Our Asperger’s story started well before we knew what it was. Our daughter Jess was finally diagnosed as having Asperger’s Disorder when she was 13. We had put up with years of anti-social behaviour from Jess and agonised over the bullying she endured and her apparent inability to make friends.
This was our precious daughter. We were so proud when she was born. We already had a 3½ year old son, Matt and our family was now complete with a pigeon pair.
From a young age, Jess was incredibly self-contained and would entertain herself for ages. Matt needed constant entertaining whereas Jess would spend hours playing quietly with great focus.
When she commenced pre-school at 3 years of age, it started to become apparent that she was somewhat different. She had an extensive vocabulary which she was able to use pretty much in context. We thought it was funny, this tiny little thing with a cute pageboy haircut coming out with these big words. It kept a lot of people amused. Not so funny was the realization that she was not interacting well with the other kids. She didn’t really make any friends and wasn’t asked to play over at others houses like most of the kids. On the occasional times that she did go over to other people’s homes, she didn’t really want to play with the children but went into her own little world and played with their toys. This was no doubt quite frustrating for the would-be friends not to mention their parents. She would not make eye contact when speaking and still to this day finds it difficult to do so.
Her first year at school was quite positive. She learnt to read very quickly, in fact she could read to some degree prior to commencing school. It was obvious that she was bright. Because her reading skills were so superior it was suggested that she skipped the next year and went straight into the following year. In retrospect it probably wasn’t our wisest decision but hindsight is great!
This was the point that she started being bullied because she didn’t fit the mould. We were not aware of the bullying until some time later and had no idea as to how bad it was. She was bullied to the point whereby she was unable to function at school and we were called in to speak to her teacher and deputy headmistress. They said that they thought it was a mistake that she had been accelerated and that she wasn’t coping. There were inferences to her lack of intelligence. This was astonishing to us given the previous feedback. It was suggested that she underwent a psychological test to measure her verbal and non-verbal skills. The results were a puzzle. Although her verbal reasoning ability was in the very superior range and higher than 99 out of 100 students of her age, her non-verbal reasoning ability was only in the average range and higher than 66 out of 100 students of her age. This was a very unusual result and should perhaps have alerted the School Counsellor. It didn’t however, and rather than dropping her down a grade, she was included in a program for gifted children.
Look out for Part 2 of our story coming soon.
To read more about our story of aspergers go to Jessica’s Story [http://www.naturalautismrelief.com/jessstory.html].