Letter: Hidden illness

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I Read with great interest Annabel Winter's "My mother was an alien" (Real Life, 16 March). Everything she described points to Asperger Syndrome, a kind of autism where the sufferer is not apparently ill but has serious emotional impairment.

I have had to find out about this the hard way - when my marriage of 25 years broke down. After years of bewildering and painful behaviour my husband was diagnosed last April. There is no remedy. While there is some support for the parents of children with this syndrome, there is none for partners, nor, I suspect, offspring. It is an inherited condition and the description Ms Winter gives of her mother could have applied to my husband's mother. At least knowing about the condition helps relatives (there are seldom any friends) to understand often bizarre and unintentionally cruel behaviour.

Most people suffer in silence, either because they do not know about it, or because the label is potentially damaging. Many people with Asperger's lead apparently normal lives and it is vital that they should be able to do so.

The National Autistic Society can supply limited information and a booklist to anyone else who heard bells ringing.

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