Talk on Asperger Syndrome

With Autism Awareness Month in full-swing, children’s book author and local resident Gretchen Leary, 28, who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at 23, will give a talk in Natick on April 26 about her experiences growing up with undiagnosed Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism. Leary wrote the book “Really, Really Like Me,” geared toward acceptance of kids both with and without disabilities and available on Amazon. Leary, having grown up with a single mother who moved a lot and had numerous roommates, was forced to adapt to major life changes that are especially difficult for people with autism. “I wasn’t really given any shortcuts or breaks. I was forced to adapt,” she said. The sensory issues, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive behavior that often accompany autism were troubling as she grew up-- she once had an ambulance called for a panic attack she had in second grade--but when she was finally diagnosed, everything made sense, even though she still sometimes struggles. “It was like this lightbulb moment... It was a lifechanging experience,” said Leary of her diagnosis, adding that it “explains so much of what I went through.” Leary is married, has worked in corporate jobs, and is hoping to study communications at Boston Collegein the fall. For more information, contact her at gretchenleary@yahoo.com. Her talk will be in Natick’s Morse Institute Library on April 26 at 2 p.m.