On her comprehensive Aspienwomen List of traits identified in women on the spectrum, Tania Marshall starts with the following description:
“Tend to have high average to genius intelligence, often (but not always) with significant splits between verbal and perceptual reasoning abilities, lower working memory and/or processing speeds, learning disabilities.”Aspienwomen List
The best example of how this presented in my life was in the results of my GRE exam. I was 29 when I took the exam, and I did so with the intention of enrolling in graduate school for English Literature.
For starters, I did a poor job of preparing for the test. I owned a practice assessment book, but I just could not engage with the strategically abstract nature of the content. Needless to say, I didn’t spend all that much time preparing. To read the practice manual was, for me, like reading a foreign language. It exhausted me and triggered tension headaches.
I did, however, prepare for the written portion of the exam–not exhaustively–but enough.
My combined score was enough to meet the admission requirements of my school of choice, but if it weren’t for the written portion of the exam, I do not think I would have made the cut.
I don’t recall my scores. I was ashamed of them, really, and I recently attempted to hunt them down in our stash of family files, but failed to do so. I fear we discarded them when we moved a few years back. What I do recall is that I scored in the 98th percentile for the written portion of the test. This result redeemed all–at least, in my own perception of myself.
However, the inconsistent results of this exam are consistent with the landscape of my historical academic performance. The results are no outlier, but of vital import, as they offer evidence to support my hypothesis–that I will, indeed, meet the criteria indicative of an autistic profile.
To this I would like to add, in contrast, that as an adult in the years that followed (I am now 39), I have studied, understood, and analyzed dense philosophic and psychoanalytic texts (and this blog is filled with analytical reflections of such) because I am both fascinated and invigorated by the study. How strange, right, that I couldn’t digest test prep materials, but I can readily digest the likes of these?!
I have my first appointment with a specialist later this week. I am simultaneously petrified and eager, which should translate to emotional overwhelm.
We shall see.