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Adult Diagnosis of Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

"I have a new boyfriend who is handsome, but quirky. I'm wondering if he has Asperger Syndrome. I wouldn't hold that against him if he has this disorder, but knowing that he does - if he does - would sure explain a lot of things for me. Is there a way to know for sure before approaching him on this matter?"

As more and more doctors - and society in general - understand more about Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism, the condition is being diagnosed in grown-ups as well as kids. Sometimes the diagnosis doesn’t come out in adults until their own son or daughter is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Typical symptoms associated with Aspergers in adults include: 
  • adhering strongly to routines and schedules
  • an average or above average intelligence
  • difficulty controlling their feelings
  • difficulty empathizing with others
  • difficulty thinking abstractly
  • difficulty understand the emotions of others
  • missing the subtleties of facial expression, eye contact and body language
  • poor conversational ability
  • some inappropriate social behaviors
  • specializing in specific fields or hobbies

If your boyfriend has several of these traits, then he may want to seek an official diagnosis. 

A way for you to approach the matter is to lead with strengths. Most people with Aspergers have significant areas of strength (even if this has not been translatable into tangible success). Bring up areas of strength with your boyfriend. Next, tactfully point out the areas in which he may be struggling. Then, suggest to him that there is a name for that confusing combination of strengths and challenges, and it may be Aspergers.

Like kids with Aspergers, these adults are often seen as odd. In years past, such individuals muddled along in society - sometimes on the fringes – while others were diagnosed with different types of mental illnesses. Now that Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism have been brought into the public light by cases of people who either have succeeded despite the disorder or committed crimes as a result of having previously undiagnosed Aspergers, more adults are being picked-up and treated for the condition.

Often these aren’t adults specifically asking for help for suspected Aspergers, but rather have anxiety and/or depression, issues around self-esteem, or other mood issues that bring them to doctors or therapists that are now making the correct underlying diagnosis.

By finding the correct underlying diagnosis, more help can become available even to those who’ve likely had the diagnosis their entire lives – but were unnoticed or labeled something else.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples


•    Anonymous said… I'm an adult and I am certain that I have an undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder. I'm despressed and frustrated at this time because there seems to be no way of getting affordable autism testing and assessment from a qualified professional. I have spent many hours trying to make phone and internet inquiries into making this happen. My desire is to start a petition to President Obama to release funds for more services to be made assessible to adults, including autism testing. But I need to find someone who will give me permission to use a photo with the message "Children with autism become adults with autism" to make that happen. I have one daughter who is high-functioning and is on the spectrum and a biological dad (now deceased) who is believed to have been on the spectrum.
•    Anonymous said…  I have three places I am totally job and my own company.I was diagnosed at the aga of 52 by Dr Stephen Underwood in Australia.It was my ex who pushed me toward my being diagnosed and I still miss her very much but I have become comfortable with how my life will evolve..It takes an exceptional person to take on a telationship with an aspie.
•    Anonymous said…  talk to green maxville and associates in st.louis mo.they are helping me with my high functioning autism.i have health care usa managed care plan through mo health is medicaid.having 10 sessions of behavior therapy and some comm number is 314 792 not alone.i am 36 yr old adult.
•    Anonymous said…  I have long suspected I'm an undiagnosed aspergers. I have all the criteria listed. Unfortunately, I believe I was an absolute terrible baby and child with inexperienced parents and so suffered terribly through my childhood. This means that when I approach someone for help their focus goes to my abusive childhood rather than helping me with my aspergers symptoms now. Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions for the best way for me to get some help and understanding?
•    Anonymous said…  I too was a "terrible child," abused by my mom, coaches, teachers and kids in school. I believed that there was something wrong with me, they told me I was "weird." That was my diagnosis. Despite, I did grow up to become a super successful adult (i guess high functioning autism). I am still not diagnosed and thought very highly of the skills for success I've developed. In my work I am a Certified High Performance Coach. Few years ago I received a Masters Degree in Spiritual Psychology. The tools I've learned through the program have changed my life, especially around relating to other people, empathy, compassion, relationships, and communication. I can't say that now I love large gatherings or enjoy small talk conversations and never feel socially awkward, no, all of that is present in my life. However, I am creating meaningful connections, change people's lives, enjoy beautiful relationships and most important, feel fulfilled and happy! Perhaps, I could be of service to you and support you with the tools that have helped me in my own life so profoundly! I would be happy to hear from you. Please don't hesitate to email me at coach underscore faye at me dot com. Sending you love and light on your journey.


Best Comment: "I did finally find a counselor who deals with adults with aspergers. I had no problem finding counselors who dealt with kids, but adults is a whole other matter. Actually finding someone who could do a diagnosis was easy. The larger companies around here (with multiple counselors) typically all had a diagnostic section that handled that sort of thing. Its the treatment side of things that got dicey. Reading the online blogs and websites, I think that will change over time. Relatively speaking, Asperger's and HFA are pretty new disorders. It didn't even exist in the DSM until I was in high school! I imagine there are a lot of adults out there dealing with these issues, and as time progresses, more and more clinicians will become better equipped to handle it."


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