Anyway, I say ‘hidden’ disabilities because all the things I have aren’t exactly obvious, and thereby people seem to brush them to one side and think I should manage to cope just like everybody else. But that isn’t always the case. I have managed to cope with some things, but a lot of the time I do struggle with these invisible symptoms and I only wish that more people were aware of certain disabilities so that I could be more easily accepted and understood. This is true, more than ever, within a school environment (and I’d hazard a guess that it’s similar in a work environment as well).
The first time I went through school, I was undiagnosed and I metaphorically fell flat on my face. No one understood me, hell; I didn’t understand me so I don’t know why I expected anyone else to. I was just starting to realize that I seemed to be standing still, personality wise, whilst everyone else grew hormones – and interest in the opposite sex. I was in love with education, and everyone else’s behavior got in the way of that when they continually disrupted lesson time. So for the first time, I was looking around me and seeing the extent of the problem. I had no friends (as they grew so different from me, I stood frozen in time and they all drifted away from me to find someone more up to date). Because of my social problems and apparent depression, the school sent me for therapy – which didn’t help me. And as things went from bad to worse when the bullying kicked it, I eventually ended up on a part time schedule for school. Missing out on lessons and stuck in therapy. That’s what my school did for an undiagnosed Aspie. I ended up leaving, and tried out another secondary school – which also failed.
In the time when I wasn’t in school I did manage to get diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, Dyspraxia, Attention Deficit Disorder and Schotopic Sensitivity – oh and…Dyscalculia. So just the odd thing then… The main one for me is always going to be Asperger’s though.
When I eventually went back to school to do my GCSE’s, I was with a year group 2 years younger than me – and it turns out I had more in common with them. I made friends and they were all understanding of my issues. I made the decision to tell everyone, so that they would understand if I was having a bad day. Everyone was surprisingly kind to me. Anyway, being loaded with information about my various disabilities seemed to help the school and they majoratively understood; until they got a new head teacher. But that’s a story for another day.
People have often said to me that a lot of people struggle socially and that I should just learn to cope, like everyone has to. I think that I must hide my Asperger’s well, because people just don’t seem to understand the severity of having AS, especially in certain situations or whilst in certain frames of mind.
My point is, unless you have all the information under the sun to support your diagnosis’ then it can be hard to make people understand; whereas, with more outwardly obvious disabilities, people seem to be much more understanding. So, I just wanted to raise awareness - of Asperger’s in particular.