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Discovering the REAL me… after 57 years!

John Counsel suffered an occlusion in his brain’s Occipital Lobe (stroke) on 4 June 2020, which affected his visual processing ability, as well as his ability to read and write plus his ability to make sense of alphabet characters and numbers.

By early August 2022 John’s recovery is progressing well, but reading and writing tire him quickly. He will return to active involvement here and in his Facebook Groups as soon as he is able.

Thanks for visiting my personal blog. I’m John Counsel from Melbourne, Australia — and I’m an Aspie. In other words, I have Asperger’s Syndrome, a neurological divergence — not a mental illness — plus I have some of its common companion conditions, including Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome (PDA) and Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1).

I was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 in mid-2001 by Professor Christopher Bladin of Eastern Neurosciences at Box Hill Hospital after a large internal neurofibroma in my back became inflamed —and excruciatingly painful — for several weeks.

I was fortunate to have a General Practitioner at the time who was determined to identify what was causing so much pain and tracked down Professor Bladin and made an appointment for me to see him within 24 hours.

In August 2002 I was watching  television while eating my lunch (I’ve worked from home — a common Aspie characteristic — since 1988) and I tuned in late to the regular weekly address hosted by the National Press Club in Canberra, Australia, our national capital. The guest speaker was world renowned Australian clinical psychologist, author, academic and public speaker, Dr Tony Attwood, whose book “Asperger’s Syndrome: A Guide for Professionals and Parents” had recently been published.


Having missed so much of his address, I was about to change channels when the moderator announced time for questions from the audience. The first question, from a female journalist, caught my interest.

She asked Dr Attwood, since he had said that diagnosing adult Aspies was so difficult because of masking and other traits, if he could provide a “snapshot” list of traits to help attendees better understand the challenge, to which he agreed.

Dr Attwood then proceeded to list key traits and characteristics of adult Aspies. Toward the end of that list I became aware that I was lying sideways on the couch, curled up into the fœtal position, in clinical shock, because the only item missing from that list was my name!

Within less than an hour I had an appointment with a leading clinical psychologist and academic in Melbourne to pursue an assessment and possible diagnosis.

I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome between September and 24 December (Christmas Eve), 2002, by Dr Richard Eisenmajer of The ASD Clinic, then in Hawthorn, Victoria, now in Kew East and Malvern… the best Christmas present I’ve ever received.

A few days later, between Christmas 2002 and New Year 2003, the thought occurred to me that, since I’d been diagnosed with two neurological conditions, could there be some kind of connection between them?

It took me less than an hour of searching online to discover that there is, indeed, a close connection between them. I’ll explore more of that elsewhere on this site.

I hope you find my information, ideas and insights about living with Asperger’s Syndrome — and Neurofibromatosis Type 1 — stimulating and helpful.

Learn more about me and who I am from my About page and my two profile pages:

About me (my profile at

Who’s John? (My shorter and longer profiles — including professional profile).

Thanks for visiting!


John Counsel
Melbourne, Australia

PS: This site is a continuous work in progress.
It went live on Thursday 23 August 2018 and will continue to expand regularly.

It is linked closely to my Facebook Groups, especially Aspergers Help Australia

Please note: All articles are listed, with hyperlinks, on the Articles page.

©2018 John Counsel. All rights reserved.

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