New Friends in Colombia, South America

New Friends in Colombia, South America

Many thanks to my friend, Andres Mejia and his Funcacion Integrar for convincing me that Medellin, Colombia was a place I must visit!  Andres invited me to be a presenter at a conference in Medellin, Colombia for individuals with all forms of disabilities.  Presenters attended from Canada, Spain, Peru, the United States (me) and Colombia.  I learned many new ideas and perspectives.  It is an exciting time to be involved with disabilities in Colombia, as the government there is finally beginning an earnest diaglogue about partnering with consumers to make cities handicapped accessible and to help in providing inclusive education. 
I met many wonderful people who are parents, consumers and professionals who are working toward better, inclusive services for all who have challenges.  I saw performances by exceptional learners in a wonderful play about being who you are and a wonderful choral performance. 
I was in awe at the beauty of Colombia and the warm and caring people I met. 
Fundacion Integrar will be translating my book, "More Advanced Individuals with Autism, Asperger Syndrome and PDD/NOS" (the 2001 version) into Spanish.  When the book is ready, we will notify our OASIS @ MAAP community.
Posted by Susan Moreno on 8/5/2010 12:01:08 PM

Current rating: 3 (2 ratings)

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How do I explain a 36 year old friend that he might have AS? Ever since I’ve researched on AS, I’ve noticed that his behavior and personality matches the characteristics of mild autism or AS. When ever I talk to him, its good when its a conversation we both can relate to. But when I try to ask him questions about the way something certain feels, and he tries to go around the question by another question, then I’m faced with a challenge to have him understand what I genuinely mean. But he would get argumentative about it, when all I would want is to compromise, and he wouldn’t grasp it, so we don’t talk anymore.

I tried to address Asperger to him, and ask if he’s heard of it. And he said no, as concerned as I am, I tried to read it to him, but he denies it, and immediately shuts me out, and now he says he doesn’t want to be my friend anymore.

What just happened? How do I deal with this?
8/7/2010 1:09:42 AM
Susan Moreno
It is hard to analyze a relationship from afar. How long were you friends? If the friendship somehow continues, I’d suggest that he read, "Asperger Syndrome From the Inside Out" by Michael John Carley. You can order it from our bookstore. If he isn’t having contact with you, try mailing him the book with a note saying that you are not trying to criticize him, but you are trying to understand him better and help him understand his own, wonderful unique ways.
There is no way to "make" him seek a diagnosis. Hopefully, you can help him to understand more about what makes him unique.
8/7/2010 7:46:57 AM
Susan, actually I’ve been more than a just friend with him, it’s been over a year now. He and I have been together intimately and grew to share extended amount of time together, at times he would want me to stay the night and to what I would feel and think that our relationship is growing closer, now it’s like a light switch. He turns off and on with his personality. When I try to strike up a conversation about our relationship for instance… like I wonder when he would introduce me to his family, being that he’s met all mine, after over a year, I think that any man would want to bring a girl home to meet mom one day, right? He tells me they know of me, that he tells them about our relationship, so I ask when are you gonna introduce me… then he gets all weird on me by saying things that doesn’t apply to the subject about introducing me.

For the most part, I’d like to say we have a good relationship when we exercise together, go to the movies or dinner. But when I try to address an issue with him. It’s been a bit of a struggle for me because we would have dumb arguments about misunderstandings. Every time I try explain reasons of why I genuinely want to reach out to him, he gets defensive and has a rebuttal of something that’s irrelevant to the subject I would bring up. And he would blow up and tell me to leave him alone. So, that’s when I get confused of what just happened there, because when I thought I was trying to have him see that I have good intentions, he turns around and yells and the tension builds because out of frustration I try to explain that I love him and I only want to try to understand him better, he turns around and comments with a whole different subject and doesn’t make sense of it, and it just ends with him telling me to go home. So when that happens, I would tell a good friend of mine, and to the way I explained how the situation started and ended, my friend told me that he sounds autistic, and suggested to read about Asperger Syndrome. And when I did, it all makes sense to me. So, yesterday when I tried to address it to him, asked him if he’s heard of Asperger, he said no. So I told him about it briefly, but he argues back and says if I’m reading about it, then I must I have it. It’s so bizarre how it’s turned out. Now he wants to break up with me, and being very defensive. What do I do now? Can I call any one to talk about this?

Sandy (Caligirl)
8/7/2010 9:15:52 AM
Susan Moreno
It sounds as if he certainly at least has strong traits of Asperger’s. Do you know how to contact his family? Maybe you should express your concerns to them. I stronly suggest two books: "Asperger Syndrome From the Inside Out" by Michael John Carley and "The Complete Guide to Asperger Syndrome" by Tony Attwood. Perhaps one of his siblings or one of his parents would read one of these and see him in it.
What did you want to accomplish with him?… Did you think he might seek help, diagnosis, counseling? I know that the women I keep in touch with who date or are married to someone with autism or Aspergers say that once their partner recognizes his differences, things often get better. However, if he is in denial and you push the point, he can be very angry with you. This may go away or last for a long, long time.
If I were you, I’d wait a week or two and then send him a text, or an email or a note and say that you miss him. See if he responds.
I wish you good luck. I still think you should post this situation on our forums.
8/30/2010 11:57:21 AM
Susan, thank you very much for the advice. Yes I have waited a couple of weeks, and have texted him on his cell, and told him I miss him. And he replies telling me the same. But seems to still shy away from seeing me. I’ve also tried to reach out to his parents that I still have not met in person yet after a year we’ve been together.

He comes from a divorced family, so I’ve contacted his mother and father separately via email, and mother does not respond, instead… she had told him that I’ve emailed her, so he was a bit upset, and said that he asked his mom if she knows about him having such a disorder. And he tells me his mom says no, and when I’ve emailed his dad… I received a reply, with the dad telling me that he does not feel comfortable telling me about anything, and that he loves his son very much. So, I knew that it is definitely a sensitive subject, but still the answer I was seeking for was not given. I felt that they just wanted to hide things, and protect his disorder. And here I am, putting forth effort to reach out and help. I want him to get diagnosed, and seek counseling. He’s 36 years old, and his mother treats him like he’s still a baby.

One of his friends even told me, they know his mom, and she praises her son’s name as if he still in grade school. I can totally understand a mother’s love is unconditional… but I wish she would not treat him like he’s a kid.

I don’t know what to do anymore. He still sends me txt messages. And will sound defensive when I tell him "please seek counseling". And its so weird, because he replies with something not of the subject by bringing up a past that he thinks I did something wrong, and tells me that I’m the one with AS. He also said, if I’m the one doing the research, its because I must have it. I just thought that is exactly how weird and not normal of him to say. Lack of empathy and no sense of logic.
9/3/2010 12:12:35 AM
Susan Moreno
It may not be that his parents are trying to hide something. They truly may not believe that he has any form of challenge. The more "able" or "advanced" a person with autism is, the more people can overlook their challenges as being shy, immature or eccentric. If you approach him or his parents again (I’d give it a rest for a few weeks), I would emphasize that you want to UNDERSTAND him and for him and his family to also understand him better. This is for support, not your own agenda. Perhaps that will help. If not, this may be a "walk away" issue. I sure hope not. The old saying comes into play, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink."
I wish you every success.
9/7/2010 12:24:33 PM
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Susan Moreno
It is hard to analyze a relationship from afar. How long w…

Susan, actually I’ve been more than a just friend with him,…

Susan Moreno
It sounds as if he certainly at least has strong traits of …

Susan, thank you very much for the advice. Yes I have wait…

Susan Moreno
It may not be that his parents are trying to hide something…

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