Telling someone they have Aspergers Syndrome

Firstly before I begin this post, I would like to say that it has been a difficult decision, to sit down and write. “How to tell some they have Aspergers” is a question, that I get asked a lot on this site and it is always a difficult one to answer.

I usually try to avoid giving specific advice, because I don’t know the individual involved. So rather than this blog post be about the correct answer or the correct things to say, I will try and leave it open and cover the issue from several angles and then leave it open for debate in the comments section.
At the end of the day, I believe we all need to make informed decisions about this subject.

Before I go into this issue, I think its important for us to look inside, about why its important to tell the person they may have Asperger’s. I have seen situations, in relationships where one partner uses the fact that the partner is on the spectrum, to win arguments or to be right and I believe this is totally the wrong motivation.

In many cases the actual diagnosis or awareness of whether a person has Asperger’s Syndrome can be a liberation. Understanding why one behaves and thinks the way they do, can give the person a lot of self acceptance. With that knowledge, an individual can also seek out techniques and therapies that can support them to have a better quality of life. Now this is a good motivation to make someone aware.

How to tell someone they have Aspergers

How to tell someone they have Aspergers

But……. It really depends on the individual. Some people are really not open to feedback. They do not invite it and they are really not open to it if it comes unsolicited. So if your loved one is in this bracket you need to be super aware because in trying to help you also run the danger that you push the person away in the process and this is really not what you want. In these cases it can often be better to let the person come to their own conclusions and journey of self discovery. However, if the person is more open and seeks advice, it can be easier.

I had been talking to Renee Salas about this issue and we both agreed it was a loaded but important subject. Renee has an excellent post where she discusses this issue from the point of view a parent. She suggested a number of questions one should ask oneself before going into the issue. I quite like them so I thought I would add them to this post. Try asking yourself these questions as part of the decision process about whether to talk to the person or not:

1.) Do I think this person would want to know?
2.) Do I think this person should know because it’s what want? Or it’s what he/she would want?
3.) Do I want to tell this person because I think it will make things easier for him/her? (e.g. Are they lost and struggling in areas, confused at their inability to ‘fit in’ or succeed?)
4.) What is this person’s current view of autism? This is a biggee. Autism still has so much negative stigma attached, if the person is not privy to the autism community that we are a part of (i.e. bloggers/FB/Twitter that are working to bring the positives and successes to the forefront from an autistic pt-of-view) their reaction would probably be one of anger. Then possibly fear and denial.
5.)  Am I looking at this person as an individual, taking into consideration: Family, Friends, Social Circles, Job/Career.
6.)  Is he/she overly-concerned with what others think? Is he/she the type of person who might feel shame and worry over being stigmatized as a ‘person with a disability?’

If the answers above give you insight that you want to talk to the person or make them aware, here are a few ways, I can think to playfully or gently bring ones awareness to the symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome.

Watch movies on Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism

Many times people in the general public are not aware of the symptoms and mannerisms of Aspergers. By watching movies and tv series that portray the character and personality of people with the condition, you can initially raise awareness. Often the person will recognize traits in the characters and it may be a way to very slowly raise awareness to the point where the subject can eventually be broached.

Here is a list of Autism and Aspergers related movies.


Make the taking of a test a playful activity

So, just like any game often people like to partake as a bit of fun. Taking turns to take the Test for Aspergers, can be a playful way to get someone to take an initial screening assessment. You can also send the link to someone and say something like I got a score of x, am curious what you got. The important thing is that it has to be done playfully and you have to feel the person is open to receive the information. It should also not be done in a competitive way that, I am normal and you have something wrong with you.

The test is available on our website as well as a google Android or IOS application.

Highlighting the genius

To many there is a big stigma with having Aspergers, it is deemed as something negative but if you would intentionally mention the positive aspects of people who have Aspergers and suggest that they have similar traits, it may a way to get that person to open up to the possibility

Read this it sounds like you

Well, this isn’t my idea, but I found it on a forum. Some became aware of their nature by someone emailing them a link that said, read this, it sounds like you. Apparently this casual suggestion, left the person free to decide for themselves. It also didn’t cause offense or bring up defenses because the person could see why it sounded like them. you could try a similar thing, giving them a link to a good introduction to an article about Aspergers such as:

Talking directly to the person

This is the more direct approach which involves sitting down and talking to the person directly.
The national autistic society recommend, that you consider who is the right person to broach the subject. For example the subject may be more able to accept the results of the conversation if it comes from a friend or sibling rather than a parent. They encourage one to carefully plan out what will be said in a way that is diplomatic. You can check out this article which has a few good ideas on how to handle the issue.

So as I said at the beginning, this is a very difficult and sensitive issue to talk about. You will need to adopt any of the ideas to the person, but remember they are only ideas. Talking to people and communicating difficult issues, is a fine art. No one can truly teach you this art, its something you need to develop inside of yourself. If you are not confident that what you say or do will be well received perhaps you should not. Respecting that the person will be open to face or acknowledge things in themselves when they are ready.


As ever, I’m curious about your thoughts on the issue. Please leave a comment below with any suggestions you think are appropriate.


Mark Blakey

Mark Blakey is the founder of the Aspergers Test Site, after a successful career working in IT Mark wanted to share what he learned from his own diagnosis. He is the author of "Emotional Mastery for Adults with Aspergers" and "An Introduction to Aspergers Syndrome". Having received lots of questions from parents with autistic children, Mark went on to found Autism Parenting Magazine. The magazine has become an essential resource aimed at improving the quality of life for families effected by Autism. Its a monthly publication containing lots of helpful articles to help develop social skills, manage challenging behavior and improve communication.

  • M.H.Deal says:

    My intense study of the characteristics of autism began about a year ago when I puzzled over the odd behaviors of my widowed, middle-aged, elementary school teacher neighbor of a dozen years. Space does not permit me to describe fully “the autistic next door,” who became obsessed with me – alas – which led to persistent questioning about my life – questions I gently tried to parry. Further, she cyberstalked me on the Internet, often asking me about “facts” found thereon about “My Joan Smith.” Clearly, not my real name. She trespassed into my yard, moved my garden furniture, and went into my tool house in addition to trimming my tree and throwing the trimmings onto my lawn because to have put them on her property would have disturbed her dogs, of which she has five. When I was given gratuitous gifts, I had to get her to stop, but stopping apparently provoked a meltdown which led to her getting others to write an anonymous and undated letter of calumny to the city which led to my hiring an attorney to put a stop to this nonsense. Although she has been selectively mute to me for over a year, on September 15th when she was mowing her yard, she yelled and screamed at me with coarse and profane language for longer than was needed. I foolishly tried to say a word but she continued to scream. I’ve been more specific in emails and letters to autism advocacy groups and academic care providers. The former never respond to my questions; the latter do. Some autism advice counsels not to tell those who are peripheral to your life. To me that’s lousy advice. Had she told me in 2001 when she moved in that she was on the autistic spectrum and what that entailed, I would have researched the subject and known what not to do. However, I still don’t know how I could have gotten her to stop doing what she did, including yelling at those who came up my driveway that “the house[my house] was not for sale”, or rudely questioning them about what they were doing there, or telling me not to shovel snow. Before the mutetism set in, she sent several bizarre emails which aren’t the kind of things one adult sends to another. “Now I know the rules,” she repeated. Made no sense then; makes all the sense in the world when autism is considered. Been a great learning experience for me, but I’m sure my presence is hell for her. By the way, how long do autistics’ obsessions last – for a lifetime? Thanks to the Internet, by which autistics are encouraged to associate with people that they cannot deal with in person, this obsession could be fueled until death. Ugh!

  • Alan says:

    I also wonder about advice and considerations for an adult Aspie deciding whether to tell his/her spouse. Putting the shoe on the other foot for this discussion could be much more difficult for an Aspie that has not yet trusted telling anyone of their discovery/suspicions. Of course, there might be those who figured it out, patiently awaiting the victim to express his/her discovery.

  • Amy says:

    I asked my husband to take the test. My husband was apprehensive at first but came around. His score on the test was enough for him to book an appointment at his GP surgery. His doctor took one look at him and said “I know people with Autism. You don’t have it.” It’s been a massive blow to both of us and has meant a lot more hassle in trying to get a diagnosis and has caused my husband a lot of stress.

    • Mark says:

      Yes its true, generally Doctors do not seem to want to acknowledge Aspergers Syndrome. Classic Autism is a lot more apparent and easier to diagnose. Particularly with the changes to the DSM, getting people to recognize autism is a lot more difficult. I dont know whether its because Doctors dont want the expense of paying for tests if the person is seemingly normal or whether its a lack of education on their part. We get a lot of emails about this. According to recent studies 10-20% of diagnosis by medical professionals are also wrong

    • Dee says:

      Might it be possible to change your GP? Such an unjustified know-it-all attitude could endanger any aspect of your health.If it isn’t practicable to change,how about patient advocacy schemes or the practice manager having a word with him/her?

    • Anonymous says:

      If the doctor said he didnt have it, then he probably doesn’t . You are pathologizing your spouse. He may need a divorce and a woman who doesn’t play pseudo/therapist/shrink. Maybe if you worked on your control issues, things would be better. This “diagnosis” you have made is just a way of avoiding the real problems in your marriage. Maybe its time to consider the doctor correct and move on to a better way to solve marital conflicts by working on yourself and not blame imaginary illnesses. I believe the doctor. Maybe you have a form of Münchausen syndrome by proxy. Ask your doctor about it.

    • Sara says:

      That’s pretty much exactly what my sister said when I told her I thought my life partner was an Aspie. Not helpful at all.

  • Susan Conner says:

    “Diagnosing” another person is a dangerous thing. At 65, I have had a dozen different “professional” diagnoses in 55 years. I recognised Asperger’s when reading Michael Palmer’s “Second Opinion.” Of course, my self-diagnosis was rejected by professionals and non-professionals, “You couldn’t have gotten through law school, etc.”

    Knowledge of a developmental disorder does not translate into constructive therapy or self-mastery over one’s unique set of dysfunctions, especially when others are imposing their own priorities for improvement.

    So, 1, you may be wrong about the diagnosis. 2, you may be setting the person up for more problems getting others to believe and help. And 3, you are leaving the individual vulnerable to scrutiny and amateur stigmatising for a vast array of symptoms. The destructive effects of all this to someone with compromised personal and interpersonal development and skills is incalculable.

    Aspergers is a slippery diagnosis. Please consider why you want the person to know/change and consider changing yourself.

    I suggest you look at what you perceive to indicate Aspergers – NOT your pet peeve, but something neutral – and see if you can discreetly assist the person achieve greater competence in that area. If you sense urgency, stick to discussing that specific problem and options for getting help.

  • Inari says:

    Really good post, I hadn’t even thought of those various issues that could be a part of it.

    For me it was definitely a relief of “there’s a word for what’s going on with me? Wow.” I think it probably helped that I had met someone with Asperger’s before and hadn’t really understood what it was (there didn’t seem to be anything “wrong” with him as far as I could see, and I didn’t at first know that Asperger’s was related to autism – which I associated with “Rainman”).

    For me the first contact of “hey this might be me” was that This American Life episode “Play the Part”. They mentioned things that I recognised in myself. I had even brought up some very Aspie things up in conversations with other before, like “hey, do you ever practice in your head what you are going to do or say when you know you’re going to meet someone” and everyone I know always said “…well, no.” And then when I took the initial quiz online, there were so many questions that I thought “doesn’t everybody feel like this?” For me it was actually more about finally realising that other people, neurotypical people, are strange and don’t think like I think.

    • antoinette says:

      I first started to seriously consider aspergers after that episode too. I took that quiz and had a very similar reaction. While like to know if I have aspergers it would explain so much and i do like knowing why. I don’t feel like I need treatment it is part of who I’m. I don’t necessarily think that it is something you should inform someone they have. Although it would be helpful to help them come to the conclusion on their own.

  • Rachel says:

    My husband sent me the link to the Asperger’s test site in an email, just the link, nothing else, which in itself is kind of funny and sad at the same time. After I did the test and got a high score, I was really relieved to finally have something to grasp onto after feeling like something was wrong with me for the first 58 years of my life. I was having counselling at the time and when I mentioned it to the psychologist, she said that she never would have picked it. I haven’t followed it up yet. I have yet to be convinced of whether there’s any benefit in having a formal diagnosis.

  • Sandy Stengel says:

    I met a man on an online dating site with whom I fell in love with. It was a long distant relationship which was not easy. We both had a connection and I felt he loved me but at the same time I had a strange feeling with him. Something was different or wrong but I didn’t know what it was. I knew nothing about Asperger’s Syndrome. At the time I told him I could do this no longer without a light at the end of the tunnel, he “snapped”. At that moment he shut me out totally and would NOT talk to me no matter how I tried. After telling a friend about the quirks I noticed I took the AS Test as if I were him and discovered he was low on the high end. I was excited to know what the problem was but not happy with the outlook. I wanted to tell him so we could work it out but it didn’t turn out that way.
    He turned me into his enemy and he a victim…all in a matter of days…I think the more he thought about it the more he pushed me away. I did the wrong approach after the fact. If I would have known what Asperger’s Syndrome was before he snapped things would be different now. All the symptoms were in front of me and I did not know what I was looking at. I still love him but have to accept he cannot handle a relationship.

  • Mark from MN says:

    It’s difficult to know what to tell someone. I had to learn I had it on my own. Don’t know if it would have been helpful growing up in the late 60’s and 70’s. It explains a lot. I learned in my 40’s and it was a relief, but I doubt I would have believed anyone until I researched it myself. It would have been nice as a kid to have someone tell me to stop using my verbal language skills to hurt people, or that other people have feelings that can be hurt by picking them or their relatives apart verbally. I needed more rules. But if I didn’t like something or it seemed wrong, I would act out.
    My rule for adults would be, if the other person wonder why they fail at social relationships, or they want to change their behavior because the results they are getting make them unhappy or leave them pizzled, then I would tell them, so they direct their attention to where it will do the most good. I am here to tell you, it can get better, you can feel better and fit in with other people, but it’s work and you have to learn social skills.

  • Margotdeepa says:

    Dear Susan Conner and Inari, thanks for your emails. The questions being asked could be answered in pick your time wisely right time, right day. I found the test interesting and did it with someone else. While I took a long time to answer the questions, my friend finished quickly and got the results immediately. I got my results days later and 47/50. My question is; are people with some sort of brain injury more prone to Asperbergs after the injury or; did they have a pre-existing condition which only became noticeable after a brain injury?

  • Greg Preston says:

    THANK YOU for taking the time and having the courage to do this article. Very very much appreciated.

  • Eva says:

    How do you test a person without him/her knowing it is a test? And how do you know definitely that your loved one is an Aspie without a test?

    • Eva says:

      What I’m trying to say: If the other one is an Aspie, he or she is clever enough to know and will probably welcome the revelation, rather than to resist against it.
      Anyway, Aspies know better, maybe they just did not know a name for their being different.
      So there is no reason to ponder “should I tell”. We are smarter anyway.

  • Pat says:

    None of my family or friends believe me when I talk to them about the possibility of me having Aspergers. I took the test and had a high score; but I don’t want to be diagnosed professionally because at 66 yrs. old, why bother? After 5 yrs. of college, medical school and professional work for 38 yrs., I have learned behavior that compliments society better. It never was “natural”, truth is, it still isn’t easy to be comfortable with groups of people. I volunteer my car, my time, my skills for helping people but when working with other volunteers, I am an obvious “freak” among them. None…NONE of my fellow helpers can trust me to be a friend because of my poor communication skills. My conversations are simple, black and white, stories going into too much detail, sometimes without clarity. After a certain amount of time spent with my fellow helpers, I have to step back and go hiking and spend a day or two reflecting on who I am.
    So, what I am trying to get to is this: No one believes me when I try to explain that perhaps…yes, there is a possibility… that I may be an Asperger person. I am told repeatedly that I don’t have the characteristics but I know I do possess them! My behavior is learned over decades of rebuke, being put on probation at work, and when I became a Christian. I lacked empathy until my heart changed through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Don’t panic, all you unbelievers of God, I’m not a fanatic crazy person).
    What I am trying to say is that people who know me now see me as “normal” in ability to communicate and be social. Yet, under the same breath, they will rebuke me or scold me for hurting someone’s feelings AND I AM CLUELESS AS TO HOW I HURT THEIR FEELINGS!
    I get so tired of defending myself I choose to go introverted and do my own thing. And to be honest, when I discovered I may have Aspergers, I felt relief because it answers so many things in my past that I never understood. I new I was different and often jokingly said I’m just a freak.

    I really appreciate the information that is sent. Thank you!

  • Rita says:

    I don’t think it even matters if my self-diagnosis is right or not. I find that using the information about Aspergers and how to function better in the world has been so very helpful to my life. It doesn’t matter. All runs much more smoothly. Things that used to offend me no longer hold power. I’ve learned to explain away my oddness as “my artistic nature”. What matters a name? And have confided to a select few, but do so with pride, acknowledging my near encyclopedic AND innovative talent in my chosen field while also acknowledging my social clumsiness. I am succeeding in my career better than ever. Thank all of you for sharing your experiences and stories!

  • David says:

    I’m planning to tell my older brother that he may have Aspergers later this year and suggesting that he see a specialist in diagnosing Adult Aspergers Syndrome (AAS). He’s 37 and has had problems with depression since his teens. It’s strange because he’s one of 7 children and the rest of us turned out ok but he’s never been able to sustain relationships in the long run. Some people he completely despises and other good friends and girlfriends he has dropped rather callously.

    After talking with family members who were staunchly resistant and telling me that I’ll “tear the family apart”, I’ve resolved to do the following:
    1. Research Aspergers and educate myself fully
    2. Draft a letter to my brother about aspergers and explain why I feel he (and the family) may benefit from a diagnosis
    3. Meet with him in a quiet place where we can catch up and talk one to one. My brother has always been keen to share his problems (almost too much) and I know he’ll be receptive to an open ear.
    4. Talk through the main points of my letter or thoughts in a calm, careful tone.
    5. Suggest to him to see a pre-chosen specialist in the area of diagnosing adult aspergers. He’s been seeing psychiatrists and therapists for years for his depression but I don’t think they realize how he behaves around others. Their inference is that somehow my parents are to blame when the other 6 of us, as I said, turned out fine. My suggestion will be to get a different opinion and I think referring him to an AAS specialist is critical.
    6. Remind him that I’m there to support him and that my main intention is to help him cope better with the challenges of life which includes relating better to his friends and family. I recently heard a great story on a US show that gives me hope that he might actually be relieved. This is truly worth listening to:

    If his diagnosis comes back negative, I’ll accept that I’m wrong but if positive, I’ll personally be relieved and feel that I can form a much stronger relationship with him. I’ll know it’s not his personality that causes his insensitive or overly sensitive behavior per se – it’d be the fact he has aspergers; a condition he’s born with. I believe he has it and I think with the right diagnosis and tools, he can live a happier life.

    I am hopeful he will feel relieved.

    • Elizabeth says:

      David this is now 8 years later…I just saw your comment (Sept of 2021). I hope you have not changed your contact info…I hope you see this. You are amazing and such a good, caring brother! How did it turn out? Did your brother ever get diagnosed? My family has QUITE the story so this is why I am interested. I would love to hear back from you. ~Elizabeth

  • Pam says:

    Online Asperger tests are different then the ones a real therapist who is steeped in Aspergers will give you. I think it’s import to get some real testing done first.

  • Albert says:

    A good friend with Aspergers actually told me about mine. Actually first he just asked if I knew what Aspergers was. I told him my very incorrect interpretation of what I thought it was. He then told me he had been diagnosed with it an he suggested I do some research into it.

    I did. Immediately my life made sense. I contactd my friend and told him that I was 99.99% sure I had it too. He then told me that the reason he brought it up is because he could relate so much to my problems and things I was going through.

    I’m so glad that he did. It has certainly made my life easier in understanding why I am the way that I am and to improve coping strategies.

  • Marie says:

    Thanks so much for this. I looked for help with this years ago and just found stuff on children. I have finally have come to the end of my rope trying to communicate with my son.

  • Lynn Deneau says:

    I am 63 years old and just recently found out that I have Asperger’s and ADHD/ADD (this was diagnosed in 2000) – what a revelation! On top of that, I have an IQ of 180. I often wonder how different my life would have been had I known all of this sooner; had I had a better understanding of how and why my brain works differently from others, and how this affects my perception of myself, others, and the world in general. Throughout my childhood, other children would tell me that I was “too different,” but no one could explain to me how I was different and I couldn’t understand how others could not “see,” comprehend, or deduce the things I could. Growing up, my abusive family members told me I was “retarded,” and I was the brunt of their mocking, ridiculing, cruel “jokes” – I still am. It wasn’t until I started working that I found out I wasn’t a dummy, and many of my bosses would comment on my ability to make great conceptual leaps from inception to the conclusion of projects with all the details in between in a matter of seconds. However, there were/are plenty of people who have remarked that I have “an authoritative and intimidating manner,” and insinuate that I have less-than-honorable intentions when all I’m doing is sharing information. It’s just information, people – there is no ego or emotion or evil intent attached. But, I couldn’t understand why others could not understand this. I worked in fast-paced, high-stress corporate staff positions for more than 25 years, plus medical, legal, restaurant, architecture, engineering, etc., fields – you name it, I’ve done it. But the stress of the constant sensory overloading, difficulties with work and personal relationships, and major depressive/suicidal episodes combined with other chronic medical conditions due to a damaged immune system finally brought me to my knees and I have been officially “disabled” since 1999. Because of the “hyperactive” immune system disorder, I cannot risk taking any medications and have had to develop my own coping mechanisms. Had I known, how different might my life have been?

    Yes, there are stigmas attached to any “psychological” diagnosis; but, they are no worse than being stigmatized for being “too different.” The truth is that most psychological “problems” are actually physiological disorders that manifest psychological symptoms – but medicine isn’t there yet. Unfortunately, most humans fear what they don’t understand and what is different than them, and most engage in diminishing others in order to enhance their own feelings of self-worth – it’s quick and easy.

    History provides sufficient evidence that humans are always looking for something to justify defining another person or group of people as “less than” themselves or their own group (i.e., nationality, race, religion, culture, age, language, diagnosis, apparel, hair color/texture, eye color, social/financial status, education, school, sport team, etc., etc.)

    Humans clump themselves together in little tribes with each tribe declaring itself valid and relevant, and all other tribes are nothing. So desperate for validation from others of their worthiness to exist, most people have enslaved themselves to the judgment of others – have given others power and authority over them that those others are not qualified or authorized to possess and wield.

    My point being just this – people are labeling themselves and others every moment of every day, more often than not to serve their personal self-interests;specifically, to enhance how they are perceived and assigned value by those they admire/fear at the expense and to the detriment of those they diminish. Someone somewhere is already stigmatizing you for something, so what does it matter if they stigmatize you for being an “Aspie” – at least you’ll be labeled correctly for a change.

    And the really HUGE point here is that how others behave towards you reveals who THEY are, not who you are. If someone is going to demean, debase, and diminish you for something over which you have no control (you didn’t CHOOSE to have Asperger’s), why would you value their opinion at all? Why in the world would you want someone like that in your life in the first place?

    To the ignorant, the arrogant, the petty, and the abusive, please, by all means, stigmatize and ostracize me to your heart’s content because I do not need you in my life.

    • Annie Brookes says:

      WOW, I wish my daughter felt the same way as you. I tried to suggest she may have Asperger’s for the very reasons you have pointed out and I got accused of calling her mentally disabled and my son-in-law said I was a cyber bully as I emailed her because she lives in Australia. Why are people so close minded about these things. We are all different in various ways and I just cannot understand why we can’t embrace everyone’s differences instead of ridicule them for it. You sound like an amazing person and have had a very full life despite all the abuse you have had to tolerate.

    • Karen Rayner says:

      Lynn, you explain it so well, I feel that, had I had more support and encouragement I could have been soooooooo successful. I have held some good responsible positions and been hugely praised for the results of my actions, yes, my attention to detail etc … but none of those positions fulfilled me .. I knew I had much more to give …. thank you for this post.

  • Annie Brookes says:

    I would like to say I wish I had read this before suggesting to my daughter that she may have Aspergers. I tried some of the traits and just asked her if she recognized any of them, no reply, so I then tried a gentle email as she lives in Australia. WOW!! everything blew up, she accused me of saying she was mentally disabled and her husband accused me of being a cyber bully!! Things have calmed down now but only after I apologised. Even my husband didn’t speak to me for weeks about it. Why do people take such offence at it? If someone thought I had a problem I would welcome them telling me then I could try and adapt but I obviously went about it on completely the wrong way as my daughter is not really an open person. Anyway, I have decided it is probably best to leave things alone and let her discover it for herself maybe one day 🙁 I was only trying to help when I read on one website it is better for people in these situations to know to get the right help!

  • Karen Rayner says:

    I am 63 and discovered this Aspergers site after hearing a Dr Christian ? on a TV programme, not a programme I usually watch but was interested in his comments about Aspergers and could relate to many of the traits mentioned. I took the test and in the first test scored 36, I took it a couple of times more and scored 34 and 36 again. I have just tried it again and scored 32. I have not been medically diagnosed but just knowing that there might be a valid reason for the way that I act/think has been a huge relief as I now realise that I am not ‘odd’, ‘weird’, ‘stupid’ or ‘thick’ as I have often thought (and occasionally told).

  • john says:

    i like all of these movies, thanks for sharing

  • Lionel says:

    I work in adult education, so I’m professionally trained about aspie traits, triggers, etc. I have a few students who are diagnosed, and they’re lovely to work with. I read all the main texts on AS and HFA, especially Tony Attwood’s books. So I’m not qualified to make a medical diagnosis, but I probably know a bit more about AS than a typical GP.

    Anyway, a few years ago, I met a woman who enrolled as a mature student. She already had a good degree and I wasn’t sure why she wanted another one. Her work was excellent, and she had an incredible sense of detail and focus. But she had social problems with other students, and couldn’t get along with staff either. She focused in on me, because I was pretty supportive and listened a lot. But she ended up quitting before the end.

    Then we became friends. It was difficult and exhausting, but she really began to become important to me. She’d had lots of unhappiness in her life, due to faulty diagnoses and being admitted to a mental hospital when she was a teenager. Her incomprehension and anger led her to disown her own parents, who loved her. She used to talk about living on her own planet, at war with the world. She distrusted authority. She had spent time living on the streets. She was in a lot of emotional pain and confusion.

    The more we talked, and the more traits I began to discover, the clearer it became that she ticked every box of AS/HFA. Meltdowns, special interests, hoarding, mathematical fixations, details without context, inability to empathise naturally, stimming, and so on. Then I found myself in this exact dilemma. I didn’t want to pathologise her, or judge her. Those traits were actually charming, anyway, and an integral part of her. I’d read that denial was the likely outcome, and I was ready for a hostile reply, including the termination of the friendship.

    Anyway, I broached the subject in a friendly way, and she was semi-accepting at first. I played the quiz game too, even taking it myself (I’m a pretty standard NT but I’m super-introverted and a bit geeky). She got a super-high score, and laughed. I was hopeful that she was on the way to acceptance.

    But we couldn’t spend time together, because she was determined to leave everything behind and start a new life in the USA. And when she left, I found that I cared more deeply than I even knew, and I was really heartbroken. I did the only thing I could do, which was to let her follow her dreams and wish her luck. I tried to stay friends, but I wasn’t strong enough, and I felt rejected. To my shame, I really let that show, and we both got hurt. And, as every aspie site tells us, if you hurt an aspie, she stays hurt and may never forgive or trust you again.

    Three years later, and the story is sadder still. I found she had a blog that was cry-inducingly sad and lonely. No mention of AS, no acceptance, just walls of denial. Long, long posts about her traits and special interests, but lots and lots of unhappiness. I tried to rekindle the friendship, but it was too late. All that came back was bitter denial. I’d become the enemy. Absolutely heartbreaking.

    I still want the best for her. All I could do is tell her I still cared, and remind her that there’s a support network out there if she wants to explore it. But nobody can truly diagnose AS but the person herself, and it could take a lifetime. My heart goes out to her parents and her family, who (when we last spoke) don’t even know where she’s living. Whatever I might be suffering (a lost friendship and a bruised ego) must be nothing compared to the hell her family are going through right now, perhaps not even sure she’s alive.

    Right now, I blame myself for even trying to broach, because I feel it can make matters worse. Though it cost me a special friendship, I still hope that, some years down the line, that playful test-taking might lead her to peek her head out of the darkness and seek out all the non-judgmental support that’s out there.

    Thank you for this site. It’s helpful not just for AS people but for those who cross their path, whose lives are touched by it, and who can really get hurt as a result.

    • Sara says:

      Hi Lionel, I feel you! I am a nt woman and had a similar relationship with someone who had many of the characteristics.

      After falling completely in love together, but suffering for several years the inexplicable difficulty of attempting to communicate with my partner, I ran across a Tony Attwood radio interview online and shared it with him. He had no preconception about what this was, and at first it really resonated with him. He referred to himself, charmingly I thought, as an “Asparagus.” However he didn’t learn much about it; it was I who did the modifying of my own communication style to work better with his processing style. This helped us tremendously. Our relationship quality stabilized to a high level- an 8 out of 10! he said.

      Then, gradually- and I will never know exactly what happened- he seemed to internalize a more negative interpretation of it. I have often wondered if it was that friends of his who heard him say I thought he was an Aspie who reacted negatively to this and rejected it, who shaped his view that it was actually a negative thing. Or maybe he read about it online and the coverage felt diminishing. I’ll never know.

      We had already done many things to ensure the basic foundation of our relationship was protected from common disruptors- we do not share finances, did not marry (hence no “forcing” of anyone to do anything), had completely separate living spaces (but overlapped half time), and I never objected when he wanted to go out with his friends. I give him a lot of credit for proposing these structures- he knew they could make it less likely that we’d have conflict, which he detested- and I knew him well enough to trust that his reasons for wanting these things were authentically because it would help us have a stable, high quality relationship, and not based on some nefarious agenda.

      But, long story short, after things improved for a couple years post-AS discovery, he underwent a lot of stresses, and over the next few years, he began to blame the symptoms his stress was causing on me. This despite the fact that he had lost his life’s savings (I had zero to do with that), and he had taken on a very demanding job, as well as being a parent (he adores our daughter and is a very involved dad, but it’s certainly a big responsibility).

      I felt as if I was behaving the same way toward him that I had ever since I learned about AS, although granted we now had a child so that limited my freedom and my time.

      It seemed to me that he had it in his head that if he could just eliminate me from his life, his stress would go away. This is nonsensical, because he insists on being a very involved parent, and that necessitates a lot of coordination. It’s just that he has a really difficult time adjusting to the new situation that is his life now. And whatever is around that can be pointed at in day to day life that appears to be a source of unhappiness gets blamed.

      My point is, I’m not sure your pointing out AS has anything whatsoever to do with your friend now seeing you as the enemy. I too am now the enemy. But I frankly don’t think it has a ton to do with the fact that I once pointed out AS as a factor.

      Maybe she even feels sad not to have you around, but doesn’t have words for those feelings, or know what to do about it? Who knows.

      All I know is, it’s a wild and wooly life loving an AS. I wish you and your heart joy, and hers too.

  • John says:

    My ex wife told me she thinks I have aspergers because after we did marriage counselling the counsellor told her he thinks I have it. I couldn’t believe it, but she kept bringing it up (we have a son together so we see a lot of each other). I think she’s using that belief to help her deal with me leaving her, but it’s become really annoying so I did two online aspergers tests and scored low on both, a score of 5 on this site. I told her my score and she still insists I have it.

    I answered the questions honestly. Does a score of 5 definitely exclude me from having it? I don’t want to waste time and money seeing an expert for a full examination if it’s clear I don’t have it, and it would be nice to just get her to put this to bed as I’m sick of her saying it to me.

    Is there any low cost thing I could do that would convince her I don’t have it or I suppose indicate that it’s warranted for me to get an expert involved because I clearly might have it?

    Could an expert from this site clear it up for me and give me some definitive direction for moving forward? I would really appreciate it 🙂

    • David says:

      As a counsellor, I often meet an injured party (usually male) doing their best to appease their partner and it is frequent that the problem is in the partner, and I often suspect an HFA issue. My job is to support my client in who they are and to resist trying to become the person the partner wants them to be- because it is not possible. To then recognise that partner has a problem and to try and work with them on that basis rather than waste energies on self criticism and recrimination.

  • Martha Meek says:

    My youngest son, who is 9, has Asperpers. I have know for many years that he is different. I am currently in grad school working on my Masters in Psychology so that I can help families that have a special child. I just never thought that I would be faced with a situation of telling him his diagnosis.
    I am currently working with a family that has a 9 year old daughter that has Autism. She is aware of her condition, my son is not. I have spoken to him about Autism and about Aspergers. He has watched videos and he has met the little girl who has Autism. He also plays the cello and his stand partner has Autism as well.
    I am worried that he is not mature to handle knowing the condition, but when should I let him know. The school has made adjustments for him and he seems to be doing better. I am wanting to tell him that way he can understand why he is different. I always thought that I would be the one to explain to a family when to tell their children, but now I am faced with the decision.

  • Bryan says:


    So I’m not sure but I’ve asked a couple close friends what they see. I have one of my best friends with AS, he’s 21, I’m 31. He is the one that told me to look into it and take the tests. All my scores are in the 42-47 ranges on every kind of test I can think to take. So I finally reached out to my doctor. This weekend was enough stress that it caused every single issue to flair up, all at once. My speech makes no sense to folks, I find I can’t articulate well to my customers, I was screamed at because I got something wrong again, as a result have found myself pouring over research and reading on AS, or as my councilor said HFA because it was pulled off the registry in 2013. I have an appointment on Monday to talk with my gp. I am so stressed from work, chronic back pain (tear on a degenerated disk), I’ve been incontient (recently diagnosed) since I was 19, and last week the doc finally said I have a flaccid bowel. So yes! Things are finally moving forward trying to get me out of pain. I sleep about 4-8 hours a night depending on where at in the week it falls, and if it’s a week the doc scheduled for my pain killers.

    I have regression tendencies and so have found a place in the adult baby community, and I only bring this up because I am functionally incontient, and when I get over whelmed everything tends to shut down. Each time it is gettin harder and harder to get it back. So I am looking into this as a root cause where I can get better technique for handling my stress responses as well as how I can articulate better. While over coming a massive anxiety about goin to classes with other folks, or having to meet new people face to face.

  • Tony G says:

    The biggest thing I regret in my life is that I wasn’t told I was “on the spectrum”. If I knew, I would have chosen a completely different career. Even though I have struggled hard, ran away from the UK, and managed to get a PhD at age 45. I would not have slogged through counselling, speculative self-diagnosis, prescribed drugs, to find out why I felt different.
    The REAL question, I believe, is WHEN and HOW to tell a loved one, NOT whether.

    • Maria says:

      Thank you Tony. As a new partner to someone whom I love but know in my heart I cannot live with ( or more so his ‘quirkiness ‘ ) I feel it is important for his future welfare to at least know why he has had very little success with relationships . Both intimate ones and friendships.
      It saddens me to see that he has no ‘loving’ friends but in fact people who seem to use him for his generosity.
      His history with women is somewhat the same and sadly his first and only wife left him and 3 children and moved states .( this was 12 years ago- young children then and young adults now. His opinion is that she abandoned them .. in my opinion I believe the poor woman simply could not cope. I feel I should talk to him about this however I do see that when I mention certain aspects of his behaviour that ‘worry ‘ me he becomes rather aggressive ,
      Very defensive and then almost shuts off the discussion as though it was never mentioned.
      What to do ?

  • Anonymous says:

    Whatever your relationship is, just don’t . Unless you are willing to pick up the pieces afterwards and deal with the emotional mess you have caused. The online AS tests only indicate a probability of 3% that the person is on the spectrum. A real diagnosis is based on a long and arduous process of interviews and numerous tests. Leave the diagnosing to the professionals. And don’t take the test as if you are the person whom you suspect is on the spectrum. You cannot get inside that person’s head.

    • Larry says:

      I didn’t find out that I had Asperger’s until two months ago at age 80. Many questions were answered. If I had known when I was young I’m sure my life would have been much better.

      • Peter says:

        I was already an adult when Asperger’s became clear to me. But as Larry said above, looking back, I’m doubtful that things would have been better. I doubt that anything would have been done anyway — people didn’t know what Asperger’s was, and wouldn’t have known what to do back then. It was very difficult to fit in, and realize that people don’t LIKE people who are different — those who can’ t communicate like others, who don’t understand sports, who don’t see the importance of studying — those people, who didn’t understand, and didn’t care are today despicable in my mind. When you’re that young, you don’t know or understand what’s going on. I wish I had had some Miltown or Ativan, or Prozac, but even back then, doctors would have said, “you’re a kid, you don’t need anything like that.” Of course, they’d be wrong. Medicine was primitive in the ’50s and ’60s. . Don’t forget, the motto, “What will the neighbors think?”

    • Milaey says:

      Completely disagree! You have a duty of care to thw children and to yourself especially when emotional abuse is so rife in these situations and children are nor being propwrly cared for by these people!

  • lavender says:

    I have autism self diagnosed but all the signing from my childhood is there. Would have helped to know them but now ergh

  • ella says:

    My boyfriend as asperjers and it is very difficult for both of us im sure. I miss hima lot as he needs a lot of alone time and we tend to spend time just the two of us as socialising is difficult. He is also amazing in lots of other ways though never controlling, great friend to my daughter and it makes the little things more special than in a regular relationsgips as I know it takes a lot for him to do things. Every bit of affection is so meaningfull and I feel special than he chose to have me in his life as he doesnt let many people in.

  • Kelly says:

    Why would a family member be diagnosing another family member of anything? I do think that gently suggesting support that would address the struggles endured by folks on the spectrum is valuable and would likely put a person on a path toward authentic diagnosis. But…I suppose…what exactly qualifies a family member to diagnose another family member with anything?

    • Kat says:

      You’re not diagnosing them, merely suggesting the possibility of them having aspergers. Obviously you can’t officially diagnose someone unless you’re qualified, but you can be reasonably sure that they may have aspergers.

  • Lara says:

    Three days ago, I e-mailed a recent ex boyfriend to ask if he has Aspergers. Our three month relationship was derailed because of his ‘bad/odd’ behaviour and I felt that he was different. I carried the stress inside me and friends and family were very wary of him. I am not sure whether it’s just a blessed relief to be single again, whether I miss him and want him back and whether I think that he can accept what I have said and change/meet me half way. He liked the truth though and said that he preferred to know how I was feeling and wanted me to have more ‘fire’. I hope it pays off but I needed to release myself from being baffled and hurt by him.

  • Lara says:

    This has been new and difficult territory for me as a neuro-typical woman who has had to split up from a boyfriend of eleven weeks because of his behaviour. I am perplexed and hurt. When we went out, he did come across as nervous, irrational and slightly abusive and when it came to discussing going away together, I got no response other than total disinterest. He could not enjoy himself in the usual way. I think that he knew that he suffered from sensory overload and that at times, he had possibly gone too far as he said that I was clearly a nice person because I hadn’t stormed off or given him what for but he never told me that he specifically had Aspergers. He also took it upon himself to be brutally honest about what he thought about me, my upbringing and my house and he prided himself on the fact that he told the truth and criticised others for not necessarily being able to take it. I had not asked for this feedback and I threw him out of my house. He apologised though and we got back together albeit only for a few more weeks. Friends and family were very wary of him and whether I was going to be in the right relationship for me or whether I would be settling for second best. Therefore, after talking to a couple of people who knew something about people on the spectrum, I was advised to be direct with him and ask. There is a lot of conflicting opinion but I think that you just have to keep your fingers crossed because you are only trying to do that person a favour and as a neuro-typical, you need to make sure that your needs are going to be met because the chances are that things will revolve around the partner who has Aspergers. However, I think that if you do have Aspergers, you should tell someone after a few dates. It’s not easy to deal with unawares, causes stress and cannot be easily hidden.

  • Aspy Senior Citizen says:

    I had no idea why I was a stranger in a strange land for many years. I don’t believe anyone else knew either; my parents just thought I was extremely shy perhaps because I skipped two grades at school. I spent most of my life thinking my problem was a lack of courage so it was a wonderful revelation a few years ago to learn that it was not a cowardly disposition that made me behave so oddly (my father called me ‘queer duck’ in a friendly teasing way…) So I think Aspys should be told early because the truth is better than worrying and wondering why it is such a struggle to act normal. Once I began to investigate the spectrum a lot of puzzles were solved and I felt way better!

    • NJ says:

      So you then think it might be ok to ask my 60 year old partner, who is about to move in, whether he may have aspergers? He doesn’t even know what ‘aspergers’ is. but it is so obvious, i can’t believe he has gone through life as a husband to two former wives (he was left twice, and maintains good relationships with both exs) and as a successful business professional without knowing it? I do not want to jeopardise my relationship, but he is very open to having discussions about thing hen they upset me as there have been many occasions. I thought I would just start with a few rules for behavoiur and let the discussion progress from there depending on how things go?

  • Becky says:

    I’m recently engaged to a wonderful man who is highly educated, intelligent and successful. He is 63 and recently retired from his medical practice. My goal is not to “fix” him rather to better understand his tendencies so I’m not frustrated and he won’t be frustrated with me. He is socially awkward, childlike emotions, taps his teeth when nervous, taps his fingers on his leg constantly, struggles to communicate his thoughts, struggles with the routine changes that comes with having a new life partner… the list seems never ending.
    I love him and want to learn how to be more accepting and to learn how to now bug him.
    We haven’t discussed my suspicions and he hasn’t given me any indication verbally that he’s been diagnosed.
    Any suggestions?

  • NJ says:

    I have been in a relationship with a man who is almost 60, and i pretty much picked it straight away and it is a loving relationship, but not always easy. He has no idea. I don’t think he knows what Aspergers is. My son likely has it and I’ve been talking to mental health professionals for a long time, since my son has ADHD too so I am familiar with mehtal health disorders so talking to psycologists is an normal conversation- but for him, it isn’t – after two failed marriages, he knows that he has communication problems and often can’t read people’s feelings. I now have to ahve a discussion with him about setting rules for our relationship because here has been too much hurt, too often, but his self-absobred insentive, sometimes disrespectful behaviors. I can have an objective discussion about that – but do I suggest to him that he might have autism/aspergers? the best I can think of is to say outright because of course, I can’t hint, that he has similar behaviors to my son. but I am not sure how he will take it. Any thoughts wodl be appreociated. he is a kind man, most of the time. and very sensitive. he wants me to tell him when he has done something hurtful, but I am not his analysts.

  • Bruce says:

    I always knew I was different, and got my fair share of teasing at school. I had trouble making friends- in fact I preferred (and still do) my own company as I don’t have to hide things from myself. I love to ponder intensely over things that others find ridiculous. I grew up, recognizing that my father, sister and a cousin on my father’s side were both exhibiting similar traits to me- albeit I was able to handle these feelings better. I went on to get a degree, and worked my way up the corporate ladder and eventually got to the top of my field in economics. But I always felt like a stranger in a strange place (to quote someone else here). Life was (is) a constant swim upstream in a fast downstream current. Then- my daughter (a nurse practitioner) recognized similar traits in her daughter (my grand-daughter), and had her tested- sure enough she was diagnosed with Asperger’s. I have never been tested- but reading here (at this site) makes me constantly say “that’s just the way I am”. My second wife (not the mother of my children) is someone that I would like to tell, but I can’t build the courage to do so. I’m 69 now- a part of me says “what difference at this point would this make to tell anybody”. I am able to hide the behavior that relates to this condition from everyone (my sister and my cousin cannot hide it, it forms their every day lives). But I am constantly living two lives- one that I let others see and one in my mind that gets to see the light of day at the precious times when I am on my own.

  • rgrirl says:

    Hi, not sure if this will help anyone else. But after trying to approach the subject with my 50-something partner and falling flat for a few years, we came across a book review in The Guardian for a book called Keep Clear by Tom Cutler. Tom is an experienced writer who discovered his Asp. diagnosis in his mid50s. I took a chance and ordered the book for my partner, who read it when he was ready. It opened up his eyes in a way that I never could have from the outside. Being in a relationship with someone whose brain works in a very different way can be uniquely difficult. We as a couple needed help to get this brought to the surface but it’s been better. Still not always easy, but better.

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