JENNIFER Hunter knew growing up that she was different to other children – but it was not until she was 23 that she was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.
When she was five years old, all her friends were invited to a birthday party while she was not. Even when she was eventually allowed to go, she was left feeling excluded.
“I was left sitting at the sidelines and wasn’t welcome. It was basically like that growing up through primary school. I was kept separate from the other children,” Ms Hunter, from Edinburgh, said.
At school, she was taught separately from the class as her teacher said she was using her intelligence – often a key characteristic in Asperger cases – to make the other children feel stupid.
She left school at 15, but did sit her Higher exams. She went on to have a series of jobs working in bars and hotels. The 28-year-old mother of two began wondering if some of her problems might be due to Asperger’s syndrome and she went about getting diagnosed.
“It now means that when I meet someone I have the opportunity to explain to them that I have this problem. Because I am able to put it into words it helps me to form relationships better and know when a relationship isn’t worth forming.”
Ms Hunter works as a financial co-ordinator and is studying accountancy and finance at university.