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Old 11-11-2010, 04:12 PM   #1
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Exclamation 11 yr old in need, please help!

Hi, my younger brother was said to have autism shortly after he was born (I was 9 when he was born). Right now he is almost 11, in the 6th grade and having a lot of difficulties with school and being social. We've (my family) have always said he had asperger's even though he has never been diagnosed. I have urged my mom several times to get him diagnosed so we can begin treating his condition. He's at least 2 yrs behind academically, socially, and body type wise. It's really hard for me to sit back and see this happening to someone I really love. I'm not saying he should be put on medications immediately, but he has already come to her saying that he thinks he should see a "psychiatrist" (his exact words; when my mom told me all of this I was balling) and that he thought he was stupid and ugly compared to other kids. After that I told her she NEEDED to get him seeing a counselor immediately, but she still hasn't.

It's not a mystery to me why mom hasn't done more, everyone in my family has mental disabilities-my mom has depression, possibly bipolar along with something else...I have depression and social phobia (started taking medication for both 2 wks ago) and my other younger brother (almost 18) has similar anxiety and is seeking treatment.

My greatest concerns are that my mom's parenting (or lack of) is not giving him the skills he needs to succeed, he is completely dependent of her and has no clue about the real world. When I try to talk about things that need to be worked on she asks me what would I know?, I've never raised a child. And that I'm a 'know-it-all.' And when I try to talk or teach my brother about things she says I'm too hard on him (in school she uses his disability as a handy-cap for him to not do as much work and not have as many classes as other kids). I want to keep trying to help but it seems like every time I do I just make my mom ****** and my brother think I don't love him because I'm a little tough on him. I refuse to act like my brother's disability is an excuse for people (especially my family) to treat him like he's 6 or 7 (and they do!). I understand that he has different limits, but he has never been challenged intellectually which he needs. He's a really smart kid, I've seen it, but when you don't challenge him he 'dumbs himself down.'

I'd really like to know if I should just back away from the situation (not sure if I even could let myself), I haven't talked with my mom about it in quite a while. Some advice on what to say to my mom and/or brother with aspergers would be really helpful. I feel like the longer we wait to treat this the more damaging it could be for him (is that fair to say?).

 
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Old 11-13-2010, 01:26 PM   #2
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Re: 11 yr old in need, please help!

You have taken on alot, thank you for caring for your brother so much. It's very commendable in someone so young.

It's hard but you can talk to a mental health counselor in your area about your concerns for your brother. A counselor can come to your home and advise your mother about your brother.

People/kids with Asperger's syndrome mature very slowly but usually tend to be high functioning. With alot of the right help your brother can catch up. But you're right, a proper diagnosis is so very important. Someone needs to step up and do what's right for your brother.

Take care,
Joan

 
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Old 11-18-2010, 11:08 PM   #3
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Re: 11 yr old in need, please help!

I am unsure why the doctor would say your brother had autism when he was born, but he hasn't been diagnosed officially? Autism usually isn't diagnosed until at least age 2 unless it's very severe (like no speaking).

I work in special education with those who have Asperger's. Your brother will not be "cured" of Aspergers by taking medication, and will always be a bit different. However, the differences will be less important as he enters adulthood. Now he stands out more because conformity is important to those in their pre-teen and teen years.

With the proper interventions, both at home and at school, your brother can learn the things he doesn't know, how to fit in better, how to follow the social rules, etc. It will be hard for him, and it takes a real effort on everyone's part for it to be successful.

There are different levels of Asperger's, and if your brother has made it this far without someone saying he should be referred to a specialist, the chances that he is at the level that would make it easier for him to fit in, etc. would be easier.

I find it sad that he is asking for help and no one is helping. Please talk to someone at school if your mom doesn't do something soon for him -- the rate of suicide amongst those with Asperger's is very high because they are bright kids and they know they don't fit in, but don't know why.

 
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Old 11-20-2010, 12:16 PM   #4
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Re: 11 yr old in need, please help!

Thanks so much for the feed back!

Joan- I am going to search for a counselor that can hopefully evaluate the whole situation better, I think that's a really good idea, especially since I haven't lived at home in over 2 yrs. and I live in another city so it makes it that much harder to know what's going on.

GoldenBC- I believe he was "diagnosed" when he was 2 or 3 (he did a pre-preschool program for a couple years to help with his speech and social skills, he didn't talk until pretty late and his speech was minimal). I know teachers or the school have said he should see a specialist and my mom knows it too, there's just always an excuse in my family.
I'm not saying that I want him to be put on medication to cure him of his differences or anything like that, his differences are what makes him a really cool kid and who he is. But if medication will make him feel more comfortable to be around people and be himself, because I know he's very insecure about himself, than I think that's his right.


I really want to act on this situation and I've thought about it a lot in the past but one of the only things that stops me is that my mom will think I'm going behind her back and, without saying it, 'make her look like a bad parent.' I am still going to look for and talk to a specialist about my concerns and maybe they will have additional advise for me.

 
Old 11-20-2010, 02:03 PM   #5
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Re: 11 yr old in need, please help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AceofHearts View Post
I really want to act on this situation and I've thought about it a lot in the past but one of the only things that stops me is that my mom will think I'm going behind her back and, without saying it, 'make her look like a bad parent.' I am still going to look for and talk to a specialist about my concerns and maybe they will have additional advise for me.
Perhaps your mother can't make herself take the initial step, so if you find out all the info, and offer to make the appointments to help her out, offer to go with her, etc. maybe she'll feel more comfortable. If you offer to include her but she's not interested, then go ahead and do it on your own. she may be upset at first, but she's an adult and can handle being upset -- your brother is not an adult and needs your help more.

 
Old 11-21-2010, 03:36 AM   #6
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Re: 11 yr old in need, please help!

Maybe grandmother did not want to think about the truth and hoped her grandson would get better by yourselves? You did not want to think of him as different. My son who is now 18 was diagnosed w autism when 2 yrs old. He had an assistant in the nursery. Started school 7 years old in a smaller group w 7 boys w similar diagnosises abt same age old some 2-3 yrs older.

My son always has been more or less fixed to reading abt technics, computors and he is also good at maths. He never spelled a word wrong. Likes language studies (english and german) quite well. He likes to present facts but no fantasy.

Functional food (or preferred) by my sons: (micro-waved kills vitamins)
Salmon not too much fried and not raw.
Spinach baby-leaves on, maybe parsil too
Good potatoes.
Some green lightly salted peas (maybe not liked in the beginning)
Meat in different ways.
Bulgur boiled as rice but with some vegetable bouillon and maybe also the yellow indian herb spice and a piece of garlic in small invisible pieces.
A few green peas

Fish oil ("Eye-Q"?) (with lemon oil or vanilla? taste) unboiled contains omega-3
(like salmon does)
Fried or lightly boiled fish in different ways...

 
Old 11-21-2010, 03:52 AM   #7
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Re: 11 yr old in need, please help!

You all need some kind of advisor from outside. Asperger boys must learn to face the world if you do not want him to be hidden away from reality out there. His mother has to be told the truth from some advisors out there! Possible to have some meeting together or some of you together?

Do you have something like "Hability center" over there ? (as in Sweden). Some place with advisors and different kinds of people who can help etc? "Asperger-center"? Ask about it.

Thanks

 
Old 11-21-2010, 12:31 PM   #8
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Re: 11 yr old in need, please help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by elbryn View Post
Maybe grandmother did not want to think about the truth and hoped her grandson would get better by yourselves?
Unfortunately we have no family really...and we've never met our grandmother, she is very bipolar and left my mom with her 4 siblings when she was really young (my mom was the oldest).

 
Old 11-21-2010, 12:43 PM   #9
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Re: 11 yr old in need, please help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by elbryn View Post
You all need some kind of advisor from outside. Asperger boys must learn to face the world if you do not want him to be hidden away from reality out there. His mother has to be told the truth from some advisors out there! Possible to have some meeting together or some of you together?

Do you have something like "Hability center" over there ? (as in Sweden). Some place with advisors and different kinds of people who can help etc? "Asperger-center"? Ask about it.

Thanks
I completely agree! There's just really no one that's advising me to do that. My boyfriend and I, were both 20, are outsiders as it is and we've been trying to give my mom advise (like to get him a counselor, diagnosis, etc). And the couple of friends my mom has tell me that everything is fine with my brother but that I need to help her out more which is like because I help my mom out as much as I can!
Everyone I talk to just tells me I don't know what it's like to be a single mom and to just keep out of it. I know I can't do anything...but if I can find someone that can advise things to change, than my mom will have to listen to them...hopefully.
I'll search around for a place, they live in a big city so I'm sure there's a few options, hopefully not too expensive

 
Old 11-22-2010, 04:00 PM   #10
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Re: 11 yr old in need, please help!

I am an adult female with Aspergers and my mom was bi-polar and my dad had Aspergers. My parents are now deceased. Two of my siblings have Aspergers but I am the only one who has been officially diagnosed. My daughter is bi-polar and her son, my grandson, has Aspergers. I also live in Oregon, in Beaverton, and was born and lived in Bend, Oregon until 3 years ago. Corvallis is a college town and will have support groups for autism. They may give you some insight. You could see a counselor in Corvallis but that will only help you.
I know what it is like to deal with family members that are bi-polar and you are not going to convince your mom of doing anything she doesn't want to. Logic does NOT work. Bribing or making her feel ashamed might but then you have to deal with the aftermath.
My daughter would not accept that her son was on the autism spectrum. She was ashamed of his diagnosis. Eventually he went to live with his father and step-mother who both have mental problems and hate any form of mental health care professionals. They are afraid.
The best way I helped my grandson was to call the counselor at his school and provide information. The counseling departments knew that there was a problem and wanted to help my grandson but my daughter and then his father refused the services. My grandson missed school a lot; he stayed home more than he attended. He was/is very depressed but was never taken to see a counselor. When I tried to help him I was denied visitation. It took me many calls and many years but I was finally able to intercede and my grandson graduated from high school with a limited diploma.
My grandson just spent 6 days and 5 nights with me. He is so intelligent and so crippled by Aspergers. I have many sensitivities and don't like to go out in public but can force myself to. I melt down after what I need to do is complete. My grandson is unable to go out in public, even into a grocery store or a mall without extreme anxiety. He is high-functioning but since he never received the help at home or at school that he needed, he may never be able to work or live without support.
I have had two family members with Aspergers commit suicide and several members who have made attempts. My husband has undiagnosed Aspergers and he has had two family members commit suicide. My grandson has hinted that life is too hard. I do what I can for him. As long as he lives with his mental health phobic and violent father I can't do much. The suicide risk for people with Aspergers is very high.
Your brother needs your help and has asked his mom to help him and she is unable to comprehend the situation. Being bi-polar can screw up your ability to think clearly and the ability to put others needs first. Go around your mom if you have to. It may **** her off but anything could do that. Contact your brother's school. Find out what options exist. Some schools have very limited resources for high-functioning individuals. What they offer may embarrass your brother more than helping him. If that is the case, have him check out books like Look Me in the Eye and other cool books written by guys with Aspergers. I can't think of the other titles right now. If he knows he has aspergers or is open to learning about it, have him check out < edited > Email him a lot. He may not write back but he will read what you write. Call if he will talk on the phone. I hate phones and so does my grandson so calling is out for us.
When I was growing up I longed for someone who cared enough about me to realize how hard my life was. It took every ounce of energy I had to do things that others did without even thinking. I longed for someone to tell me what was wrong with me instead of saying that I was smart and just needed to apply myself or that I obviously was pretending to not understand what was going on. You are a great sister. Your love for your brother shows in each of your posts. Keep asking others for help. Keep pushing your mom. Contact your brother's school. I am confident that you will find a way to help your brother. Let your brother know how hard you are advocating for him. Knowing that a person loves you is powerful.

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Old 11-22-2010, 04:45 PM   #11
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Re: 11 yr old in need, please help!

deber: thank you so much for sharing with me.

I'm not sure if he knows he has aspergers or not. My mom and others talk about it all the time around him, but never with him directly. Is there a way that I can find out if he knows, I don't know how to go about talking about it with him. I've tried to talk with him about anxiety and things that I do to help with mine but whenever I try and teach him or show him something he shuts me out. He does not seem to really want to learn anything, if that makes sense. But that's just his exterior, how he functions around other people. If he opens up to me he breaks down emotionally and then I also don't know what to do because I don't want to hurt his feelings or make him feel worse.

He also doesn't understand why I moved away from home 2 yrs ago. He would always ask when I was moving back. Or he would just plain state that I was going to move back in when I was done with college. And every time I would correct him but he would just tune me out. I know it was just really hard for him because the fact is I always gave him more attention than anyone else. And it was just as hard for me to leave him. It just makes this whole situation harder.


Best wishes to you and your family

 
Old 11-22-2010, 09:48 PM   #12
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Re: 11 yr old in need, please help!

My heart goes out to you and your brother. It was hard for both of you when you left home. Hang in there. Your brother obviously loves you or he wouldn't want you to move back home. Aspies don't always handle change well and can be very stubborn. They can decide something is supposed to be or happen a certain way and you can't convince them otherwise. I can't speak for everyone with Aspergers but have personal experience with family members with Aspergers: myself, my deceased father, 2 of my siblings, my husband, 3 of my nieces, a grand nephew and my grandson. When I get emotionally overloaded I pull into myself, melt down or explode. My grandson can seem unresponsive but that is because if he lets himself feel he explodes with anger or literally melts down. You said your brother gets upset when he makes an emotional connection with you. Aspies can be really, really sensitive emotionally. You said that you think he is shutting you out. He may have learned that as a defense mechanism and some of what you are saying is making it past his filter. Keep talking to him even when he acts like he isn't listening.

Try and find this book at the library: Making sense of autistic spectrum disorders : create the brightest future for your child with the best treatment options by James Coplan. One of the most comprehensive I have read.

I like the fact that you talk to your brother about anxiety. I found a wonderful book written by a woman who had anxiety attacks and didn't know what was going on and as an adult she was diagnosed. She was compelled to reconnect with people in her past to find out how they perceived her. Let me look up the title, darn, can't find it easily. Anyway, her experiences mirrored mine so I found the book very helpful. I have explained anxiety symptoms to my grandson and at first he didn't understand but now when he acts out I ask him to tell me what his body is feeling and when he can settle down enough to talk we decide if he is having the symptoms of an anxiety attack. He had a hard time believing that anxiety could cause shaking, feeling sick to his stomach to the point of vomiting, diarrhea, the need to run away and hide, etc. He and I both have problems knowing when we are hungry or tired. I read him examples from books, web site postings, etc. He uses pot to mask the anxiety but that isn't the answer. He doesn't have a job hence no insurance and no way to get medication. Not sure he would take it anyway. He rarely goes out in public. His anxiety is too great to even go see a doctor.

Your brother may hear people talking about him but not comprehend. Don't assume that overhearing another person means that he understands that he has Aspergers. He needs to be told point blank and be given material that reinforces what he is being told. None of the people I personally know (that have Aspergers) do well with innuendos or hints or anything other than straight talk. That is one of the most common traits of Aspergers.

My grandson knows that he has a diagnosis of Aspergers but he won't accept it because his dad denies it. I have talked to him about his differences since he was a child and sometimes he acts like he isn't paying attention but some of what I say gets through. When I say something that really touches him he may jump up and leave the room because he doesn't want to listen, curl up in a ball and rock, or sometimes he goes to sleep, almost like he is passing out. One minute awake, the next asleep. Emotional overload. I understand. When I get home from having to deal with something stressful, basically anything having to do with what people consider normal life, I have to cry a little or take a nap. When I was younger I would have a tantrum. I get overloaded easily and it makes me emotionally and physically exhausted.

Perhaps your brother understands that he has Aspergers but he may not know what that means. Aspergers is a spectrum disorder. The symptoms can be different for each individual. Figure out an issue or symptom that he has and go out to wrongplanet and find related posts that are positive, or have a positive outcome. Maybe you could print them out and let him read them, or send him a link. He needs to know that other people are like him.

Your brother needs to know that he is special and that he can have a good future if he finds a field that values his unique abilities. There are people in the autism community that swear that Bill Gates has Aspergers. My brother with Aspergers has multiple degrees and is brilliant but he is horrible with people. He started his own company and is doing well. One of my nieces with Aspergers also has multiple degrees and owns a couple of businesses. Another niece with Aspergers is a computer program developer and works for herself. Did you ever watch Numb3rs? Charlie, the main character was a math professor and had the symptoms of Aspergers. In one episode he said that most of the math and science professors at the college where he taught were on the spectrum. I've met a lot of very intelligent people with Aspergers that work in highly respected fields.

When you talk to your brother, make sure he understands that Aspergers can be a gift. That there are colleges that want students with Aspergers. Google colleges for Aspergers. There are certain fields that want employees with Aspergers. Let him know that kids can be cruel and that middle school is the worst. Middle school kids can be even meaner than high school. If he can handle the academics he will find it much easier in high school. Who knows, he might thrive in college. Find out what he likes and maybe there is a club about his interest, or a web site of like-minded individuals. He needs an outlet where his unique skills are praised and he can feel good about himself.

Transitions are hard for people with Aspergers. Your brother may never give up his idea that you are coming back home. My older brother with Aspergers refuses to forgive me for something I did as a child. He is 60 and won't forgive me for something I did 50 years ago. My husband won't believe anything is true unless he has personal experience. Prove it to me is his by-line. My grandson comes up with concrete beliefs, some I have been able to change, others I haven't. Keep loving your brother.

What is your field of study at college? Does your brother like to hear about your college studies or how you live while going to school? Hopefully he can create a vision of how his future can be.

I know that you will find a way to help your brother even more than you are doing now - and what you are doing now is wonderful.
Good luck dealing with your mother.

 
Old 07-10-2011, 11:56 PM   #13
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Re: 11 yr old in need, please help!

it is good that you care so much, and you are doing to right thing. I have Asperger syndrome (AS), but was not told till i was about 17. there isn't any medication for (AS) but there is a lot of support and help for it, being diagnosed will help people and family around him, undertand him and help him. it is true (AS) can make you depresed, i tried to kill myself years ago when i overtook painkillers, i was so unhappy at being different and not fitting in, but now i understand my condition proplery i know why i am different and accept it as the person i am. my cousion has another form of autsim, and goes to a special school with others like himself. (AS) has differnt levels, somtime a child, or person has (AS) very high or sometimes very low. when it is very low it can be very hard to decided if that is what they have or not, because they act very normal most of the time and have very few symptoms of (AS), the higher the (AS) is the more noticeable it is. The doctors wouldn't have knowen if the child has (AS) at birth, they might of known something was wrong from the test done at birth, but should of advised your parents to routes to take as he got older, including that fact that he might have autism (asperger is a form of autsim) or something eles, and they should of told your parents that they should seek help as the child grew older etc.
I would deffienty try to get a diagnoses, but usaully a doctor will refer the child, if the parent says they wish this etc. it might not be autism at all, it could be a learning difficulty, or somthing eles, this is why it is important to find out what is wrong so that you and your family and teachers etc, understand and can help your brother, not knowing what is wrong, is not good for your brother as he dosn't know why he is so differnt and is going through this alone, without the correct support, and help he needs. If he isn't givin the correct help, support and understanding, it could make things worse as he gets older.
I really admire you love for your brother and wish you all the best x

 
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