I was born with a ventricular septal defect (hole in the heart or congenital heart disease). It wasn't until I was diagnosed with Asperger's in 2011 and read the report that I discovered that this is a common co-morbidity with ASD. Who knew?
So how does it affect me? I am slow, physically, than others. I get a stitch in my side and breathless when I either walk fast, go up a hill or run.
At school I hated PE because I'd be one of the last people to be chosen for teams; probably because I was slower. I hated the gym sessions in primary school. I couldn't do handstands because the blood would rush to my head and I'd go dizzy. In secondary school I remember when we had a sports day at a nearby stadium. Most of the school walked there but I had to get the bus with a few others in my class. We got off at the wrong stop and were late for the start.
When I was little I was told that the hole would decrease in size when I got older but over the last couple of years, I've been told that it has done the opposite and stretched. I still get breathless going too fast or up hill. Sometimes when I walk fast I can hear my heart beat louder, as it's worked hard.
So, that is my common co-morbidity with ASD. Do you have one, too? How does it affect you?
I have loosely based Book 3 of my Rainbow School series ' Susie and the Jiggling Jumper' on me. Susie has a heart condition which makes her slower than her classmates and her little sister, so she has to overcome this with her ASD.
Susie's advice with coping with the anxiety of a heart condition is: 'Don't worry about this. Do things at your own pace and don't feel pressured into doing something that you know you can't do.'