How should my daughter handle her relationship with her Asperger's syndrome boyfriend?
I am concerned about my daughter's relationship with her AS boyfriend. He has Asberger's syndrome. I wanted to know if anyone had any insight into the feelings of a teen with AS. Are their feelings realistic, in comparison to others w/o AS? I've researched some on AS, and have known this boy since he was young. Is he drawn more to my daughter because of her kindness and her willingness to "take care and protect" him from others? They both agree that there is no "physical attraction," but that it is based on a close friendship. However, I feel that my daughter is not interested in being his "girlfriend", but that she is scared that breaking up with him will devastate him. Because of his AS, he is very fragile emotionally. She cares about him as a person, but is torn. Anyone have any advice for myself or my daughter about how to handle this relationship?
you raise an important question for your daughter. Children with Asperger's Syndrome function at all levels and are usually quite bright; however, they just lack the social competence of many of their peers.
Your daughter should not feel beholden to this relationship for fear of its outcome. It's best if you as a parent speak with his parents to prepare them for a change of relationship. It helps to work socially at both ends.
Boys with AS have the same sexual feelings in middle school puberty as their colleagues, but often don't recognize the social controls that families and society impose or what is "appropriate".
Your description certainly paints your daughter as thoughtful and kind. Congratulations on raising her as such.
Wayne A. Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics