Thursday, 29 November 2007

Wednesday 28th November 07

A really interesting day. I woke at 8 and had a fairly normal breakfast which was nice. I checked Anna's cycle map and memorised how to get from her house to Denmark Hill, and left at about 8.40. I was quite amazed to see a small mistletoe plant growing out of a street tree in London, not the usual place to see mistletoe, surely?

I got to the Maudsley Hospital at 9.10, some time before my appointment, and was seen by a psychologist to undertake a battery of personality and psychological assessments. Some were pretty straightforward, simple questions about my behaviour, others were more obtuse, stuff like timing how long it took to define a word (what is a bird? what is enthusiasm? what is a niche?) and a similar test, to see if I could say how two things were similar, such as a bus and a plane. I also had to do the different coloured words test, first saying the word (they were the colours red, blue, green and tan) and then to say the actual colour the word was printed, which was mostly different from he colour of the word's meaning.. this was recorded for accuracy and speed. Also a test with plastic blocks which if arranged in different positions would make various patterns, and I had to make patterns which was displayed in a book, again, timed.

We finished at about midday and I phoned a student researcher who was doing some work on empathy and ADHD basically to say that I didn't think I'd be able to do the research after the day at the as I was meeting someone at 6pm at Kings Cross. However the message I left with her department was that I'd collect any message from her from the main info desk at the Out Patients Department. I went to have lunch and chatted to some people running the 'Bedlam Gift Shop' (I decided not to buy a mug.) and when I got to the Out Patients at 1pm, the researcher was there waiting for me, saying we should be able to get the study done in an hour if I wanted to do it. So went with her and after filling in another sheaf of forms, she got me sitting comfortably with electrodes on my fingers, and I had to watch a screen with faces flashed up on it and then click on the mood correlating to the expression. These were: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and neutral. I then had to do the same type of thing but this time identifying an animal: cow, goat, bison, bear and horse. I did well with the animal ones, I think all correct, but the emotions/expressions I found really difficult. I found sitting so still for so long the most difficult. I look forward to seeing how well I did on that task.

At just after 2pm, I got back to the reception area and was immediately ushered into a tiny room with a female doctor who asked me a lot of medical history questions, stuff about early childhood, experiences at school, problem behaviour then and now and a lot of very interesting and personal stuff, about anything which might inform their diagnosis. At 4.30 I was given a break and at 5, I was asked back to see the senior doctor, who had a few more questions, things which weren't completely covered in the previous sessions, and he offered me his initial thoughts on my diagnosis. Apparently my concentration span is too good to be a 'typical ADHD' and I have some traits seen in Autistic Spectrum Disorder. So, although the diagnosis will be a few weeks away, after the psychology tests have been scored and analysed, he thinks that I have a mixture of Autism and Hyperactivity. Wow. My Mum was right, she thought that I might be slightly 'Aspergers'. I await my final diagnosis, and if I am on the Autistic Spectrum, they'll suggest another set of tests, specifically to look at Autism, either in York or back at the Maudsley.

I was released at 5.50, and found a train to King's Cross fairly easily. Finding Mary from DANDA at King's Cross was less easy. She'd said the pub on Platform 1, but there was no pub on Platform 1, it was on 8. She'd described herself as very very short and fat, and when I did find her she was just ordinarily petite and nicely rounded, not fat. Peoples' self images can be quite odd. We had a cider each and chatted about Neuro-Diversity and her desire to set up a branch of in the Yorkshire area. I said I'd assist but not be the main person. She left at 8 and I found a filling pastie and baguette, and waited for my 9pm train.

Spent most of the journey back writing up this blog on wordpad, which I hope I'll be able to copy and paste into my blogspot page. I was able to copy and paste but then not publish, getting an 'Error' message about post labels or some such rubbish.

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