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A thread a few months ago talked about a Fool's socially inept brother. He sounded a bit like MY brother. Somebody else here suggested Asperger's syndrome, and I've done a bit of reading about it.

I'm thinking my brother has Asperger's syndrome. He's very bright but socially inept. He doesn't seem to understand how to act around people. He used to get obsessively interested in arcane subjects as a kid (like, keeping journals full of tiny handwritten notes on the state of the Soviet military or whatever. Or, the year or so he spent being utterly enamoured with the Volkswagon Rabbit. Weird stuff.) A few other things, too - including a compulsive hand movement thing. In short, several things on the "list" of symptoms for AS.

I'm not sure what good can come of thinking this about him. He's 40 years old. He's in another country. But, my father worries about him. I tend to worry about him, too.

Does anybody else know any adults with AS? There was no such diagnosis until the mid-90's, so I think a LOT of "odd" adults are really AS kids who nobody ever understood, ya know?
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<<
I'm not sure what good can come of thinking this about him. He's 40 years old. He's in another country. But, my father worries about him. I tend to worry about him, too.

Does anybody else know any adults with AS? There was no such diagnosis until the mid-90's, so I think a LOT of "odd" adults are really AS kids who nobody ever understood, ya know?
>>



Could be.

The Boy Scout Troop I was in has a boy with Asperger's syndrome, so I've had the opportunity to see him growing the past couple of years.

As I understand it, a fair number of those with Asperger's syndrome wind up growing out of it to some significant degree as they mature. They eventually learn better how the world works and how they can fit into it.

The boy I'm familiar with has developed a pretty keen interest in young ladies since he's 15 years old now. He's Highly Motivated to learn how to appeal to girls and will work hard to engage young females in conversation when he gets a chance. That's an example of how the world encourages such people to learn how to engage and be succesful in it I think.

I also read a depressing article about autistic children who grow up but remain only marginally able to deal with the world, living in workshops for the handicapped and not being able to hold down a job at McDonalds.

After stufying up a bit on Asperger's syndrome and observing this boy, I though I had some of the Asperger's personality traits as a kid, and even now I have some of them. Whether that's actually Aspergerer's syndrome or me as something of an odd duck I can't say.




Seattle Pioneer
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Does anybody else know any adults with AS? There was no such diagnosis until the mid-90's, so I think a LOT of "odd" adults are really AS kids who nobody ever understood, ya know?

There was a poster here named Pekinrobin who used to post here:

http://boards.fool.com/Profile.asp?uid=35579565

who has Aperger's. You may gain some insight from reading some of her posts.
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A co-worker's DH was diagnosed at the age of 50.

If he wasn't so mechanically inclined (he repairs medical equipment), he probably would have lost his job a long time ago.

I don't know how she deals with him. They have been married about 8-9 yrs.

electrasmom
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You may gain some insight from reading some of her posts.

Um, yeah. Heh. I remember her. My brother is socially inept, but he's not an abrasive or argumentive person. Just... clueless.
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After stufying up a bit on Asperger's syndrome and observing this boy, I though I had some of the Asperger's personality traits as a kid, and even now I have some of them. Whether that's actually Aspergerer's syndrome or me as something of an odd duck I can't say.

Maybe it is the real reason you are not married.

IF
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There's a young man in our church who has it. He's 18 and has to have a special diet due to some other health issues. Last year his mom was in an accident and broke both legs. Members of the church had to help him with learning to cook. Just basic things like eggs and toast. His mom said he just gets sidetracked by things that interest him and if someone isn't there to remind him to eat, he'll just forget and he can sometimes forget for days at a time. He rarely speaks to others and when others speak to him, sometimes he has a look on his face that is close to panic. He's been in therapy for years, but it hasn't done him much good, or at least it seems that way. I don't know, maybe if he hadn't had the therapy it would be even harder to communicate with him.

LWW
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Does anybody else know any adults with AS? There was no such diagnosis until the mid-90's, so I think a LOT of "odd" adults are really AS kids who nobody ever understood, ya know?


Yes. Most of them are very successful.

Note that Asperger's is an Autism spectrum disorder and runs in families. Keep an eye on your kids so that if they start exhibiting symptoms you will notice and get them what they need. It might be a good idea to do some basic research on evaluation services and assistance in your new area so you know where to go in case you feel it's a possibility.
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Um, yeah. Heh. I remember her. My brother is socially inept, but he's not an abrasive or argumentive person. Just... clueless.

I wasn't implying he was... honest!!! Just that she was the only one I've had extensive dialogue with who is a diagnosed adult.

I know a few children who have been diagnosed with AS, but I don't think four-or-five year olds can really compare.
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With Duckling2 as "mildly autistic" (his official diagnosis), it's on the verge of Asperger's. MrsDuck and I have read numerous books and watched plenty of videos of kids and adults all over the autism spectrum.

It does sound like a "classic" Asperger's, but again, there's varying degrees of that even.

Many autistics are functional, many aren't easily seen as having any handicap or limitation, they're just "different". For some, the worst part might be that they're intelligent or obsessively knowledgable about a particular topic, but completely unaware of his social interaction and what others think. Others may think such a person is just aloof, or inconsiderate, or clueless to the surrounding social activity.

Right now, Duckling2 seems to be having that happen to him as a first grader. If you get him pointed in the right direction such that he sees what everyone else is doing, he's fine and will participate. But then if you leave him alone for any amount of time, then he'll be in his "own little world". On the bright side, he is an AVID reader and reads at a fourth-grade level. While this sounds great, he still has a problem with normal social skills, like greetings ("Hello. How are you?" takes some prodding, for example.).


I've seen a lot of adult autistic examples by tape, but I haven't encountered one in person, though.


Duck
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Wow! Are you sure she has Aspergers? Sounded more like a persecution complex.

LWW
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Coming from a family, with several successful Aspies, I have put a fair amount of study into the subject ("putting a fair amount of study," to an Aspie, would probably qualify as "a lot of study," to a normal person).

1. Aspies are able to communicate (talk and write) with other people. This distinguishes them from many others, on the autism spectrum, many of whom can't communicate.

2. Aspies lack the ability to read others' body language and facial expressions (to a varying degree).

3. Aspies often become deeply interested in unusual subjects. When they begin to talk about their subject of interest, they don't know when to stop -- because they can't read the body language that would tell them that the other person is getting tired of the subject.

Here is some information, about Asperger's syndrome.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger's_syndrome

"Although there is no single feature that all people with AS share, difficulties with social behavior are nearly universal and are one of the most important defining criteria. People with AS lack the natural ability to see the subtexts of social interaction (e.g., resulting in well-meaning remarks that may offend, or finding it hard to know what is "acceptable") and may lack the ability to communicate their own emotional state. The unwritten rules of social behavior that mystify so many with AS have been termed "The Hidden Curriculum".[15] People with AS must learn these social skills intellectually rather than intuitively.[16]
Non-autistics are able to gather information about other people's cognitive and emotional states based on clues gleaned from the environment and other people's facial expression and body language, but, in this respect, people with AS are impaired; this is sometimes called mind-blindness.[17] Mind-blindness involves an impaired ability to: read others' feelings, understand intended meanings, gauge level of interest in a conversation, take into account others' level of knowledge and predict someone's reaction to a comment or action.[18]..."

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/aspergerssyndrome.html

http://www.udel.edu/bkirby/asperger/aswhatisit.html

http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Aspergers

http://www.aspergers.com/

http://health.yahoo.com/ency/healthwise/zq1008/zq1010;_ylt=A9htdWO0JAVEGlQBQS_ogrMF


The following article is about a separate condition, called "face blindness." The inability to recognize faces is different from the inability to recognize the emotions expressed by faces. A person who has this condition, in addition to Asperger's, would face a double whammy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/18/health/psychology/18face.html
http://www.neurology.org/cgi/content/full/65/10/E20

Asperger's Syndrome is classified as a "Pervasive Developmental Defect." This sounds really terrible. However, it's really not that terrible. In fact, Asperger's Syndrome has both benefits and drawbacks.

Having Asperger's Syndrome allows the Aspie to focus and concentrate, to a degree that would be almost impossible, for a normal person. Many scientists and engineers are Aspies, to a greater or lesser degree. An Aspie might wonder why so many people are unfocused, and spend so much time on unproductive gossip, when there is work to be done.

I would contend that Aspies have done more real, tangible good for humanity than many other, supposedly normal, beneficial groups (I don't want to start another firestorm about the humanities, but...).

If you read "The Discoverers," by Daniel Boorstein, you will discover many obvious Aspies. Who else would measure every bit of food and water, and all excreta, for years on end (as did the discoverer of metabolism)? Who else would work on clocks, for decades at a time, as did John Harrison, the inventor of the portable chronometer? The examples are endless. These were not social butterflies -- they focused, with laser-like intensity, on their special field of interest. I'm sure that many important inventors were Aspies.

Given sufficient motivation (for example, by interest in the opposite sex, or by scientific evidence that life expectancy is prolonged by social interaction), Aspies can be motivated to study the social graces, body language, etc. Aspies are often compulsively honest, and are very nice, productive people (if you can learn to tolerate their strangeness). Aspies can also learn to be much less strange, if well-motivated.

One article states, "Many people with Asperger's syndrome marry and have children." Indeed, they do. Why not? In my family, Asperger's breeds true, leading to at least 3 successive generations of honest, studious, upstanding, successful Aspies...who will be delighted to bore you to death, on any subject we are interested in :-).

Wendy

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<<After stufying up a bit on Asperger's syndrome and observing this boy, I though I had some of the Asperger's personality traits as a kid, and even now I have some of them. Whether that's actually Aspergerer's syndrome or me as something of an odd duck I can't say.

Maybe it is the real reason you are not married.

IF
>>


Getting married is rarely a problem even for rather disturbed people. Staying married is quite a different thing.


In my case, I'd say it's a combination of making a conscious choice to avoid marriage together with being highly introverted, which makes it easy to adhere to that plan and choice.

I've had my chances and opportunities had I wished to make a different choice.



Seattle Pioneer
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WendyBG described the issue quite well.

As a teacher, I have come into contact with many Asperger's kids. There is quite a wide spectrum of this disorder...some are very functional and able to do quite well, others struggle a great deal. All have social issues that can make relationships tough.

It must be difficult to have a close relative who has this disorder; they can be so socially clueless that it can be quite frustrating to interact with them. In general, they can be quite intelligent, and that fact can make it frustrating for everyone involved.

isewquilts
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One of my friends has Aspergers. She in her mid-30s and was diagnosed properly maybe 2 years ago. She initially put up a great deal of resistance to the idea. She "rejected" (her word) the diagnosis for some time. However, she also seemed to embrace it because it finally explained a lot of her problems socially. She does still harbor a lot of anger about it, and I'm not sure how much therapy helps.

She is extremely bright--finished college as a Spanish major. But living with a roommate in the dorm was so hard on her that she had to get her own room after 1 semester. She also has OCD, anxiety, and depression issues, which makes life more difficult for her. Yet, she can hold down a job restocking books at the library (clearly not up to her intellectual potential but is about the maximum she could handle socially). She lives on her own in an apartment, but she requires assistance as she doesn't cook and going to the grocery store overwhelms her. She hyperfocuses on 1 issue at a time, and always seems to be "ranting" about something.

It took me a long time to learn to be patient with her. (We have been friends since about 14 yrs old). I would often get frustrated with her rants, which were repeated over and over again. And I would get particularly frustrated because they generally focused on how she didn't have any friends and yet she would never take any actions to try to make more friends.

I finally learned, however, that she just couldn't take action because of her anxiety and social issues, and she couldn't recognize my frustration with her because of the AS. However, once I accepted that, it became much easier for me to continue being her friend even if it meant me seeming to "give" more than I would receive (at least in terms of how I measured it against other friendships). Yet, I have learned a lot from her in other ways. And despite her "oddness", I still value her friendship. I have also learned that I am more patient with her if I limit our time together for a few hours. The few times she has traveled out of state to see me for several days have been very stressful at times.



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Thanks Wendy for a great post.

My brother has been going through some depression. I'm afraid that, rather than inventing something fantastic, he's worked the night shift for the IRS since dropping out/flunking out of grad school 18 years ago. He's had some problems, although the extent of them has never been really known because he won't talk about it. He's always mystified us. A frequent question is "What does he DO with him money?!" We could tell it wasn't drugs, but I wondered about online gambling. It wasn't that he was always short of money - he just didn't have ANYTHING to show for it and I could tell that he hadn't done something freaky with silver certificates in a mason jar in the back yard, either. We did find out what has been going on financially, but I don't think it would be right of me to say on the Internet. All I can say is he has apparently been very lonely and uncertain of how to find a real love relationship. (He has had one girlfriend that I know of, many years ago.)

The more I learn about Aspergers - especially by hearing descriptions of people who have it - the more certain I am that that's what he has. I think the depression is an additional issue, but it may be BECAUSE of the Aspergers. My brother was once very successful - in the sense that he got really good grades in school. But, he was also teased and bullied mercilessly and I think insecurity eventually won the day. He has never actually let his light shine and succeeded as an adult. I think finding out that grad school wasn't what he expected (he didn't understand academia/the game, I guess) was the last straw. He has been kinda this odd guy who lives in a cheap apartment, drives a cheap car, and works the night shift in a government job. (Apparently, the night shift at that place is when the oddballs work - quite good at their boring, frustrating jobs, but can't be counted on to dress properly or know how to do a March Madness pool or participate in Secret Santa, etc. They're probably only tolerated because the work they do is so demanding and tedious that normal people can't stand it.)

After being away for several years and coming back, I was really, really shocked by his behavior. After my mom died, I moved into my dad's house. Then, my dad got a girlfriend and moved in with her and I stayed at that house. My brother came by most afternoons on the way to work. I was so shocked by the strange things he'd do (too long to describe, here, but it's pretty much along the lines of disgusting personal habits and zero ability to recognize when he was being rude and inconsiderate to me in my house.) I would point them out to my dad, and it was like he'd not really noticed them, but then once I said, "Um, DB is doing this or that and isn't that really rude and bizarre?" he'd agree with me.

I *know* this is Asperger's. As SP pointed out earlier, the symptoms were much more marked as a child because he's learned to behave a bit but I think it takes conscious effort on his part to act right and being depressed or distracted means he can't concentrate on it and that's why he's gone downhill so badly. There's not a viscious bone in his body and he's a very nice person, when he's not being a rude, thoughtless pig. He can be funny and charming, if he's up to it.

OK, as you and Maple have pointed out, this can run in families.... I was wondering about that. I am fairly sure that I'm OK, but maybe not (who knows about themselves?) but there's one thing that has me really wondering... the hand motion thing. Most AS kids "flap" their hands. Well, with my brother it's a compulsive rubbing. Like, mad scientist hand-rubbing, only really, really fast. He sometimes holds a pen between his hands to facilitate the rubbing. Here's the thing: I do it. My dad does it. His mother did it. And so did her brother or uncle. (My dad's sisters don't do it, nor do any of their children or any other family that I'm aware of.) I am not usually aware of doing it, myself. Sometimes I'll realize it when I get carried away and bend a finger back, and I've long since learned not to wear bracelets as I'll break them. I do it when I'm upset or agitated. If I'm anxious, I'll wring my hands more than rub them. My dad said that it's sorta the same for him - something he'll do when he's far away, and usually agitated.

My dad and I are both pretty empathetic people. I am a bit socially insecure and I feel like I am too loud or whatever, but I don't think I act like AS symptoms describe. I never had too many obsessions as a kid, except horses. I went through that horse phase a lot of girls go through, only I did it to a much more intense degree - if I am interested in something I will read EVERYTHING on it until I either know everything or get bored with it. As a kid, this seemed normal. DB was "into" military stuff, and I was "into" horses. I know that as a kid, my dad was "into" fossils, and later on he taught himself ancient greek - only he was working class during the depression and they didn't exactly have school counselors ready to pounce on the promising kid, so he was just considered strange by everyone.

The only other thing I have in common with my brother is a reluctance to succeed - to sorta hide from the world and avoid competitive situations. I don't like work politics and I prefer jobs that leave me to do my own thing, even if the pay is crap. I am also more comfortable in situations where I know that my coworkers are less educated than I am so that I don't feel socially threatened. The two or so professional jobs (based on my education with an actual career path before me) that I've had made me uncomfortable and I felt like I was pretending. The actual work was as boring as any restaurant or factory work, only I had to worry that I wasn't acting right. If I'm going to be bored, I might as well have a job that lets me daydream or cuss or goof off with coworkers or something like that.

So, maybe I do have something like my brother. But, I guess it's moot. Which makes me wonder: does it make any difference to my brother if *I* think he's got AS? And, even if I could convey this to him: "Guess what, DB? A bunch of people on the Internet have convinced me that you've got this scary-sounding thing associated with autism!" Even if I could, what could HE do with it?

I hear he's seeing a psychologist for depression. My dad is encouraging him to see a psychiatrist because we think he needs help in the form of medication. Assuming I could even get ahold of DB, what could I tell him that would be of any use to him?
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Getting married is rarely a problem even for rather disturbed people. Staying married is quite a different thing.


In my case, I'd say it's a combination of making a conscious choice to avoid marriage together with being highly introverted, which makes it easy to adhere to that plan and choice.

I've had my chances and opportunities had I wished to make a different choice.


And, I say: Good for you! Seriously.

The only reservation I have is: you also seem to be unable to understand why OTHER PEOPLE make a different choice. Which makes me wonder if something doesn't bother you, after all. Maybe it's defensiveness becuase you feel that society pushes you towards marriage and invalidates your choice?
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The only reservation I have is: you also seem to be unable to understand why OTHER PEOPLE make a different choice. Which makes me wonder if something doesn't bother you, after all. Maybe it's defensiveness becuase you feel that society pushes you towards marriage and invalidates your choice?
>>



There used to be women who rejected marriage on the grounds of principle since they considered the terms of marriage unfair to women, essentially a forms of slavery.

With the "reforms" of marriage and child custody laws, you don't often hear that argument from women today. Gloria Steinum had the last witty saying about that, "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle," But even she has gotten married in the end.

I have no interest in adapting to the status quo on such issues, as 'way too many men do, and 'way too many women did for too long.



Seattle Pioneer


Instead, it is (in my opinion) men who are now victimized by marriage and child custody laws. Now it is "A man without a woman is like a fish without a bicycle."

So my objection to marriage is political and social in nature. The means to give men a fair deal in marriage and child custody requires changes in laws and the social relationships expected between men and women.

Such a position requires that I publicize the grievances and complaints men can reasonably have about marriage and child custody isasues and seek change and reform. Feminists did exactly the same thing about there complaints and grievances.

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My son (who has significant ADHD) attends a therapeutic school. The two primary populations at this school are those with ADHD and those with Asperger's Syndrome. My son doesn't have Asperger's but it is interesting to be around the students at his school and see a large group of people with Asperger's or other autism spectrum disorders. Many of these students are extremely bright and do amazing things. People with Asperger's can indeed care about other people, however, the implementation may leave something to be desired.

BTW, I have often pondered the parents of the kids at this school knowing that ADHD and Asperger's both have a strong genetic component. Given the cost of the school, however, it is evident that many of these parents have nonetheless become quite successful and lead functional lives.

As far as wondering if you show Asperger's traits, the thing to remember is that Asperger's is a spectrum disorder. SO, these traits exists along a continuum from the person with none of them, to the personal who does not have the disorder but has some traits, to the person who has enough symptoms to have the disorder but it is classified as mild to more severe, etc.

With regard to whether telling your brother might make a difference...first, he may already know. I might suggest it to him anyway, in case he doesn't. (I would suggest as a possibility not a certainty). Often knowing what something is can be very helpful and can help someone know how to deal with the issue and how to treat it and helps with change over time.
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<they can be so socially clueless that it can be quite frustrating to interact with them. >

Being socially clueless doesn't necessarily mean that they want to be socially clueless. An Aspie may or may not care about being liked, but he almost certainly has motivations for learning social interactions, such as getting better marks, or avoiding getting beaten up by the school bullies.

It can be frustrating to have to explain the signals and rationale, behind social interactions that normals take for granted.

Teachers are trained to be patient, when explaining an academic subject to a student. If the teacher recognizes that, to an Aspie, social cues are an academic subject -- and explains that to the Aspie -- a positive, fruitful discussion can take place.

It can actually be a relief to the Aspie know that there is a diagnosis, that the Aspie isn't just "wierd." Also, that the problem can be remedied by study and practice -- since Aspies are often better at pure study, than normals are.

Look at it this way: the Aspie has no talent, in a certain area, so has to make up the deficit by study. Isn't so much of the educational process geared toward that? Let's say that the Aspie has a photographic memory, and an ability to do instantaneous calculation (which many do). Can you explain to the Aspie why so many "normal" children have to work so hard, and practice so much, to understand science and math? Each person has different strengths and weaknesses.

If you say to the Aspie, "Hmmm...perhaps you aren't seeing exactly what is happening here. People often show body language cues, to say what they mean, without actually saying it. This is a very ancient part of human evolution, dating to before people were actually able to speak, in words, to each other. You just have to learn these cues, to have a better idea of what they really mean.

"When I say ....<surface meaning>...I really mean <emotional subtext>. You can perceive this by <body language cue>, so remember that for next time. When people <body language cue>, do this <socially appropriate reaction>.

"When you say <whatever>, you mean <surface meaning>, but the listener doesn't understand that...they are emotional, and they hear, in their own head, that you mean <subtext>, even if you really didn't mean to convey that. When you mean <whatever>, say it <socially appropriate way>. Then, people will understand you better.

"Why should you care? Well, <problem that could hurt the Aspie, behind his back>. Why don't we work out a different way of understanding/ saying this, together?"

If you take a stepwise approach, similar to teaching math to an innumerate person, the Aspie shouldn't take offense, and would benefit.

Wendy
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Thank you for sharing your family's situation.

Each family is unique. Different parts of the brain are in control of different functions. Your family's particular, inherited variation will be different from any other family's variation. The clustering of similar variations into a diagnosis, such as Asperger's Syndrome, still gives plenty of room for variation.

Do I think you have AS? I think you have your own personal variety of your own family's brain assemblage. Your brother has his own personal variety of your family's brain assemblage. You will be different from each other, both because of heredity (sibling variation) and environment (personal experience). Some of your variations may fall under the AS umbrella.

The more practical question is: regardless of diagnosis (normal or on the spectrum), what do you need to do, to make yourself happy?

You said: "The only other thing I have in common with my brother is a reluctance to succeed ... The two or so professional jobs (based on my education with an actual career path before me) that I've had made me uncomfortable and I felt like I was pretending."

BrandNewDay, I love your screen name. Please follow my reasoning, as if it was actually "brand new" to you.

When you talk about "reluctance to succeed," only you can define success. If you are perfectly happy, where you are, then you are successful. If you aren't, then only you can define what you would want to add. This won't necessarily be the same as what others would call "success."

Maybe you are reluctant to pay the price it would take to conform to others' concepts of success. Maybe you are happy the way you are...or maybe you would like to change, to fulfill your own, unique concept of success.

No matter what you want, in life, there is always a price to be paid. Nothing is free.

No matter what the job, you still have to show up, and work. Different jobs have different social systems. They also have different payoffs. It's up to you, to decide how much you are willing to adapt. If you have reached you personal optimum, then you have succeeded, by your own criteria for success.

However, if you feel some dissatifaction, consider that you will have to make tradeoffs.

In my own case, I wanted a career, where I could make good money, because I wanted to be independent, and buy my own home (this was in the 1970s, when it was rare for a single woman to buy a home). I decided to leave my enjoyable, natural-feeling job, as an industrial organic chemist, and go into chemical sales.

Sales! Why sales? Because at the time, the industry paid a sales person (with a bachelor's degree) twice as much as a chemist (with a master's degree). I wanted the money, pure and simple.

Of course, sales is a "people job." There are many natural sales people... but few scientists are. I had to study, study, study, practice, practice, practice. I had nightmares, every night, for a year. However, I became successful enough, over time, to double my salary, and to win sales awards.

Although I felt like I was pretending, I learned to live on several levels. That's OK! I was being paid good money, to work effectively on the sales level. That's not wrong, any more than it's wrong to pay Meryl Streep, for being a good actress. Was the "sales Wendy" the "real Wendy"? No, of course not. But, I was being paid to be an effective sales person, not to indulge myself in feeling "real." I was well-paid, to develop this separate skill level. Over time, I actually began to enjoy sales. But, the original motivator was money.

Every single job requires several types of performance. There is the actual work of the job. There is the internal politics, including your co-workers, managers, people from different departments. There is the customer interaction. There is interaction with suppliers.

Your level of success (as defined by yourself) is your own personal balance, between the effort of developing the personas needed for each situation, and the pay for doing this, as well as the skills needed to perform the actual job.

Your brother has struck his own balance: he is unwilling to conform, at all, to the social aspect of his job. He may be satisfied...or, he may wish that he could change, in which case he will need additional training and the determination to do what it takes, which is a very different matter.

You, BrandNewDay, might decide to create a brand new day, in your career, by determining to change the balance, in your job situation. Be aware that it will take a lot of effort! It's up to you, to decide whether to put in the effort. Only you can make it pay off.

You wrote: "If I'm going to be bored, I might as well have a job that lets me daydream or cuss or goof off with coworkers or something like that."

Cussing and goofing off aren't career-enhancing. They aren't productive uses of your valuable, and limited, life hours. Neither is boredom! This is simply a waste of your life.

In your place, I would select a career that isn't boring, and that would require me to be on my toes, dealing with intelligent people and complex situations, every minute. Not coincidentally, these careers pay well. They are also stressful. This is the price you pay.

Deciding to follow this path requires a lot of determination and will power.

What would be the cost, to you? You have to hone your work skill set. You have to work on your people skills (yes, it's a lot of work, reading books, taking courses, and discussing with people). You have to accept that you will have to develop a whole separate "professional" layer of personality, that isn't the "real you," at all. You have to become skillful at "pretending," and consider that you are an actress, on stage, every minute that you are at your job -- and that your acting job is as important and legitimate as any film actor's job.

You may hate this entire idea! That's fine. I'm just presenting an alternate path. It was right for me (though a huge amount of work and emotional wear and tear). I did my best, but I think someone more talented in people skills could have done better...though I did make enough money to retire early :-).

<So, maybe I do have something like my brother. But, I guess it's moot. Which makes me wonder: does it make any difference to my brother if *I* think he's got AS? And, even if I could convey this to him: "Guess what, DB? A bunch of people on the Internet have convinced me that you've got this scary-sounding thing associated with autism!" Even if I could, what could HE do with it?>

It's not moot for you, and it's not moot, for your brother. There is a LOT that you'all can do.

The important thing is to realize that there is plenty of practical behavioral help, and not just drugs. Practical, interpersonal training courses have been very helpful, to me. To me, the granddaddy of all, the best place to start, is "How to Win Friends and Influence People," by Dale Carnegie. Here is a great summary:

http://www.westegg.com/unmaintained/carnegie/win-friends.html

Given how many bad interpersonal habits I had, it was very difficult to follow this advice, all of which is excellent! I think it took about 10 years of determined effort, before I even began to become consistent. Even now, 25 years later, I often slip up.

This was the most important rule, of all:
Become genuinely interested in other people.

For a person with Asperger's Syndrome, who isn't a natural people person, this is quite difficult to do. However, a determined effort, over years, has helped me to actually become genuinely interested in other people, such as in yourself. I really hope that I can help you...really. Perhaps you can begin to understand what a remarkable, determined change that required, in me.

I advise you to think deeply, about yourself. You may already have good people skills (in that case, you would be one-up on me). If not, practice the Dale Carnegie skills, even though you will feel completely artificial, at first.

You can advise your brother...but he may already be too set, in his ways. If you want to change him, you will have to motivate him. Do you know him well enough, to do this?

If you are happy, with your own situation, fine. If you want to change, you will have to motivate yourself. Do you have enough self-knowledge, and determination, to do this, and to do the hard, hard work, over decades?

All change has to come from within.


Wendy



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There was a poster here named Pekinrobin who used to post here:

http://boards.fool.com/Profile.asp?uid=35579565

who has Aperger's. You may gain some insight from reading some of her posts.


Pekinrobin used being an Aspie as an excuse for her bad behavior. I can't help it, I'm autistic. That's nonsense. Aspies can't read body language; that doesn't mean they can't learn appropriate social behavior, especially in print. I know both an adult and a child Aspie. The child puts a lot of effort into learning the rules ("I'm taking a bathroom break. Straight there and straight back, right? Don't bug the other offices?") and the adult actually trained as an actress to learn consciously what she couldn't soak up through her skin.
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Wendy:

These characteristics remind me very much of a good mand blind adults with whom I've come into contact over the years. I would never had labeled them with a disease per say; I've just always assumed that for them not seeing equals not perceiving.

We have some friends in this vein and while my SO can say "oh, that's just the way they are," I find it unsettling at best and downright difficult and unpleasant at worst.
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Hey BND:

You want to keep a watch on yourself too if you think depression is an additional issue with your brother. They say, (and I honestly don't know whether I believe it or not,) that depression can run in families.

If there's any creedence to this fact you'd be a prime candidate for it down the road what with your advancing pregancy and X-pat status, stressers all.

Just kind of keep a weather eye on yourself and your own well-being.
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Is Asperger's a type of autism? I heard the ag professor from U of Colorado talking about autism. I can't think of her name off-hand but she was diagnosed with it at a very young age and has used her experiences with it to bring in more humane treatment of animals at stock yards.

Anyway, in this interview, she said she believes that there are many many "functioning" adult autistics that have not been diagnosed and are doing well in society. After hearing that, I started wondering if that might explain some of the odd-acting people I have run into.

I believe that it is never too late to change or to get help or treatment for 'syndromes' or other issues.

Talk to your dad. Talk to professionals. Continue reading and researching. Find out what kinds of treatments might be available to your brother. When you have all your information together, have a chat with him or maybe you and your dad together could talk to him.

Good luck!

Love
Loving
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One thing about autism that I have realized for many years is that they are highly sensitive; their nervous systems may be better developed than the normal person's. This means that they have a harder time coping with all of the intense stimuli we are subjected to.

I suspect they also may react to a lot of the chemicals and lack of nutrients present in the food today as well as in the environment.

Love
Loving

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Is Asperger's a type of autism? I heard the ag professor from U of Colorado talking about autism. I can't think of her name off-hand but she was diagnosed with it at a very young age and has used her experiences with it to bring in more humane treatment of animals at stock yards.


You're thinking of Dr. Temple Grandin
http://www.grandin.com/temple.html

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Which makes me wonder if something doesn't bother you, after all. Maybe it's defensiveness becuase you feel that society pushes you towards marriage and invalidates your choice?

I don't think I'm anti-marriage the way SP sometimes seems to be, but I don't think married people realize how tiring it is to be constantly interrogated and criticized for not being married.

"Why aren't you married?", "What's wrong with you that you can't find a man?", "You're just too picky, you need to lower your standards and grab someone before they're all gone!", "You're not that old, you could probably find someone to marry you, if you hurry up", "you know you're going to die old and alone, and they probably won't find your body for weeks", "How can you live such an empty life? You don't seem like a selfish feminist" etc. etc. And those are just the NICE comments!! I've given up on having any conversation with some of my relatives that doesn't center around "why don't you have a husband?" My job, my friends, my activities - they all pale in comparison to the important question - have I managed to land a husband yet?

In my more cynical moments, I have to wonder why so many married people find it necessary to "sell" marriage so intensely.

Karen
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In my more cynical moments, I have to wonder why so many married people find it necessary to "sell" marriage so intensely.

No need to call it a cynical moment - it's perfectly reasonable to expect that some married people find a happy, successful single person threatening.

I think the same thing goes on with the whole breeder divide... or the divide between SAHM and mothers who work outside the home. People find it threatening to see people do things differently, particularly if they're ambiguous in their feelings about their own lifestyle choice.
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<i.Is Asperger's a type of autism? I heard the ag professor from U of Colorado talking about autism. I can't think of her name off-hand but she was diagnosed with it at a very young age and has used her experiences with it to bring in more humane treatment of animals at stock yards.

Temple Grandin. She's written some very interesting books.
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I think it's more to do with the fact that you don't believe in marriage as a religious rite (and therefore don't "need" it) PLUS there are no legal, physical, or financial advantages for men in getting married.

I totally see why SP is not married, and I don't think it's because he's "difficult to live with"
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Karen-

Tell those busybodies that marriage and family would greatly interfere with your aspirations to be the next big porn star.

That oughta shut them up for a while. Or keep them from inviting you to any more family functions.

(hugs!)

frissy
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In my more cynical moments, I have to wonder why so many married people find it necessary to "sell" marriage so intensely.
*******************
Because they're miserable and misery loves company.

I just heard this week that singlehood is now the "norm"!! Something like 49.5% of people are married; the majority are single. That takes in never-marrieds, divorced folks and widows/widowers.

Love
Loving
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