“Catelyn, your birthday is coming up – would you like to have a birthday party?”
“Who would you like to invite?”
Then there was silence. The hard sad truth became so apparent.
Catelyn didn’t have any friends.
Asperger’s/High Functioning Autism
In my post Why are Boys Diagnosed with Autism More than Girls? I learned that Autism has historically been a male disorder. Symptomatology of Autism is based around male characteristics. Using those characteristics to diagnose girls has been found to be ineffective as girls with autism present differently. Clinicians are starting to take notice of these differences and are looking at using different diagnostic tools based on gender.
I followed up this post with Why are Boys Diagnosed with Autism More than Girls – Part 2. Learning that boys are five times more likely to be diagnosed with autism, I also learned that when it came to Asperger’s, or High Functioning Autism (HFA) boys were likely to be diagnosed 10 times more often than girls. Again, symptoms were different for boys and girls. I took my focus into our family and looked at Catelyn. Was she on the road to being overlooked as well? She had many eccentricities, were they acceptable?
If they were not acceptable – were they really problems? If they were problems what were we supposed to do? I looked at this issue in my next post Should we Call for Help? This post provides referral information in the United States as well as things to look for to determine if a person has possible Autism traits
I followed up that post with An Interview with Catelyn. Realizing we were so close to possibly overlooking her issues became really eye-opening when hearing her side of things in a “before and after therapy” way. Hearing Catelyn tell of her problems before, (problems she had never opened up about before) and realizing herself how far she has come was wonderful. For her and for myself.
After interviewing Catelyn, I prepared the post. When she came home I asked a couple of follow-up questions and let her read the post before it went public to be sure I got everything she wanted to say right. After she read the post she had a very small, yet fulfilling smile on her face and her eyes were misty. She said, “yes, that’s right.” I could see the post was important for her. I feel like she realized she found her voice.
Catelyn never spoke so openly before. And has stayed by my side a lot since. Looking at the information on the internet and in therapy about Asperger’s and HFA helped her realize that what she experiences is common. And A-okay. She is not alone! All those things about her that were making things harder for her were:
- a part of what she experiences with HFA
- things others experience too
- but support is available
In therapy, Catelyn has been learning so much about herself and others. By speaking up to me and doing the interview it appears she feels better knowing that others may understand her better now.
I am thankful she is feeling good about herself and making friends. It is what I have always wanted for her, but could not find ways to help her on my own. We reached out for help. She and I both hope the information helps someone else out there, too. Either for themselves, or someone else they may know.
Catelyn is finding her personal awareness is leading to successful interpersonal relationships! The little girl who did not have any friends finds herself with 7 now.
And they are all coming to her birthday party in just a few weeks.
We are all so thrilled for her!