Parents of children on the Autism Spectrum

Diana - Interview 33

Female
Age at interview: 66

Brief outline: Diana's daughter, Vicky, 37, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome when she was 33 years old. Vicky lives independently and spends the weekends with her parents.

Background: Diana, a retired nurse, and her husband have four children aged 42, 40, 37 and 28. Ethnic background/nationality: White British.

Audio & video

Diana, a retired nurse, and her husband, a retired academic, have four children.  Their third child, Vicky, has Asperger syndrome diagnosed five years ago when she was 33. Vicky didn’t like being cuddled as a baby and had severe tantrums throughout her childhood. Her parents took her to see various health professionals but were told that they were neurotic or that Vicky’s behaviour resulted from the way they were bringing her up.

Vicky attended a small private secondary school until the fifth form when she was asked to leave. She then moved to a boarding school for children with dyslexia where she was very happy. On leaving school, Vicky has tried various jobs, none of which have lasted long.  She has done a number of courses at FE colleges and is currently unemployed.

Vicky was diagnosed after her mother read a leaflet in the supermarket about Asperger syndrome and felt this described Vicky exactly.  Diana went to the local support group meetings and was given the name of a consultant who diagnosed Vicky when she was 31.  Diana describes feeling relieved to get the diagnosis because of all the years of feeling blamed for her daughter’s behaviour. 

Vicky is now living in her own flat in a nearby town and stays with her parents every weekend. Diana describes her daughter as very impulsive and well meaning but unable to understand how other people feel. While she is largely independent, Diana is concerned about the future because she feels that Vicky needs someone she can turn to if something goes wrong.

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