Approaching Aunt & Uncle About Child

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01 Nov 2005, 12:53 pm

Hi, I am reaching out to you as parents of Children with Asperger for your advice. I have a cousin who demonstrates all of the traites of having Asperger's. He is very bright (top of his class) now age 17, but has the social capacity of about a 10 year old. He seemed to be developing as a normal (though uba-smart) child until about the age of 10 or 11 and then he just kinda stayed there. Learning to drive has been extreamly difficult and frustrating.

Frustrating on my part (and the majority of the family) is that his parents (my Aunt & uncle) don't seem to think there is any major issue, they think he is just shy, but it appears to go beyond that.

How would you best suggest approaching either him (he is 17!) or his parents about being tested and by whom (father, Grandfather, me, anyone?) Or am I being over concerned and maybe he really is just shy?

Any Advice is appreciated.

Emu Egg
Emu Egg

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Joined: 5 Sep 2005
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01 Nov 2005, 1:20 pm

Hi Wondergirl.
Your cousin sounds a lot like my son who is nearly 15. Although there were issues around when he was younger these have become much more noticeable as he has got older and seems in some respects to have been 'left behind' emotionally by his peers.
Given your cousin's age I would be inclined to speak to him rather than his parents. I would approach it in terms of trying to get his perspective on his situation - ask him about his school life, any friends, if he is unhappy or lonely etc. I think it's likely if he does have AS that he will know that he 'walks to a different beat' than most people and that he is likely to be unhappy about this to some extent.
It's nice that you are concerned about him but tread carefully.
Hope that helps,


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Joined: 31 Mar 2005
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01 Nov 2005, 2:53 pm

What a wonderful friend and relative you are! Your cousin is lucky!

My son was like your cousin...he seemed to "hit the wall" in fourth grade and by fifth, he was clearly behind his peers in some ways and advanced in others.

I suggest you talk directly to your cousin. Some parents, for various reasons, are never able to accept that their child is "different."

I'm not even sure I would mention Asperger's right off the bat. Depending on your relationship with your cousin, you could mention that the difficulty he is having with driving and his shyness remind you of this website. God knows we have discussed the issues some of us have with driving frequently enough! Let him come here and decide for himself if Asperger's seems to fit.

Unless he needs the diagnois right now for accomidations in school, that can come later. There are advantages to having it yet many people here have never gone for a formal evaluation and don't see the need for it. As I said, it can come later.

Good luck to you and to your cousin.