Differences in early vs late diagnosis to your life?

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analyser23
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26 Aug 2012, 9:51 pm

I often wonder about this.

What are the pros and cons to being diagnosed as a child with an ASD vs being diagnosed as an adult?

What differences does it make to your Life?

What are the good and bad parts about knowing while you grow up that you have an ASD vs always thinking you are just like everyone else and only learning about the fact that you are different and how, after you have already lived a huge chunk of your Life?

What could both types learn (the early diagnosed vs the late diagnosed) from each other?
(i.e. perhaps that maybe those who are diagnosed later have learnt that they can push themselves further in certain areas vs the early diagnosed who maybe never tried? And that those who were diagnosed early might have learnt how to approach their Life aware of their strengths and weaknesses being different, and are more comfortable to try different techniques to the norm?)



zooguy
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26 Aug 2012, 10:35 pm

I am 60 and there was no diagnosed back then. I know I was not like others sense the second grade. I found that I was an aspie about 7 years ago. I am glad I went through all I did in one sense and on the other side I wish I had never been born. I am one of those that got to be an over achiever and an under achiever at the same time. I survived. I head is still and allways has been in the mind of an aspie I just struggled and screwed up and keep going. I still struggle really really hard. I think about killing my self all the time but I don't. Sorry I think I am rambling - so I think learning later is better - it is going to be a nightmere no matter what. Dealing with the humans is simple to hard to do. I vote later.



dajand8
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26 Aug 2012, 11:42 pm

I think it is much better to be diagnosed or self-diagnosed later in life. Nowadays, when diagnosed as a young child, individuals are thrown ruthlessly and carelessly into special ed programs, regardless of intelligence or capability. No disrespect to individuals, but Aspies shouldnt be put into the same category academically as the mentally retarded.
I feel it is almost a discriminatory practice against Aspies as well to put such emphasis upon group work and socialization. Also, homework and policies of strict conformity can be problematic.
Aspies of my generation were more likely put into Gifted programs and held up as examples by the teachers. Nowadays, any kid who even seems shy or somehow different is outed immediately by the teacher and thrown into doom.



chris5000
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27 Aug 2012, 12:17 am

I got diagnosed young. I got thrown into special needs and tormented by the staff. ruined my chances of ever having friends in school and made school hell for me. no one ever told me what autism or aspergers was so I assumed they were calling me retarded.



JitakuKeibiinB
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27 Aug 2012, 3:41 am

I was diagnosed at 15. I'm certainly glad I was able to escape the play-NT social skills "therapy" that those diagnosed younger seem to be forced into. That sounds like hell. And I wouldn't want to be in the "special ed" classes in my school. I had a few friends (they weren't disabled, they were just stupid/lazy and had bad grades) in them. It was just where they shoved all of the inconvenient students and made them do trivial busy work, like single digit addition and subtraction, all day, so they could give them a passing grade and get state funding. They didn't learn anything.

If I was diagnosed earlier then perhaps I wouldn't have blamed for symptoms and forced to do things I had sensory issues with, etc. But none of that changed much after I was diagnosed anyway. The biggest change in school after I was diagnosed was that a few of the teachers suddenly became "extra" nice. I definitely didn't want ten additional years of that!



Joe90
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27 Aug 2012, 4:39 am

I was diagnosed at 8, and it kind of disturbed me that I had this label what nobody else in my life had. I kept repeating ''Asperger's Syndrome'' over in my mind, getting upset when somebody mentioned it, staring at other kids and trying to copy their behaviour, and so on. I suppose the good part of being diagnosed as a child was I was aware that I had a disability so I had more chance to observe NT behaviour, which might be why I have developed my self-awareness quite quickly.


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quaker
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27 Aug 2012, 7:07 am

I would say that being dx at age 40 was a defining chapter in my life.

To survive in life I learned to act normal and suffered the cost with depression. Yet my suffering made me go deeper and my journey in life took me so far outside my comfort zone.... I suffered more than words can convey.

The first half of my life I suffered from running away from my pain, the second half of my life I suffered from becoming pre-occupied with my suffering (including my obsession with my dx with AS later on)

Today I know I am more than my suffering and more than my autism and slowly I am finding peace. My suffering, which was compounded by my unknowing I was autistic, has lead me to great wisdom.

Would I wish my son or others with AS to suffer in such a way in order to learn wisdom?........NO! and so I am pleased that we can evolve in this respect through awareness.

I know we can't insulate ourselves or others from suffering, but I feel it is possible to to avoid unnecessary suffering through ignorance.

Interesting point to reflect on here with respect to the OP question. I traced my biological father at age 22, he too had AS, but had spent all his life in isolation, living life as a hermit, totally preoccupied with his special interest, and never had a day of depression in his life.

For me, the art of living life well with AS, is all about balance, getting the balance right between withdrawl and engagement with the world, as well as affirming my autism but at the same time it not being my true identity.



MjrMajorMajor
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27 Aug 2012, 7:41 am

I would think having an earlier diagnosis would help give a framework to self understanding, and working with what personal strengths you have. Hopefully, with all the "autism awareness" going on, there will be help more beneficial and tailored to each individual on the spectrum.
Sometimes I wonder how it would have been to have the social support/therapy that is available today, and I am thankful that it is available for my kids.



greentigress
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27 Aug 2012, 8:16 am

I wonder too
Great topic
I'm 37, just diagnosed
I had Schizoaffective from mid to late teens onward and from teen was relieved my differences were explained
I repeaed it in my head a lot too
I am very glad I wasn't in a special school because I would have hated it
I was very judgemental about people with differences - mentally disadvantaged in any way and I didn't want to be that person
I really really had a load of self stigma with the schizophrenia all the way till my 20s
being in hospital for nine months with schizophrenia I learned to love the people who are dirty and strange and aggressive for example and also going to an SEN school riding therapy with donkeys for voluntary work I have become much more accepting of people who have any mental problems
This is in my mid to late 30s though



Jtuk
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27 Aug 2012, 9:24 am

This is a tough question. The experts all seem to insist that early intervention leads to strong improvements. Personally I'm not that convinced that AS can be reliably diagnosed in under 8s.

I guess a lot depends on your parents and your neighbourhood. My parents let me live in my own world and supported my interests. However chaotic school was for me, home was safe. My interest became my career. My parents did spot something was wrong and thought it was the school, they moved me to a better one. This did actually help. Despite not completing the majority of my homework or coursework assignments, I got good enough grades to continue my education.

My parents didn't have any great expectations, neither of my parents had any education beyond high-school.

I can't imagine how life would have been different with a diagnosis and support. Something tells me I would have got less out of school, although it could have been easier on me.

Jason.



Colinn
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27 Aug 2012, 9:47 am

Well, for me I was diagnosed when I was 4 or 5 years old. During my early years of primary school it made me feel alien. Seeing the other kids getting along so easily while I struggled and had to go to a child psychologist weekly, and also to another school every 2 weeks without having a real idea why. But I put that down to not having it explained well enough to me. So once those 2 things stopped happening, I just put it to the back of my mind and tried to get on with things. Same with high school, but that's much later on compared to my diagnosis age, so won't go into that. So for me, early diagnosis was a feeling of being negatively different and a state of confusion. So I would recommend any parent with a young diagnosed child to explain it to them in a mature and supportive way. Something my mum and so called "professionals" failed to do.