At some point in every autistic's journey, okay, maybe not those who were diagnosed from a very young age, but rather those who flew under the radar for a long time, we have certain "light bulb" moments that lead us to presume we're on the spectrum. Maybe it's the fact we've always been a little bit "different." Perhaps we have become more aware of social struggles as time goes on. Whatever the case, I'd like to talk about my personal experience.
I didn't first hear of Asperger's until I was 22 and in my second to last year of college, when I'd learned of student's kids who had it. Other than the fact it sounded an awful lot like "asparagus" to me, I didn't give it much thought. I knew it was a form of autism, but that was about all I knew. I had the common misconception that it meant one was "in their own world" as that's what I had been fed by the world.
Fast forward about 4 years. I was working as a Supported Housing Specialist for the same agency I currently work for. I had always known I was different, but had attributed it to the fact that I was diagnosed with ADHD at 25. Something still seemed to set me apart from others, though. My literal thinking. The fact I couldn't read between the lines. I had this genuineness and innocence about me. Jokes often went right over my head.
I don't recall how it happened, but I somehow stumbled upon a blog by a girl with Asperger's. As I read her story, I had that "light bulb" moment and thought, "wow, I could have written this!" The author talked about her sensory experiences. I had always had sensory sensitivities for as long as I could remember. She talked about other things which I could totally relate to as well.
Taking what I now knew, I began to research Asperger's. After taking online quizzes, and looking at lists of female traits, I was convinced that I too, was an Aspie! I spent the next 5 years involved in the community and made several friends in Facebook communities. Though nothing was set in stone, I learned that it was okay to self-identify until I got the answers I was looking for.
When it finally became official, on March 19, 2014, the first thing I felt appropriate to do was to share my story with the world! The pieces of the puzzle finally fit together, hence the name of my blog, "The Pieces Fit!" I had validation. My suspicions were confirmed.
Whether you have been suspecting for a long time that something is a little different about you, or you learn something later on that gives you an "aha!" moment, we all take different paths down the road to self-discovery. It truly is one of the most rewarding experiences one can live!