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 Asperger's and social problems

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Posts : 1
Join date : 2009-04-01

PostSubject: Asperger's and social problems   Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:04 am

Hi! I am in a new relationship with a man who has a son with Aspergers/Autism. The son, Joe, is 18 years old and I have heard the both terms Aspergers and Autusm used to describe him. After doing a little internet research, I would say Asperger's describes Joe the best. I see him as a very inteligent, young man with some serious social problems. Joe graduated High School (with much dificulty) and has no friends. He has a job but has recently been lowered to only 3-4 hours a week.
I am just getting to know Joe, and I am finding it very dificult to have conversations with him as he argues or complains about everything, acts like a know-it-all, or has absolutely no interest in things we do or talk about. He wants to fit in and be around us in a group, but then he argues or tells us he isn't having fun (playing the game, or doing what we are doing) It seems to me that Joe causes some of his own social problems, and it is hard to be around him. No one wants to be around a complainer or a sabatager for too long.
Joe's family and extended family "babies" him and lets him do and say what he wants, giving him no guidance to acceptable social behavior. It seems the family feels sorry for him with all the dificulty he has had in his life so far. It also seems to me that Joe thinks of himself as a child, and no one in his family is helping him to mature into a functioning adult.

As I said, I am in a new relationship with Joe's father, and I am trying very hard to find where I can be of help to Joe and his Dad.

I suppose my first question would be, do we treat Joe as we would treat any other teenager turning into an adult? Or do we give him "special" treatment? Right now, Joe lives with his grandparents but has no desire or plan to move out on his own, drive a car, find a full time job, or go to college. Joe sits home all day playing on his computer, and makes no effort to help himself or begin life as an adult. Shouldn't we expect more out of Joe at this point?
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Posts : 4
Join date : 2009-02-19
Age : 47
Location : Basehor, KS

PostSubject: Re: Asperger's and social problems   Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:39 pm

I feel for you...

Being in a new relationship will make it more difficult for you to help Joe to get the help he needs. He does sound like he is on the PDD-NOS spectrum which includes Asperger Syndrome and actually has a lot of the characteristics that my 12 year old exhibits. (The know it all, disgusted, and negative attitude)

You can not treat him like any other teenager because he doesn't see the social situations like an average teenager does and he also obviously doesn't pick up on social cues of peers being upset or turned off by his actions.
The first thing that I think Joe needs is for his family to understand and admit that he needs help becoming all that he possibly can in life. Asperger Syndrome kids are not dumb. They are actually very intelligent, but a lot of times don't succeed at school because the teachers are not legally allowed to diagnose students and don't know how to teach to kids with such varying social issues that affect the student's learning.

My Tyler was almost held back in Kindergarten for being so behind, but I refused and worked with him. We then had him properly diagnosed and started treatment. With the help of his AS specialist and the strategies that she has given the school and Tyler's teachers, Tyler is now in the top reading group AND math group for all of 6th grade in the whole district! His teachers before just didn't know how to respond to him so that he could learn and grow academically and socially. After being diagnosed it took a good 6 months before Tyler started applying what he was being told and taught about his behavior and social challenges. He kept up the know it all behavior until he started to see how when he applied what he was learning in social group was successful. Tyler says that being in a social situation like playing a game or having a conversation is like trying to do a surgery. It looks easy when he sees it on TV, but when he tries it gets all messy and people end up hurt. :-) Now Tyler follows his script of actions and verbal responses when in different social situations and he is more successful. Social situations maybe easy for you and me, but to Joe and others like him, it is as difficult as nuclear physics!

Joe's family sounds as if they and Joe have given up and feel that this is all the Joe can accomplish. There is so much more that he can become with the proper support and training, but Joe and his family need to embrace finding help along with you.

As for how I would treat Joe in the interum...
Support Joe and always remember that inside he has a positive heart and actually wants to get along and make friends. He just doesn't know how or what to change. You can tell him over and over again WHAT he is doing wrong like a typical teenager, but he won't change until he knows HOW to adjust and practices and applies it. He needs his own personal script so to speak.

Good luck and if there is anything more that I can add, please feel free to ask. flower
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Posts : 2
Join date : 2009-02-19
Age : 48
Location : Basehor, KS

PostSubject: Re: Asperger's and social problems   Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:55 pm

Hi Mountainbreeze,

I have been where you are now...
I started dating Lisa when Tyler was 2 1/2. It was hard being a boyfriend of a child on the spectrum. But I was lucky in the fact that we were able to learn together and find support for Tyler as a team. With Joe already an adult, you have a special situation.

One piece of advice that I can give is to stay positive in your interactions with Joe and never assume that he knows or understands something. That was one of the hardest parts to learn in dealing with a child/person with AS. Tyler has that, know it all attitude and we have now implimented clue words to get him to stop- rewind -and rephrase. It amazes me sometimes when he says in a very sincere manner, "how was that mean?" "What part was negative?" "I wasn't being a know-it-all, I was just trying to help." He has made HUGE strides in the past 2 years, but as he grows and meets different types of groups we will have to continue to help him learn how to act appropriately since it doesn't come naturally.

I also found that it was much better overall if I didn't correct Tyler and instead allowed Lisa to do it. The last thing that our realtionship as a couple and my relationship with Tyler needed was tension and conflict while we were trying to build a life together. I would however with a smile tell Tyler how what he said affected my feelings or how something made me feel. This allowed for Tyler to know that he did something that I didn't like, but didn't make him feel as if I was coming down on him. Over time he started to "get it".
Stay positive, yet firm in how you would like to be treated and hopefully Joe will start to come to you with advice on how to do it better.
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