum.
With an autism diagnosis, I now have understanding. It is the reason why I struggled, why I would continually start something and not finish it, and why over the years I was labelled as being lazy. It is the reason I didn’t understand school and couldn’t learn.
It also explains why, when I was asked why I wasn’t doing homework, my standard answer was ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.’ Giving a name to my symptoms for the first time allows me to stand back on myself. I am now exonerated from any blame, shame, guilt or wrongdoing.
The consultation in January 2019 confirming I have ASD is now somewhat of a blur. For now, my autism diagnosis seems to have reinforced the whole disability thing and how I got to this place. It has come too late in the day for me to be told something I should have been told as a child. It feels good that I have never chosen to define myself by either condition.
Yes, I have mild cerebral palsy and I have autism, but if I can use what I know about those conditions to understand myself, I will have achieved greatly.