When Bethany Hughes was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, her parents were both relieved and devastated.

She showed many of the signs of autism even at preschool.

"The teachers told us that she was not mixing, she was sitting in a corner playing with little objects," said her mother, MaryAnn Hughes.

"Noise was a very big one. She didn't like the lawnmower, she didn't like trucks going past.


"Balloons were another thing. We never went to birthday parties because if there were balloons she'd melt down. She hated balloons popping.

"When we finally got the diagnosis, for me it was a


Identifying autism