We've only been asking questions since E. was 18-months-old. To be fair, A. is the one who initiated them. Mostly I felt like I understood why he was odd in the ways he was--and most of them pointed to my family's bank of personal quirks, so I mostly didn't want to follow that trail too far, at first.
I wrote a while back about a particular student whom I recognized as likely having Asperger's. There's a moment I left out from that anecdote. As I read the article, I so got it. I completely understood where the kids they were profiling were coming from. But, I told myself then and a thousand times after, I am empathetic to a fault and overly sensitive to others' feelings. That means this isn't me.
A couple years later, A. and I were sitting in the coffeeshop near our condo. Our conversation, as was common in those days shortly after E. turned 4, turned to autism. Both of us had moved into fix-it mode, lining up OT and looking into other options for him. I had mostly gotten over the guilt I'd been feeling about the role of my genetics. And I finally spoke out loud an idea that had been brewing for a while at that point: I have Asperger's. My ability to read emotions and my sensitivity to others are both the result of years of observing and categorizing.
I think that since then, we've known that E. would end up just on one side or the other of the diagnostic line for autism spectrum disorder--our guess has long been Asperger's, a suspicion that has only grown stronger as E. gets older.
And now we're moving towards official.
E. went in for educational testing last week, the ADOS administered by the district's autism team.
The written report will take a few weeks yet, but the word has come back to us that he most definitely qualifies. He goes in for a full evaluation and possible medical diagnosis soon. We don't expect that outcome to be substantially different, perhaps just further refinement of where we are now.
This reminds me a bit of when we got our second-parent adoption. Suddenly we had official recognition, but at the same time nothing changed. Everything is exactly as we've known it to be all along.
Except that this time there's the kernel of the potential for where this will take us down the line.