Today we have another real life story from Marie Hélène Carette. Its great that we receive so many stories from all around the world. Over to Marie:
I am really grateful for your site and its rich content.
I happened to do the Aspie test on your site in 2012, and two other times since then.
And my score was always around 32/33 — confirmed Aspie!
In fact, I was more relief than desperate; I was even grateful for the life I had in spite of many difficulties. I am grateful because, unlike many children today, I have never been officially diagnosed, so even if I saw many books about “how to raise a difficult child” on my mother’s table, I just grew up trying to find my own way and I recognized how my two parents were both naturally gifted to raise a “difficult child” like I was.
It certainly was helpful for me to grow in normality WITH my own difference. I always felt I was “different”: I had lots of motricity difficulties — my eyes were not straight, I was a silent observer, living in an ivory tower, drawing a lot. I asked so many questions in school that the teacher told my mom to keep me home at one stage because she was just so exhausted by my many questions. But instead of punishing me, my mother taught me to draw on the big papers she placed on my room walls.
In school I was often bullied and I felt I had no defence, but I always found nice girls who were older and mature and they lent me good books so I became very good at writing stories.
Later, I became a high school teacher, teaching grades 8 and 12 in French and Ethics. My methods were different and I was able to give each pupil his/her place and value their talents and skills. I also worked a lot to improve my own skills and undertook many courses and therapies. I wanted to get over my own difficulties, which were like an invisible handicap. What helped me the most was my ability to recognize others’ skills and talents, and to value them in each student.
But I it took me so much of my energy that I simply didn’t have room for having a family; I needed so much time just to relax and be myself, that I needed all my private time for rest as well as for my preparations.
I had very few friends, but solid ones. They never did reject me. Then after 12 years in teaching high school, I earned a Masters degree in my free time and I was hired at university level and there, during my working years, I got my Doctorate degree. The miracle was that I was under contract (no tenure), near 25 years working full time but with the opportunity to organize my time; this was an approach valuing results more than the number of hours at my office. So I was able to organize my time between being physically present with the students (I was a field education director) and all the other necessities of such a task, giving myself the time and space needed to be able to cope with my handicap.
Today I am retired and it is the best time of my life, not only because I live with a nice pension plan, but because I spent all my life without a name on my secret handicaps. I just learned how to cope WITH them on an everyday basis and it is only since I’ve retired that I have come to realize, through your website, that the problem all along was that I have “Asperger’s Syndrome”! Imagine!
Through doing everything possible during my whole life to manage my condition, I became a quiet and contemplative person devoted to her students and even low profile with my university peers, I am grateful that they recognized and valued my work and I only got good help from them when needed and lots of respect and mutuality for encouraging the students the see what is possible.
I will soon turn 65 and I am grateful to be able to live WITH who I became along the way and I don’t wish to get a formal diagnosis from a psychiatric hospital to certify the type of autism I was born with.
I wish I could simply have some opportunities to volunteer my time to help autistic children and their parents, in order to share joys and hopes by encouraging them to accept their situation and work through it for the best.
Sincerely yours and long life to your website!
Marianne H. C.