1. How did you hear about the American Asperger's Association (i.e. internet search engine, school, library, doctors office, existing member, etc) and what benefits are you looking to gain from our family?
It was posted on a comment on a USAtoday.com article on AS. I need help with my adult cousin who is 22 and I suspect has AS. See below.
2. Do you or any adult relative, friend, etc. have or suspect you/they have an autism spectrum disorder, for example Asperger's Syndrome? If yes, please share your/their story with us. It will help us to get to know you better, and many of our members will be able to easily relate and bond with you.
First off thank you for your time. I have a serious concern about my 22 year old cousin (I am 27 and live in FL), who lives in NYC with his mother. I have gotten to know my cousin since he lived in the same city (Gainesville, FL) as me from the ages 9 to 15. Back then I noticed he was very strange. He often talked to himself and engaged in strange behaviors, but I always chalked it up to his mother being over protective, moving him all over the United States (in pursuit of love), and his lack of a father figure.
He has never had a friend as long as I have known him and at this point in his life I am the only one who talks to him on any sort of regular basis besides his mom who lives with him. He totally depends on her. He went to college for a couple years (primarily on my encouragement) and has average intelligence, but hated attending school (I believe because he hated interacting with other students) and dropped out when he moved from San Francisco to New York City over a year ago. Since moving he has not gotten a job let alone seriously looked for one. He spends his days doing literally nothing productive to his future.
When talking to him he can converse extensively about a topic (he fixates on things) without a real purpose behind it and most of our conversations are very long, but he talks about nothing. Also when I try to make the conversation interactive he has a very difficult time keeping it going. When I ask him tough questions about his future he often attempts the blatantly change the subject without even acknowledging the question. He is very judgmental of people, especially of those he does not know and often judges people off of things he disapproves of. He can even become unreasonably angry and upset which also can be scary (as if he could cause serious harm to someone). With all this said, he desperately wants to have a meaningful friendship with ANYONE! He longs for this, and clings tightly to any positive interactions he has, but has lacks the empathy to make a friend.
Recently my Mom has suggested that he may have Aspergers disorder. So I have been researching on the net about symptoms of AS and my eyes teared up as I read because I felt I was reading the explanation for my cousins behaviors that I have seen for years. Other things he has done include weird hand movements (I witnessed more as he was a child, but I'm sure he still does), he is OVERLY sensitive to loud noise, temperature, and stimuli, he's clumsy, uncomfortable in his own skin, very little to no confidence and self esteem, wakes up abnormally, has odd skills (being able to tell you the day of the week if given a date and year), weird voice inflection at times, scared of taking risks of any kind, unable to set goals, and occasional starring.
I see him usually once or twice a year. When we are around other people you can tell he tries to hide some of his oddness (but still seems odd), but it comes out a lot more around just me or especially his mom, basically people he his comfortable around. He knows he is weird, but his mom seems totally oblivious to his behavior and still even babies him. She doesn't force him to get a job, let alone do much around the house which I feel has made him much much worse. When I talk to him and ask what he has been up to he often replies, "Just trying to stay calm." He often seems tense and also seems to display some schizophrenia sings (talking to himself, and when confronted denies it) which is really scares with all of the free time on his hands.
Bottom line. The only person he really really trusts is his mom. His mom's word is golden to him. I am pretty much the only other person he holds any sort of real relationship with, but his mom's word trumps mine. The problem lies in that he depends on her for EVERYTHING and she depends on him emotionally (unless she finds a man and then she casts him to the side). Either way she thinks he is an amazing person who can do no wrong. I am afraid if I bring up my suspicions to her she will either not take me seriously or disown me as her nephew. I have no idea how he'd react if I told him, but since he tells his mom everything she will completely form his opinion for him. I need some help on approaching this!! We have other mutual family that knows he has a problem, but I am really the only one he truly trusts. He is genuinely a nice guy, who doesn't swear, drink, or do drugs, but he needs some help.
If I do not do anything I am afraid in the worst case scenario that he will hurt someone or himself sometime in the near future. Due to my other suspicions of schizophrenia, I am extremely worried he may have a break due to him being in his early 20's (I already had one friend who did). In a better, but not by much case, after his mother dies he will become homeless and live on the streets because his lack of being able to get employment. I do not have unrealistic expectations about him, but I feel if he knows that there is a specific problem that he has he will proceed in life in a more positive manner knowing that he is not the only person in the world with this problem, which I think he feels. Please let me know if you have any advice at all.
3. Do you have or care for a child that has or you suspect that they have an autism spectrum disorder, for example Asperger's Syndrome? If yes, please share your/their story with us. It will help us to get to know you better, and many of our members will be able to easily relate with and bond with you. No
4. Do you work in any field with people on the autism spectrum disorder? If so, what do you do? How long have you been in the field? Examples would be a doctor, therapist, teacher, aide, ym/wca employee, caregiver etc... Also, if you are local to the Tampa Bay Area, would you be interested in speaking at any of our informational support group meetings in Pinellas Park? I live in Tallahassee and have been working as a PE teacher for 5 years and have worked with autistic children before.
5. Are you local to the Tampa Bay Area? More specifically the Pinellas County area? If so, would you be interested in attending our twice monthly informational support group meetings in Pinellas Park? After approved, be sure to mark in your profile that you are local so that you will be able to receive emails regarding local information and events. No