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CPeters
CPeters asks:
Q:

How do I help my 24 year old get help without shattering his self esteem?  I think he has undiagnosed Aspergers.


I have a 24 year old son who I believe has Aspergers Disease. What can I do as a parent to approach him with this. As some of you have said, you have always considered your child to be different and so do I. Joey was diagnosed with ADD in his earlier years but I feel as if I should have looked further, I feel as if I have failed him, I feel as if he's just not normal and there isn't anything I can do about it. Perhaps if I did he'd be happier, perhaps if I did, he'd be sociable, perhaps if I did, he'd feel like a part of our family unit, perhaps if I did, he'd hug me back when I hug him, perhaps if I did, we'd both understand and accept unconditionally the way he is. So again I toss out the question how do I approach a 24-year-old male with the prospect that I feel he might have Aspergers without making him feel like I think there is something "wrong" with him, without shattering what little self-image he has without having him feel like we don't except him for who he is? If there is a person out there Joey's age who has aspergers and cares to reach me or a parent who has walked in my shoes please feel free to contact me at CPsPlace30@roadrunner.com. Thank you.
In Topics: Autism & Aspergers Syndrome
> 60 days ago

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intensive
intensive writes:
hi i just caught this site by accident and thought ?? ... was that my post ..??
I am a member of another site Autistic society support.
your message is almost identical to mine.
My son is 26 and recently diagnosed with aspergers.Something I too have long suspected.You cannot blame yourself , if like me you have supported your son and no doubt made lots of compromises and excuses for his behaviour then you have not failed him. Be honest , he will appreciate honesty. Find his strenghts , allow him to determine where he wants to go with his life , be there and support him . Its hard not to take over and direct him but he is an adult and he needs some control .He will know there is something wrong but my experience tells me will not know what or how to deal with it. Try to talk to him, educate yourself, get support from professionals and never forget that others have walked for miles in those shoes !!!!take care , keep in touch.
pam

> 60 days ago

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CreativeRachna
CreativeRac... , Child Professional, Teacher writes:
I really feel for you and your current difficult situation.  Most people would say talk to your child, be open and honest, but sometimes that can backfire.  And you seem to be hesitant to tell him directly for fear of labeling him, or telling him that something is wrong with him.  

I understand your point of view and I suggest that you write him a letter, e-mail or in pen, giving him information on Aspergers disease, and putting the ball in his court to let him question whether he has any of the symptoms. This way, you are simply the caring concerned mother who is giving her child information, rather that stating he has a problem.    

This can be a great way to open up a communicating dialogue between the two of you to then decide whether you should take him to a doctor for further diagnoses.  Once he sees that he may need help, getting him to go to the doctor will probably be easier.

I wish you the best of luck,
I hope this helps,
Rachna
> 60 days ago

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patriciajane
patriciajane writes:
My son is 27 and was diagnosed with aspergers last year which although has answered questions for us has actually not helped my son as he now uses this as an excuse to drink and be miserable.  Social services have not been that helpfull so can I suggest before you do any thing find support and help in your area qhich is what I am searching for at the moment, I know he needs counselling and re training in social skills but how to find this is the question.  Take care and use your own instincts no-one knows your son as well as you.
> 60 days ago

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MimiR
MimiR writes:
I'm married to an Aspie.  Just send him a link:  "Hey, I think this looks kind of like you."  See what he says.

If it hurts his feelings...well, he's not an Aspie!
> 60 days ago

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arnoldbe
arnoldbe writes:
When I found this post, I felt like crying because I am going through the exact same thing and don't know what to do either. I have a son who is 22 who was diagnosed with ADD and OCD when he was a child. He went through speech therapy and years of therapy. He has no friends other than his "internet friends" and siblings. The only time he leaves the house is to go to school. The rest of the time he is in his room playing games on his computer. I have always felt that had signs of autism but the doctors always disagreed. Aspergers wasn't even heard of when my son was a youth. If it had been known of or at least better publicized, I would have insisted that my doctor test him further. He fits the profile to a tee. Now he is a 22 year old college student who is struggling and I don't know what to do. He is considered an adult so I can not even speak to his doctor or his college counselors about my concerns. It is up to him to get the help he needs. I want to talk to him about this, but am afraid of the outcome for the reasons you list in your post. I'm not sure what can be done to help him and worry about what he is going to do with his life. He cannot find a job and has a hard time in school even though he is extremely intelligent. I too would like to hear from others who have "walked" in our shoes and have advice on how to handle this situation.
> 60 days ago

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worried2
worried2 writes:
Unfortunately this is not an answer, I have the same question. I have a 17 year old daughter who I believe has Aspergers. I need help too. I echo every comment you have made. If you find anything that helps please let me know.
> 60 days ago

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momslove
momslove writes:
I too have a son who I think has Aspergers Syndrome, he is 27 and lives on his own in another state. I want to tell him what I think but I can't seem to get myself to do it. He is such a good boy and thinks he is doing well and I don't want to put this on him. I feel it would help him, then I turn around and think it could really hurt him too! I am torn!
> 60 days ago

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wwwendyyy
wwwendyyy writes:
i also have a 24 yr old son who he thinks he may have been undiagnosed as a child.  i cried when we discussed the matter. i wish i would've been more educated in childhood disorders, however i was a young parent and his health was fine. Yet, something was always different about him. i want to help him but i also want him to help himself as well and most of all i don't want him using this as an excuse for the rest of his life. it's bad enough he has no job, no full education, and no friends. we live in NJ and i hope to find a qualified Dr who can diagnose him in hopes that he can qualify for SS benefits. I wish everyone the best. If anyone has any suggestions, websites, doctors etc all resources are welcome.

Wendy
> 60 days ago

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amnicu
amnicu writes:
I am a 28 year old female and I feel I have Aspergers. The best thing I would think is mention Aspergers to him, but let him think about it and come to his own conclusions. Don't overwhelm him!! That is very important!!
> 60 days ago

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watermelon1
watermelon1 writes:
Unfortunately, I don't have an answer for you but can identify with you.
I have a son who is 22, has floundered in college and has been diagnosed with AS but will not acknowledge the diagnosis.  When we tried to obtain help
at universities (we are in the south) the only accommodation they are willing to make is testing accommodations.  He desperately needs a mentor or at least someone other than a parent to check on him as far as organization etc.  I am so frustrated and at this point I see little progress for him in the future.  Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.
> 60 days ago

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lkang
lkang writes:
Please don't ever let yourself think you have failed your son. My daughter, who is close to his age and also on the autism spectrum, has faced the same struggles. The thing is, I don't think autism was widely understood, or even acknowledged in its milder forms when our children were young. I don't know what you should do. Every child is different but I wanted to share my daughter's experience. When she received her diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, my daughter was actually relieved. For so long, people had treated her like a "freak" (her word), or were very hostile because her lack of social skills was perceived as intentional rudeness. It was a relief to her to see that there was a reason for the problem, that it had a name, and that it could be dealt with. She began to do a lot of her own research, which led her to many websites that emphasize the positive aspects of Asperger's. She began to see her strengths and think of ways to work around her problems. For example, when she realized that she wasn't just rude for not wanting to look people in the eye, she began to try other strategies, such as looking at the speaker's ear, or looking up occasionally and nodding. If the speaker still seems upset, she simply explains, briefly, that she has a neurological condition that makes looking others in the eye very difficult. I guess what I am saying is that my daughter already knew that something was "wrong"; getting a diagnosis just gave her a way to understand her differences with others and to find ways to help herself. Below is a website that may offer some help.
> 60 days ago

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cminett
cminett writes:
I'm in the same position as you are and it looks like a lot of other people are also, from the responses here.  But there doesn't seem to be any answers.  Everywhere I go to try to get help, I run into dead ends.  

My son is 43 and I don't feel he would respond in a positive manner if I were to approach him with my diagnosis.  I've been looking for support groups in my area (Naples/Ft. Myers, FL), but can't find any that are active.  The only thing left is to go to a psychiatrist and talk to him/her.  However, I have no money for that, so my son is left to suffer.  

I would appreciate any help that anyone has.  Thank you.
> 60 days ago

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JamielaIsmail
JamielaIsmail , Teacher writes:
There are so many of people who have children/young adults with Aspergers' who responded to your question.  My suggestion is that you get together and have a support group and bring the children along and allow them to socialize which would:
1. Provide you ways in which to handle your children.
2. Give you support that you all need.
3. Allow you as a group to approach social services which would assist you with the finances you need.
4. Get in the professional to speak to you and the children about concerns which would provide you all with the necessary information on the syndrome and answer all the questions you might have.
5. It is a social opportunity for these children to get together in a safe environment where they can share common interests.

Hope you find this helpful.
> 60 days ago

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JainStewart
JainStewart writes:
A lot of people do have forms of ADD. They need a lot of coaching,it can be very uncomfortable on the Parent(coach) part. You cannot be the same parent to a child that is Asperger's as you would be to a child without it. I was told to put on my armor and create a list of reasonable expectations. These expectations began with productive routines first thing in the morning. It wasn't pretty and sounded horrible. It took a few weeks of coaching and consistency to begin to see results. It is definitely like living in a different world. Find support through your local Autism Center. Ask the guidance counselor at school for direction, set limits,stay involved.
> 60 days ago

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coachdana
coachdana writes:
Hi -
You all are wonderful parents for seeking out help and information about Asperger's Syndrome. I am a parent of one son with Asperger's and another with ADHD, I am also a professional coach specializing in Asperger's Syndrome and ADHD. Please don't blame yourselves, Asperger's has only been a diagnosis since 1994, not a long time and many professionals still don't have a good grasp of it. My pediatrician had many times told me that my son was fine and just a little quirky, he is fine but he has Asperger's. People with Asperger's are brilliant, wonderful people whose brains are wired differently than neurotypical people. They just think differently. They do struggle in certain areas but they also have many, many strengths. There are many famous, brilliant people who are believed to be aspies, including Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, Einstein.

You might want to research some of the amazing people with Asperger's. You could start by playing up his strengths. You might want to do some research on known ways to help people with Asperger's with some of the issues he is having and if you don't want to use the words Asperger's Syndrome, discuss it in terms of something that is difficult for him. I would approach it as his brain being wired differently rather than incorrectly. Your son may be relieved to know there are others who have the same struggles and might benefit from the support that is out there. Giving his strengths and difficulties a name might really help him address them and might make him feel better and less alone. You might give him an article or some information stating that you found it interesting and leave it for him. Don't push though and ask later on what he thought about it. Make sure the article is not doom and gloom. Keep the focus on differences. www.wrongplanet.net might be useful to you and your son. Alex Plank the founder is a young adult with Asperger's Syndrome and he is amazing and openly discusses his life with Asperger's.

For those with struggling college students contact the college's disability services office and request a meeting. Have your child sign a release or waiver so they can talk to you. Your child might be eligible for a 504 plan (www.wrightslaw.com) which would allow him/her certain accommodations. They might also have programs or services that might help your child.

I also recommend finding a good parent support group. I have learned so much from other parents.

Depending on the difficulties your child is having interventions such as coaching, therapy, social skills might benefit him/her.

Remember your child may be different but he/she is not broken. Focus on the strengths.

If you would like to contact me you can email me at ddmaher@yahoo.com.

You are awesome parents for reaching out to help your child.
Dana Maher

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Deana1963
Deana1963 writes:
My family went through the same thing as as you described.  My husband and I held off having my son tested until he was 19 yrs. old.  We also feared for his self esteem and that he may be even more socially isolated.  We also feared that by our delaying in getting testing we had failed him.  It was heart wrenching trying to figure out how to approach the subject with him.  Please let me assure you that you are not alone and neither is your son.  For our son it was best to tell him.  He always knew he was different, but did not know why.  That would have to be a lonely and scarry place to be.  He was really quite relieved to know what it was so he could read and understand some of the things he has been feeling for so long.  He understands why we had held off for so long and has no bad feelings towards us at all.  He has read some books written by others with Asperger's and is starting to apreciate his uniqueness.   The sense of relief we all have was worth overcoming our feat of the unknown.  My heart is with you and your family in this struggle.  I would encourage you to get help for him and for yourself, as you should not have to suffer the guilt you feel for simply doing the best you knew how to protect your child.  Best wishes for the success of your family.
> 60 days ago

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sil2026
sil2026 writes:
Ok I just came across this well I was searching for something. I did not read all of this cuz I think u have a bad attitude. Ill tell you why. Firstly, I have aspburgers. Its nit a disease. Im not sick. Nor is your son. Also, he sounds normal, buy different. I am normal. Just do things differently. Change your attitude and you will get more answers to your questions!
> 60 days ago

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jlope101
jlope101 writes:
I am 25 years old and I know I have undiagnosed aspergers. I was diagnosed with ocd and depression when I was a child. I tried talking with my doctor but he th8nks not.  I was bullied by students. Teachers. And teacher assistants through my school years.  I attempted suicide. Ive been to alot of psychs. Psycho. And counselors and they never said anything.  Now in college I am struggling.  I have no firends. No social interactions. I dont understand why people do what they do. I take all college courses online.  Very sensitive to noises and crowded places.   I need a diagnosis or somethibg that can help me.
> 60 days ago

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charter23
charter23 writes:
I too have a son who exhibits similar symptoms. He is 31 years old, and I worry about him every single day. He has made two suicide attempts which were more cries for help I believe. He is fabulous with kids...has been a Big Brother, worked with children at risk in a third world country, and with the homeless in a major city.. Yet he cannot keep a job, get any place even close to on time, does not return calls, and forgets about commitments. He spends most of his time alone, has few friends or interaction with many people other than his family.
He has no insurance, so there is no hope for testing. He will not get free care, maybe because he is afraid of what he will find out.
I too am desperate to find out what the disconnect is so that he can get the help that he needs. Ironically he is the smartest of my three children, yet he struggles the most. I keep feeling like I am getting somewhere consulting with physicians, psychologists, etc...then he won't participate; and the worries all begin again.
I welcome any suggestions. If it were me I would want to know what was wrong. I was suffering from depression then started taking "happy" pills (once I stopped listening to people who said it was a weakness) and I am so happy to "know".
Thank you for listening.
da
> 60 days ago

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adamandlewis
adamandlewis writes:
Hi

I am the parent of who I suspect is an Aspergers sufferer.  He is now 20 and failing at university, having locked himself away and can't cope with the group work.  No-one will help me either.  Everything is confidential, but the point they are missing is Aspergers sufferers cannot approach and contact people in any way, shape or form.  The people I have had meetings with at Uni are not really helping and this has been going on for a year and a half now.  Even though he saw a clinical psychologist a year ago, she said he was fine.  How would she know, he was a stranger and no-one asked me anything about his life.  What are we supposed to do??
> 60 days ago

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