They told my mom she was overreacting and that I was a bad, spoiled kid even as an infant. Doctors, family and friends said my poor behavior was her fault.
So we struggled.
I fought to comprehend a world that was painfully loud, busy, bright and unpredictable; one that failed to follow through on even the simplest of promises, communicated in foreign customs with a frequency that my literal, logical aspie mind just could not understand. And despite my best attempts at reason and efforts to please everyone in my midst, I was nearly always deemed wrong, a brat, an annoyance and a dim-wit of sorts by family, peers, teachers and doctors.
My family attempted to understand the rigid, withdrawn, seemingly aloof alien in their household who threw fits when schedules were altered, avoided physical affection and spoke in monotone cadence even as a toddler when speech first acquired.
Despite a daunting two-year stay in an institution during my preteen years where my passion for running was born, high school graduation was achieved followed by a college degree, a career in education and service in our United States Peace Corps.
After three decades I learned that such a thing as autism exists and nearly a decade later I received my unequivocal aspie diagnosis.Today, roughly eight years enlightened, I bear no bitterness and am truly grateful for the gifts I possess, experiences gained, knowledge acquired, achievements made.
Nevertheless, the difficulties endured and scars that remain from so many misunderstandings and so much lack of insight, I would never wish upon any individual or their family unit.
On March 17, 2015 I published my first book, Six-Word Lessons on Female Asperger Syndrome: 100 Lessons to Understand and Support Girls and Women with Asperger's. The book is short enough to read in a day, while full of valuable information for males and females, old and young, parents, professionals, families and anyone willing to learn, Aspies and neurotypicals alike.
Thank you for reading my story and for supporting efforts to help bridge the gap between autism awareness and a better understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder including signs and symptoms specific to the female expression.
Tracey Cohen, a lifelong competitive runner, freelance writer, and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at the age of thirty-nine. Sharing her own struggles and discoveries, she aims to empower others to learn, accept and find peace in an ever complicated neurotypical world. She is the author or Six-Word Lessons on Female Asperger Syndrome and Six-Word Lessons on the Sport of Running.