((Sorry for the weirdness with the note at the top of my last post - I didn't realize I hadn't put this out yet! Dang drafts. Anyways, here's the second part of my story.))
By the time I hit middle school it was clear there was something going on in me, something that wasn't quite right. I really hadn't grown up from Elementary. While my peers were awkwardly moving into adolescence, rebelling, creating themselves, I was playing with Barbies and being slightly moody when interrupted.
In sixth grade my parents began to take me to specialists for a diagnosis. I'm not sure what prompted them and have never asked about it, but I was curious as to why they were bringing me into strange buildings to talk to odd people about myself. The first diagnosis was depression, and the second was Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). At the time both were pretty accurate - I couldn't pay attention in class and was becoming depressed because of the near-constant teasing from the other kids. However, they weren't the real problem.
Near the end of the year, a woman came into my class and asked me to come with her. I didn't know at the time that she was the school psychologist. For the next few weeks I spent several hours a day in a tiny office working on exercises, not really knowing what I was doing there or why I had to take these tests. The tests were bizarre to me, a combination of math, picture and emotion analysis, shapes, logic exercises and reading comprehension.
At the very end of the year the true diagnosis came out - Asperger's Syndrome. They also told me that I had an IQ of 127. I don't remember exactly who told me or when, but I do remember my parents saying that they had ordered a book for me on it and that I would be in different classes next year.
After reading about what AS is I agreed that the diagnosis was accurate - I saw myself in the criteria. Now I had a name for my weirdness. If you've ever had a diagnosis after wondering about something for a long time, it's a very relieving feeling. It gives you power and allows you to connect to a community of others like you.
Next year I'd be able to use this in a new classroom of others with the same or similar diagnoses.
Next Week: Life in the AS classroom