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Anybody with an Aspie in college? X-Post w/Special Needs


Chris in VA
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Ds was tested for Asperger's Syndrome when he was in 4th grade, and we were told he did not fit the criteria. However, I was present for much of the testing and don't think it was done well.

Now he's 20--and experiencing some social difficulties we feel are indications of AS. We've never really discussed AS with him; he's aware of some of the testing we did (also had a complete neuro-psych, educational assessment in K and had speech therapy in ps that covered some of the difficulties he had with language) but never read the results of his K testing.

Anyway, I guess I'm wondering where to go from here. Are there therapies for adults (young adults) with AS, to help them master social anxiety and other issues? Should he be evaluated to see if he fits the criteria now? What would be the benefit?

(Crossposted)

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Ds was tested for Asperger's Syndrome when he was in 4th grade, and we were told he did not fit the criteria. However, I was present for much of the testing and don't think it was done well.

Now he's 20--and experiencing some social difficulties we feel are indications of AS. We've never really discussed AS with him; he's aware of some of the testing we did (also had a complete neuro-psych, educational assessment in K and had speech therapy in ps that covered some of the difficulties he had with language) but never read the results of his K testing.

Anyway, I guess I'm wondering where to go from here. Are there therapies for adults (young adults) with AS, to help them master social anxiety and other issues? Should he be evaluated to see if he fits the criteria now? What would be the benefit?

(Crossposted)

 

Not in college, but our high school senior is an Aspie.

 

First, any testing you had done when your child was younger would probably not have included an Asperger's diagnosis b/c they have really on been making that diagnosis readily for less than a decade. Our ds was labeled with an entire list of disorders (AHDH, OCD, ODD, CD, bipolar, high anxiety) prior to our having a complete psychological evaluation done when he was 16. We had felt like he fit the Asperger's description better since he was 12 and his pediatrician agreed with us (he has an autistic dd). However, we could not get any psychologists or psychiatrists to agree with us or even agree to re-test/re-evaluate until his CBT therapist was unable to make any progress with ds and his behaviors. (Ironically, he is the only dr that we never even mentioned suspecting Aspergers and he is the one that finally agreed that we needed the complete evaluation done.)

 

Second, I would not make the assumption that he does have AS based solely on social difficulties. While that may be an indicator, it isn't the sole one. For example, our ds does have multiple issues (OCD and anxiety are real complications in addition to the AS). One of the results of his testing showed that his IQ on content/subject material is above average(109-122), however both his auditory and visual processing speeds are in the retarded range (56-59%). That explains much of his inability to process behaviors, reality of situations (his perceptions of what is going on around him is never accurate), etc. Without understanding the whys, it is much harder to find appropriate approaches to help.

 

Third, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is supposed to be one of the more beneficial approaches for adults but you really need to have a therapist that specializes in adult AS patients.

 

There is so much more......I could write a novel based on the road we have traveled with our ds. Going off to college isn't even a realistic option for him......not b/c of his intelligence b/c academically he doesn't have any problems. But, he is completely undirected and totally into instant self-gratification.......so he would be completely distracted by whatever is going on around him.

 

I would suggest contacting your local branch of the National Autism Society. Here there is a group for parents of adult children. They might be able to offer some suggestions. We were not fortunate here b/c our ds seems to fall in no-man's land........he isn't so disabled that he fits into obvious areas of need/services and he isn't so "normal" that he can function independently. But, they might be able to offer the name of a good psychologist for testing and therapy.

 

HTH, but it probably doesn't b/c I am rambling. :tongue_smilie: I get exhausted just thinking about our journey with this young man.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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Thanks, Momof7. I appreciate your experience and advice very much. His psychologist at college is recommending someone to assess him. He was tested specifically for Aspie but I was there, as I think I said, and I think the tester was a moron. Anyhoo--

I know it's a hard road you've traveled--it takes a bit of bravery, faith, and perserverance, doesn't it? Sense of humor helps, too.

Wishing you all the best.

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Ds was tested for Asperger's Syndrome when he was in 4th grade, and we were told he did not fit the criteria. However, I was present for much of the testing and don't think it was done well.

Now he's 20--and experiencing some social difficulties we feel are indications of AS. We've never really discussed AS with him; he's aware of some of the testing we did (also had a complete neuro-psych, educational assessment in K and had speech therapy in ps that covered some of the difficulties he had with language) but never read the results of his K testing.

Anyway, I guess I'm wondering where to go from here. Are there therapies for adults (young adults) with AS, to help them master social anxiety and other issues? Should he be evaluated to see if he fits the criteria now? What would be the benefit?

(Crossposted)

Chris, I apologize that I didn't answer sooner. I just really didn't feel I had answers to your specific questions. Still don't. But I want to offer what I can.

 

Our 24yos was never officially diagnosed with AS, but we all (including him) have no doubt that he has it. College has been a struggle for him, which I'm sure will not surprise you. For a while, the biggest issues were difficulties connecting with his professors and TA's. He experienced many academic disappointments because he missed important information, misread the prof's meaning, was reluctant to speak up and ask questions or make appointments to address problems, etc. He's a very intelligent and conscientious young man, and he thinks he's doing fine. He just misses important stuff that others pick up on or have the resources to handle.

 

At a certain point, academics became the least of his problems. He got involved with a young lady -- deeply involved. He totally misjudged this young lady's character, which led to a devastating breakup. And I do mean devastating. He sank into a deep depression and lost all confidence in himself. He was forced to withdraw from college (during his senior year), and spent the next year at home. He's been hospitalized, been on medication, and been under the care of various counselors. None of these helped him. At all. I don't know if we just haven't found the right counselor, but we have certainly tried.

 

He is back on his feet again and currently working (for the second time) in the College Program at Disney World. He plans to go back to school, but we're not sure where or when that will happen. He now has another girlfriend who seems to be a very nice young lady from a very nice family. Our son has diagnosed her with AS, though she was never officially diagnosed herself. From the things he tells me, I suspect he is correct. If it helps, this young lady did graduate from college this past spring, so it can be done. :-) My son also tells me that from what he has read about Walt Disney, he thinks Disney also suffered from AS.

 

I first suspected that our son had AS when he was about 20yo. I struggled with whether to share this suspicion with him, and couldn't really see any benefit in telling him. Not long after, he asked me himself if I thought he had AS. I told him I was certain of it. In light of the failure of any professional to really help him, I have to say that for him, the real benefit of an acceptance of his handicap has been to increase his self-awareness. This has both helped and hurt him. But I hope that in the long run it will help. As far as benefits of a diagnosis for your son, I suppose that you might be able to seek accommodations for him should he encounter adacemic problems in college.

 

Can I answer any other specific questions?

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