Im hoping there is someone out here who can guide me, My mom and I have recently been discussing my brothers eccentricites, and both of us seperately came to the same suspicion that my brother has aspergers.
He moved in with me not too long ago since the job market where I am is a lot better and cost of living is a lot cheaper, but I've gotten to watch him more closely and I can't think it would be anything else,
Im hoping someone could give me advice on how I would begin to approach him on getting diagnosed. The last thing I want to do is hurt him and have him think that I am insensitive. My biggest wish for him getting diagnosed is that he might be able to meet more people who think on his level.
Is there any advice from anyone on how I would begin to talk to him about this?
Thanks a ton in advance,
Hi, Kristin. First step to me is for you to get to a frame of mind where you view getting an official diagnosis as something that can really help your brother - he won't feel hurt of you don't feel that a diagnosis is something painful or shameful or upsetting or ..... To help you get to that place you may want to get a good book from the library or through a bookstore. Try Aspergers from the Inside Out by our Executive Director. And lots of lucky - your brother is really lucky to have a sister who cares so much !!
Hopefully I am not too late on this. My father an LISW who diagnoses psychological conditions such as AS knew I was AS ever since the late 80's early 90's (I am 32 and a Mechanical Engineer). My father always impressed upon me the fact that I am extremely intelligent. Others have told me negative things like I am 'lazy, lack attention to detail, lack common sense', just to give you an idea. The fact is that my dad didn't want to tell me because he was afraid it would hurt my feelings and he didn't want it to slow my development down or give me a crutch. HE SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME.
That said, this what I would suggest with your son to help him not be defensive about it. Obviously the stigma attached to Autism is bad (to put it mildly). But the FACT is that many many scholars posit that Einstein, Tesla, Newton, Aristotle, Mozart, Gates, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Thomas Edison are all examples of people that were on the Autistic Spectrum. Indeed a STRONG argument can be made that those great minds of the world's history were ALL able to contribute not IN SPITE OF their Autism, BUT PRECISELY BECAUSE OF IT.
After relating that to him, you emphasize that the point of having him search it out for himself by reading books and such is to understand himself better, be able to learn more ways to develop the strengths and minimize weaknesses and use that mind to make significant contributions. Not only that, but it might well give him piece of mind that he is not crazy or an alien of some sort because he can't seem to get along with other people, or because he thinks different then other people, but rather that his mind is wired differently (not less efficiently) but differently then neurologically normal people. I hope this helped and that it wasn't too late. I appreciated what Alison Alpert said also. It was very worthwhile.
I'll bet your brother already knows something is different about himself and he might be glad to know what that is.
When I learned my son was Aspergers I know I was relieved. I always knew something was different and I knew it wasn't simply ADD as was his original diagnosis.
I told him one day as we were sitting in the living room that I suspected he has Aspergers. Of course he had no idea hat that was. I had already gathered much information correlating to many of his repetitive issues etc. I had suspected he had this for a good 6 months before I approached it. I told him if he did have it he was in good company and I mentioned many of the famous people that Jared Mentioned above. I reiterated that there was nothing wrong with his intelligence, that he was very bright and he is, but if he had this it could interfere with other things in his life. He was already afraid of going out into the world so I think this kind of helped get him to that psych eval.
After his diagnosis, he told me he knew something was "wrong with him" he thought he was crazy. I knew we did the right thing. In our case it helped to that he was just like the rest of us in our household. This is probably why we thought nothing was really that wrong, it always seemed to be people on the outside that had issues. There are also countless youtube videos, books and support sites and groups you can direct him to.
We already know were different or that something is wrong. I hope this helps.
I have to say that Christine is right on (at least it correlates with my experience of having an ADD diagnoses from the time I was 12 to now without knowing about AS). I had the same thoughts like; "How could everyone else be 'against me' when I think that I am so 'right'?". "I must be crazy.", etc. Well said Christine.
I'll bet your brother already knows something is different about himself and he might be glad to know what that is....
Woooooooo Kristen : )
Are there others in the family with any autism diagnosis? If so, you could mention the relatives that have or seem to have this diagnosis, and start talking about how it runs in the family.
Then you could invite him into a conversation. I don't think you should tell him you know his diagnosis. But you could say you have some questions, and invite him to explore them with you.