This is Laura’s story in her words. While Christopher and Hellena physically wrote the words down and did the illustrations the words themselves are directly quoted from Laura. Being 9 Laura has issues with spelling and fine motor skills but It is her book. Laura told Christopher and Hellena what she wanted to say. Laura picked the pictures. Laura has final say over every page. Laura did a lot of the fundraising to raise the money for publishing, even collected bottles and cans to go towards it, and wanted to put in her tooth fairy money. Laura has helped design the website picking colours, pictures and pages of the book she wanted to share.
My diagnosis journey so far
I have felt wrong all my life and when my daughter was born I could see differences in my Daughter from a few months old but my mother kept telling me I did the same things at those ages. As she got older we weren’t the only ones to notice and an Autism assessment was suggested. In the search to find out more about autism in women/girls I saw similarities in myself. I spoke to my father about it and he told me that some doctor said something about Aspergers when I was younger but only mom really knew about medical issues with us kids, and we had lost her three years past. So in my mid 30’s my daughter, who is a mini me, was diagnosed ASD and I started searching for my own. I saw a clinical physiatrist For the main purpose of getting my official diagnosis. On my very first visit I asked about diagnosing ASD if it was something that he could do, or who I needed to see. I was told ‘that is something that I believe we can do here’ so I continued to see him. At a very high cost that I had to save up for every visit. After 4 visits he decided not to look into the Autism diagnosis for myself.
He told me he is on the fence as to the whole thing and is unsure as to whether anything could be gained from such a diagnosis as he has seen the harm long term psychiatric care sometimes does and Autism isn’t something that can be fixed or medicated for.
He said it is far too easy to get an autism diagnosis nowadays and he has see many that were given the diagnosis wrongly. He also said I don’t seem autistic to him, even though I have only seen him 5 times and my past psychologist agrees with ASD she just isn’t qualified to put it on paper. He encouraged me to continue down the track in getting a diagnosis for my daughter. Getting her sorted out before myself and through her maybe I could learn behaviours and coping mechanisms that will help me. He said at most he is willing to do a letter to say ‘we are exploring the possibility of ASD’. He gave me a script for six months worth of my Medication and said he will leave it up to me as to when to see him again. He told me to keep researching, look for maybe a local support group, maybe even ask the child physiologist when I get to take Laura to see one and see if they know how I would go about getting a diagnosis as an adult.
I have tried where my daughter was diagnosed but they don’t do adults. I have been referred to 5 other psychiatrist and psychologists and no one will take me on, one even accused me of doctor shopping because I already had a clinical psychiatrist I was seeing. I have been referred to a psychologist that we confirmed before the appointment that I was going for a diagnosis and was reassured he could do it. Got there and was told he agreed with ASD and will write a report that will confirm the diagnosis but that isn’t what it said when I got it a month and a half later. It said he believed it to be ASD but I need ‘formal psychological testing with a neuropsychologist to confirm the diagnosis’. I then booked in for and went to a neuropsychologist for said testing, again confirming beforehand what I was going for, as well as spending the whole first half of the appointment reiterating we were there for a diagnosis. I was then given an adult IQ test. When I received that report I questioned it and was told that is why I was there they don’t do a diagnosis.
Armed with my new reports and letters and new hope I went back to the clinical psychologist but I was given the same answer it’s not something he will do but he did give me the details of somewhere that I can get an assessment for only $4000, which I would have had if I hadn’t spent my money on all these other doctors. So I am going into my 40th year finally knowing who I am but still looking for the recognition, acceptance and support.
This is why it was so important to us that Laura’s book got published and news of it is spread far and wide. It isn’t easy to get a diagnosis as a child, especially a girl, and it’s near impossible for an adult. I wish Laura’s book was around when I was at school, it would have been a much better experience and I would have been able to be the real me.