How do I approach the discussion of possible Asperger's with my 35 year old son??

Trudy - posted on 01/11/2014 ( 2 moms have responded )




I am so happy to have found Circle of Moms! I have been reading your posts, and have found so much in common with so many of you, both in what some of you are experiencing with your younger children and in those posted about your life with adult children with Asperger's.

I am embarrassed to say that I have only considered Brian having Asperger's in the past week after seeing a program on TV about it, and since then I've been reading and researching non-stop. I think I can see Brian clearly in everything that I am reading, and it is surprising that he has not been diagnosed before now if he has it, but Asperger's was not really being diagnosed often until 1994, I believe, so that may explain a lot.

I started to write Brian's life history, but erased it, because I'm sure it is so much like so many of your stories, problems with crowds, trouble making friends, learning to speak in sentences before he was walking, sensitivity to noise, physical clumsiness, ADD, difficulties in school with peers and with academic success, although he tested as gifted, he could not get his work done, loner, unable to keep jobs, always fired and never understanding why he was let go, unable to understand social cues, anger issues, impulsiveness, and so on. It has been very hard for him to see his sister living her life to the fullest, lots of friends, always top of her class, scholarships to the best schools, employed right out of university and married with two beautiful kids (who he relates to more than anyone in the world.).

Brian thinks the world is a very unfriendly place. He is depressed (has been on meds for this and ADD for at least 8 years), has been unemployed for the past two years and is living in our basement (which is a horrible mess.) He showers only when he must go out, if has to go to therapy which we finally set up for him for months ago and pay for, or for an occasional trip to the grocery store. He prefers to go to the store if we make him very late at night when there are as few people as possible. He comes up to make food during the day with cat hair fuzz in his beard, wearing the same clothes he has worn and slept in for days. He plays computer games in the basement most of the time, and prefers to come up to eat when we are asleep so that he won't have to talk to us if possible. We do have some rules for him to contribute to the household and have make attempts to get him out with us, but he would prefer to be downstairs gaming.

Brian has had problems with his anger since he was very little, and often when you try to talk to him about his problems feels they are private and that we are intruding on personal territory. His mental health should be between his and his therapist alone. I know his self-esteem is at rock bottom, and this also fuels his anger. I am afraid that suggesting Asperger's be totally blown off by him and he will not look at it because of fear that it means he is even more defective than he already feels. I have read so much that I would preface the discussion with about the strengths that people with Asperger's also have, but I'm afraid that he will just see the negatives and become angry at even the suggestion that researching this possibility could be helpful to him. Any advice for anyone who's been in this situation or who has ideas would be so welcome!


Diane - posted on 01/12/2014




I would love to spend more time here with you and I'm sorry that I can't but I have to get some things done before it gets much later.

Since no one else has answered yet I did want to mention, what if you phoned his therapist and told him your suspicions of your son having Asperger's/being on the Autism Spectrum and ask his therapist to broach it with your son?

[Just FYI the term "Asperger's" technically no longer exists, it's now just considered as being on the Autism Spectrum at some degree]

Where I live (and actually probably all of the US) the doctors can't discuss anything with me unless my son (he's 20) signs a document (which he does fortunately) but even without being allowed to discuss anything I would still be able to present my thoughts to his therapist and then his therapist would talk to him about it.

And yes typically mental health should be between the patient and the therapist but sometimes there has to be intervention because the therapist knows only what the patient is telling him/her.

Our kids/young adults aren't always accurate in what they tell their therapist (I see this regularly with my son, it's not intentional, it's just something he struggles with, memory issues and confusion about past events, etc.) so without you filling the therapist in on what's really going on then your son won't get the true help that he needs.

I'm kind of typing this on the fly so I might come back and read it and wonder why in the world I wrote something but the main thing here is just to see if you can get his therapist to broach the subject with your son so that you don't have to. :)

I hope this helps! Have a wonderful evening! Diane


View replies by

Trudy - posted on 01/13/2014




Thanks, Diane, it would be a good idea to let the therapist know, if it can be done without Brian seeing it as a breach of trust and "going behind his back". I believe therapists are required to disclose whatever information they receive about the patient from an outside source to the patient. My husband tried at one time last year to give his family doctor a note regarding Brian about six months ago and was told that the doctor was not allowed to accept any information about the patient from family or friends, whatsoever. I hope it is not such a black and white issue with the therapist and that he would receive a call from us or a short letter addressing our thoughts with a brief description of our reasons. Since I am the person Brian is closest to at this point it is hard to know what a breach of trust with him would do to our relationship. It is so frustrating once they are adults and you are not allowed to be a part of the process if know you can help.
It is so true that there is confusion with Brian both about current and past events, and misinterpreting their actions of others, so it can be very difficult for the therapist to understand what is going on without some other perspective added. Bri is so zero tolerance for lies, so it has been confusing for us to understand how he can come up with such a different view and story of what has and is happening!
Perhaps I need to "man-up", so to speak, and have the talk with Brian directly, suggesting he ask his therapist for his thoughts, with the suspicion that Bri will indeed be upset enough by the suggestion to tell his therapist just how crazy his mom is!

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms