Health & Wellness

7 years in, couple discovers husband has autism after daughter is diagnosed

When Australian couple Chris and Jessica Offer sat down to go over the diagnostic criteria after their daughter was diagnosed with autism three years ago, many of her behaviors started to look awfully familiar.

A lot of Chris' qualities that Jessica considered "quirks" during the first seven years of their marriage turned out to be something more.

"Then, all the pieces began to fall into place,'' she wrote on her blog, GirlTribe. "The reasons behind his social overload & only ever wanting to go out one weekend day both made sense.

"Along with his exhaustion from talking to people. Even down to the specific way he liked to organise the pantry (hey who was I to interrupt such beautiful methodology?). We chuckled over just how many things were there that we had automatically adapted to without even noticing."

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A few months later, after deciding to get assessed following their daughter's diagnosis, Chris, who is now 33, was officially diagnosed with autism.

The reason he never considered behaviors by their eldest daughter Sno, such as disliking being touched or not making eye contact, to be out of the ordinary started to make sense to Jessica.

"I mentioned these quirks of hers to my husband,'' Jessica wrote. "He dismissed them as normal. Said he didn’t see the issue. Wanna know why? Because for him it was his normal, too.

“He saw no issue with the way she behaved because he could see why. He could understand her triggers because they triggered him, too,” she wrote.

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Many of her husband's qualities related to his autism, from his dry sense of humor to his attention to detail, are the ones that have most endeared him to her.

"Autism didn’t change my husband,'' she wrote. "He’s never not been autistic, and it’s what makes him who he is. But maybe his earlier formative years would have been a lot less stressful and hard for him had his autism been [recognized] so he could have gained the appropriate support and learned strategies at a young age; rather than having to cleverly wing it for over 25 years."

Follow TODAY.com writer Scott Stump on Twitter.

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