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October 25, 2007

October 25, 2007

I was only diagnosed with AS this past April. Back in the 1960s, I was, like a lot of aspies and autistics, diagnosed with childhood schizophrenia, including being subjected to electroconvulsive therapies.

However, in the 1960s, there was no separate autism category. Therefore, children who displayed “autistic traits” were labelled schizophrenics (according to the DSM-I and the DSM-II) by default.

Since my child psychiatrist had years ago dismissed his previous diagnosis as incorrect (based on the fact that I am a college professor, etc.), I suppose I put the whole issue on the back burner. I never wondered what the diagnosis would be (if it were being made today).

Nonetheless, I was, earlier this year, having some insomnia problems (caused by a cockroach infestation), and my personal physician advised me to consult a psychiatrist. (I was extremely anxious.) It was this psychiatrist who said I had AS with comorbid OCD.

I have been diagnosed with AS (by two psychiatrists), and I also had a very active fantasy life as a child. I really had no choice. I did not have a concept of how to relate to other kids, and the vast majority of them did not want to have anything to do with me anyway.

My suggestion, for what it is worth, is not to try to compare yourself with others in this forum. AS is a category of neurological diversity, but there is a lot more to each of us than our Asperger’s syndrome.

By the way, despite all the discussion of Asperger’s tests in this forum, there are no generally accepted tests to measure AS. Most psychiatrists and psychologists rely on taking a verbal history and on direct observation.

(Also, the majority of therapists have no knowledge of Asperger’s syndrome. It may be a good idea to make sure that the therapist is competent to diagnose in that area before seeing her or him.)

Interestingly, my present psychiatrist (mostly for my comorbid OCD) told me that he would never have guessed I had AS. He diagnosed me entirely based on my history (my personal narrative).

I then phoned my old child psychiatrist, whom I have not seen since the late 1960s, and he agreed with the diagnosis. (He is now around 80, but he remembered me quite well.) His original diagnosis was childhood schizophrenia (a common misdiagnosis for aspies in the 60s and 70s).

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