My desire for getting my diagnosis was very much for my own benefit to answer the many unanswered questions I had about so many things in my life, but I also felt a diagnosis would give me the opportunity to help and give hope to other people.

Anxiety was my biggest issue as a child, with low self esteem in my teenage and early adult years followed by depression from mid 20's to mid 30's. I sought help from my GP probably two or three times but never felt the treatment (one course of antidepressants and a few sessions with a psychologist) was getting to the route cause of my problems, just masking the symptoms.

Many years of self analysis got me to a state of self acceptance which allowed me to live a happier life but knowing all my characteristics so well I was still left with the nagging question 'why'. Why couldn't I talk to people? Why didn't I like people touching me? Why did I have strange habits and routines? Why couldn't I learn like other people even though I had intelligence?

Had it not been for my research into autism to help my grandson who was diagnosed in 2017 I may never have got the answers to all those 'why' questions.

I did a huge amount of research into Autism and Asperger's Syndrome using the internet, and I wrote several pages of material about my life which got me to the point of self diagnosis for Aspergers. I was 99% sure I was right in my own diagnosis but needed clarification and a professional diagnosis in order to prove to myself that I was right. (My obsessive thirst for knowledge and problem solving determination was put to good use in this process).

I went to see my GP on 31 October 2016 to ask for a referral for Aspergers, and I took my life history notes with me. I was very disappointed and angry at the response I got; my doctor hardly looked at my notes and kept insisting that I had depression, I most definitely was not depressed and refused to accept this and after some time he finally agreed to refer me.

I received the initial questionnaires from Cambridge Lifespan Aspergers Syndrome Service on 30 December 2016 which I completed and returned on 6 January 2017. On 7 June 2017 I received a letter confirming that I had been placed on a waiting list for an assessment.

On 2 March 2018 I received a letter offering me an appointment for my assessment on 26 March 2018. The Clinical Psychologist was very good and listened carefully to my answers to her questions, the assessment lasted two hours and I felt completely at ease. With my consent the doctor spoke to my wife on the telephone the next day to ask her some questions about her experiences of living with me, when she'd finished talking to my wife she spoke to me and confirmed the diagnosis of Aspergers and I received written confirmation on 3 April 2018.

My diagnosis has made a huge difference to my life already, I now have the knowledge to manage my life and finally be honest with people instead of making pathetic excuses to avoid certain things which cause me problems.

I'm not ashamed of my condition and do everything I can to raise awareness of autism and promote the positive things that Aspergers has given me in my life.

My grandson and I chose to embark on a cycling fundraiser for ART as we know that further support and answers for autistic people can only come from quality research.

David Thorburn, ART supporter

Please click here to support David and Liam via their online giving page!