Zaffy was not diagnosed as having an autism spectrum condition until the age of 39. However, before that, several people had mentioned autism to Zaffy as a likely cause of Zaff’s experience of the world. Zaffy’s mum reports that she had wondered whether Zaffy was autistic. She says, ‘it did cross my mind, mostly because of how self-contained you were and caught up in your own world.’
Zaffy finally understood he was autistic when reading a book called ‘Thinking in Pictures’ written by autistic author Temple Grandin, because Zaffy does indeed think in pictures! Zaffy did not realise this wasn’t the case for everyone until it came to light by chance in conversation.
For every word Zaffy hears during a conversation, his mind has to pull up an image and then has to put all those images and words together to form a scene in order to create meaning. As a result, conversations can be exhausting for Zaffy.
After 39 years of feeling different and trying to fix things he perceived as character flaws, diagnosis came as an overwhelming relief for Zaffy.
Since diagnosis, Zaffy has continued to use a range of therapies and tools to ensure that he stays healthy, happy and fit. You can learn more about this here.