"When did you find out your son has learning difficulties?" asked the reporter from my local newspaper.
"He doesn’t have learning difficulties," I replied. "He has Asperger’s Syndrome. That’s different."
"Oh," she said, "Okay."
I assumed it was a slip of the tongue. So I continued to talk about my book – a memoir of motherhood and Asperger’s Syndrome – but didn’t pause to explain exactly what Asperger’s was.
Then, I read the article. The theme? My son’s "learning difficulties".
I screamed. And then I cried.
"Ms Case said it wasn't until a school counsellor recommended her son have an IQ test that she knew he had learning difficulties," the article read.
My son Leo started school knowing how to read and write. He would read chapter books in his Prep class while his classmates chanted the alphabet.
In the schoolyard, things weren’t so easy. He often played alone. He would wander in late from lunch, or sit on the outside of a classroom circle, reading while he was supposed to be listening to the teacher.
The journalist wrote that I wondered whether my son was gifted, or if he struggled at school. But it wasn’t an either/or proposition.
It turned out that these two things were connected. The school counsellor suggested we test Leo for being gifted – and the resulting profile of strengths and challenges spelled out Asperger’s Syndrome. An official diagnosis later confirmed it.