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TheTheatreCat

A lot has happened lately...

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TheTheatreCat

So, an awful lot has happened very recently which has led to me now posting in this particular sub-section of the forum. My parents now know that I believe I may have Aspergers, but to be honest, it didn't really come out in the way I was hoping it to. (This is a long one, so buckle up...)

Back in January, when I was first researching the possibilities of having AS, I sent a text to one of my very close friends (let's call him Paul) asking him about it. I immediately regretted it at the time but soon forgot about it. Last week though, there was a bit of an incident when my year were changing for double PE. Basically Paul accidentally got the whole year singing Happy Birthday to me. There were only two problems: this was incredibly overwhelming, and also the fact that it wasn't my Birthday. Anyway, one of the teachers overheard this (I mean, who wouldn't?) and so reported it to the Senior Staff team, who investigated. The people involved got into some trouble, but Paul only got a verbal warning (which makes me so mad about what he did next). Anyway, Paul began to act really strange around me, and we were moving classrooms one day when I saw him showing a few other people something on his phone. When I came over, they all hid it and said things like "it's him" and "hide it". I didn't really think much of it until I saw it happening again and suddenly remembered this text I had sent over six months ago. I was getting so anxious about this but didn't want to confront him about it.

A few days later, there was a separate incident involving someone completely different. The subject isn't really important, but it involved myself, this other person, and someone at my school who has ASD. The person involved got into trouble and was talking to Paul about it (within my earshot). Paul then said "oh, you're gonna want to see this then" and proceeded to show something on his phone. This time I saw that it was a really long text - although I couldn't read the contents. I was almost sure that it was about me, and was planning to speak to a teacher about it the next day. Anyway, as I'm getting changed back from double PE (it happened to be on the same day in the timetable as the first incident) someone comes over to me and says that he's just been shown a text by Paul from myself talking about AS. With all the evidence I needed, I went to the teacher the next morning to try to get Paul into trouble for this. I didn't tell her the subject of the text, and this didn't really help. She said "unfortunately, there's nothing we can do" and I thought that was that.

It's a few days later when a more Senior member of staff comes to me and says that she's been passed on the message that there's a text and she says that she wants to investigate further. Sure enough, I'm pulled out of the next lesson by a teacher. Once we were walking to the office, she said "we've been dealing with Paul, and we've seen the text". Well, that was one way of causing me to panic and almost have a meltdown or something. She led me to the office and Paul was already there. The hard part was when I was forced to tell Paul how this had all made me feel, and how people had been talking about me. Once they sanctioned him and got him out of the way, the teachers asked me whether what I wrote in the text was how I felt, and how I thought I may have AS. I didn't really know what to say apart from yes. The whole conversation was so awkward.

When I got home, my mum was just getting off the phone from the teacher and had a chat with me. She took it so much better than I had hoped and said that she would support me in what I wanted to do about it. I kind of knew this would be how she would respond, but I never could find a moment to tell her. Anyway, she called my GP and I have a chat with them tomorrow. Not really sure what to expect from it though - does anyone have any experience with this? I've noticed that over the past few days, the teacher who dealt with this all has been talking to lots of the SEN staff around me and trying to inconspicuously point me out to them.

Well, that kind of brings everything up to present. It's been a hell of a time lately, but hopefully, everything will improve soon!

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Miss Chief

Do you mind if I ask how old you are? Since you are talking about school and given they way you talk I am assuming you are at secondary school so I'm guessing between 11 and 16? Probably the higher end of that? I'm just wondering given you aren't really an adult yet, I know I hated hearing that at your age and I don't mean you aren't mature or anything like that! I just mean from a medical, academic and legal perspective your parents (and even teachers) are still going to be heavily involved in your life (whether you need them to be or not) ;) so assuming you wanted a diagnosis how were you hoping to go through that without your parents being involved? I don't mean this in a negative way or anything... perhaps you were planning on waiting until you were 16 or 18 and pursuing it then? 

I actually think that maybe it was a good way for your mum to find out... teachers are probably one of the few groups who have a really good understanding of AS and it's real life impacts, so they would have been able to reassure your mum about any worries she might have had and made the situation a lot less stressful for her (not because she would have an issue with you having AS but because she would be worried about you and how it would effect your life, because she loves and cares about you and your future, the teachers will have been able to reassure her somewhat that you can live a perfectly normal life with AS), also while they aren't medical professionals teachers are also pretty good at spotting things like AS/ADHD in students so when you raised it, they probably did a bit of an assessment on what they know about you (that might be why she spoke to other teachers) to see if they thought it fit and then phoned your mum to say they thought it was worthwhile getting assessed, having the support of your teachers can be very helpful not just with getting a diagnosis but also with school in general and I don't just mean school work, there are all the social issues you go through at school too :) For example the betrayals by friends (I imagine 'Paul's' behaviour feel like that), bullying, falling out with people, etc. that is all part of the school experience but it can pose additional issues for those of us on the spectrum, if your teachers know you have AS then they can help you, even if it's just talking through things with you, being a kind of mentor :) 

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TheTheatreCat
6 minutes ago, Miss Chief said:

Do you mind if I ask how old you are?

I'm 15. I was never planning to go through this on my own, and was going to of course tell my mum. But it was never my intent to have my teachers (and most of my school year) find out about it - or for anyone to find out about it. At least, not at this point in time.

8 minutes ago, Miss Chief said:

I actually think that maybe it was a good way for your mum to find out...

I think so too. In a way, things are getting better. She was initially a bit frustrated that I didn't feel I could talk to her about it, but she's being very supportive and has been doing some research.

11 minutes ago, Miss Chief said:

if your teachers know you have AS then they can help you, even if it's just talking through things with you, being a kind of mentor :) 

The teacher organised a talk with myself and my mum the day after this all happened where we talked about everything and she was talking about how they have a great team of people who deal with this kind of thing and how they could give support in school - should I get a diagnosis.

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Miss Chief
17 minutes ago, TheTheatreCat said:

I was never planning to go through this on my own, and was going to of course tell my mum. But it was never my intent to have my teachers (and most of my school year) find out about it - or for anyone to find out about it. At least, not at this point in time.

As I said, teachers knowing can be a good thing, but you are right it is unfortunate that the students found out, particularly the way they did and I do feel for you in that respect.

21 minutes ago, TheTheatreCat said:

I think so too. In a way, things are getting better. She was initially a bit frustrated that I didn't feel I could talk to her about it, but she's being very supportive and has been doing some research.

Being that I am older now (I was around your age when I first realised I was on the spectrum but didn't get a diagnosis until I was 30), I can understand your mum's point of view, she is feeling left out that you spoke to a friend (who perhaps isn't a very good one given what he did with the knowledge) but you didn't tell her, you could try explaining to her, that you were working through it in your head and you just wanted a second perspective (and being 15 your friends are going to be around your age) before raising it as something that needed acting on, had you spoken to her she would have proceeded towards getting a diagnosis and you didn't feel ready for that until you had thought it through, also say you realise you shouldn't have confided in 'Paul' given the way he behaved and that you won't make that mistake again :) 

She probably feels as well like this is out of her comfort zone and knowing that most of your year and teachers knew before she did probably made her feel very out of the loop plus she probably feels like this is out of her control which is something we grown ups don't like so much, you will discover that at some point but when you're young you don't have as much control so you're used to it but the older you get the more control you have (you will already know that as you will have much more decision making powers at 15 than you did at even 10) but we don't like it when things are out of our sphere of influence, and health is always one of those things, you could try pointing out to her that if you do have it, it doesn't change anything about you, you were born that way and the only thing that will change is that you (and she) will know why you have some quirky attributes and why you struggle to fit in and perhaps why you can be difficult about some things, and maybe together you work through those things, if you both know the cause.

Your mum sounds like a really good mother, she probably hated hearing from the teachers that maybe you had AS (again I emphasise NOT because she thinks there is something 'wrong' with you but because she cares about you and your future and doesn't like to think that someone else noticed something about you when she didn't) and that everyone at school knows about the situation but it sounds like she mostly took it on the chin and moved on to the practical aspects of researching it and finding out how to get a diagnosis, she sounds like a very supportive mother, who put aside her own annoyances and focused on what you need :) 

38 minutes ago, TheTheatreCat said:

The teacher organised a talk with myself and my mum the day after this all happened where we talked about everything and she was talking about how they have a great team of people who deal with this kind of thing and how they could give support in school - should I get a diagnosis.

It also sounds like you have a very supportive school who have hands on experience of dealing with AS, while you might have preferred them to not know, and given you are 15 you might not be there for much longer anyway (you planning on 6th form or college?) but given they do now know and they seem to be good with this kind of situation I don't think it's really something to get hung up about, of course students are a different issue altogether but I imagine the school will be able to help you with that too, they might decide to do an assembly about AS and while you might think that would be awful as you might feel like everyone will know it's about you, another way of looking at it is, your year already know about it and this way they might get a more positive or at the very least a more accurate understanding of what AS is and how it effects people, this could result in your year being a lot kinder to you. It sounds like your school is aware of the realities of AS as opposed to the stereotypical notions that exist.

Anyway I think you're going to be ok, you have a supportive parent and a supportive school and hopefully some good friends who are a bit more mature than 'Paul', you're also very close to the age where you leave school :) 

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TheTheatreCat
12 minutes ago, Miss Chief said:

they might decide to do an assembly about AS and while you might think that would be awful as you might feel like everyone will know it's about you, another way of looking at it is, your year already know about it and this way they might get a more positive or at the very least a more accurate understanding of what AS is and how it effects people, this could result in your year being a lot kinder to you. It sounds like your school is aware of the realities of AS as opposed to the stereotypical notions that exist.

They have spoken to me about possibly addressing the whole year group about me (which may possibly mentioned AS) which I'm not too keen on (especially as whenever my name is mentioned in assembly there's a massive sarcastic - I can only assume - cheer) so having one entirely about me may be a problem. They did say though that they'd never do anything like that without asking me first though.

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Miss Chief
2 minutes ago, TheTheatreCat said:

They have spoken to me about possibly addressing the whole year group about me (which may possibly mentioned AS) which I'm not too keen on (especially as whenever my name is mentioned in assembly there's a massive sarcastic - I can only assume - cheer) so having one entirely about me may be a problem. They did say though that they'd never do anything like that without asking me first though.

Well they don't have to mention you at all, they could just talk about AS/ASD in general then those who know about you will link it up but those that don't won't make the leap... it's almost always a good thing for people to know more about AS, there are a lot of general opinions about it in society, people think they know what it is but they don't really know or they have assumptions etc.

Don't assume it is a sarcastic cheer, perhaps people just like you, there are benefits to having AS (not limited to the following but in this situation), if you're on the spectrum, you are probably quite logical and analytical so you probably give good advice also you've probably learned to listen to others rather than talk (cause we struggle more with the latter) people like a good listener. You're also probably very observant, cause we have to learn about body language and so on by watching others; we often notice things that others don't, this can lead to us being more perceptive than some people in some ways (although we also sometimes struggle with perception in other ways). All of this can lead to people turning to you when they have an issue and considering you a friend.

Being 15 is tough for everyone irrelevant of what you have going on, being on the spectrum just makes it harder but being 15 will pass in no time ;) on the up side all those people at your school are just as hung up on their own issues as you are, they aren't constantly thinking about or even talking about you, they are mostly thinking about and talking about themselves :D

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TheTheatreCat
10 hours ago, Miss Chief said:

Well they don't have to mention you at all, they could just talk about AS/ASD in general then those who know about you will link it up but those that don't won't make the leap... it's almost always a good thing for people to know more about AS, there are a lot of general opinions about it in society, people think they know what it is but they don't really know or they have assumptions etc.

In PSHE day they did an ASD awareness topic with the Year 7s but not with my year. It's a bit annoying that they're only introducing it now because feom what I've noticed, it seems to be working. I have friends in Year 7 who have had this session and I have noticed a distinct change in behaviour towards this one person in my school with ASD who we spend a lot of time with. With my year though, people just don't take anything seriously.

 

10 hours ago, Miss Chief said:

Don't assume it is a sarcastic cheer, perhaps people just like you,

I find that highly unlikely, because the people who actually do this are the people who hate me and get into trouble because of me the most.

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Nesf

I'm glad that you got a positive response from your school and your mum, though it's regrettable that it had to happen in that way. I hope it means that you can now get support.

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