Life on the Autism spectrum

Tim and Julie - Interview 09b

Age at interview: 39
Age at diagnosis: 39

Brief outline: Tim was diagnosed with autism eight years after a paediatrician suggested that there was a family link between himself and his son. Tim has a very supportive wife and they have two sons who also have autism.

Background: Tim is married and had two children. He works as an IT consultant. Ethnic background/nationality: White British

Audio & video

Tim discovered he had autism when the paediatrician who diagnosed his son, suggested that there was a “family link” between him and his son. This was a shock to both Tim and Julie but they waited several years before Tim sought a diagnosis for himself. 

Tim describes how he always felt there was something different about him but he didn’t know what it was. Tim and Julie met at secondary school and she describes how he was always the “quiet, intelligent one”. Tim went through school without difficulty but when he went to university, he struggled and ended up leaving at the end of the second year. He had a couple of jobs before getting into IT and has been successful in work since. Tim can find the social side of work very tiring and enjoys working by himself.
Julie describes how Tim can be difficult to live with. He has special interests which he finds very absorbing. His main interest is exercise and he will run around 20 miles every day. He also has difficulties with communication and Julie has learnt to tell him that he is having “an autistic moment” to alert him to the unreasonableness of his behaviour. Julie breaks tasks down for Tim to let him know exactly what he should do and she also describes compensating for Tim’s behaviour when they are out.
After eight years Tim asked the GP for a diagnosis as he finds life more difficult as he grows older. Tim and Julie have two sons with autism and their complicated family life has led to the couple having family therapy.


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