Asperger's Syndrome Community
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Avatar universal

Adult Aspergers.....

Anyone diagnosed with AS as an adult?   Had some awkwardness in their childhood but had relatively normal life with
parental support?  When I said "awkward", I meant, too quiet, not wanted to mix with other children, did not enjoy the
company of others except the close family, rare smile, wanted to remain isolated, looked depressed, socially phobia
from the age of 5yrs,  academically NO learning disability  but difficulty in following instruction.   This was our daughter.    Graduated from Uni  but struggled with stress and  never made friends.  Has one good friend from school.
Teen age was the same but showed bizzare behavior in stressful situation like exam.   High ambition yet found exam
terribly stressful.  NEVER used drug or drink.   Well liked in school for being academic but NOT IN SPORTS.  Always
liked to eat, in fact too much, liked to sleep (excuse of tiredness).
At the age of 24/25 became more and more withdrawn failing to achieve her ambition, even had psychotic episode
twice for brief period which finally helped her getting psychiatric help.  Aripiprazole helped wonderfully.
Psychologist/ Aspergers specialist assessed her and diagnosed Aspergers.  
Our daughter always misinterpretes people in their smile.   Her misinterpretations makes me feel that she was paranoid.  
Anyone with similar  problem?  
She is now 27 and doing a masters after being treated with Aripiprazole.  She never had psychotic episode in the last
2yrs. after her treatment and happy to continue in the Uni but her eating disorder is a bother.   Loves food and
difficulty in losing weight.
The psychiatrist thinks those episodes of psychosis was due to inability of handling stress (exam) as the Aspergers
do not handle stress.
She doesn't seem to be mature enough to live independently although can do everything herself but not confident enough.   She can now communicate with classmates  and family but doesn't feel easy with people. Always quiet.
I thought it was SZ but the psychiatrist told us recently that she did not dx her as sz but rather Aspergers.

If anyone has similarity, please let us know.
15 Responses
Avatar universal
I'm very sorry to hear that. :( I have also been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. I'm 17yrs old almost 18 on April 22nd. What you are describing about your daughter sounds very much like how it is for me. I'm normally very quiet, especially around other people, and I feel very nervous to talk to others.

I was able to graduate successfully and receive my High school diploma. I'm currently going to college, but I am still having difficulties talking to other people. The weird thing is that even though it is as hard as anything for me to speak to others, I can get up in front of people and sing. Was/Is your daughter like that? I have never really had any friends all the way through my Middle-High school education and I have been very lonely through those years due to my phobia. It's so bad that I can't speak on the telephone, due to being so nervous. I hope that your daughter's phobia of social situations isn't as bad as mine. It is very hard and I often miss out on things during my lifetime, all because of it.

I'm very sorry to hear about her. :(  Please tell your daughter that I wish her the best of luck and that I can truly understand what she is going through. I hope that she will be able to become more socially confident in the years to come. :)
Avatar universal
I was diagnosed at 47 years of age.  What you describe of your daughters personality suits many Aspergers people I have dealth with.   There are other Aspergers personalities that seek out social interaction, enjoy the company of others and engage in chit chat.  However, they are terrible at it are often socially rejected.

I can associate with much of your daughter's personality/behaviour, except I have learning difficulties and ADHD type symptoms.  I have to ask a number of times for people to repeat their indtructions and even then actually processing what they want is difficult.  I had an IQ test at age 14 and it revealed I had above average intelligence in mechanical apptitude.  Finally looked up the definition of Mechanical apptitude the other day and thought, "Didn't help me much in life".

I feel I live in a constant state of stress and if I'm overwhelmed or stimulated emotionally I think like a 15 year old.  My problem solving abilities are poor in social situations.  Social impairment is the biggest obstacle and the extended periods of time in takes me to process peoples intentions and my responses.  

Don't believe I would warrant a seperate diagnoses of disorders, however I have personality traits of ADHD, Generalised anxiety, reactive depression, avoidant personality disorder and obsessive compulsive.  Many professionals call these comorbid disorders, I personally think they are just part of my Aspergers package.  They have always been present in my personality.  People have commented at times that they think I'm paranoid, but my psychologist believes I'm not, just overly self conscious.

I loved sport at school and beyond.  I could not run top speed because I run on my toes and I fall if I go to fast.  Coordination was my main defecit when playing sport, could never master tackling techniques in rugby league or batting techniques in cricket which was frustrating.  I always pursue perfection in everything I do.

Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your response.    Your description certainly has similarities
with our daughter.   She is now just over 27 yrs.old.  The hopeful thing is,  she could
manage to get an university degree and doing a masters now.   Like you she has always been quiet and avoided social contacts.   Her stress threshold has always been low.
Nowadays we hear about "Aspergers" but that diagnosis was not available during her teen age/younger age.  We always felt she was different than our older child(boy).  She
was also academic and ambitious like her sibling but had to work a lot harder.  
She went to study medicine but could not manage to take the stress and had a psychotic break down.   Became very very withdrawn etc.   Finally was treated with
anti psychotic med and thank God after that brief episode, did not have any more of
the same.    She is doing a lot better now.  
Now that she knows and we know that the psychiatrist said her dx is Aspergers and
NOT  schizophrenia, she feels a lot more relaxed.   Still likes to do things in her ways
like does not get involved in group activity but do on her own.   Her psychiatrist says
she is right to do what suits her.
I like to encourage you that although you may have difficulty in social fields like our
daughter,  you still will do very well in life.   Believe in yourself.    Your parents can
help you.   I wish you well.   All the best.
Avatar universal
Thank you very much for your response.   It really helps to know that there are people out there in our situation.    Aspergers dx was not known in our daughter's childhood.
Although she did not have learning disability,  she always had difficulty in following
instruction.   In her childhood age 5/6 yr. old, could get lost in her school and could not find her classroom.    During her older age in high school and even in the uni,  just a general lecture was not enough for her, needed one to one tution.
Could you please tell me, did you find a lot of stress in a situation  where others did not?Did you have any psychotic breakdown when you could not handle stress?   Did you
ever need treatment for psychosis?
Our daughter's this condition could only be treated after she had this breakdown couple
of years ago.   Fortunately Aripiprazole helped her sooooo  much and she's back to
full time  masters course in the uni.
Do you think that a successful relationship/marriage  is possible in this condition?  We as parents would like  to see her in a settled life but not sure whether she could handle
independent/stressful life.    On the other hand we won't be there for her forever.
Your experience and advice would be very much appreciated.
Thank you.
Avatar universal
I had a laugh when you mentioned getting lost at school.  High School(Adolescent years) was somewhat like your daughters problem, there was E,D,G,H & H blocks.  Finding which block and room was an effort at times, always late.  Following instructions has always been a problem and people can get uncomfortable because I stare hard into their eyes.

I have just had a very stressful period in my life starting 3 years ago which I belive regressed my symptoms I had managed reasonably well in adult life.  I was having many periods of confusion, short term memory loss, face blindness and my obsessive behaviour/interests went extreme.  I was staring hard into peoples eyes and daydreaming/zoning out all the time.  My rage behaviour was worst then usual and put a great deal of strain on my family.  Stress is my enemy.  Most people would handle the stress easily but I do not.  Psychiatrist dx me with ADHD and thought I was developing a memory disorder.  Brain scan came back negative.

An assessment from a Clinical psychologist who specialises in AS dx me with mild aspergers with comorbidity of ADHD.  Relationship and individual therapy has helped me understand my behaviour and repaired my marriage.  My wife sufferred from emotional deprivation and I cannot bond with my children(Don't know how to).  I got very lucky with my wife, no idea why she stayed and put up with my behaviour.  I was never violent or abusive, could not give her emotional closeness although I loved her in my way.

Since your daughter is dx she has a good opportunity to find marriage/relationship, provided the spouse is fully aware of the condition and both make compromises.  The are many successful relationships out there between AS and non AS people.  The difficult relationships are when the male AS is undiagnosed.

If you can find a psychologist who specialises in Aspergers I would suggest your daughter have therapy in social skill building and developing managemnt skills for her behaviour.  We can learn and modify our behaviour, although it is hard.  Prof Tony Attwood has a website with link to AS specialist psychologists.

I'm about to start an eight week stress management program for Aspergers people.

Avatar universal
Thank you very much for explaining the situation in As.    Our daughter seems  to be
getting a lot more understanding these days.   To us it looks like being undiagnosed
for such a long time she suffered an awful lot of stress all her life with exams.   She
wanted to match her sibling and we did not stop her being ignorant of her condition.
From childhood age 4/5 years  her reaction to situation was a bit different.
   During higher studies the stress was unbearable and she brokedown with psychosis.   Only after this happened she could be prescribed with Abilify which certainly did help.   After being on Abilify for over a year she is doing so well and coping with a masters degree course in the uni.
She interpretes certain things in a different way, like a smile in a photograph which seems pleasant can be interpreted as "smirk".   The good thing is, she is trying to understand these days that she has this difficulty in interpreting/understanding.   I feel Abilify did help.  
Brain is a complicated organ and still so much research is needing to be done.    The psychiatrist dx her as Asperger and we the parents  are happy that she does not think it's sz.
Having said that I don't know if others with As did ever had a brief history of psychosis
in relation to stress!     I would appreciate your comment.
Thank you.
Avatar universal
i can relate to everything you are talking about, be gratefull she turned to food, i turned to drugs and spent years dealing with the socail problems of aspers and drugs
not to say that the pain of drug addiction is more than the pain of food addiction both of these have their down sides
the good news is that, i did outgrow most of my symptoms, even managed to have a successful career as a paramedic
and i am a great mom to 2 wonderful boys
you have to remember that aspergers is just a label, so many people are at different places with it
for example where i used to work we treated a ton of bi-polar patients, some of them had jobs, families, and were productive, others were on ssi, and lived with daily audio or visual hallucinations
aspers is the kind of the same, some of us can look you in the eyes and hold a conversation, then some of us will show no interest ineracting with others
as for your last question, yes, when i was younger, 19-23 and i would get stressed out, i did have psychoic behavior, my therapist suggested EA you might see if your daughter would be interested in that of ADA, its really the only treatment that has helped me
Avatar universal
I very much appreciate your comments.   I wish your continuous success in whatever
you do in life.   Could you please tell me what do you mean by EA and ADA?
Thank you.
from Jena
Avatar universal

Avatar universal
Thank you so much for the links.   She could look into these once she's finished
with her uni exams.  EA  looks very interesting.
Regarding psychosis in AS.....  once they are free from symptoms (with medication),
do they still need to continue with anti psychotics life long?    I know and certainly
agree that with SZ,  one should continue with meds indefinitely BUT for AS, I am not
sure.    Could you please tell me, whats your opinion and what did you do?   Once
your psychosis disappeared, how long did you continue with meds (AP)?   Our  D
is still on Aripiprazole ( for 19 months) and she's been symptom free all that time and
coping well with study except that she has her usual basic stress with study matter.
Fortunately she has NO psychotic symptoms whatsoever eversince she's been on medication.    She is well med compliant but my query is for AS people who gets stress
induced psychosis ( or had one/two episode before any dx/treatment), how long should they be on AP meds?   Are you currently on any medication?   If not, then how long have you been without them?    You certainly seem to be a very nice person and without
any symptoms.    Do you think, AS should be able to cope without AP meds? PLEASE,
give me your practical experience.    
Thank you.
791606 tn?1240597111
Please explain what is UNI???
Are you talking about  the University Neuropsychiatric Institute?
Do they have their own school?
Also...what school is your daughter attending?
My daughter is 21 and has failed almost every college course she has tried to take. Now they won't even accept her in the school...that was at Jr. College in Salt Lake.
I'd love to know what kinds of accommodations your daughter received???
My daughter is very bright IQ in the 130's but is failing socially in school...communication problem etc.
I can relate to others with an adult AS living at home, unable to live on her own.
Thanks for all the information here...I'm so glad to be avpart of this group.
Would love to start an adult AS group...if anyone is interested, or knows of one. My daughter needs some socialization...
Take care all,
Avatar universal
Sorry if I mislead you, Uni = University,  just a normal university.
We are from the UK.   Our daughter is attending an university now doing a
masters.    She had a psychotic type of episode couple of years ago ( possibly
exam. stress induced).   She has really low threshold for stress.  
I am sorry to hear about your daughter.   We can only try to get some experience
and advice from each other.   Our daughter is now 28 and although continued with education and always wanted to do well, she also found problem socially and that
has been a terrible disadvantage in her life.   It would be great to know you since
it seems that we are in the same boat.   Our daughter also need socialisation and
as she is getting older she is getting  more and more lonely.   Her age groups are gradually getting married and so on and she finds difficulty going forward in life.  
Although goes to university daily, she does not seem to be bothered making friends.  
Only recently after being treated with Aripiprazole ( last 18 months),  seems more
relaxed to communicate with teachers/classmates but not a lot.   While her this
condition was undiagnosed from her childhood and she had no treatment, she was
getting gradually worse and found it a lot more difficult while she was doing her
Bachelor degree.    She was in the university accomodation at that time and remained
a lot more isolated.   Whereas  this time after having some treatment she is a lot
more relaxed and communicative but preferred to commute daily from home.
I would very much appreciate  your input.
Thank you.
Avatar universal
to answer your question i am not sure if your daughter will need meds the rest of her life, if she does need them thats ok! just look at it as treatment and deal with the symptoms as they come, there is no medication out there that will relieve all symptoms, i started on ritalin for adhd when i was really young, i have been through a bunch of meds since then, i am now on a bp med called tenex that is now being used for aspers
907515 tn?1251731572
i was diagnosed age 42... i m now 44... my story is in my blog http://spunkykitty.wordpress.com and http://hiddenwhispers.wordpress.com

i made another post on this subject ... i wld like to get to kw more adults with ASD and trade insights too...

i managed without meds, and early years were fine... even tho i hated school, i dramatised my way thru school and had many 'friends' who liked me for my talent (yep never sports - only physical things i did were swimming and singing/dancing)... but i always felt isolated inside and really didnt enjoy the interaction much... i also hv extreme sensory sensitivity... smells, sounds, light, physical space etc... made school so unbearable i was even glad to hv an autoimmune condition that kept me away from school most of the time... university was heaven, at last i cld do what i wanted... but after graduating i fell into the worse profession ever for someone with ASD like mine, i.e. teaching preschool... for 17 years i cried my eyes out every night thinking abt school the next day... needless to say i was NOT a good teacher, but somehow the 'odd' children took to me specially, and it was thru working one-on-one in music and art therapy with an autistic boy that i discovered myself...

i m now a writer, musician and artist - middle age is tough esp since i live alone and also struggle with a physical condition - a painful autoimmune disorder... but if u give ur daughter all the support and help at this stage, i m sure she will fare far better when she reaches middle age... i do believe in cognitive therapy... tho i hv never been thru it myself, i did study abt it for other types of mental struggles...

right now i m reading "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Adult Asperger Syndrome" by Valerie L. Gaus... i hv recommended it in several threads...

also tony attwood...

cheers and hope this helps!
715930 tn?1338726036
A family member was diagnosed at 30.  There have been some excellent responses here from people who seem very aware of their differences and some who are thriving.  This is one of the benefits of diagnosis--suddenly much is explained and there are opportunities to connect with others with similar diagnoses.  However, one pitfall we have discovered is that the person with Asperger's might resign themselves to their discomforts and lock themselves away from the "real" world.  Despite having a college degree, this is what our family member has done.  (And also seeks comfort in food.)   It's up to the family to encourage social activity while understanding the boundaries, such as regular schedules and "no surprises", that he needs.  

This should also be considered when contemplating a career.  Forest management seems to have been a good choice for our family member, as there are fewer social demands yet it still offers intellectual challenge and structure.  spunkykitty is an artist, I am curious what some other careers/vocations have been succesful for people with Aspergers?

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