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Is this Aspergers?

(32 Posts)
hercules Sat 02-Jul-05 18:53:56

My db is nearly 40 years old and has always been different. We've never lived together as my dm left his dad when he was about 5 years old and he stayed with his dad.
He therefore had a traumatic childhood along with severe excema/asthma/nutallergy, all of which he still suffers greatly from as an adult.
His odd behaviour has always been put down to his childhood, depression and incredibly low self esteem.

However, since teaching a few kids with aspergers and reading about it, discussing it with my sister who did grow up with him and my dm, we are pretty convinced he has apergers.

Things include as a child:
learning and knowing off by heart the make and model of all cars and being obsessed with number plates.
collecting dinky cars and not playing with them - still has them boxed today.
Taught himself to play the bass guitar and can imitate any piece of music he hears and yet cannot read a not of music. Excellent player with no lessons ever.
Saved every bit of pocket money he got whilst we all spent ours on sweets
When his dad bought him a chocolate bar he took it back to the shop to get the money back in order to save it.
Above average intelligence but not a good attender and left with no exams.
Lots of food issues

As an adult:

Never had a long term relationship with a woman and is not gay - he says he has too many problems he has to deal with before being able to deal with a relationship
poor hygiene - sees it as pointless as any girl should accept him for who he is and it wastes time
used to self harm a lot
long walks on his own
he became a Jehovah Witness about 10 years ago and is incredibly active
He beliefs 100 per cent and has a set answer for everything
only works parttime so he can devote his time to the JWs
never attends family functions
rarely uses the telephone - always texts
only friends are fellow JWs
has masses of JW books and spends his time studying them
has only ever had very menial jobs with no desire to better himself
his GP refered him to a psychiatrist as he was worried about himself when he was working as a fork lift truck driver (best job he's had). HE was paranoid about lining up boxes and worried himself as he was so obsessive.
The Pscyh could only see him during work hours and db wouldnt go then so nothing came of it.
Still has food issues. Examples include he cannot eat food that has touched other food. When he came to my house to eat he brought a tin of meat balls to eat rather than what I'd spent hours preparing and really didnt realise that it might offend me.
He now works as a van driver and loves this job as he has minimum contact with others.

Thanks if you've read this far.

Is this just low self esteem or aspergers?

coppertop Sat 02-Jul-05 19:01:58

It sounds a lot like Aspergers to me. How do you think he would react if it was suggested to him? Would it help his self-esteem issues or would he be upset?

monica2 Sat 02-Jul-05 19:05:55

Hi Hercules, cerainly sounds like investigating further, does he have diffculties with nonverbal behaviour eg eye to eye gaze/facial expressions/body postures/gestures to regulate social interaction? Also does he have difficulties with routines/rituals? I would suggest you look on the NAS website where there is loads of useful info for adults also.

Sax Sat 02-Jul-05 19:09:10

Sounds like an awful lot of autistic traits to me but then there are apparently hundreds of undiagnosed adults out there! I wondered whats made you question this now? or have you suspected it for years?

TheRealMrsF Sat 02-Jul-05 19:09:43

this is a 'fun' online test for adults who believe they may be AS

TheRealMrsF Sat 02-Jul-05 19:14:59

i believe i am AS...but am 'just' treated as suffering with aniety/depression and obsessive tendancies....however for me although i have NO DIAGNOSIS...over the past 3 or 4 years as i learnt more about AS (after my son was diagnosed)...i realised that there are so many strategies that i can try to improve my 'daily living skills' etc...and i definitely don't 'self criticise' as much anymore...and am better at accepting my limitations....

it's very hard to get diagnosed as an adult...however MANY of us are out here!!!!

So what i'm trying to say is it's good to learn about AS and how it presents as an adult....and try out the strategies etc.... and he may over time understand himself better.....

Sax Sat 02-Jul-05 19:17:26

Also think I am - also son has been dx!!!!

TheRealMrsF Sat 02-Jul-05 19:25:38

sax- did you only 'suspect' yourselve once you learnt about it with your son.....did you feel 'different' as a child/adult?

I described myself as being from a different planet...and 'everyone else' not fitting into MY WORLD...years b4 i had even heard of Aspergers!!!

To them read that many AS people feel exactly the same was truley liberating!!!

I may never really know if i am really AS.... but i certainly have identified with so many of the 'triad of impairments'...that i am happy to go on as if i am AS!!!!!

Sax Sat 02-Jul-05 19:29:31

TheRMrsF - only suspected once son recently dx however, not many friends, likes to be alone, also tx with depression/anxiety - also can fit into lots of the triad etc. Son dx asd not as however not sure dx is correct!

TheRealMrsF Sat 02-Jul-05 19:33:34

how old's your son???

Sax Sat 02-Jul-05 19:34:42


Sax Sat 02-Jul-05 19:35:48

btw when I say not many friends etc etc. I was referring to me in answer to your q not my son!

TheRealMrsF Sat 02-Jul-05 19:44:20

that's ok sax...i understood!!!

ref you son and the DX... i have a theory that AS can gradually is there from birth...but if the child is well supported they may go unnoticed till maybe 6/7 years.'s possible that your son is showing some very subtle signs which only a very well trained person could see...then yes he may be AS...but it may be a while before it presents enough to be obvious?!

For me when tom was 6/7 'they' suggested AS ...but i insisted it was 'only' if that was a lesser 'evil'!!!!

By 8 i was biting off their hand to get a diagnosis of AS.....i realise in my case i was 'scared' of the diagnosis.

Now i have had my son leigh also diagnosed with AS...and believe alex to have it for me now i am looking for the involvement that was offered for my eldest son.....

Sax Sat 02-Jul-05 19:53:54

I have suspicions about my 10m old (I know its very early) but he's been referred to becasue Paed said there is a 1 in 10 chance of siblings being asd too (ds2 is almost certainly NT)!!! I think anyway!

TheRealMrsF Sat 02-Jul-05 20:02:26

wow!! So you are not having to beg!!!

I get annoyed that there is no automatic process to screen others that kicks in when a diagnosis is does happen with many 'physical' problems.... blood tests / scans etc.... butas ASD cannot be 'seen'...we usually have to whilst i hope your baby is me i am pleased that the paed is acknowledging a possiblity.

Sax Sat 02-Jul-05 20:05:17

Me too actually although I had an extremely patronising reaction by the HV who I saw last week and told her my concerns!!!! along the lines of 'far far far too early to tell!!!!' silly bitch..........

TheRealMrsF Sat 02-Jul-05 20:07:30

sax- i'm off now...but keep in's great to talk to you!!

PeachyClair Sat 02-Jul-05 20:35:03

Hi, I'm another mum with an AS kid.

Well, certainly it could be. There are lots of signs there that would be worth investigating. Also though, I think a psych assessment might be needed. You see, I don't know why but a lot of this rings a bell from when I was at nurse school, and a lot of seems to be as much OCD as Aspergers, many of the traits are fairly indistinguishable. Also, some traits such as the poor hygiene can be linked to low self esteem (I'm not worth the effort) OR Aspergers OR OCD- or maybe just maybe, ha has a mix? I would seem a real possibility!.

Your brother is really lucky that you care so much that you are looking for an answer, and I do think you need to take it further as it is obviously affecting his life quality. Good luck!

hercules Sat 02-Jul-05 20:40:48

Thanks for the replies. I've spoken to my mum at length and part of the difficulty is that she didnt really see him grow up so missed a lot of possible symptoms.

I asked my mum about the body language stuff and she's not sure. He is very shy but being a JW has given him a voice iykwim. He is able to speak about what he has read for a long time but my mum feels he is quoting chunks.
She used to think the JWs was a great thing for him as it really brought him outofhimself and gave him confidence. It seems more likely it gives him a guise.

My mum says he is well aware he is different and is often depressed about it. HE used to self harm an awful lot and she feels he would welcome a reason.

I have researched on the net today and given my mum the National Autistic help line. She is going to list everything I've mentioned here and speak to them before speaking to him.

I dont know him very well at all and only see him every couple of years or so despite living in the same city. My sister adopted a little boy last year and it was 6 months before he visited to meet him. He doesnt mean to be rude though.

I honestly think he would welcome a reason for how his life is.

hercules Sat 02-Jul-05 20:43:47

Thanks again to all. I've never considered OCD.

It is hard as so much can be caused by shitty childhood, his dad always told him he wasnt as good as his sister etc and he has no self esteem.

PeachyClair Sat 02-Jul-05 20:45:45

My MIL had a bad childhood- Mum ran off, Dad had to put her in a home for a while whilst he got on his feet- it really did ruin her life!

PeachyClair Sat 02-Jul-05 20:46:26

Sorry again, by 'it' I mean OCD. A lot of her traits are like Sam's AS ones, i can see why you're finding it confusing!

jenk1 Sat 02-Jul-05 22:50:36

hello, i am a mum of a son recently diagnosed with aspergers, i read your brothers symptoms with interest especially the music bit, when i was a child i was in the school band but could not for the life of me read music, i used to memorise music and then play it perfectly the next day, i am awaiting a diagnosis for i believe i have aspergers as well. As for the jw bit, well i am a jw, have been brought up as one. When a person first becomes a jw they do tend to get a bit obsessive about it aspergers or not so im not surprised that your brother is like that, being a jw brings great comfort to me and i feel happy and secure with other people who are jw,s just like your brother does, it does sound to me that he is aspergers, dont know if this helps.

spidermama Sat 02-Jul-05 22:57:49

Hercules your db sounds very similar to by BIL. He himself has read up on, and identifies with AS. He's also nearly 40 but I wonder if there'd be anything to gain from a diagnosis at this stage?

hercules Sun 03-Jul-05 10:03:31

Thanks again for replies.
Db has been a JW for 10 years now and it is hard to distinguish whether he is a genuine convert or if he inds it a great way of living his life. He comes ffrom a non religious background, got into a bit of trouble when he was drinking heavily, narrowly avoided a short spell in prison, after this he visisted several churches before settling on the JWS.
I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm belittling the JWs. I dont mean to, just trying to reason it out. If he has aspergers than the JWs have helped him an awful lot to gain an identity but as a family member our concern is how real this identity is if done because of aspergers iyswim.

Spidermama, yes, I wonder too how useful a diagnosis is at this age but my mum feels it would help him accept who he is. He has major issues with himself and goes through serious bouts of depression. My mum feels he would welcome a reason for so much in his life. plus my mum blames herself for his low self esteem and not having a relationship. It would ease her guilt if it turned out not to be her fault and also that as it was unrecognised when he was growing up she didnt fail him in not recognising his behaviour and getting help then.

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