Transcript for Woman Diagnosed With Autism at 21
George is going to dance. Okay. Up next, a woman who spent most of her life struggling why she couldn't fit in. Unaware she was living with a condition that doctors failed to diagnose. Turns out that happens a lot more than you think. Jesse palmer is here with this story. Reporter: For 21 years, Lydia knew she was different. Doctors and psychologists couldn't explain why. In her senior year in college, a friend noticed something unusual about Lydia that helped her finally get the answers she needed. For 27-year-old Lydia, life has been a series of hard-won battles since childhood. I got overwhelmed around other kids. I was frustrated a lot, too. Food and tags and clothes. And crowds. Andfireworks. So many things were hard. But I wasn't able to communicate it when I was little. Soy just cried. Is there she would juts refuse the eat. I would mention to it the pediatrician. He would say, it's not unusual. They can be very picky eaters. Reporter: Doctors put her on medication for anxiety and depression. I have heard everything from stubborn. She's a manipulate later. Personality disorder. Reporter: But what Lydia's doctors missed and her family didn't know, she was on the autism spectrum. We don't yet know the number of adults don't get diagnosed, today, 1 in 68 children are on thespectrum. The one area she excelled, academics. Teachers said she was lazy. She seemed incapable of keeping things organized. Reporter: At 21, a friend recognized the symptoms and suggested she be E vl waited. Shortly after sherks was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. I'm the same person I always was. Reporter: Why did it take so long for her to be diagnosed? Years ago, the prevalence wasn't as great. I think in some case, there wasn't as much awareness. Clinicians may not have been able to diagnose as easily. In that blog that Lydia writes. Autism does mean that I'm abso absorbed within myself. It doesn't mean I don't want you around. If cow can come to me, I would love to let you in. There's a whole world in here. Check it out. Lets talk about this more. This key moment when her friend realized she was unusually bothered by bright lights. Why is that important? The it's the condition September of sensory overload. Jesse will put on these head sets and look at video clips from the group autism speaks. It gives you a sense of what the expeer jeps lrience is like for someone who is sensitive to sound and lights. You think about autism, there is a spectrum. Some people are on the higher end. M they may just experience difficulty with social interaction. Others on the other end may have difficulty talking. For Lydia, the intensity of light was the clue. Your heart went out to her hearing from her mother all these things they thought about her and here, all along sherks was on the spectrum. How do you know? It's not like diabetes where they do a blood test. If you're struggling and wondering, you can take a quiz and get a sense of the kinds of questions they'll ask. Here are three things you need to react to. I get extremely upset when the way I like to do things is suddenly changed. The next one, some ordinary textures that do not bother others feel very offensive when they touch my skin. And the third one, it's difficult for me to understand how other people are feeling when we're talking. So, you know, if you take these kind of quizzes or are concerned, see your doctor. They can sort out if this applies to you. What was it like? Sensory overload. The light was piercing. I had to squint to look around. The noise was so overwhelming. I thought when people were looking at me, it was as if they were looking through me or judging me. I would say more than anything, a feeling of anxiety. Absolutely. Yeah. And watching the video can give you the empathy and compassion and will help us all interact. People will have a lot more questions. You'll take them on Twitter? I will. We're going switch gears and
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