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Hello everyone my name is John.

I have just been diagnosed with Asperger's at the age of 65. Probably explains why I struggled throughout my life and didn't fit in, however I managed to serve in the Military and fought in the Falklands with undiagnosed Autism so 'What you don't see ain't going to hurt you'. All this would not have come to light if I wasn't struggling with Tinnitus, sleep depravation and Depression and had to undergo a Psychological then Psychiatric Assessment(s).

Been happily married to my wife for 40 years. Have to 2 children and 5 Grandkids, but my only sadness is 2 of my Grandsons have Autism, which I know people say isn't hereditary, but all the same one can't help thinking its all my fault.

Look forward to reading everyone's posts and perhaps are paths will cross.

Regards to all

John

8 Replies

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  • Hi John,

    Don't think that it is your "fault" that some of your grandchildren are autistic. I believe to a certain extent that it is hereditary, but that doesn't necessarily make autism a bad thing. My son has ASD (he probably would have been diagnosed with Aspergers in the past). There are certain parts of his autism that make life difficult for him, however there are also certain benefits that have come from it as well. He is good at maths and science and he has an insatiable appetite for learning. His teachers notice that he sees solutions and grasps certain concepts before his peers because he sees things that they don't. If we can crack the anxiety, I anticipate that he will attend University. He wants to become a radio astronomer and work for SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence). Who knows what he could achieve.

    I know that a lot of his traits are a mixture of his father and my father through me. My husband is undiagnosed but almost definitely on the spectrum. He works in science and has a Masters in Physics. My father has a degree in Physics and I have a degree in Geology and a Masters in Archaeology. My father would have been diagnosed with ADHD had he been born today and who knows what they would have said about me! Anyway, we wish our son did not have the difficulties that he has, however, if he didn't have autism, he might not be able to have the insights that he has.

    I know not all children with autism are high functioning, but even those who struggle more than most may have certain areas where they do well. My friend's daughter is quite low functioning and attends a special school. Her mother constantly worries about her future and what will happen to her. However, she is a brilliant artist. A family friend took some of her drawings and did a collage and it is quite amazing. Another friend has a son with severe special needs. However, he is really good at keeping sports statistics. They are all there in his head. His family just want to make him happy and it's lovely to see, but I know they find things hard too. I guess it's good to focus on what a child does well and hope that the child can find their place in the adult world.

    Finally, a good book to read is Neurotribes by Steve Silberman. It is a history of autism, how it existed in the past, how it was first categorised and studied and how the view of autism has changed over time. His thesis is that autism is a kind of mutation where the brain is wired differently than normal. Sometimes this works well and you get Einsteins. Sometimes it doesn't work well and you get children who really suffer. Most of the time it is somewhere in between. But society needs all types, and sometimes autism can provide benefits. I hope this all makes sense. I just don't want you to feel responsible. You pass on part of who you are as all of us who have children do. What is created is unique and special, just like your grandchildren. :-)

  • Hi John,

    My diagnosis of Aspergers is 2 weeks old! I am 50. Like you I suffered from depression and that is how I came to this point, beginning to understand many unhappy events in my life which I now see in a new light. I am also a primary school teacher and have 3 ASD children in my class. Unlike us, they have the benefit of knowing more about who they are as they grow up.....I feel I have never understood myself or known who I really am. My actions throughout my life make more sense now. I don't know if you look back and think "that's why...". The children in my class are wonderful and happy. Don't blame yourself for anything as it seems you have supportive family and autism and difference should be celebrated ....sorry don't want to sound patronising...I am on a bit of a journey of thinking positively and trying to embrace my " differentness" . It is amazing how many people seem to be in such a similar position at a similar age. Like you i am hoping to be able to speak with people like me as life is hopefully taking a more positive turn.

    Hope we can have a chat.

    Best wishes

    Sam

  • Hi Sam,

    Thank you for your reply, and thank you for the great work you do with children.

    It strange how so many people in their more graceful / beautiful years are suddenly being diagnosed with ASD when seeking help for depression. Is it because our Doctors are not so dismissive of Mental Health any more. Or have we moved on from our parents and grandparents War mentality of, 'you've never lived until you lived through the War', so 'Get on with it'.

    Unfortunately, since diagnosed all I have done is look back. But I have a great Psychology support team behind me now from Veterans services whom help with tools to push me to look forward. Still can't help thinking, 'if only' though. Baby steps, that's what I have to keep telling myself.

    My family and I greatly appreciate the work you do and know it can be difficult at times, and yet rewarding. My Grandson is waiting to be 'Statemented', which will hopefully means the school gets more funding and he gets more designed help. My other Grandson has mild ASD and is in main stream class, but with assistance even though he is has not been statements.

    I hope you have a wonderful eye opening new life, and remember to take a blank notebook with you, because Sam's real journey starts now and the story begins. Be happy and be safe.

    If you need a chat or someone to scream at, I'm just click and tap away.

    Heartfelt regards and best wishes.

    John

  • I too look back and think of all the lost opportunities and friendships never formed and relationships lost. I am diagnosed ADD

  • Yes I'm 52 now diagnosed ADD at 49. There wasn't the understanding back then and people are still dismissive of the diagnosis even today.

  • Diagnosed aspergers in march 17 @ 52 I know Im different but i too have married had children and worked and been reasonably successful, my son has aspergers and there is definately a familial link, my ethos is, Im the normal its the rest of em that need help LOL I am logical straight forward and Blunt! This in normal in Yorkshire. Keep smiling :)

  • Oh I forgot to say i am the odd girl just a littl Kooky :)

  • I am going to get myself diagnosed, but the question is what happens after you are officially diagnosed with Autism or Asperger,

    I have been diagnose with ADD but I always felt there was more, much more then ADD, I have read and answered the questions on Autism Spectrum Quotient it came back with Autistic traits .

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