Sunday, February 22, 2009

Let Him Be Happy

I saw this post on another Aspie blog, and really liked the response:

Post from

Asperger's Disorder Homepage Blogger

My son is soon to be 25 years old. We are just now realizing that he fits all the criteria for having Asperger's syndrome. He has not been formally diagnosed by a psychologist or doctor, although he did receive speciall educational services as a youngster. No one knew of Asperger's them. Currently his life is going very well. He is graduating from college and has a good job lined up. He is very capable and has developed lots of good coping skills.

However, some "remnants" of Asperger's still remain: disorganization, inappropriate reaction to frustration, extremely sensitive hearing, some other things. He has never had a girlfriend and has never dated.

I have spoken with him about getting a formal diagnosis, but since his life is going well, he doesn't feel the need. Can you tel me what he/we can expect for a high functioning young adult with Asperger's? Is it very important for him to get a diagnosis to be sure? Should we expect relationship problems, problems at work?

Before I post the response, let me jsut say the reason I liked it, is because the responder considered the feelings of the young man in question. Too often I hear parents lament that their child will not have a normal life, never stopping to consider for a second that the child is perfectly happy with his/her life the way it is. Different isn't always bad.

Dr. Laurie Dietzel said...
Hi Nancy -
It is so nice to hear that your son is doing well. Although everyone is different, many folks with Asperger's have some difficulty with relationships, particularly intimate ones. Does he want to have closer friends or a "significant other" or is he satisfied with his life as is? I guess in my experience this is the crucial factor in adjustment and happiness. A diagnosis is only needed if he is requesting workplace or educational accommodations or if he is interested in learning more about himself in order to make desired changes.
Sure, it's considered a "normal" human function to want intimate relationships, to get married, and have a family. And if the young man feels left out, or if he wants such relationships, then by all means I would encourage his mother to help him seek ways to effect that outcome (including therapy, research, etc). But if he's happy, let him be happy.

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