Life on the Autism spectrum

Mark - Interview 58

Male
Age at interview: 27
Age at diagnosis: 26

Brief outline: Mark, 27, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome when he was 26. He is returning to university to study economics and accountancy.

Background: Mark, a student, lives on his own. Ethnic background/nationality: White British.

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Mark, 27, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome when he was 26. After two unsuccessful attempts at university and finding it increasingly impossible to go into work on a daily basis, he felt he had to “stop sticking his fingers in the ear and pretending it wasn’t an issue.” The process of getting the diagnosis was problematic and Mark ended up going privately. He wanted the diagnosis for his own personal growth and he felt very relieved when it was confirmed. It has enabled him to access appropriate support and he is about to return to university to study economics and accountancy.
 
Mark describes how he has always felt he was different to other people and could not understand why they behaved in the ways that they did. He was very serious as a child and was constantly encouraged to smile more. For Mark, loneliness became the “default position” and he still does not get the emotional bond with people that others seem to. He has learnt social rules but feels that much of the behaviour is pointless.
 
Mark feels that people find it difficult to understand how he is able to understand complex things like astrophysics and yet is unable to shop in Tesco’s or fill in official forms. He finds it “soul destroying” that he can’t cope with “trivial things” like going on a busy train or phoning a gas company. He found it helpful to interact with other people with AS soon after the diagnosis but has since decided that having the same label does not necessarily mean that people will have a lot in common. He also feels there is a lack of relevant books written for adults with AS.
 
While sex is important to him, Mark is single and has come to the realisation that he will probably remain single because the thought of sharing every detail of his life with someone makes him feel very uncomfortable. He has always had good friends and enjoys socialising.

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