My brother and I would have belonged on the “autism spectrum” if such a thing had been discovered in the 1950’s. He was on the more severe end, having also problems with ADHD, etc. and social and academic difficulties. He disliked school because of teasing and name-calling, and repeating grades. He didn’t learn to read until his 2nd time in 7th grade, when purely by chance he was assigned to a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Reed – (honestly) who took the time to figure out how his way of learning was “different” from the average. Although he is still a terrible speller (has everything proofread by family members), he graduated from Vocational School, and has had a successful career in building and contracting, has been a Volunteer Firefighter and Fire Chief in his town, is a first responder in climbing and ice rescues, and is a free-lance excavator, pole setter, and lighting rigger for large concert venues. He’s been married for 24 years, and has a son who is a robotics ace. Pretty good life for one who started so slowly.
I myself would have been a “high-functioning Asperger’s child.” I loved school, learned to read at age 3 1/2, and despite bouts of extreme shyness, depression, anxiety and panic, (which have never entirely disappeared), made a so-so adjustment to social situations, got good grades, and found my niche in music and education. Aside from stage fright, which prevented any kind of solo or conducting career – (“they have an App for that now”) -I have been a life-long orchestra and band member, taught music for over 40 years (all ages & levels, and 15 years as a teacher of Music History at the University level) with a Master’s Degree in Music, and also earned a Master’s degree in Library Studies. I had a very happy marriage, and am helping to raise my 3 lovely (bonus) grandchildren. My “alter ego” is an outdoorsy person – I love camping, hiking, road trips, and am handing many of these life-skills down to my grandchildren. So, another success story. I hope these will give parents hope for their “different” children.