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How do I tell my parents I think they have ASD?

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Hi. For those of you who haven't encountered me on here yet, I'm self-diagnosed higher-functioning ASD at the age of 34. It's been a very long journey to get here, and I'm still discovering more about the nature of higher functiong ASD and coming to terms with it.


Part of my journey has involved wondering about genetics and where it 'comes from'. During my learning about ASD, my discoveries have revealed that there's a very strong likelihood that both my parents are the same.


I've never had a close relationship with either of my parents. They didn't like each other, they divorced in my teens. They have never settled in good relationships; my dad has always been in his own bubble - impossible to get through to him or engage in any conversation with him and never shows interest in anyone else but himself. He's AMAZING at playing the drums, even at the age of 60 odd. He obssesses over music and drumming, and he lives by routine only. As a child, he used to shut himself away in his room and just drum and listen to music all the time. He finds it hard to even arrange meeting up with me because it interferes with his routine. In his late 30s/early 40s he had a massive breakdown. The last time I saw him was 3 months ago and that was just because he popped over for my daughter's birthday.

Neither of my parents have ever sustained friendships - my dad avoids contact with anyone unless they want to tell him how amazing he is at drumming. My mum chops and changes friends like the weather and has always been unpredicatable and struggles with life, even though she won't admit it. My relationship with her as a child was volatile.


I have, in my journey, come to the conclusion that my parents probably have ASD (my dad) and higherfunctioning ASD (my mum). I haven't told them about me being HF ASD, and I'm not ready to yet. They have no idea about it. Should I say anything to them? If I do, how should I tell them? Has anyone else experienced the same?


Love Georgia xxx

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Very interesting. I did the same with my own family and worked out that my mother very likely had HF AS, and so did her mother - who was often described as 'difficult' and had some strange habits. So did my brother (pretty obvious) but my father didn't. I've no doubt at all that several other relatives, all on my mother's side of the family have also inherited it. She wasn't the social type, had very few friends and often didn't keep them. She rarely went out and was obsessive about the house, cleanliness, etc. She collected obsessively too. From what she told me about her childhood, and her own mother, it all now seems to fit in with AS. Both were very sensitive to bright sunlight and all three of us couldn't cope without sunglasses. There's much more too. I had a rather strange and complex relationship with my parents, but they certainly loved me and one another.

To answer your question, only you can know whether you should tell them, but I know that I would have told mine, had I known at the time. They always recognised that I was 'different' and 'fragile' and would have liked to know the reason - for we didn't always get on. It would have explained such a lot. The fact that they never knew is the biggest regret in my life. Are they the type who'd understand? Would they be relieved to know? Would it help them to know? If so, then you should think about telling them - when you feel the time is right. Don't leave it too late.

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Thanks for your reply Mihaela. So much of what you've written relates. It's interesting what you say about the sunlight. Both myself and my mum - and my 4 year old daughter are all very sensitive to light - I can't go anywhere without my sunglasses.


It's interesting what you say about your grandparents. Strangely, my dad is the one who I would say is most definitely ASD, yet on his side of the family, although many of them haven't maintained relationships, they are pretty stable in themselves. They seem to cope by putting themselves in their own bubble. My cousin on my dad's side is bi-polar and demontrates a lot of similar things to me. My dad's dad was an amazing pianist and composer. I've got some of the music he's written.

Yet my mum displays herself more as higher functioning ASD. She acts out lilke she copes with life and has lots of friends, but I can see she struggles but doesn't admit it. She can be very unpredicatable and volatile at times. She went into care at a young age because her mother commited suicide and her dad was an alcoholic and died from drinking. Although her mum and dad apparently loved each other dearly it appears they both had a lot of problems.


I would feel ok to tell my dad I guess because I would trust that he would listen to me and even if he didn't agree, he would have the intelligence to ask me more about it and sort of try to show a curiosity. He wouldn't judge me I guess is what I'm trying to say. If he thought I was "talking nonsense" he wouldn't say so - he would go away and think about it. So maybe I should start by talking to him. Maybe it might draw us closer, as we've been apart emotionally forever. Maybe this realisation would change things for the better - before it's too late. I'd love nothing more than that.


I wouldn't feel ok telling my mum right now. We've had so many falling outs and so many misunerstandings. She is a very volatile character and even when I've tried to talk to her about troubles or worries she's brushed me aside and almost been cross with me. When I was pregnant with my 2nd daughter I had to go to hospital at 27 weeks because I had severe pains in my stomach and had to get checked. I went to her first, and was in tears. She had a go at me, started banging things around and saying that she hopes I don't get pregnant again because all I do is cry all the time. when all I wanted was my mum. That's just one example of how my mum can be - there are several others. If I told her I had ASD, she wouldn't believe me to start with, would brush it off and wouldn't support me. She would just think I'm being dramatic - as usual. If I told her I thought SHE had HF ASD, well she'd probably bite my head off. I don't actually know what she'd do. Even if she believed it deep down, she would never admit it or face up to it.


Thanks for your response Mihaela - it's made me write this, which has helped me map out my thoughts in some kind of cohesive manner and now I kind of know where to go from here. Thank you xxx

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My parents are both long dead (from old age), and my only remaining family is two half brothers (my Dad's sons) who are in their early 80s. I think I can see some mild Aspergers signs in my Dad and older half brother, and Dad's younger brother was a socially inept nerd, who today would be seriously into computers, but in his day it was valve TVs and radios. I'm sure my other half brother is NT, and he's always thought there was something a bit odd about the family.


I assume that my half brothers will need to be contacted as part of my assessment, when it finally happens, as the only living people who knew me when I was little. I rarely talk to them now, as I've been gradually switching off from engaging with people as I get more overwhelmed and stressed by life, but we haven't fallen out or anything, and I last saw both of them last September. I partly haven't been in touch because I don't know what to say to them about my possible Aspergers, as it affects them too. Are they too old to want to know? Would the younger one be relieved to have a possible explanation of the weirdness in the family? What would the older one think if it was suggested it may affect him? How would they react to a surprise contact by a psychiatrist during my assessment if I don't tell them?


I've thought of writing something and sending it to them, but I don't know how much to say, and whether to say the same to both of them. At least I'd be 200 miles away when they see it! I'm not sure it's really the right thing to do, but at least everything can be set out clearly and thoughtfully, and they'd have a chance to think about it before reacting. But I've no idea what the reactions might be.


Would writing be a possible option for you Georgia? Might it give your parents a chance to absorb what you want to tell them without all the emotion of telling them face to face? Or if your piano playing is up to it, set something to music and send them a recording :lol:.

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