Originally Posted by azmomtoone
Really?? ... that seems, well, somewhat crazy to me. Maybe not so much in a case like above, where the parents know and hide it from the child, tell he grows up and figures it out himself. But to not have a clue at all??? Is that really commonplace?
I only put it together after my kids had problems in school. It wasn't in the diagnostic manual when I was that age and going through testing so I was considered to have one thing and then another and then another and each one was later ruled out when the treatments didn't work. People my age typically do not know because it was not being diagnosed correctly when we were kids. That is why it seems like the numbers of cases are skyrocketing now, not because there are so many more but because it wasn't added to the DSM IV until the year I graduated high school.
I ended up having a pretty comprehensive neuropsych eval after I kept finding descriptions that sounded like me and scored way high on the quizzes and that confirmed it.
Most people assume that others' experiences of life are at least largely similar to their own, whether they are NT or on the spectrum. I know that it was assumed constantly by the grown ups in my life that my sensory issues were exaggerated or totally made up for attention (despite the fact that I hated the attention and mostly just wanted to be left alone to read). By adulthood, most aspies have started self-medicating or learned some coping strategies. Also, most aspies by adulthood are better able to identify others' emotional states, etc., although it is something that takes a lot more effort for us and that we do a bit differently (i.e., I have to know someone for a while before I can tell if they are upset or pretending to be upset and before I can tell when they are being sarcastic because I need a baseline for their gestures, posture, tones of voice, etc., so that I can compare and figure out what their mood is at a particular time).
A lot of us stim differently as adults than as children too, so it is definitely possible to be autistic all your life without anyone figuring it out.
Most people have such a stereotypical idea of what autism is in the first place that they would never spot the real thing anyway.
About half my family and friends could not believe my dx and the other half wondered what took me so long to figure it out.