Monday, 02 November 2009
The past 8 years have been a real strain on me and my family for many reasons, but I am starting to learn more and more as time goes by. You have to realize that until about 4 years ago I have never even heard of the word asperger’s and I did not know anyone with autism. My daughter has been on SSI since she was a child and has had a IEP since kindergarten, but her mother moved around a lot and although it was known that she had a disability they never stayed in one place long enough for teachers and doctors to get a real clear idea of what was exactly the root of her disability.
That all changed when she came to live with my wife and I. My daughter started high school that year and a team of specialist where brought in to give her a complete assessment, and they decided to just continue on the old IEP for a year and observe her. My wife was very unhappy with this plan of action, and in typical ASPIE fashion I was like whatever as long as I do not have to have to deal with anything that makes me uncomfortable (even though asperger’s wasnt even known to us yet). Life continued on as normal or at least normal for us, until one day on a routine trip to our family doctor changed everything.
I have to fill in a few details here to help make things a bit clearer. My wife is from Ohio and I have been living in Florida, when we got married in 2005 and I moved to Ohio at that time. We had only been married about a year when my daughter came from Tennessee to live with us in Ohio, so our family doctor had only seen me a handful of times and had never seen my daughter at all. One day during a checkup the doctor pulled my wife aside and said something that would change our lives forever, he said I think your daughter has asperger’s and she needs to be tested for it. When my wife got home and told me this my first reaction was shock and denial, but the biggest bomb-shell had not even dropped yet.
My wife and I did not even know what asperger’s was so she wanted me to look it up and do some research and I wanted nothing to do with it and refused to even look, because I wanted nothing to do with any such talk. Naturally and rightly so my wife was very angry with me and she began looking information up on it herself and informed the schools intervention team of this new discovery. At this point the team of 12 or so educators began to observe her, and they did finally confirm the diagnosis of asperger’s syndrome in my daughter. As I was beginning to accept the fact that my daughter had autism even if in a mild form, my wife called me over to the computer one evening and said I have been reading the signs and symptoms of asperger’s syndrome and said to me “honey you have asperger’s, I see 10 of these 12 signs when I watch you”. Well I was floored and upset, yet I knew she was right and in a way I was relieved to finally have a name for what was wrong with me.
I began to look for someone who could confirm our theory that I had A.S and I found that person at a local university. They were running speech and communication research on people with autism and part of the acceptance process for the program was having any form of autism, so I signed up and began the process. I was brought in to see the lead researcher and doctor for the program who spent time putting me through my paces and analyzing the results. Her conclusion was that I did in fact have asperger’s. That is pretty much how we found out that our family was a little different then other families and our lives will never be the same again.