Bringing Out the Talents of Autistic Spectrum Kids

Tired young man
Why would a person who is young, brilliant, and talented be incorrigibly lazy?  Everyone tells him he has all the talent he needs to succeed, but he can’t figure out how other people do it.

He’s been told what an action plan is.  But even thinking about planning is already exhausting.  How can he line up his tasks so that the first step in the plan leads to a logical sequence of intermediate steps which would need to be taken in just the right order to achieve his goal?  He knows where he is beginning; he knows where he wants to end up.  The other stuff is just missing.

The first step might be to ask for intensive help with planning and execution, but this first step is also a part of the stuff that’s just missing.  He doesn’t get why he won’t apply himself, and, seemingly, neither does anyone else.  He won’t even try planning for very long.  It wears him down as soon as he starts.

As a child, he may have taken a clinical test called the Tower of London.  The Tower of London is related to the classic problem-solving puzzle known as the Tower of Hanoi, shown below:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The object of the puzzle is to move the tower of discs from the leftmost peg to the rightmost peg.  A player can move one disc at a time onto any peg as an interim step.  No disc can be placed atop a smaller disc.  The skill is planning the interim steps that are required to reassemble the tower at the opposite end.

To see an animated demonstration of the Tower of Hanoi puzzle, click on the link below:

To test their ability to plan interim steps toward a goal, children are given a series of simpler versions of this puzzle (called the Tower of London test).  Autistic spectrum children find this test extremely difficult, indicating a weakness in planning skills.  Even as children, high-functioning autistics wonder why planning is so much harder for them than it is for other people.

Young Aspergers adults are frustrated when they try to figure out exactly what anyone, who is trying to help them plan for the future, actually means.

In truth, Aspergers of all ages can learn how to plan if someone respectfully does all the steps with them.  Aspergers can only get their minds around sequences that are concrete.  When parents or counselors execute a plan with Aspergers adults or children, it’s best to remember that, for them, learning the plan will be exhausting.  Take it nice and slow.  Both you and they deserve frequent breaks.

39 Responses to What makes many young Aspergers adults seem so Lazy? And what Strategy ACTUALLY WORKS to Keep Them Moving in a Meaningful Direction?

  • This is a cogent essay on the implications of Aspergers as regards the what non-Aspergers adults would consider mundane, tasks of dealing with everyday chores. Thank you for shedding light on this important and often overlooked topic.

  • Thanks, Michael. I changed footnotes to instruct readers to search for the Millennials series by category.

  • I have an 18 year old son who has high functioning autism. I’m looking for some guidance on how to get him to pick something, anything, as a start for a job goal. He doesn’t like any ideas we’ve come up with and he will have a lot more help now, while he is still in high school with vocational training than if he waits until after he graduates to decide. He knows that he can change goals at any time, but this does not help him pick a direction. Can you give me some concrete ways to help him in this regard?

  • Lauren

    The first thing that comes to mind is that any psychiatric issues need to be treated first, because anxiety over the prospect of change can be a source of resistance to any suggested plan of action.

    In general, high-functioning autistics are better able to deal with short-range benchmarks than long-term goals. In some way or other, he probably needs each step mapped out in sequence for any long-range goal that he might pick.

    You and your son could, for example, take a big easel board and draw a “you are here” circle, then delineate the sequence of each step he would need to take toward a given end goal. Use whatever visual aids work best for your son to give him a concrete, step-by-step model.

    You know your son best, so you will have to play around with making concrete representations that will stick with him. Once he has studied the map that you have constructed with him, he will probably be overwhelmed, but he will better understand that these goals are multi-step processes.

    Then take several sheets of paper and cover up all but the very first step in the sequence. Help him envision taking the first step to see what that would look like and whether it appeals.

    When presenting him with options, it is very important that you consider which skills sets are required to be successful in any given vocation. Auto mechanics, for example, requires good mechanical reasoning ability, the ability to read, absorb, and apply information from diagrams, and manual dexterity. If he has the first two skills, but not the third, then auto mechanics is not a realistic vocation for him.

    The general question you are asking is familiar, but I don’t know the specifics of your son’s situation. Please respond and let me know if these suggestions fit.

  • This is very interesting. I am beginning the process of a possible aspergers diagnosis and can’t help but read the various articles out there regarding the issue.

    I find this one very interesting. I have always worried that although I have felt different for as long as I can remember, I am simply lazy. It doesn’t seem to matter how hard I try, I am trying at “nothing”. Planning is a total nightmare for me. When I was younger, the kids I hung around with had GameBoys and were all obsessed with Tetris, spending hours and hours in a row playing with it. They then moved onto other games like War Hammer, or various other games on consoles. I could never understand why they did it. I used to look at Tetris and think “why are you at all interested in getting those blocks into a row?” and “ok, so you’ve made a row, why do you want to continue making more and more rows”? I just didn’t get it.

    Whenever I tried it, as a way of fitting in, I found it was easy to get started, but then as planning was required (I see this now), my brain just fell apart. Chess was impossible for me. Team sports were impossible. Yet give me Lego, or something with concrete steps and I was all over it. Starting point and ending point. Of course then my friends would start to build things with the Lego outwith the instructions and again I just couldn’t compete.

    So it is interesting to see your article. thank you.

    • Thank you, David. Sorry it took me so long to respond. I’m in the midst of revamping my website and didn’t see your comment earlier.

      I have a severe dyslexia–people give me a sequence of landmarks to see and turns to take to get to the hardware store. I end up at the airport.

      I get past turn one then am totally disoriented, like all the roads have suddenly changed directions on me and the landmarks are either missing or not where they were supposed to be. So which way was I supposed to turn in relation to what I’m seeing now? What was landmark or turn two in this sequence?

      Lazy, even though I’ve heard it all my life, doesn’t account for my visual sequencing difficulties, which put me years behind in decoding anything like written language, the periodic table, numbers systems . . .

      Even though my diagnosis is different, I get how the steps between “you are here” and “you want to be there” just evaporate after step one. It’s just really hard to explain how I have so much trouble with simple sequencing.

      Good luck to you, David. Please keep me posted–and I promise to be prompt the next time you write. After all, I’m not lazy!

  • Hello, I’ve married a woman whose son is diagnosed with Aspbergers. He is 19 years old and has just finished his first semester of college and it was basically an unmitigated disaster. He had a very reduced course load yet still missed the majority of his classes, lied about attending, failed to finish most assignments. His stress level was very high because of this, many arguments occurred between him and his mother. I feel he is not ready for this step in his life to which I get “what ideas do you have then”, this is a very valid point to which I have no answer. I understand why she tries to send him to college, she wants him to not be in the house all the time and tied to the internet. Right now our house hold is a ball of anger, her son lashes out and everyone else (always verbally and very mean) and never accepts any responsibility for his own actions and always lays the blame elsewhere i.e. family, teachers, counsellors etc. He refuses counseling, so we are at our wits end as to what we should do, it seems impossible to force an adult to do anything.

    • Hi, it seems like you’re writing my story! Since your post is a few years old, I hope things are better now. I thought I would share my story just in case… After giving up on the college route, my son had a few failed jobs. He would do well for a while then it would all crash down around us. He would threaten suicide… We’ve never been sure if he was serious or used it as a way to get out of responsibility. We treated it seriously and he was in the hospital and out patient treatment. It kept him safe, but didn’t fix the issues. What did work: 1. As a united front, every family member and close friend repeatedly told him that he was responsible for his own life. 2. Insisting that he contribute to the family. If he wasn’t going to work or go to school, his contribution would be household chores. Laundry, vacuuming, caring for the pets, etc. 3. Finding a good therapist. He had one before but she ended up being useless despite a good resume. Don’t be afraid to keep looking until you find one that actually cares and can get thru to him. 4. We stopped being codependent. Love doesn’t equal to living in hell. If he didn’t abide by the house rules, he would be taken to the homeless shelter. No excuses. Yes, he was taken once. We promised to take him to his appointments, see him once a day to give him his meds. He didn’t last more than a couple of hours. But then he knew we were serious. We would help him be his best but not help him be his worst. 5. It took a while, but we got him into a job program. They helped him find a job and more importantly keep the job. Finally being able to work isn’t so stressful because we’re not on our own.
      We’re always going to have to write lists and keep them short. Always take steps back and breathe for a moment before proceeding. Always struggle with hygiene and meds. The goal isn’t to make him “normal” it’s to help him live a good life.
      We take one day at a time, one step at a time. Not every day is a diamond but every day can be lived consciously with honesty and love.
      Good luck. I hope my story has helped.

      • Hi Cara

        A while since you posted your story but thought I’d reply. A similar situation for us. My almost 18 yo has just been diagnosed with Autism, still waiting for the report to see what level, but he is high functioning. I have been despairing over his total lack of motivation. We too have laid down ground rules about doing chores around the house but he makes sure he does not do more than is absolutely necessary. He argues about everything. I think that he is depressed, he says not. He works a few hours a week – took a lot of prodding from me but now that he is on track so far so good. Unfortunately it is seasonal work so I worry what happens after. I’ve also threatened to ‘kick him out’. Did not think of taking him off to a homeless shelter to show that we are serious.

        I will try and take one step at a time. My mistake is trying to make him ‘normal’ but I like what you said – help him have a good life.

        • Hi
          I have an elderly uncle with Aspergers I have been caring for since he was 60. I have one piece of feedback. Do not waste time lecturing. You are literally teaching your relative how to argue and debate. With my uncle it’s 1. an expectation i.e. take a shower on a regular day and time. 2. we go through the process until it gets on his cognitive map as a habit and we try to make it as pleasant as possible. 3. there is a consequence for not showering i.e. losing allowance and still having to shower before it is reinstated. 4. lots of positive feedback about maintaining the habit.

          • Hi, Janet

            You are getting it exactly right! Thanks for responding to Alice Jack.

            Sorry it took so long to moderate. I’ve been finishing up my graduate work, so I’m behind in checking my website.

            All my best,


      • This was one of the top answers and advice I’ve seen.
        My bf of over 3.5 yrs was “hidden” for 46 yrs after living with parents who let him stay in his room, use the computer, and didn’t think to have him diagnosed. Smh. I met him right after his father (last parent) died. He online dated and there was no indication he was Aspergian until after we met and spoke.
        As I got to know him, since I had worked developmental services for over 25 years of my life I suggested that he take some online tests just to find out why he felt “different” as he explained to me. We took over seven tests and all nearly 100% showing possible autism. The Next Step was to have a professional evaluation by a psychiatrist. This testing took a couple weeks and eventually he had a formal diagnosis. So very late in the game because now? He had no real life skills or motivation to learn any different work skills or Hobbies. Also, even though he was diagnosed~ he couldn’t get any disability assistance because they think and say he’s able bodied. Really sad, his intelligence level is high but his short-term memory makes learning beyond a challenge. So though he can read and communicate at a high level, he is only hired to do things such as cleaning, laundry, pushing grocery carts. He cannot be around or socialize with persons. He has no motivation or any inkling on making goals to progress and learn more, to go to school and finish college though he did finish high school and start.
        I’m doing the tough love approach but it will take 20 years to unravel the damage from letting him sit without any direction or motivation to believe in himself. He also suffers from his rationalization that if things don’t have a finite rational reason to be accomplished in his mind they don’t need to be done. He doesn’t see any reason to pay rent, or bills. It is quite a challenge. He doesn’t think he should make his own sandwiches or take his lunch because it’s more complicated than just spending money he doesn’t really have to buy it already made. Besides, his dad just had him answering phones at his real estate agent agency, his Mom stayed at home watching TV with him and always cooking for him and Catering to him. So he needs life skills, however since I worked group homes? I am not sure if he would be a good fit? However I cannot keep the 24/7 solo care that I have been up and I may have to cut the umbilical cord because now? I have turned into a “Mother” so to speak versus a girlfriend and I am getting challenges as one would from a teenager as far as yelling, smart aleck comments, tantrums, cursing, eyes rolling when directed to do chores, hygiene, appointments, medication everyday and it is very taxing.

  • Hi, Blake.

    Sorry to take so long to respond. My website is set up to notify me by email about all comments, but that feature stopped working, so I ‘m just now realizing that I need to check my website every day . . .

    The situation you describe is gut wrenching–plenty of stress to go around. I can’t betray specific details, but I’ve had a long-standing friendship with an autistic student who finally dropped out of college after three years of what you are describing. To me, it seems almost criminal that his college allowed him to accumulate debt for so long with so little progress.

    The decision to give up on college was very difficult for him. All his life, people have told him how smart he is–how perfect for college! And they’re right–his powerful intellect is one of the things I love about him.

    After leaving college, he went back to his old habits for about a year and recently got a job! I don’t know his mother or stepfather, but, needless to say, I’m very happy for him and I’m sure they are too. He did this without any prompting after they had all but given up on him.

    The key to success at his job is showing up. Once he shows up, there are no more choices to make. This is a whole new world for him. He is proud to be keeping his commitments and feels completely different about himself.

    Unfortunately, showing up is not enough to ensure success at college, no matter how smart you are. College involves a lot of independent planning and execution.

    So I guess I’m agreeing that a lot of 19-year-olds (especially Aspergers) are not ready for college. This doesn’t mean I have a better idea. I just believe that there are other options and there is hope.

  • I agree that Aspies are weak in planning and executive functioning in general. They can probably make it up with the help of digital technology. There is a website named which aims to help people with right brain dominance like ADHD aspires and so on and how they can use digital technology through games to their advantage and develop executive functioning in this left brain dominant world

    • Thanks for the info about this website. I will definitely check it out. I’ve been on a sort of hiatis, but will be back to research and blogging soon. The question of what to suggest to a whole generation of Aspies who grew up before executive function became recognized as a primary issue–probably more disabling than social awkwardness–is still something I’m trying to get my mind around. I’ve heard over and over that autism “is a problem with social communication,” as if this were the be all and end all. This myth is not only crippling to therapists and parents, but misleading to adults with Aspergers/Autism. “If I finally have friends, I’m no longer an Aspie. But what keeps me from applying myself?” I wrote extensively about right brain dominance in my book and was fascinated by what my research turned up–it certainly applies a close friend of mine who is frustrated, to put it mildly. I’m struggling to put myself in his shoes, searching at his side for a way out. Given his extraordinary intelligence, if the problem were easy, he would have solved it by now. Thanks for your help.

    • Hi, I am a woman of 36 years- I was diagnosed with middle to Higher end Asperger’s in 2014. I find a lot of the stories on this website interesting and they answer a lot of my questions. I feel sad that I was not diagnosed earlier as I think it could have helped to have had a mentor at school or a welfare support officer who understood my problems. I struggled with memory and therefore I would panic before assemblies etc as I would often have a blank not to mention the nerves I used to suffer when organizing assemblies. I do however remember that when I got going and the others liked my ideas, there was usually no problem with execution (as long as I kept things simple). I was really into music so my assembly was about dance and music. My best advice is to keep in mind that we all learn in different ways and have different talents. I have picked up an old talent I used to have which I completely neglected when I went to do my A-Levels- “Art” and find I am actually quite good and get acknowledged often as producing good work. It is a shame that I did not do A-Level Art as I believe I may actually have made progress. Everyone at school always said I was brainy and clever and even a bit of a “bof” as I was always hyper-focused around producing work of a good quality. I was not so good at socializing and often missed cues and was just too quiet too get noticed most of the time. I also found I suffered often with depression/mania and that friends did not understand me. I always felt different to them and was much more nervous and shy about socializing. I went to great lengths to be cool but ruined a friendship by deciding and specifying that I preferred other girls in the class as mates. I was literally that blunt. I don’t think I completely understood empathy at age 13 and the teacher had to ask another girl to socialize with my now lonely friend. I am appalled at how I treated another person but I think it could have been down to Aspergers and my other diagnosis in 2012 of Borderline Personality Disorder. Has anyone met with having two diagnoses like these being given (especially the two concerned). I have been met with distrust and confusion and have been asked ignorantly perhaps, “which condition do you have?” by the Benefit Team deciding whether I could claim Personal Independence Payment at a Tribunal Hearing. My second question to Sandy is if I’m right handed does that make me left-brain strong? Can lack of looking people in the eye be a signifier of a different disorder (like Sociopathy or Narcissism) which has an even larger stigma attached to it and therefore the Psychiatrists were not willing to share this information with my parents and myself. I wonder?? I would be grateful for honest answers.

      • Hi, Sandy,

        I actually have a friend who was diagnosed with autism, borderline personality disorder, and bipolar disorder. Saying that you are too Aspergers to have borderline personality disorder is like saying you play the violin too well to have pneumonia.

        It sounds like you are from the U.K., and I don’t know how the social services work over there. But, the way it works here is that, the more diagnoses you have and the more severe the diagnoses are, the more eligible you are for benefits. So, instead of worrying about the stigma, you might want to encourage doctors to diagnose you with “autism” instead of “Aspergers,” for example. And get your second diagnosis — borderline personality disorder — confirmed by a professional(s). And get your third diagnosis — mood disorder — confirmed by a professional(s). That way the decisions of your benefits team will be more favorable to you.

        That having been said, a diagnosis, or, in this case, many diagnoses can help you understand the condition so that you know you are not imagining anything and that there are others like yourself. It might also help you find coping strategies as long as you trust scholarly sources, instead of sensational media. It may direct you to sources of support.

        If a diagnosis fits, it can also be a helpful tool for eliciting tolerance in others. Another friend of mine with borderline personality disorder is very forward about his diagnosis and it helps him and others around him use the coping strategies that he tells them about.

        The left brain/right brain question is interesting. They once used the diagnosis “non-verbal learning disability” interchangeably with “Aspergers.” In a word, this meant “left brained.” There might be some truth to this, but it is no longer a diagnostic category. “Poor eye contact” as a diagnostic criterion for Aspergers is pretty much a myth. There are a lot of reasons that people avoid eye contact, including the fact that eye contact is not always appropriate. But many Aspergers people do have trouble with non-verbal communication (gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, etc.).

        From everything you have said about your personality and experiences, it does not sound like you are a narcissist or a sociopath. Also, Sociopaths have very appropriate social behavior. And I’ve never heard anything about narcissists having trouble with eye contact.

        All my best to you. Let me know how it turns out with your diagnoses and benefits team.


  • I am awaiting an appointment for my 18 year old daughter to see a specialist but I am almost certain she has some form of aspergers. Always had problems and only recently it was suggested to me by a friend that I should look into this. All the stuff relates to her. . Social difficulties. . No eye contact when talking to her .. food issues. .. uninterested in personal grooming .. crippling anxiety. All been brought to a head when she got into college this year .. musical theatre .. her passion ever since she was little .. almost obbsessively I might add. Well school was always a problem .. getting her to go .. but she managed to get to sixth year with good results in music, drama ensuring a place in college. Once she started the course however the problems began … lots of days off and she complained she just didn’t get on with any other students … (almost the same as school) Being an adult now I felt I couldn’t intervene too much and just hoped for the best, although there have been lots of arguments and fights over it. She got the bad news a couple months ago she hadn’t been chosen for second year of course. She was devastated. .. it was explained to her this was due to the fact she seemed to distance herself from the other students and didn’t seem to fit in … this is when alarm bells started to ring . We seem to be at loggerheads all the time and I always feel I just don’t understand the way she is and am desperately hoping to get some answers .. feel like she needs so much guidance and can’t really do much for herself even when constantly nagged by myself so obviously a diagnosis would answer many questions and hopefully help me understand why she just seems so different from other teenage girls her age … I worry she could never cope in the world without me there … this is causing me so much worry I just wonder what lies ahead

  • Carol
    Your daughter sure has good taste in mothers! No one who hasn’t been a parent can truly understand what it’s like, especially when your child is a teenager, with all its rights of passage. For me, it paid off to 1. get the diagnosis, and 2. not take the diagnosis as seriously as I could have. My son, like your daughter, is motivated by his passion (for math). My son was also significantly slower than his peers at meeting social benchmarks, but he eventually fit in. After many failed attempts (to get him into a social arena of any kind), theater troops and musical groups taught him how to relate to other people, even though I didn’t realize this would be the magic formula at the time. The fact that theater is a social forum with a script makes it perfect, even though we had to withdraw him from his first group because he couldn’t relate to the other kids. So this sounds very, very stressful, but I think your daughter is lucky to be passionate about theater. I’m sorry she’s so deflated by not getting into her second year. There will be other opportunities, though I know it’s really difficult to get an Aspie back on track–you sound like the type who never gives up. I hope you soon find psychiatrist who can successfully treat your daughter for anxiety, even if this also might get worse before it gets better. Best of luck. –Angel

  • I am a 19 year old with Asperger’s and ADHD. I find planning very hard because I have a hard time predicting how each step in the sequence will turn out. I go to community college, and my ultimate goal is to attend the University of California once I finish my pre-req’s. I have been told countless times that it’s unrealistic to think about the future and I have to “be here now”, but when you have difficulty organizing and executing information being taught in the classroom, it feels normal to catastrophize how your career aspects will turn out. I know that I need to manage my time and figure out a plan, but It feels so exhausting to start with the amount of Inertia required to stick to a plan, either it be school work, playing an instrument, or setting a personal goal like exercise or dieting.

    • This sure sounds familiar. I have a close friend who is struggling in exactly the same way. I also had a friend who developed a serious drug habit. I am in no way suggesting that my autistic friend (who is also struggling with organizing himself at a junior college) is the same as my former friend with the drug habit. I’m just making an analogy to simplify things. My friend with the habit did exactly the right thing–he went to the person he trusted most and said “I’m confused. Whatever you tell me to do, I will do.” He did everything, one step at a time, that his friend told him to do, and that got him off the drugs. Sometimes, when you get too mired in your own problems, you start to think in circles. I am in no position to judge how realistic your goals are. However, given the difficulty that you have getting organized, a good strategy is to find someone who is organized himself and can help you decide 1) what is the thing you want most 2) what is the first step toward getting that thing 3) I’ll do at least part of the first step with you, then let’s take on step #2. If you are close to someone who can do this, one of the best strategies I know of is to “turn yourself over.” I would advise this for anyone with any confusing problem. I have areas where I am extremely weak(I am dyslexic). The best way I know around my areas of weakness is to let someone else who is not weak in those areas take charge. My life was once about fixing myself, and expecting myself to function normally in all areas. As I got older, I realized that this would never work. I needed to do what I was best able to do and let someone else walk me through the stuff that was nearly impossible for me to do on my own. This is difficult when you don’t know the right person to walk you through the steps you must take, but it sounds like you have people around you who might be able and willing. Life shouldn’t be about assuming that you are defective and have to change every aspect of yourself. Thinking that you need to change who you are just makes you feel bad and doesn’t usually work. It’s much more positive and effective to work on your influences, and form strong bonds with people whose judgement you trust. I don’t know if this will help, but it’s the best suggestion I have. Keep me posted, if you’d like, and I will write you back. –Angel

  • I married a woman with a twenty-five year old son who has Aspergers and he lives with us. It has been almost two years since we were married and he has looked to me as the father he’s never had. Unfortunately, my patience is running thin. He refuses to look for work so I have asked his social workers to press him on the matter. He’s stays on his laptop reading blogs and other things that interest him for hours on end. He makes very little effort to contribute in any way to the house with regard to chores and then on top of all this, calls himself a leech because he bleeds his mother and I dry of financial and emotional support. He wants the a/c set at a certain place, he wants certain things for himself alone when we go to the store, and he carries no responsibility for anything he does. It’s literally all about himself all the time. I need some help because it’s hard for me to even speak to him because I feel myself getting angry, and here’s the real kicker- next year, he’ll be too old for his mother and I to carry him on our insurance which means we have no idea how he’ll get his meds which run upwards of $500/month. I’ve had this talk with him, pleaded with him, told him I would go on interviews with him, encouraged him, shown him the importance of taking the first step or making the decision to do something and then doing it, but with no results. He’s very logical so I reason with him this way and yet I still come up empty. What else can I do? If I turn off the internet, will that motivate him? I’m at my wits end.

    • Lee,
      This is tough. It sounds like you’ve done every logical thing, and your kid sounds like a young Aspie friend of mine, with all his hopes and dreams and disappointment in himself. I haven’t had much luck in finding global answers for this age category when I do scientific research. My friend was helped by a medication for ADHD (an upper) and is happier, more active, but I don’t know if how this recent development will pan out. This friend of mine sometimes wishes that he had only a bed, a candle, and a book. I knew another mother who found a medication for her adult daughter that miraculously cured her of this problem (go figure). I believe that desperate people should take desperate psychiatric measures, if they can. It’s risky business, but reversible when it goes wrong. I also met a kid who was in a program where they had removed all his toys, allowed him only one phone call per week, and put him on a single design project for a month. I only saw him once, so I don’t know how his case turned out. All I can say is that Dad knows best, and if Dad’s gut says “take away his toys,” it’s worth a try. I’m sorry that the best answer I can think to give to an intelligent man like you is “follow your instincts.” As far as I know, if your son is of age, and still has no income of his own, based on his age, diagnosis, and income, he qualifies for SSDI–Social Security Disability Income, federal medical insurance that covers everything and maybe even food stamps from the state. Best of luck –Angel

  • I am not sure where any of the people above live, but there are programs in the area where I live specially designed for high school graduates who have special needs, but who have the intellectual abilities to do some type of vocation. The program is basically designed to teach students independent living skills, allow them to explore future vocations by allowing them to audit classes at a local community college, if they feel that they may want to go on to college or finish a community college program, or, if that is not for them, the program also helps them to figure out what type of vocation might be the best fit for them. I am a counselor so that is why I haven’t given out many details, and I don’t know where these types of programs are located other than where I and my families live (in PA), but this seems to be a beneficial program from what I have gathered thus far. I am not sure who one would turn to to find out more other than the high school or a local autism support agency, but I am very glad that we have this resource in this area. The program also individualizes the program for the student to meet specific needs, and it is based around an IEP. I hope this has been helpful for some out there who have high functioning children in high school and are trying to plan the next steps.

    • Hi, Shelley,
      I’m grateful to hear from counselor. My son grew up in Pennsylvania, and they do have good programs there. From what I hear, it varies from state to state, and is always worth checking out. Vocational Rehab is also available to every adult on SSI, so a good diagnosis is worth it’s weight in gold when it comes to getting disability from the federal government. Thanks for weighing in on this and making people more aware of the value of what’s already in place.

  • Hi! I have been diagnosed with Aspergers aka Mild Autism. Thank you. You have described the executive functioning part of autism spectrum. Through Kaiser I was sent to ADD class and also an executive functioning therapy group. A group like this might help fellow aspies. I am not lazy is actually a book title about ADD. aDD is a part of the spectrum I understand. It is hard for some of us to start continue and complete goal oriented tasks. To focus, to plan, to think clearly. I need a care giver for social reasons and ADLs as well as IADLs. spirit provided one so in am better off than most. I am trying to write a children’s picture book. I have faked it in every other career attempt and this book may be years to make. I also want to start a enlightenment blog. I have studied Ascension aka enlightenment for 15 + years. That blog is not started. I felt so lazy. For a combo of severe PTSD, mild autism, and fibromyalgia I am applying for SSDI o support Doctor advice to move to no work stress life style. Lol. Thank you for helping me understand I am not lazy. Do you have any advice on my writing aspirations? Apparently my verbal iq is incredibly high. My other iq is crap….2%!on some testing….lol

    • Hi Rachel,
      I don’t want to sound cliche, but what you just wrote really cheered me up–inspired me. Advice on your writing aspirations?!–you seem so talented that it’s hard to imagine that you need much help with writing proficiency! There are a lot of books directed toward the general public about how to overcome procrastination–those books wouldn’t be so popular if it were easy to overcome inertia and take the first steps toward beginning a project. Have you downloaded “Learning to Write” from this website? This book is about how to trick your “lazy self” into starting and building up momentum–and whole sections are for adults, not beginners. You’ll see what I mean when you download it. If I weren’t so lazy I would already written an article that explains what’s in “Learning to Write.” I didn’t have enough space to pick a title that captured the spirit of the book or its intended audience(s). Please write back and let me know what your children’s book is about. I’m really curious. –Angel

  • Angel, you are an Angel ? Thank you. First I am glad that what I wrote was inspiring. What you wrote inspired me. I don’t do much with message boards or writing people, but I I noticed you responded to people. My father is a retired an English teacher who has a Masters in Reading. He read to me and had me reading from the very first. I specialize in vocabulary. If I don’t know a word, I will learn it. I have a learning disability that effects my ability to edit but I can revise writing. I always avoid the editing and the grammar. I have been told by my neuro psych specialist the I am brilliant and I have almost an eidetic memory. I did the grammar in school by memorizing the rules. When I stopped using them I lost a lot. My second challenge in the writing arena and life in general is focus. I can read but it is very difficult to focus to read. I went through high school, college, and grad school without reading the assignments. I did it by attending class and memorizing. The problem is I cannot use the material in most contexts.imy third challenge is health. I have strong amount of physical limitation. So being in the work world is not for me. VOc Rehab told me they couldn’t help me with my writing career because only a formal job with a pay check counted in their system. I am still determined to write. My dad the teacher and writer says I am not doing it the way most writers do. I wrote in one afternoon. A draft for my first children’s book. This book is a little girl processing grief. I recently re wrote the book about the little girl and her magical companion this time being good people and growing in happier way. It is like half of the old manuscript. Again only one afternoon and I just popped out the draft. In between I wrote a book about a little mouse that mirrored my story of being adopted by a second mama to help her “swim in the world” my mother also is an Aspie or artistic. She and my dad who has other issues don’t represent the common way of relating to the world and were not able to pass on basic life skills. I moved away from home vulnerable. Anyway back to the writing. I have difficulty Focusing on one plot, one set of characters and sitting down to write. When I have finally down the drafting. The hurdle of revising, editing and submitting a manuscript is next or perhaps how to self publish online. You stating that you break everything down to steps in writing and focus OnLY on step one. I wonderful. Maybe I can do that. My second project is to take a giant amount of notes on enlightenment and to turn them into a blog or website to benefit people consciously growing spiritually. I have started the first step which is taking the endless notes and writing down important pieces in fancy journals for me. After that is down those journals will somehow become a website. My special thing is my enlightenment. I spend all of my focus on my enlightenment. Even the children’s books are connected to my project of enlightenment. I have started the sub project of comprehending and retaining and recalling successfully the wisdom in your report I downloaded. Spiritual texts are the easiest to understand for me. I am going to raise an additional topic about Aspies. People have told me that our brains are wired to focus on what drives us. What we enjoy. My mind will open up to my special thing and everything else is a bigger struggle. The key they say is that when we are genuinely interested, the neuro wiring and. Chemistry is different. Vastly different. What I am talking about an insistence of being entertained it’s neurological fact. A necessity. I am very interested to having discourse with you further. Namaskar! Aloha!

    • Hi Rachel,
      Thanks for reading my download. The book that I published, An Exceptional Pupil, is about what I learned and the research I did during the course of teaching my Aspie son from the second through eleventh grades. It alludes a lot to the innocence and spiritual nature that I see in my son and Aspies in general, so I’m not surprised that you’re drawn to spirituality and the search for enlightenment. Fortunately, even though vocational rehab won’t help with a writing career, the internet will. It’s beautiful, I think, that anyone with something valuable to say can start a blog. And isn’t it fun to write in beautiful journals? It sounds like the journals help you consolodate your thinking. I hope they are each dedicated to separate topics in some way–that always helped me. And it sounds like your dad is a valuable resource. My dad is a professor also, and I almost always run everything I publish by him. Physical limitations don’t generally interfere with writing, so it sounds like you’ve hit on the right vocation. Good luck with your blog. I look forward to reading it. –Angel

  • Thank you for the encouragement and the confirmation of the innocence and spirituality in aspies. I believe it is part of our operating system. I believe being an Aspie or artistic as I like to say is a gift or side effect of being gifted.

  • As an Aspie, I truly believe that your weaknesses can become your strengths. I have clear evidence. While I had been diagnosed with Aspergers three times as a child, I was only acutely aware of my diagnosis. I had only heard this strange word associated with myself, and didn’t bother to endulge myself in discovering what it was. Discovery has become a major part of my life as of 6 months ago, hence why I am here. Due to my blatant ignorance of what I had, I grew up thinking I was normal and that everybody read college books at 10, decided to read the Harry Potter series in a week, and knew everything about Astrophysics and Psychology. I was so focused on what I enjoyed, and I understand now why that was and is. Fast forward to now. I am 22 years old. I prefer to be by myself thinking internally, but when bothered to be social, I can socialize very well with both friends, and strangers. Of course, this didn’t happen overnight, and I still can’t even attempt flirting (intentionally at least). I do a job where planning is important. While I was absolutely terrible at planning at first, I had peers help put me on the right track. Half a year later, I am semi-efficiently planning very busy days out and executing. I am a decent athlete as well. All this was accomplished by sheer willpower, by assessing my weaknesses, and using my logical thinking to conjure a solution. This takes lots of repetitition to do, so don’t get discouraged. I have embarked on a journey of self discovery, and with that, I have learned everything I can about Aspergers. I ideally should be much worse off than I am today, and whether I’m not due to my 162 IQ or sheer determination, I believe anyone like me can have the same results.

    • My main point was this; are you letting a diagnosis hold you back, or are you doing everything in your power to improve yourself? Think about this; we think logically, visually, internally, and rationally. In order to improve an aspect of your life, you must internally visualize yourself doing it, logically think of how you’re going to do it, and make it rational for you to do so.

  • Hi, Deeeeeee —

    It’s a pleasure to take in everything you have written. You have faced challenges that most people can’t even imagine, you’re wise beyond your years, and a source of encouragement. –Angel

  • I am struggling with the “lazy vs autistic” conundrum. I have an 18 year old son, high functioning, will do what I ask, only if I ask it. Doesn’t drive yet. Will be starting Tech school in August. Has a job but relies on us (parents) for transportation.

    I’m struggling with the differences between what is acceptable behavior, needing understanding from a parent (with the understanding each autistic child is different) and what needs a little earnest motivation in his transition into adulthood. I am not above humbling myself to understand him but I am also aware of the responsibility of a parent to teach a young adult the art of transitioning after graduation.

    Honestly, this topic comes up 3 or 4 times a year between my wife and me. I try to be an understanding father but I continue to fall back into feeling responsible for his lack of preparedness to leave the nest.

    Help me!! 🙂

    • PS ~ I also struggle with my own possibility of high functioning autism. 45 years old and I understand what my son is experiencing. I’m doing what I can so my son can avoid the peril and pitfalls I experienced post graduation. But it seems the harder I try, the worse I make his transition, and ultimately affects my relationship with him AND my wife.

      I’m just trying to respect his position while taking my responsibility as a father seriously. Maybe I’m trying too hard, or being too serious!! 🙂

      • Hi, Frank,
        I don’t know how much this has to do with autism. When I was a kid, I kept hearing from adults “If I knew then what I know now.” I didn’t get it. (Now I totally do!) I think it might have helped if my parents had said it, but they weren’t those kind of parents, as you are. Now I sure wish I had the kind of father who would try to intervene, even if I resented it. He would always say or do something disciplinary much too late after the fact, and that doesn’t work because I didn’t really make the connection. Being on top of it isn’t a crime. I don’t know the details, but, something that also didn’t stick was “You’ll thank me later,” because I never heard it from my parents. Now, as an adult, I wish I had them to thank (later). I don’t know whether or not this yearning is because (another cliche) “the grass is always greener on the other side of the hill,” but I do know a few adults who feel as I do–that they wish someone had told them, even if they seemed like they weren’t listening. I have a grown son who seemed like he wasn’t listening–turns out he was. So, geez–this is a tough one! If you’re being gentle with the nagging, and guiding, rather than diminishing, maybe you’re doing the right thing. I also remember that if I got any guidance, it was in the form of some diminishing statement. That is worse than no guidance at all. So, in the way of help, I don’t know the specifics–I just know what I wish I had had–guidance that did not come in the form of diminishment. Also, in terms of specifics, I don’t know what this is doing to your wife. I would highly recommend the book (it’s short), the Five Love Languages. I know there is a book for this, a book for that, and everyone is always recommending a book–one gets sick of hearing it. But I would recommend this for EVERYONE in a relationship–it’s a simple explanation of why your efforts at showing love might not be perceived as such, because the other person grew up with/has a different definition of what love looks like–sounds like you are making a lot of effort to show love, but it might be perceived differently than you intend, so neither you or your partner, or, even your son understand your efforts as love–and it’s a simple, curable misunderstanding. I hope this helps. Keep writing– I will respond.

    • Hi, Frank
      I’ve been getting a lot of spam lately, so it took me a long time to reply to a real person. I also know a 24-year-old who hasn’t left the nest. His first shot at school didn’t go so well. This man didn’t do well on his first go-round, but I am really proud of him now. It is good that your son is going to a tech school. That is what happened to the 24-year-old–he gave up the state university for economics classes at community college, and is doing well academically, also facing the anxiety that comes with social interaction. I think the background in statistics will help a lot in terms of independence, which is an entirely different hurtle, and, just like school, he might not succeed on the first go-round.

  • Hello, My brother-in-law seams to fit this description and I’m tying to find the best way to help. He is in his 40s and refuses to make any friends or do anything productive. He has a graveyard shift job and lives alone but is very dependent on his family when it comes to everything else. He spends all of his weekends at his parent’s or his brother’s, where they treat him like a child and do all of his errands while he plays video games all night and sleeps all day. His only interest seams to be video games and collecting 80s antique toys from when he grew up. I try to motivate him and give a little tough love, but he has all these weird conspiracy theory-ish excuses for everything (Example: He can’t make friends because people will steal his identity or that all the girls on online dating sites are really men pretending to be girls). I feel like a big problem is that he has been enabled his whole life but maybe I am wrong. His family acknowledges that something is wrong, but when I suggest that we go to a therapist and get him diagnosed, they say he’s too old and it’s too late. Should I just let him be himself or try to motivate him?

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