deafness with autism spectrum

#1
Hello, I have a 22year old deaf son who is also on the autism spectrum, high functioning but with a lot of denial and unrealistic expectations of his future.
Normally I would stay out of adult children's lives, but he is so miserable not quite fitting in with the deaf or the autism communities. He wants to have
friends and a girlfriend just like anyone else his age. He is into anime and travel. Does anyone have any suggestions about meet-ups, deaf anime fan
groups, or other social groups I could point him to? He signs but is not oral. Thank you for reading
 

Muse

Active Member
#2
Where are you roughly located? Some parts of the US (I'm assuming you're from there) are total hotbeds of social activity for the Deaf world, but many places aren't. How does he feel comfortable interacting online with like-minded folk?

I'm not familiar with autism in experience, but I'd be happy to chip in what I can.

Another thing: autistic children often have many gifts, but we collectively try to "normalize" them and teach them to be normal, often at cost to them. This same phenomenon happens with Deaf people of all types. Could this be a dynamic? Autistic people can do amazing things I can't even begin to fathom, and I imagine that racking up wins with his gifts could go a long way with his self-esteem.
 
#3
Thank you, Muse, I totally agree with not attempting to make people on the spectrum into neurotypicals. Their thinking is hard-wired and and an integral part of their humanity. As a matter of fact, a cultural movement for Asperger/autistic people, modeled somewhat the concept of Deaf culture, exists now. My son draws very well (his gift, I suppose), but that's not too important to him. He wants to live in a nice house in Seattle,
with a wife and kids--an achievable goal, but probably not for someone who reads at a first grade level, can't speak or read lips, and who wants to work as a stock clerk in a supermarket. I should mention we live in the NYC area, and he wants me to move to the west coast with him, where everyone will live happy ever after, and never die. You get this from 4 year olds normally.

You get the idea that his peer group is very narrow. He doesn't accept autism, only identifies as Deaf--not too many girls out there for him, from what I can see. And just to add to the complications, he has a Deaf twin brother who is fine--away at college, drives a car, has tons of friends,
maybe even a girlfriend up in Rochester (who knows, as I said, I try to give my kids some space.) It's been a weird dynamic, for sure.
 
#4
Gosh, firstdaughter. You view your son with clear eyes in some ways. Are there any autism support groups for parents of adult children available to you? The challenge you face is a tough one. Hugs.
 

Barbaro

Well-Known Member
#5
Hey, I'm a deaf mom of hearing son with ASD. Is your son under your insurance? Is there a program in NYC area where they teach adults with ASD/Asperger to be independent? My brother's nephew with Asperger graduated high school last year. He is in the program learning to be an independent. My stepniece is autistic and loves to go to anime/ comic conventions. However, if your son can afford to go to comic conventions, then it's great. He can get inspiration there.

Does he carry conversation well with Deaf/HH people ? Is he comfortable with eye contact? Eye contact is so vital to the Deaf/HH community.
 
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deafdyke

Well-Known Member
#6
Is he on a "severe Asperger's syndrome level?" This is tough....Most "grey area" programming is targeted towards hearing kids.....Wish I knew of Deaf specific postseconday programming.
 
#7
Hi, i am deaf/hoh and on the spectrum myself. I’m a 46 year old adult that has never needing supports in work/community, but socially, being deaf and autistic I am quite impaired.

Also, I have taught special ed for 24 years and the last 19 specifically with high school high functioning autistic students.

I’ve been through attempts at having so called normal relationships as you describe your son desires. You won’t change his mind, he will need to learn about his own strengths and weaknesses through real life experience and come to his own decisions regarding his social circle.

In my program, I work to help young people understand themselves in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. It is a tremendously difficult thing for young people on the spectrum to master. Be patient with him and support the process the best you can.

If you are able to find a therapist who specializes in autism, some are through hospitals with ASD programs, that may be a source of support for him.

I would also recommend a self help, workbook if he’s willing to access. Living Well on the Spectrum is the title....I can add the author later.
 
#8
Gosh, firstdaughter. You view your son with clear eyes in some ways. Are there any autism support groups for parents of adult children available to you? The challenge you face is a tough one. Hugs.
Thank you for your kind words. (I try not to let denial rule me!). There are support groups for autism families; the deafness and denial of being
autistic keeps my son--and myself--apart from them.
 
#9
Hey, I'm a deaf mom of hearing son with ASD. Is your son under your insurance? Is there a program in NYC area where they teach adults with ASD/Asperger to be independent? My brother's nephew with Asperger graduated high school last year. He is in the program learning to be an independent. My stepniece is autistic and loves to go to anime/ comic conventions. However, if your son can afford to go to comic conventions, then it's great. He can get inspiration there.

Does he carry conversation well with Deaf/HH people ? Is he comfortable with eye contact? Eye contact is so vital to the Deaf/HH community.
Hi, so you're living a multi-faceted life as well! There are many programs for adults with ASD in my area. The problem is the signing, and my son's lack of insight into his limitations. He only identifies as Deaf. He's in a program for Deaf adults with developmental delays; he hates the program and will have nothing to do with any of his peers in the program. We are all working on his skills for independence. He makes great eye contact, fortunately. I'm not sure how he comes across to neurotypical Deaf people, since he rarely meets any. I suppose they would pick up on the fact that there is something different about him.
 
#10
Hi, i am deaf/hoh and on the spectrum myself. I’m a 46 year old adult that has never needing supports in work/community, but socially, being deaf and autistic I am quite impaired.

Also, I have taught special ed for 24 years and the last 19 specifically with high school high functioning autistic students.

I’ve been through attempts at having so called normal relationships as you describe your son desires. You won’t change his mind, he will need to learn about his own strengths and weaknesses through real life experience and come to his own decisions regarding his social circle.

In my program, I work to help young people understand themselves in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. It is a tremendously difficult thing for young people on the spectrum to master. Be patient with him and support the process the best you can.

If you are able to find a therapist who specializes in autism, some are through hospitals with ASD programs, that may be a source of support for him.

I would also recommend a self help, workbook if he’s willing to access. Living Well on the Spectrum is the title....I can add the author later.
Miki, I can well understand how socially isolating the combination of Deafness and ASD can be. You are obviously intelligent and educated, independent of course. I could only wish my son could approach your successes, but probably not with a tested IQ of 77! At this point, I feel he is like 14 years old emotionally (with some 6 year old thrown in), and I just am gritting my teeth and hoping in the next few years he will allow himself into an appropriate social circle as you say. He may have to learn gradually to lower his expectations. I would love to see the workbook, also.

He is seeing a therapist who is teaching him some breathing exercises to deal with frustration. But I find it poignant, to read that you, with all of your accomplishments and education, are still feeling socially impaired.
 
#11
Is he on a "severe Asperger's syndrome level?" This is tough....Most "grey area" programming is targeted towards hearing kids.....Wish I knew of Deaf specific postseconday programming.
Hi! I guess, to answer to your question, he's not severely autistic, but probably not super high functioning. A grey area, indeed. He's very immature and has unrealistic goals for his life and little insight into his limitations. (Not to repeat previous posts). He draws very well and reads newspaper travel sections and everybody's travel blog. He thinks he can travel all over the world. He's also the only one of my 3 kids who has expressed an interest in getting married and having children! Little chance of that! I feel so sorry about the disappointments he's going to face, but somehow a little part of me believes that he could find someone who is Deaf, and also a little different. Thank you for your kind interest.