#Autism A gentle and intelligent man

My husband, Mike, has just been formally diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at the age of 41. I have always known he had Asperger's since I met him 12 years ago at the school where I was teaching English. He was doing maternity cover in the maths department and spent lunchtimes pouring fastidiously over his lunchbox in the staffroom, looking rather lonely and lost. The English department took him under our wing. He amazed us. A clearly intelligent and gentle man, he was the second highest rated chess player in the county.

I was intrigued. It was obvious he was a bit 'odd' though, and I asked a friend who taught psychology at the school what he thought. 'Read this,' he said, handing me a photocopy on Asperger's.

Since then I have been instrumental in spotting quite a few undiagnosed children with the syndrome and have referred them on, so my friend did more than one person a service that day. Mike and I went out together a few times: cinema, quizzes (we were brilliant!), and I accompanied him to chess tournaments (the biggest Asperger conferences in the world) I even managed to hold him to a draw in our first chess game because he underestimated me (though he claims he let me have stalemate, of course).

He has been my partner since then, my husband the last two years. Life is never boring with Mike. That isn't to say it is easy either. Before his recent diagnosis I wrote an article, 'Either my husband has Asperger's or I am married to the most selfish man on earth', but it was all tongue in cheek. He is still odd - but he makes me laugh and we love each other. Yes, his Asperger's has caused some problems in his work life. We are going through a bit of a tough patch at the moment, but we shall survive. We are together and are each other's best friend.

My son (from my first marriage) is engaged to a lovely woman who works with disabled adults. She recognised Mike's condition from the start, so my family is supportive. My friends are my friends because they accept him. When he is odd or rude, they look at me and we smile knowingly. Meeting, marrying and being with Mike has enriched my life. For better or for Asperger's, eh?