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 the age of 46, it has taken me an additional 9 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 for being lazy. It is also the reason I didn’t understand, or get school and the reason why I couldn’t learn.
It also explains why when I was asked why I wasn’t doing homework, my standard answer was ‘I didn’t know what I was doing.’ But giving a name to my symptoms for the first time allows me to stand back on myself. I can now exonerate myself from any blame, shame, guilt or wrongdoing.
The consultation in January 2019 confirming I have ASD is somewhat of a blur. But my Autism diagnosis seems to have reinforced the whole disability thing and how I got to this place. It’s too late in the day for me to be told something I should have been told as a child.
It is 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.