I’ve been reading and re-reading the report from my assessment. It’s strangely exciting to know that a near-stranger took the time to write a nine-page report all about me! It’s also really interesting to see the way a professional describes me in terms of autism. I think the most interesting thing to me was the way she described my social communication. I was under the impression than I did a pretty decent job of passing for NT most of the time, but it seems I was wrong!
I was particularly surprised that she included “makes eye contact much less than might usually be expected”. I knew that my eye contact was a bit questionable, especially with new people. But I thought that I made about as much eye contact as most people, just that I found it a bit more uncomfortable and effortful. During the assessment I was very conscious of eye contact, and kept getting distracted wondering if I was making too much or too little, near the beginning. As the assessment went on I think I just gave up on trying and ended up making very little.
I also found it interesting that she described “limited non-verbal communication (facial expression, gesture)” and “little variation in tone or pitch when talking”. Again, I thought I probably passed as fairly NT, but I guess not! In the assessment I had my hands on my lap under the table, because I was nervous and trying not to pick my fingers (I do it less when I can’t see my hands), so I think I think that probably contributed to the lack of gesture.
I was less surprised by the ones about social interaction:
“rarely or never asks conversation partner about their thoughts/feelings/experiences”
I guess this was about the bit where she mentioned quilting and I completely ignored it!
“although happy to engage in a conversation, social overtures were restricted predominantly to personal demands or related to interests/topics”
My first thought when reading this was “what else are you supposed to have conversation about?” – which I think means that it’s definitely accurate!
At the end of the report, she gave a list of lots of resources to look into. She recommended a few ASD social groups – which is exciting but also very scary!
There is a lot to think about now, but it’s pretty much all good things. So although it’s quite overwhelming, it’s a good kind of overwhelming. That’s a pretty novel experience.