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Gottaknow
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20 Dec 2013, 1:14 pm

I have a younger sister that is 24 and was diagnosed with aspergers within the last year I think. I have been having a hard time with it because she has only been acting the way she has been for the last few years. I was wondering how many of the things she does are normal aspie things. I just want to know if any of these things are "curable" things we can work on.

She yells and snaps at the family all the time. She tells everyone what to do. Anytime my mom wants to go out with her friends or even goes on a business trip my sister texts and calls her because she is home alone. She is home alone because she has never had a job and she just sits in her recliner all day and looks at stuff on her ipad. Almost anything she asks for is given to her and she never earns it. (Which might be a parenting problem but I never turned out that way so I don't know what went wrong.) It seems like she doesn't appreciate what she has because she just spends my parents money like it's grown on trees. She also doesn't have many friends anymore. She used to have so many because she was a soccer player and then all of a sudden she doesn't want to play and everything went downhill. I don't remember her ever being mean like this until the last few years. Like when my mom will wash her hands because she know she wants her to, she still yells at her for not doing it right or "but I didn't see you do it" or something. And she wonders why I always yell at her. Usually it's to say "stop yelling at your mother". I usually end up saying to my mom later "she can have her aspergers problem but I'm pretty sure she doesn't need to be rude about it in the process."

Sorry this rant was long. I've just been wanting to get this off my chest to some people that could really help me see what's going on here. Thanks for your input and I hope I don't sound too mean myself.



Willard
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20 Dec 2013, 1:44 pm

First, Autism is not "curable" or treatable. Some comorbids, like ADHD can be medicated, but Autism itself, no.

Second, It would be stupid for anyone to comment on your complaints about your sister when we have no direct knowledge of the situation and have not heard her side of any of it.

Third, and most germane to bringing such a query to this place in particular: Asperger Syndrome, aka High Functioning Autism is a disability - a set of neurological handicaps. Specifically, Autism is a sensory processing disorder which frequently makes life itself overwhelming and literally painful to absorb.

At best, people with HFA are dealing with stresses and anxieties that those with neurotypical brains cannot imagine and our responses and behaviors may often appear baffling, frustrating or irritating when seen only from the outside, by people who are not experiencing our difficulties or discomfort.

I understand that your sister's behaviors may seem irrational and annoying to you, but as a part of her family and one of those supposedly closest to her, I urge you to make extra effort to extend compassion and sympathy to a sibling with a disability, that while it may be invisible to you, is no less crippling to her. Chances are, a lot of her sullenness and petulance may be the result of a chronic depression, which is a common comorbid with AS/HFA.

Sometimes the diagnosis itself can be a double-edged sword - on the one hand, it can be a tremendous relief to realize that the social and sensory difficulties that have plagued you your whole life are not personality flaws, but an actual physical condition that is not your fault - on the other hand, it can be emotionally overwhelming to realize that because AS is an alternative wiring schematic in your brain, those handicaps are never going to go away and you're not going to outgrow them. Which is to say, it can mess with your head and make you very unhappy for a while, as you try to come to terms with your new definitions of just who and what you are.

So give the girl a break. She's had a lot to take in recently and it just takes time to sort it all out. Maybe it would be easier for you to understand why she's going through the state of mind she is, if you took a little time to familiarize yourself with just what her condition is and how it affect those who have it. You can learn a lot of that just by following conversations here on WP. There's a whole bunch of us odd Aspergians here and we all have pretty much the same types of problems with it.



sidelines
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20 Dec 2013, 2:03 pm

Gottaknow wrote:
I have been having a hard time with it because she has only been acting the way she has been for the last few years.


On that specific point:

If she's 24, a lot will have changed in her life in the last few years. In particular, she probably finished school, which is one of those points at which being different can really make itself noticed. She may suddenly have realised that she finds it a lot harder than other people to socialise, or get a job, or study, or whatever. Or she may even have had some unpleasant experience that has upset her badly - the possibilities are endless.

Such things can cause coping skills to break down. So for example if she was previously a bit OCD (I'm guessing at that based on the handwashing story), she might suddenly have become much more anxious, and therefore she needs to get other people to follow her compulsions too in order to feel safe. Or, she may previously have been happy to go out and try to socialise even if it was difficult for her, but now no longer feels up to it.

So that she wasn't always like this doesn't mean anything. And there's presumably a specific reason why her ASD has been picked up on now, rather than earlier, so that too might indicate that something got a lot more difficult for her fairly recently in her life.



Astera
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20 Dec 2013, 2:18 pm

Having Asperger's is not an excuse for her treating family members like that, but there have to be reasons for her behaviour.

When did she start behaving like that? Did she have any traumatic experiences in recent years? Any sudden and stressful changes?

Does she have any sensory issues? My own hypersensitivity to sounds really kicked in during my early twenties. Sensory issues is hard to deal with and can make us snappy and irritable, and cause meltdowns.

Try to talk to her calmly about what's bothering her. Try to be patient, because chances are she doesn't know how to explain it herself.



Gottaknow
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20 Dec 2013, 2:57 pm

I don't know of any specific traumatic events but it might have only started happening within the last 5 or so years. I know a lot of aspies have trouble in school and she had that issue. She has been on and off going to school. Such as in college she would end up having my parents do her homework for her online class because it was too much for her. I have looked up many things on aspergers and she even went to an aspergers therapist that I have been to with her once but she stopped going to him because he was gonna try to help her and she doesn't want help. Or something like that. She does have sensory issues and I do remember her having those all her life. I guess I can understand that part being upsetting to her.



GregCav
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20 Dec 2013, 3:30 pm

She needs to grow up and start to deal with life.

Which is easier said than done. She may be falling into depression, which from experience, is a dreadful thing to go through.

I suspect her ability to cope with life has collapsed. And she's given up trying.

So for the next couple years; she may become suicidal, or she may snap out of it and start living. It's difficult to guess which one will happen.

Family support will help her recover, as will a good social worker. I can't recomend pshycotherapists as they seem to be too narrow focused, but a good social worker who could help her with life skills, I think would help a huge amount.

Ultimatly, she has to learn to deal with life if she wants to survive it.



aaronzx
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20 Dec 2013, 5:29 pm

A sour personality is not inherent of autism itself. Like other people have said, there may be other factors at play here such as depression or even just general laziness.



cavernio
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20 Dec 2013, 10:29 pm

Basically what everyone else has said.
Being an adult who isn't capable of looking after yourself, or not being able to look after yourself as much as 'normal' people, can be extremely upsetting.
Sounds like she got depressed the past few years. But as to why, we can only speculate, as per my sentence above. It could be from something you know nothing about, things she will never share with you. If she is depressed, daily activity and exercise is one of the best scientifically known treatments, but of course resolving any outstanding issues she has is the biggest help.
No she can't get treatment for autism, but her behaviour and irritability aren't necessarily autism-specific or autism-induced.

'General laziness' is the worst theory I've ever heard. Laziness, just like any behaviour, has a reason. There's no 'general' about it. Maybe she's too tired, maybe she gets so overwhelmed that doing nearly anything bothers her, maybe she has incredibly low self-esteem, maybe she has severe adhd and no motivation, maybe she has physical problems that are being manifested mentally because her senses are messed up (sounds crazy and probably is crazy, but I've definitely emotionally noticed pain more than I've physically felt pain before, like when I broke my tailbone snowboarding, I didn't physically feel the pain until the car ride home even though I nearly had an emotional breakdown on the slopes and wanted to do nothing more than go home)


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Not autistic, I think
Prone to depression
Have celiac disease
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MjrMajorMajor
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20 Dec 2013, 11:00 pm

Gottaknow wrote:
Such as in college she would end up having my parents do her homework for her online class because it was too much for her. .


WTH? If she can't handle the workload that's one thing, but that doesn't mean it should be done for her. That's going to cripple her more than any disability. :?