Life on the Autism spectrum

Debbie - Interview 19

Female
Age at interview: 44
Age at diagnosis: 35

Brief outline: Debbie was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome when she was 35 years old after experiencing bullying in the workplace. She now does voluntary work and looks after the home for her father.

Background: Debbie, a full time homemaker, lives with her father and is 44 years old. Ethnic background/nationality: White British.

Audio & video

Debbie lives with her father and is aged 44. Nine years ago, after experiencing bullying within the workplace, Debbie and her mother decided to push for a formal diagnosis of Asperger syndrome. Debbie’s mother had always suspected that her daughter was on the autistic spectrum but had got nowhere pursuing this in the past. Debbie asked a local autistic society and was given the name of clinical psychologist. The GP referred Debbie to the pychologist. Her mother was given a 48-page questionnaire to fill out, the clinical psychologist saw Debbie and made the diagnosis.
 
Debbie describes getting the diagnosis as the best day of her and her mother’s lives. Her mother had struggled with her for 35 years without any support and described it as a lonely journey. Debbie’s mother died four years ago and Debbie now looks after the house and does voluntary work.
 
Debbie does not like change, making choices, loud noises or crowds. She is very literal and while she leads an independent life, does need some support. It has been difficult to find appropriate support since her mother died because available services have not met Debbie’s needs - for someone who is kind, patient and with a good understanding of Asperger syndrome.
 
Debbie is involved with a local support group for parents of children with Asperger syndrome. She enjoys going on the internet, knitting and cross stitch. She thinks the hardest part of having Asperger syndrome is the lack of acceptance by other people and the way in which people will not make allowances for her. Her faith has helped her enormously and she feels positive about the future.

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