And I took her to the doctors and the usual check ups and no, nothing was wrong. She is just a normal baby. And then when she got to pre school age, I discovered that people weren’t making friends with her, she wasn’t mixing with others. She was on her own, dressing up like a princess with big high heels and wandering around the play group just being totally isolated in her own world and I tried to bring friends round and she would play with them for a little bit, not particularly interact, but I knew nothing about autism and I kept reading Penelope Leach books and Dr Spock and I was thinking, this isn’t right, something is not right. Nobody would say anything. She is perfectly all right there is nothing wrong with her.
And in the end I took her to somewhere in [town] where they said I should have parenting classes, because obviously it was me. I was a bad mother. And I had to leave her at this particular, I suppose it was kind of a playgroup and I remember coming back early and seeing her sitting on her own in the corner, weeping and weeping. And I thought I am not going to do that to her, you know, nobody was taking any notice of her, nobody was loving her, or caring for her and I thought I have had enough, that is it. So I took her out of that place immediately and we never went back again.
She went to a third secondary school - where ironically she actually was showing all the signs of what I later discovered was Asperger syndrome - but this time it was so bad and she was so terrified of going to school, by then when she approached the school gates and I was driving her, because she couldn’t go by public transport because she would get things thrown at her and she would get and stuff, she used to crouch on the floor, underneath by her seat on the floor and she begged me not to take her to school. She said, “No I can’t do it.” So in the end I didn’t. I told the head and the pastoral head of year and that she was absolutely terrified and she was actually being physically sick and the doctor put on her haloperidol which was not the right thing to do, but at least it calmed her down, so she looked ohh like a zombie for most of the time but at least it did calm, calm her down to an extent but it was the wrong thing for her.
And then I just started putting bits and pieces together. You know I phoned up Young Minds at this point - she was 14 at this point - and I described her problem with what I now know as social interaction deficits. She had difficulty making friends with people and she wasn’t popular and instantly this person from Mind said, “It sounds like she has got Asperger syndrome.” And I said, “What is that?” And then they described it to me and said, “Get onto the National Autistic Society.” So I spoke to the NAS and they described it absolutely what she had and I thought now I know, she is nearly 15, it has taken all these years going to, I think I counted up at one time it was 23 separate so called experts or professionals. Not one of them, not one of them had mentioned Asperger syndrome.