Life on the Autism spectrum

Richard and Sue - Interview 10

Male
Age at interview: 58
Age at diagnosis: 51

Brief outline: Richard was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome seven years ago after being referred to a specialist diagnostic centre. He is working hard to change aspects of his behaviour for his wife and family.

Background: Richard, a computer programmer and Sue, a healthcare worker, have been married for over 30 years and have a large family. Ethnic background/nationality: White British.

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Michael and Sue have been married for over thirty years and have a large family. Seven years ago Sue read a newspaper article describing Asperger syndrome and felt that it described her husband. The couple went to their GP who was, initially, reluctant to refer Michael because there was no treatment for the condition. However, it was important for both Michael and Sue to have the diagnosis and they were eventually referred to a specialist centre where Michael was diagnosed. Sue felt that she would rather live the next thirty years with a disabled husband rather than with a husband who did not care.
 
Before diagnosis, Sue and Michael had tried marriage counselling to try to overcome their difficulties. Michael could not relate to Sue, or their children, emotionally and would withdraw when Sue became upset. Sue feels that Michael’s Asperger’s has significantly affected her and their children. While Michael was physically present as the children were growing up he did not engage with the family. Both Michael and Sue have suffered from depression.
 
Michael was a loner as a child and is obsessed with computers. He is very intelligent and has heightened hearing and vision. One of their children also has Asperger syndrome and is currently getting on well in secondary school.
 
Now he has the diagnosis, Michael is learning to read body language, make eye contact and understand other people’s feelings and emotions. Michael has found the internet a useful resource and spends time interacting with other people with Asperger syndrome electronically. Sue gets support from her Christian faith.

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