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Autism & Asperger's Syndrome Forum
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217229 tn?1192766004

19 year old... just a lot of stuff Asperger's?

My husband's son came to live with us briefly between the ages of 8 - 11. During that time, I thought I was going to be labeled the worst mother in the world. He was hyperactive, had no signs of understanding the difference between right and wrong - and just amazingly defiant. He went to go live with his grandparents after being diagnosed ADHD - they kept him on medications for a little while - but then just let him do as he chose. He came back to live with us just prior to turning 18 and has lived with us for 2 years. His birth mother left him for the grandparents at age 2.

FIRST let me say, we have grown really close, in fact, we're best friends now.He was involved in Gang Related activities in the big cities - got into some trouble so we took him in.

The doctors have diagnosed him as ADHD, Schizo Affective disorder. I'm not so sure that the diagnosis is correct.

He doesn't like to be touched. He has a major problem with displaying affection in any way.

Because we are close, he will maintain eye contact with me --- but not many others.

He's VERY smart - but not educated. I thought it was possibly the ADHD causing him to not be able to comprehend educational materials, reading, etc. However - I was watching him carefully --- He CAN read --- but while he is reading his eyes twitch back and forth --- no smooth pursuit.

I also have noticed that he has no problems lying -- -but usually the lies are 'crazy" kind of lies --- more like big big stories to make things look more interesting.

He seems to want to hurt those he truly loves - with sayings like "I'll never get close to you"- and things like that --- yet --- showing his true feelings by sticking close and only choosing to be around those same people he hurts. I think he is extremely sensitive - and has a tremendous amount of feelings.

He doesn't have any guilt. He can't "read" people very well - he's more tough acting or hippy acting than your average young adult.

Are these classic Aspergers signs?

1 Responses
470168 tn?1237474845
Have a look under DSM IV for the clinical diagnostic critera for Aspergers.  You could also look up the criteria for Schizo Affective Disorder and compare the two.  If Aspergers sounds like him then he could get an evaluation, if that is what he wanted.
If he has ADHD or Aspergers and has had difficulty with reading/writing it is worth looking up Irlen Syndrome.  This is something that alot of children with dyslexia/Autism/ADHD have.  It can be helped tremendously just by wearing a pair of glasses with Irlen lenses.  The eyes twitching sounds like a symptom of Irlen Syndrome.
When you say he doesn't have any guilt.  This can be an autistic trait called lack of 'theory of mind'.  If you have difficulties understanding other peoples actions and intentions you also will not be able to understand the outcome of your own actions.  If you cannot see those connections then how can you feel guilt?  You need to be able to make the connection between what you have done, the repercussions of your actions on yourself and other people to have guilt.
It is quite common for those with Aspergers or Autism to get involved in petty crime (or just continuously get into trouble) because they cannot predict outcomes.  So if their friends tell them to do something they will do it without understanding what will happen.  So, for example, a group of boys may tell the autistic child to kick the football.  The other children know that there is a good chance that the ball will break one of the windows.  The autistic child cannot forsee that.  So he kicks the ball, breaks the window and gets into trouble.  The other children may think this is a great laugh to have someone so naive that they can get them to do anything they want.  The autistic child will not understand that they are being used and if they cannot predict outcomes they won't know when to say 'no' or when to say 'yes' to their 'friends'.
Those with Aspergers and autism can be extremely sensitive and have an emormous amount of feelings.  It is usually the fact that they cannot control what they feel or handle how overwhelming they feel that they can have tantrums.  My son has autism and when he gets very upset he says that the feeling/emotion totally floods him and he cannot get it under control.  This may last for quite a while, so they need to learn ways to help calm themselves down.  We tend to experience our emotions in proportion to what has happened and we can quite quickly get our feelings under control.  It is not like that for them.
I don't know if that helps or not.  It is quite possible to have some traits of Aspergers or Autism without having enough of them to get a diagnosis.
There are also a number of conditions that tend to cluster together either within families or within individuals eg. Autism/ADHD/Bi-polar/Dyslexia/Dyspraxia/Developmental Delay/Learning Difficulties/Mental Health Issues/OCD/Touretts/OCD/Anxiety etc etc.
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