We had a lot of storms here last night. I've lived through these my whole life, so they don't get me too upset. I know it should. But the idea of going to a shelter where there are other people scares me far more than the storm!
I know it was much worse in other areas of Oklahoma. Kay said she lost her electricity. I didn't have anything happen. Once or twice the lights flickered and that was it.
We just stayed right here and I finished my John Grisham novel. Of course there was nothing on TV but weather, which is customary.
In other news...I have had many emails from those of you who were interested in the autism diagnosis as it affects either yourself, someone in your family, or a friend. You have asked that I continue to take you along this newly discovered journey.
So in the vein of transparency, I will give you the diagnosis I received in the final report in the mail yesterday.
299.00 Autism Spectrum Disorder
296.33 Major Depressive Disorder
300.29 Social Phobia, Generalized (Secondary to Autistic overstimulation)
300.15 Dissociative Disorder, NOS (by history)
The doctor wants me to remain on the same medications I've been taking. So I suppose these other diagnoses brought about that decision.
I can't seem to find a lot of information online about adults with autism. I can put adults with autism in the search engines, but almost every time it comes up with data on children.
So for those of you who have children with autism, which of course has a very wide range of symptoms and quality of life, I guess you can look at me at age 58 and your child with similar symptoms and know what they're looking at.
I know I live in my own little world, but it has worked for me. So if they can find a place in life where they feel safe and less anxious and over-stimulated, then that's quality of life for them.
On that note, some of you expressed that I don't get out enough. And I fully understand how you would look at this, based on your own view of life, and come to that conclusion.
However, having said that, the report said: "Her social deficits and anxiety problems have made it impossible for her to work in traditional venues.
"Brenda has a history of dissociative episodes that began at age 12. Some type of sensory stimuli triggered each dissociative experience she has had. However, since she has not been able to identify a pattern in how this occurs, Brenda simply limits her time away from her apartment. Brenda is very sensitive to external stimuli and is easily overwhelmed by noise and crowds. She also has a pronounced and exaggerated startle response.
Results of Psychological Testing:
Autism is a sensory processing disorder. In other words, people who have Autism simply do not process stimuli in the same way everyone else does. The GARS-3 is an objective assessment tool specifically designed to assess for the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is comprised of six subscales:
These subscales cover the gambit of the common symptoms and experiences of people who have Autism. Brenda's lowest score was in the area of maladaptive speech, but even on this scale she scored at the 50th percentile. Brenda's highest score was in the area of Cognitive Style, scoring at the 91st percentile. This indicates that Brenda has significant difficulties with the cognitive processing of information she receives from the environment.
Brenda achieved an Autism index of 115 indicating she is very likely to have Autism Spectrum Disorder. In fact, the GARS-3 has two levels of "Very Likely" to have this disorder and Brenda scored in the higher, more extreme level. Her high score on this instrument indicates that she likely requires substantial support and accommodations to function effectively."
It goes on to report low self-esteem and long-standing beliefs about my feelings of inadequacy. And my history, which is not pertinent here.
"She has difficulty managing routine affairs, and the items she endorsed suggest a poor memory, concentration problems and an inability to make decisions."
I won't go into the feelings in his descriptions of how I feel, because it is long and drawn out. Plus, I think these feelings of inadequacy I've felt all my life are based on the fact that I could not be like other people, and my subsequent frustrations because I could not achieve "their level of perceived normalcy."
This assessment was based on:
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Second Edition (MMPI-2)
Gilliam Autism Rating Scale, Third Edition GARS-3
I don't know exactly what all of this means. But if you are reading this, and as a professional, know some of the criteria explained here, I would appreciate your helping me sort through it.
I hope this helps someone who is either dealing with this, or wondering if they should have the testing done for themselves or someone in their family.
I have disclosed much of this report in the hopes that it will help someone dealing with this complex disorder.
If you have questions, leave them in the comments and I will try my best to answer them.