When Annette Lewn’s children were young, she longed to join in the chats with other mothers at toddler group coffee mornings, but always felt like an outsider.
‘I desperately wanted to be part of the group, but I never seemed to say the right thing and I’d get funny looks from people,’ says Annette, 42, a school cleaner who lives in Chippenham, Wiltshire, with her son Ryan, 15, and daughter Rachel, 14.
‘I just don’t pick up on social niceties at all,’ she adds.
OK, so you’re not a people person. We can’t all be. Could be worse. You might have some awful…
Then, five years ago in her late 30s, Annette discovered the cause of her quirky behaviour traits. She has Asperger’s syndrome, sometimes referred to as a ‘mild’ form of autism.
Really? I mean, really? What, is it catching? Because there seems to be more and more of this every day.
It’s almost as though there were people with a vested interest in ensuring as many people were diagnosed with it as poss…
Tom Madders, head of campaigns at the National Autistic Society, says the problem is that the condition is often not spotted.
He adds: ‘Only 63 of 152 local authorities have a diagnostic pathway in place – a set route for GPs to refer on to a specialist so people with suspected Asperger’s can be assessed.’
And those ‘specialists’, Tom? Would they perhaps be…
Once the condition is diagnosed, the charity runs courses on social skills, a befriending scheme as well as providing information on employment and other training.