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Worried about someone

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WandleB

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Jul 18, 2008
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Hi there
I joined this forum not for any mental problems I might have but because I am worried about my friend's son's attitude towards me.
I am 64 and have known my friend, who I used to work with, for years but never that well. We live quite close, but only see each other every few months. Sometimes we walk our dogs together, at other times we have a meal out in a pub together.
Her son has asperger's. He's 23. I was concerned when I first knew him because he seems to have a fixation with death and murder. At one time all he used to talk about were famous murder cases. He seems obsessed with meat - he travels miles to buy meat from butchers all over the country - but doesn't seem remotely interested in learning how to cook. It's as if he is interested because it is something dead.
I have raised this concern with my friend, and she got very angry and ended up putting the phone down on me. We made it up and I said I would try and treat him like she suggested, which is to be breezy and outgoing, and not take what he said too seriously.
He has, over the past few years, been texting me and usually it is with rather absurd hypothetical questions, which I usually respond to in a jokey way. I also try to ask about the work experience he is doing, by way of encouraging him to do something positive.
Recently, however, he has said some awful things. My mother died a few weeks ago and his hypothetical question was - well, I won't go into it, just to say it was to do with her body. I ignored it. Then last week he sent me a text that was obscene in a sexual way. I ignored that too. Then today, he sent the same text again, wondering why I hadn't answered. I have just informed his mother and sent her a copy of the text.
Am I right to be worried about his behaviour? Is it something that people with aspergers can be prone to, or is it something else?
 
Fedup

Fedup

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What is Asperger syndrome?

Asperger syndrome is a form of autism, which is a lifelong disability that affects how a person makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people. Autism is often described as a 'spectrum disorder' because the condition affects people in many different ways and to varying degrees. (For more information about autism, please read our leaflet What is autism?)

Asperger syndrome is mostly a 'hidden disability'. This means that you can't tell that someone has the condition from their outward appearance. People with the condition have difficulties in three main areas. They are:

* social communication
* social interaction
* social imagination.

They are often referred to as 'the triad of impairments' and are explained in more detail below.

While there are similarities with autism, people with Asperger syndrome have fewer problems with speaking and are often of average, or above average, intelligence. They do not usually have the accompanying learning disabilities associated with autism, but they may have specific learning difficulties. These may include dyslexia and dyspraxia or other conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and epilepsy.

With the right support and encouragement, people with Asperger syndrome can lead full and independent lives.

What are the characteristics of Asperger syndrome?

The characteristics of Asperger syndrome vary from one person to another but are generally divided into three main groups.

Difficulty with social communication

"If you have Asperger syndrome, understanding conversation is like trying to understand a foreign language."

People with Asperger syndrome sometimes find it difficult to express themselves emotionally and socially. For example, they may:

* have difficulty understanding gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice
* have difficulty knowing when to start or end a conversation and choosing topics to talk about
* use complex words and phrases but may not fully understand what they mean
* be very literal in what they say and can have difficulty understanding jokes, metaphor and sarcasm. For example, a person with Asperger syndrome may be confused by the phrase 'That's cool' when people use it to say something is good.

In order to help a person with Asperger syndrome understand you, keep your sentences short - be clear and concise.

Difficulty with social interaction

"I have difficulty picking up social cues, and difficulty in knowing what to do when I get things wrong."

Many people with Asperger syndrome want to be sociable but have difficulty with initiating and sustaining social relationships, which can make them very anxious. People with the condition may:

* struggle to make and maintain friendships
* not understand the unwritten 'social rules' that most of us pick up without thinking. For example, they may stand too close to another person, or start an inappropriate topic of conversation
* find other people unpredictable and confusing
* become withdrawn and seem uninterested in other people, appearing almost aloof
* behave in what may seem an inappropriate manner.

Difficulty with social imagination

"We have trouble working out what other people know. We have more difficulty guessing what other people are thinking."

People with Asperger syndrome can be imaginative in the conventional use of the word. For example, many are accomplished writers, artists and musicians. But people with Asperger syndrome can have difficulty with social imagination. This can include:

* imagining alternative outcomes to situations and finding it hard to predict what will happen next
* understanding or interpreting other peoples thoughts, feelings or actions. The subtle messages that are put across by facial expression and body language are often missed
* having a limited range of imaginative activities, which can be pursued rigidly and repetitively eg lining up toys or collecting and organising things related to his or her interest.

Some children with Asperger syndrome may find it difficult to play 'let's pretend' games or prefer subjects rooted in logic and systems, such as mathematics.

Other related characteristics

Love of routines

"If I get anxious I get in a tizz. I have a timetable; it helps me to see what I have to do next, otherwise I get confused."

To try and make the world less confusing, people with Asperger syndrome may have rules and rituals (ways of doing things) which they insist upon. Young children, for example, may insist on always walking the same way to school. In class, they may get upset if there is a sudden change to the timetable. People with Asperger syndrome often prefer to order their day to a set pattern. For example, if they work set hours, an unexpected delay to their journey to or from work can make them anxious or upset.

Special interests

"I remember Samuel reciting the distances of all the planets from the sun to a baffled classmate in the playground when he was five. Since then he has had many obsessions, which he loves to talk about at length!"

People with Asperger syndrome may develop an intense, sometimes obsessive, interest in a hobby or collecting. Sometimes these interests are lifelong; in other cases, one interest is replaced by an unconnected interest. For example, a person with Asperger syndrome may focus on learning all there is to know about trains or computers. Some are exceptionally knowledgeable in their chosen field of interest. With encouragement, interests and skills can be developed so that people with Asperger syndrome can study or work in their favourite subjects.

Sensory difficulties

"Robert only has problems with touch when he doesn't know what's coming - like jostling in queues and people accidentally brushing into him. Light touch seems to be worse for him than a firm touch."

People with Asperger syndrome may have sensory difficulties. These can occur in one or all of the senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, or taste). The degree of difficulty varies from one individual to another. Most commonly, an individual's senses are either intensified (over-sensitive) or underdeveloped (under-sensitive). For example, bright lights, loud noises, overpowering smells, particular food textures and the feeling of certain materials can be a cause of anxiety and pain for people with Asperger syndrome.

People with sensory sensitivity may also find it harder to use their body awareness system. This system tells us where our bodies are, so for those with reduced body awareness, it can be harder to navigate rooms avoiding obstructions, stand at an appropriate distance from other people and carry out 'fine motor' tasks such as tying shoelaces. Some people with Asperger syndrome may rock or spin to help with balance and posture or to help them deal with stress.


(c)http://www.autism.org.uk/asperger
 
ellamental

ellamental

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aspergers

Hi there
I am not sure if this is normal for Aspergers folk of that age but the bit about not understanding the rules and a conversation seeming like a foreign language certainly seems to point that way. As does the being obsessed with meat..well diferent obsessions for different people.

I think it is common for food to be an issue. My son has mild aspergers but he is only 11 so it doesnt sound very similar but it can be very hard socially, no eye contact..people thin k he is being rude and so on. I think I expect my frineds to talk to me about it but to be as understanding as they possibly can be. I think it is alright to say to him...it is inapopriate for you to send me texts about sex.

Theres a few good books you might find interesting...Born on Blue Day and We Need to talk about Kevin. Good luck with it all
Ella:)
 
ellamental

ellamental

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wow oh wow one happy mum

...just as I posted that 11 year old came home and I said..how are you beautiful? and he said..yeah..had a good day....then a gap and then...you?
WOW oh WOW...we have been working on empathy and social stuff and he has NEVER asked me how I am! Also yesterday....after a lot of talk about people he went into the shop and bought milk on his own while I waited in the car. these might seem like small things but they are massive in my world. I am thrilled, absolutely over the moon. It has been many years struggleing with all sorts and we have turned two massive corners in one week. I think a lot of it is about being hugely positive, rehersing tricky situations and never ever (if poss) change the plan at the drop of a hat...for him...routine is paramount...things being in a certain way important. My impulsive days...lets go to the cinema...like NOW...are not welcomed gladly by him. Rome wasnt built in a day.
Ella
 
Fedup

Fedup

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...just as I posted that 11 year old came home and I said..how are you beautiful? and he said..yeah..had a good day....then a gap and then...you?
WOW oh WOW...we have been working on empathy and social stuff and he has NEVER asked me how I am! Also yesterday....after a lot of talk about people he went into the shop and bought milk on his own while I waited in the car. these might seem like small things but they are massive in my world. I am thrilled, absolutely over the moon. It has been many years struggleing with all sorts and we have turned two massive corners in one week. I think a lot of it is about being hugely positive, rehersing tricky situations and never ever (if poss) change the plan at the drop of a hat...for him...routine is paramount...things being in a certain way important. My impulsive days...lets go to the cinema...like NOW...are not welcomed gladly by him. Rome wasnt built in a day.
Ella
I can feel your sheer happiness in this post . It's wonderful when things are proved to be working.
Keep on smiling :flowers:
 
Fedup

Fedup

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A poem that relates to Aspergers.

Thought i'd share this with you .
If i'd had a bad day at work and often come home and read this and think yes my job is worthwhile :)


The Misunderstood Child



I am the child that looks healthy and fine, I was born with 10 fingers and toes,
But something is different, somewhere in my mind,
And what it is nobody knows.
I am the child that struggles in school,
Though they say i'm perfectly smart,
They tell me i'm lazy, can learn if i try,
But i don't seem to know where to start.
I am the child that won't wear the clothes,
Which hurt me or bother my feet.
I dread certain noises, can't handle most smells,
And tastes there are a few foods i'll eat.
I am the child that can't catch the ball,
And runs with an awkward gait.
I am the one chosen last on the team,
And i cringe as i stand there and wait.
I am the child with whom no one will play,
the one who gets bullied and teased.
I try to fit in and i want to be liked,
But nothing i do seems to please.
I am the child that tantrums and freaks,
Over things that seem petty and trite.
You'll never know how i panic inside,
When i'm lost in anger and fright.
I am the child that fidgets and sqirms,
Though i'm told to sit still and be good.
Do you think that i choose to be out of control?
Don't you know that i would if i could?
I am the child with the broken heart,
Though i act like i don't really care.
Perhaps thers a reason God made me this way,
Some message he sent me to share.
For i am the child that needs to be loved,
And accepted and valued too.
I am the child that is misunderstood,
Iam different ........ but look just like you.
 
lucid scream

lucid scream

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i dont really know anything about asperger's, Wandleb, but the boy is acting innappropriate to the extreme and it sound like you are understandably frightened, if only a little?
my opinion, and its only that, is that SOMEONE has to let him know that sexually harrassing someone about thier recently deceased mother is far out of line. that someone should be his parent(s). i'd tell his mom she needs to set him straight, and to hell with her feelings, what he has said to you is inexcuseable.
but im an ass like that.
i understand it is not entirely his fault. but at what point do his rights end and your begin?
 
Fedup

Fedup

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Hello and :welcome: Wandleb to MHF :)

The sexual texts is a big no no , nobody should recieve these. As you can see i have posted some stuff above about aspergers , just so others who may not know about the condition can contribute to your posting.

IMO i would talk to his mam & maybe then both you and his mam talk to him together & let him know that those sort of texts are unacceptable. You may have to do this in a round about way be it .............. you know when so so upset you etc & you were really unhappy , well you sending (you) this text is not acceptable & (you) is now very unhappy and cross because its not a nice thing to do.

Hope this makes sense. :flowers:
 
S

Starbright

Guest
I'm sorry, I don't know much about Asbergers, but I think the same as Fedup, that he does have to be told and that steps have to be taken to teach him what is and isn't acceptable. You can't just leave him to do and say what he likes and not ever care what terrible effects he has on other people.
 
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WandleB

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Jul 18, 2008
Messages
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Hi Lucid Scream and Fed up and everybody who answered,
thank you for your replies.
Fed up, it was helpful the info you put up about aspbergers as not many people know about it unless they have direct experience of it. He is actually diagnosed as having that.
Lucid Scream, you have hit the nail on the head - I am frightened of him - quite a lot, actually. I can understand the way people with aspbergers are and he has many of those characteristics in that he gets bogged down with detail and obsesses over certain little things, never seeing the big picture. He has so many of the characteristics listed in Fed Up's info. I understand all that.
He also has no communication skills, no empathy with people and has had to be taught how to respond, because he does not naturally feel it. But what alarms me is this other, sinister, side to him, where he obsesses about death and murder, and I don't think that is necessarily to do with having asbergers at all.
I feel he has latched on to me in an unhealthy way.
About a year ago he got this thing about grabbing his mother by the throat, even when I was visiting. She brushed him off, but I could see she was worried. I just wonder what he is capable of, and whether he is safe wandering around London as he does. I mean, whether people are safe from him. He is very large and bulky!
More immediately, though, I want to work out how to respond. My partner wants me to block his mobile phone number, so he can't text me, but my feeling is that that might enrage him, and he might turn up on the doorstep.
By the way, I sent his latest text to his Mum, then I phoned her afterwards. She laughed, and said "Oh it was just a joke!" and that he had sent the same text to another friend of hers. She made it sound a bit as if I should have realised it was a joke. But I think she is in denial, because he isn't the type to make jokes at all.
What she said was that she was going to punish him by reducing his pocket money this week. She said she had a system of rewards (extra praise and money) for good things he does, and punishments (reduction of pocket money) when he does something inappropriate. She said this is what the psychologist had suggested.
Without wanting to sound melodramatic, could it be that he is slightly psychopathic, if you can be slightly that?
 
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WandleB

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...just as I posted that 11 year old came home and I said..how are you beautiful? and he said..yeah..had a good day....then a gap and then...you?
Ella
Hi Ellamental, you sound as though you are doing so well with your boy. It must be so rewarding, difficult though it must be, when he makes progress like that.
 
lucid scream

lucid scream

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WandleB, i cant diagnose him, but whether or not a psychiatrist would say he is a psychopath, he is frightening you and he might be dangerous, which is my concern. you should NOT have to live like that. his mom sounds a little off too, in my opinion.
as far as blocking his #, and such well yes, it might upset him, but whatever he's gonna do, he might do regardless of what you do. not trying to frighten you further, just pointing out that YOU have no control over HIS actions. so take some steps to protect yourself. i would block his #, and i would ring up his mom and tell her how you feel, and if she minimizes your feelings then let her know you wont be coming around and if her son DOES threaten/scare you again, you will be filing stalking, harrassment or assault charges, as the case may be. in fact the next time he frightens you i would file a police report then to establish that it is happening. save the text messages too, if you have them. if this person IS dangerous, then he needs help, and society needs to be protected. mom is in denial and its time to tell it like it is.
 
W

WandleB

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Hi Lucid Scream
thank you, that is very helpful. My partner is extremely concerned about the situation.
The mother told me once "Oh he's never done anything to anyone", but it's not very reassuring.
I shall try to get my mobile blocked off too.
In a way I inadvertently encouraged this boy. When he was younger, he was so shy I always made a point of asking him about school or trying to engage him in conversation whenever I visited, because I felt sorry for him because he was so gauche and clumsy.
In fact I've always tried to be friendly, although in a rather detached breezy way. He probably thinks I'm rather soft.
His mother says he has never ever made a friend of his own. He seems to just latch on to her friends and a few relatives, all people her age or older.
I'll let you know if there are any developments and I shall try not to put myself in any potentially dangerous situations.
It's sad in a way and I feel dreadfully sorry for his Mum, who can't sleep at night for worrying about him.
 
D

Dollit

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Listen to Lucid - he talks a lot of sense. Also the general rule is if you don't feel comfortable then you don't have to put up with it. Detaching from the situation isn't a sin, it's a right.
 
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