In 2012 I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism that affects how a person makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people. Asperger Syndrome is mostly a ‘hidden disability’ with difficulty occurring in social communication, interaction and imagination, known as the ‘triad of impairments’.
This means I have difficulty with the subtleties in verbal communication, such as understanding facial expressions and voice tone and knowing what people are thinking, explaining the problems I have experienced in interacting with others throughout my life. I also suffer from sensory difficulties, being distressed by jostling crowds and loud noises.
It is not all disadvantageous though, my condition is also associated with obsessive interests, a high attention to detail and love of pattern recognition which are useful attributes for studying a PhD. Since my diagnosis my attitude to my difficulties has changed, rather than a burden, I see them as a challenge to overcome and to that end decided to stop letting the fear of other people hold me back and ‘feel scared but do it anyway’. Hence my PhD and blogging journey begins.
For information on Asperger Syndrome and Autism visit the UK National Autistic Society.