Sunday, February 22, 2009

When is an Asperger's diagnosis a happy occasion?

When you always knew something was different about you and had never been able to put a name to it. When you wondered if you were the only one in the world who felt a certain way. When you want to help other people understand what life is like on the Autism Spectrum.

Meet Elyse; a 17 year old with a very inspiring story.
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Tri-Valley student triumphs against autism
From Newsminor.com, By Kris Capps

HEALY, AK — Elyse Lynn has a story to tell.

It’s a story that is uncomfortable for some, revealing for others and perhaps therapeutic for Elyse. It is the story of her life as a teenager who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism.

Elyse, 17, shared her story this week with about 100 teachers at the State Special Education Conference in Anchorage. She told them what it’s like to be a senior at Tri-Valley School in Healy, trying to fit in with her classmates and the world around her.

That’s not as easy as it sounds, but with the help of her teachers and her community, she has found a way to make it work.

People who suffer from Asperger’s want to fit in, but they simply don’t know how to do it. They often are socially awkward and don’t understand conventional social behavior.
To the untrained eye, a child with Asperger’s Syndrome might seem like a normal child behaving differently.

That was the case with Elyse, who always was on a little different wavelength from her peers. It took years to identify her affliction.

Even as a youngster, Elyse knew she was different, but she didn’t know why.
“I guess I knew in elementary school,” she said. “I was always slower putting on my clothes to go outside for recess, and people were getting frustrated with me. They thought I was mentally slow.”

Elyse said she just kept thinking, “Why are these people getting mad at me? I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m just being me.”

It wasn’t until she was 13 years old that she was diagnosed. Elyse was the first to recognize it. She spotted a poster about autism on the bulletin board of the local post office and read the symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome.

“I think this is what I have,” she told her mom. Her parents, Elwood and Beth, had struggled for years to diagnose Elyse’s condition. They instantly began investigating this new possibility. Soon thereafter, her mother came home with a big smile on her face.
Her mother announced, “Elyse, you have Asperger’s.”

It was Elyse’s a-ha moment. “There was a reason,” Elyse said, reliving that moment of grand relief. “I knew everything happened for a reason. That reason might not be clear at the present time, but it will be revealed eventually.” Finally, she had an explanation for her behavior.
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I encourage you to read the whole article. A very special look into this brave and intelligent young girl's life.

2 comments:

Vancouver Canada Homestay said...

Very Interesting Read..Thanks for sharing sweety..Much Love, Sandy :)

Heidi on Vashon said...

Thank you for posting!

I recently made a discovery about disclosing Aspergers at our local schools in support of a 504 plan in lieu of an IEP, which means my son can groove in the mainstreamed classroom with any needed accommodations at all times rather than being paraded to the special ed room for a period and feeling ostracized. He likes this so much more.

It's also brought some "a ha!" moments to his teachers, who were confused by his IEP language not realizing--but suspecting all along--mine was an Aspergers child.

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