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Aspergers and work - Carers UK Forum

Aspergers and work

For issues specific to autism / Asperger Syndrome.
Hello. My adult son has mild Asperger's disorder, is 27 and has never been able to hold down any kind of job. He still lives at home and is taking anti depressants and anti anxiety medications. Sadly he also drinks heavily. He is very intelligent and is a qualified Personal trainer. He did try working in a gym but found it too stressful. He left after 2 sessions.
He has social anxiety but does have a few friends.
I wonder if he will ever work. Most of the time he is gaming or watching tv. He does help his nan with some of the chores.
I would be interested to know how other young people with Asperger's cope in the workplace.
If he is a Personal Trainer, then with some encouragement there are lots of opportunities right now, for him to do one to one training with those people who are putting on weight during lockdown.

I'm sure he would find this an entirely different experience, in the New Forest there are now people who are doing "outdoor gym" for example. In helping others like this, and only having one person to talk to, he might thrive.
Thank you Bowlingbun, it's been a few years since he did any personal training but 1:1 training outdoors is a good idea. I'll mention this to him - we live on the outskirts of London.
Karen Dee wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 3:44 pm
I would be interested to know how other young people with Asperger's cope in the workplace.
The problem can be lack of understanding amongst employers/employees or having ones that take advantage of you.

Like my first job I was 17 and working 50-60 hour weeks, which at this point looking back I actually think might had been illegal, I was also operating industrial scale machinery as I was bumped up/promoted within a few months of starting. I didn't really have to interact with people at all just turn in a log book (for production yield/targets) at the end of shift when clocking out.
I didn't know any better then though and thought I was just doing a normal thing.

Ebay had been around a few years at this point (end of 90's) and when it finally launched in the UK formally, I used it to get a software retail business going from home. I advertised through a couple of trading magazines as well. Again little if any actual interaction it was all postal orders and email unless there was a problem. I did really well out of this and to this day I'm quietly quite chuffed at just how much I had coming in from it which factoring in inflation would be more than competitive with todays money (though the sector/buying culture has changed)

I was also juggling some care responsibilities which I had done through out childhood, education and so on.

I left the first job after about a year or so because it was causing me to lose my mind and I wised up what they were doing was not right and putting me at risk, I got into my field of speciality (engineering background) and excelled, this was gradually slowed down some years on due to the caring situation coming full circle as my family started dropping like flies. I picked up some useful life skills with this job though as I had seen/dealt with some awful things as a young carer, and was given additional training to function as a designated first aider as I did not get squeamish/panicky (so long as the person didn't try to socially interact with me :P )

I mothballed the business when the recession hit, it would probably had gone either way because the sector was heading strongly in the direction of digital distribution. But I learnt an awful lot from this and much like with volunteer work gave me some much needed self belief in my own abilities and potential. Like I was not simply defective.

I'm still caring today. I've done stints in the voluntary sector and feel like when this phase of my life ends I could return to that, I would probably end up doing something very regrettable if I ended up working under an employer that mistreated me because I have grown to be very intolerable of that sort of attitude by others. So in this context I will comfortably channel my energy into taking on the likes of the councils, DWP etc who I view as bullies.

When your passionate about something like that sometimes the anxiety just melts away and you come into your own

I was diagnosed much later than your son (have all sorts of problems) and have managed to live pretty independently but have met others, as said it varies and maybe I was just very lucky. In spite of things I do consider myself very fortunate because I understand from some of the parents who post here how difficult things can be when a person is severely affected by the disorder. I'm probably more at peace with myself now though I've never really found the time to sit down with family and talk about any of it, most of them who I would had liked to are in the ground. The only person that has outright managed to "out" me was someone I used to volunteer with, and my last partner. Remaining family just see me as slightly "quirky" presumably due to the stress they know I am under.

I think mileage will always vary on the individual.. it is not so much the social anxiety as it is not knowing your limits when talking to people or reading their body language. I still to this day keep/make notes for telephone calls to stop myself going off the deep end during the important ones as well.

I'd also suggest in reference to the work out instruction in the current climate remote/virtual sessions could be a thing, if he is not anxious about being on camera (big ask I know)

I think it is really good your son has that interest in fitness because there can be this unnatural energy you just cannot shift no matter what you do and it can eat away at you. The idea of not tiring easily gets old very fast when your body is knackered yet your mind is still going like the clappers :)

I think it is about just finding something you are good at and being accepted for who you are, so long as it keeps the bills paid the money is honestly of no relevance having been in the position of having good income and having none. I've always hated having to mask my real self because of the notion I would not be accepted for who I am because it doesn't suit peoples norms.

Best Wishes to you both


Ok do you see what I mean? like the clappers!
Thank you, Honey Badger for your reply.
Your first paragraph about 'employer's lack of understanding' is one of the main factors that stopped my son from returning to work.
The manager saw my son as a strong, tough looking young 20 ish year old but really he was terribly nervous. On day 2 of working as a gym instructor they expected him to get up on a stage and teach a class how to use some of the equipment. He told me later on that he just could not do it. When it was his break time he just walked out. The manager tried to phone him at home later on but my son refused to talk to him. This all happened about 7 years ago.
On another occasion my son tried working in a care home with teenagers with severe learning difficulties. The first few days were fine - he shadowed a confident, experienced carer. But on day 4 they just left him to get on with it and he could not cope.
I'm not making excuses for my son - each time he left a job I was terribly disappointed and we talked about what had gone wrong.
With a bit more support and understanding I believe my son could have held onto a job.
I've suggested to him to do voluntary work but he won't.
The trouble is as well while there is legal precedent for employers to make reasonable adjustments under the various legislation in place, knowledge of these works amongst employers is poor and enforcement even worse due to poor access to the sort of help needed to challenge/take them on when they break the rules.

I think volunteering would be at least worth reading into to see if something triggers an interest in your lad, nothing too "full on" but baby steps just to build up and maintain the routine of getting out into the "sea of humanity" to keep the intimidation factor at bay.. which it can be especially in current climate.

Maybe an artistic output (writing about gym related things?) blogging or something like that.

Can relate on appearances always the thing with health problems which aren't staring people in the face if you aren't the black knight from Monty Python when hes had his limbs chopped off(my soul might shed a tear if you don't get that reference) your basically fine as far as other people go. I'm a big lad and do not fit the profile of someone who is actually quite physically frail the same as my stubbornness masks my other short comings.

Thats more of a wider societal problem though.

Your son is still a young man and will with the right support achieve amazing things though I would say for people in general this year is becoming a bit of a write-off.

I like fixing things and wish i could give you the answer you need that easily but I'm still trying to figure out that whole life thing for myself :)

Best wishes
Hi Honey Badger,
Thank you for your post and your understanding. It really means a lot to me.
I am still hopeful that one day he will venture out into some kind of employment. When he does I'll let you know.
Best wishes to you.