Autistic adults share their experiences of getting a diagnosis.

Andre’s story

For a long time describing my life as a train wreck would not have been far from the truth. [But] this was all before I was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.

A year later, I've resumed my full-time education, I have new friends and interests, and work hard towards many goals and ambitions. It's not easy but I'm on track now.

Now I am at the wheel and in control of what I am doing with my life to a far larger extent.

Simon's story

I’d always found the world a bit confusing. I never understood why people behave the way they do and why I never really seemed to fit in. I’d done well at school, but had found it difficult to relate to people and to make friends. I always tried to avoid social occasions but when I couldn't get out of them I’d end up sitting in a corner, lost in a world of my own.

Then, about two years ago, my wife watched a documentary about Asperger syndrome and instantly recognised that it was describing me.

Suddenly everything made sense. I realised why I find some things difficult, when they seem to come naturally to everyone else.

I realised why I don’t always understand what people are saying or feeling. And I realised why I sometimes feel isolated and alone.

I'm still not sure whether having Asperger syndrome is a good or a bad thing, but what I do know is that it’s part of what makes me who I am. And I’m okay with that.

Luigi's story

As I got older I began to realise that I was 'different' and wanted to fit in better. I had a difficult time keeping up a conversation with anyone, so I began writing out scripts so I could practice what to say. I still had a very difficult time looking someone in the eye. It was uncomfortable for me [and] while I looked away I was able to both pay attention and go over my list of things to say. Over time, this has gotten easier for me but it's still a challenge.

Anne's story

I only recently discovered that I have Asperger syndrome. While I had felt like an outsider all of my life, never understanding social rules instinctively, and being unable to cope with or enjoy social events.

I hadn't thought it unusual that I collected weather statistics as a hobby for three years from the age of ten, nor that I found it bizarre that girls would play with dolls rather than work out how machinery operated.

I was fortunate to have gone to a small school which allowed me to study rather than have to focus on social activities, and I was one of the well-behaved pupils. People just thought I was 'odd'.

I started work at a computer firm and learned everything I could about how people were supposed to behave.

I was offered a job as a trainer on computer software, and soon afterwards I met my husband (who also has Asperger syndrome, but didn't realise it at the time) and we went on to have a son.

While social skills are never going to be my strength and I need a lot of time to myself to recover from corporate events, I have found that Asperger syndrome has allowed me to really focus on my goals. It's not a 'disability' to either of us, it's a different way of looking at the world, and one that is equally valid.

Find out more about autism and getting a diagnosis.