My friend and Asperger’s?

A few months back, I was talking to a friend of mine, a new friend, so we were just talking about our lives. He was telling me about how he’s been kinda weird his whole life, about how he’s kinda awkward socially, about how for years his parents and doctors called him A.D.D., about how he was pretty seriously medicated for a long time.

Then when he was around 19 or so, he decided to quit all his meds. He was sick of feeling zoned out all the time. Sure, he focused a little better, and didn’t have moments of mental shut down and reset, as he calls it, but he was so zoned out that he felt like a shadow of himself.

Way back when we talked about this, he said he thought he might have Aspergers’s, because he had started researching what might make him the way he is. Unfortunately, he has no support in this, and no official testing or anything has been done. To me, it seems like his parents are fine with just having a weird kid, but from what he’s told me, they are so impatient with him. It really drives me nuts.

I feel kinda like his big sister. He just turned 21 and still lives at home. He had tried living on his own for awhile, but didn’t have the life skills. It doesn’t help that he’s blind in one eye, and going blind in the other. It’s almost like his family has just written him off, and it drives me crazy.

I saw him yesterday, since he is beginning health and wellness on the same days as me. He had come in for his paperwork and then towards the end of my workout, he was being shown the weight room. I had gotten done and was getting Jayden to go outside and I heard my friend say, “I’m listening, really, I just got a big distracted.” And all my research into autism and Asperger’s came flooding in. I remembered him telling me before about how sometimes when more than one thing was going on, his brain would literally stop for a second until it “reset”. And it seemed like that’s what happened yesterday. I was getting Jayden and talking to Lisa when I heard him tell the other trainer that he was listening.

I know I’m no doctor or any kind of Asperger’s expert just from doing this series, but man, I think it’s something his doctors should look into, don’t you? I’ve read too many stories about adults diagnosed with a form of autism later in life, and it’s such a relief to them, to know why their a little quirky. It just seems like it would help my friend to know. He’s already found ways of coping, like his resetting, but I just wish he’d get some kind of proper diagnosis, instead of everyone just calling him weird. I sense others getting impatient with him sometimes and it makes me want to scream. I love him like a little brother and sometimes I feel like I advocate for him. I kept pushing to get him into wellness with me, since we got on the waiting list at the same time. I know when he’s at Saavi, he is just so happy, and the other clients just love him. People kept asking where my sidekick was haha.

Anyway, I guess I thought this warranted a post. Even if it’s not Asperger’s or another form of autism, doesn’t he deserve some freakin attention, instead of just being labeled weird???

4 Comments

Filed under Autism, awareness month

4 Responses to My friend and Asperger’s?

  1. I will tell you that even getting a proper dx doesn’t automatically warrant that people will stop calling you weird or understand. It might help him with coping and understanding himself but it may or may not make any difference with his family members.

    I will tell you, while slowly this is changing, there really aren’t a lot of supports for adults with higher functioning autism disorders. Like for me going to OT and working on my auditory and vestibular and proprioception problems would be great. I even had an evaluation at one point after being on a wait list of 6 months. But the place that does the OT caters to kids, really had zero interest in helping me out, and my insurance company said that because I was an adult they weren’t going to cover any of the very expensive OT sessions. I tried to get on a wait list for it anyway and after over a year of e-mailing and calling and leaving messages and getting hung up on and not getting relpied to by this center, I gave up and muddled on my own. There is NO other center that offers such services in my state.

    When I decided to try O&M to help with my problems instead, again there were no services. I had to pay out of pocket even though the state acknowledge that that service could really help people like me and that in 10-20 years there maybe a program for it.

    The ideas of helping people are more for “job” placement with vocational rehab and usually those amount to doing janatorial or other not very involved manual labor jobs for minimum wage. Which for some I could see as if that’s what they want or need, but for others who have strengths in other areas it’s pretty useless.

    Getting appropriate services once you are no longer a minor is incredibly difficult. People seem to not recognize that autistic children turn into autistic adults and they too need services.

  2. I think it’s great that you are trying to help and inform your friend. It’s hard with things like ADD because the tests are mostly self-evaluation kinds of things. There’s no definitive answer, so it’s easy to mis-diagnose. It sounds like he should have had his medications adjusted back then, too, instead of just giving them all up. Sometimes, if one doesn’t work right, they can find something else that will work better. But it’s also a lot of trial-and-error, which can be frustrating.

    I think the important thing for your friend is that he not just give up. 21 is still plenty young, and he’s got a lot of years in front of him. It’s sad that his parents are not being advocates for him, because it sounds like he doesn’t have the gumption to really try to figure things out and push for the proper care. That was his parents’ job, and I guess they didn’t do it.

    Maybe you are filling that gap, Ro, and I think that’s awesome. Sounds like he just needs some pushing in the right direction.

  3. Good for you being able to help him, but its a pity his parents don’t do more.
    I know someone who was diagnosed with aspergers as an adult and the parents had a lot of guilt for not doing something about it sooner, as they probably think they could have handled things differently. The siblings find it hard to understand that there’s a reason for his behaviour because they didn’t have one for years.
    I know a parent of a young child, who probably isn’t on the autistic spectrum but maybe slightly close if there’s such a thing. The kid is getting bullied in school and isn’t getting help for learning difficulties and things he’s struggling with, and the parents just keep saying that’s just how he is and there’s nothing they can do. They could try to support him more now because he’s going to find it tough when he’s older. Of course I can’t say anything.

  4. My college boyfriend wasn’t diagnosed with Asperger’s until we were 20. Everyone chalked his oddness up to his hearing impairement. He only ended up with the diagnosis after he had to take a semester off school for debilitating headaches.

    He died when we were 24. He never had to chance to embrace his diagnosis and use it for empowerment instead of condemnation.

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