This was first published in my “Ask Chantal” column of the Autism File.

Dear Chantal,

I am currently reading your book Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum,… I have a son who is 27 and throughout his entire life he has been different… Recently I have come to believe he is autistic. My girl friend who has a 13 year old autistic son, says she has always wanted to tell me that she feels the same way in the belief that he is of the autism spectrum, possibly Aspergers. He has almost all the symptoms. I am now in the process of trying to get my son into some doctors in Melbourne, FL who are specialists… He has been a struggle to raise with all of his illnesses and challenges. He has been with disabilities since he was 4. We have been seeing the same psychiatrist for 22 years and were going to the same pediatrician for 17 years. …Why has no doctor been unable to suggest this diagnosis? Help me please. I am very interested in knowing if you have any other books out for adolescents and young adults with autism and/or Aspergers?

Jamie in Florida

Dear Jamie,

It wasn’t until 1994 that Asperger Syndrome was added to the DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) which is used for establishing diagnoses. It is only in recent years that Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) has become more understood and recognized by professionals and parents. That is why many adults with AS were actually misdiagnosed as children, often with bipolar, schizophrenia, OCD, and so on. You are right to look for a specialist experienced with Aspergers to ascertain if your son falls on the spectrum. Being properly diagnosed is useful for knowing why someone is the way he is and what strategies can be helpful in the areas in which he may have challenges.

My latest book, Autism Life Skills, based on interviews with adults on the spectrum may be helpful to you and your son to find out what many people on the spectrum say has been helpful to them. As well, you and your son may find GRASP a useful resource for more information.