Wednesday, March 08, 2006

When you see an undiagnosed child of a friend. . .

There's a running joke in our family -- after doing much research on Asperger's/High Functioning Autism, I often would look around me and say "so and so seems a bit Aspy to me", etc., etc. My children tell me that I think everyone has Asperger's syndrome. And they are probably right. I see some aspects of Asperger's in myself (I really have a hard time recognizing the faces of acquaintances when I see them in a different environment than the original one in which I met them), and many aspects in my father and my husband's father (both engineers, and my father has some rigid social characteristics -- he used to read the newspaper while people were visiting us at our house, or while we were out for dinner, rather than socialize, etc.). But there have been a few times when I've wondered about various people that I've known extremely well, wondered if this could be a part of their makeup, and wondered if it would be a good thing for them if they knew that Asperger's could be a possibility.

I have a very close friend that I've known for years. She has been like a second mom to my children, and she is a really loving woman who I care for a lot. I've watched her children grow up and now all except one are in college. She has a daughter who, since she has left home and gone off to college, seems to be having a harder time than most. She is a really nice girl, and very, very bright in areas that she chooses to study. She is an accomplished pianist and composer, she reads constantly, watches movies so much that she can quote specific scenes by memory, and basically has a knowledge of pretty much everything. She is very affectionate, often too affectionate -- she often invades one's personal space. She likes to perform, and does so whether people want to be her audiece or not. She does not seem to be able to watch other's responses to her actions and then adjust her actions accordingly. She has always been this way, and has always had difficulty getting along with her peers. She is a very nice, sweet girl who I love a lot, and her mother has mentioned that she has problems with depression.

This girl is in her twenties now, and I am aware that her mother may not appreciate me hinting at the fact that I think her daughter has Asperger's -- in doing so, I would probably jeopardize the friendship. But for the daughter, all I can think of is that it might be quite a relief to have this information, and she may then have an opportunity to read up on the subject, or attend a support group and find other Asperger's syndrome peers who she could relate to, and who could relate to her. I watch my son at his social skills group, and these guys all get along so well and enjoy each other's company so much -- it's as if they are in a group, finally, who just "get it." I would love for my friend's daughter to have that opportunity as well.

But how would I ever mention this to her? I have no idea.


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