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Old 04-02-2013, 08:54 PM
 
333 posts, read 586,468 times
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I think the only hurdle to a tested and diagnosed person with AS is medication during initial entry training. My son is a HS senior with a 3.6 GPA, 25 ACT and accepted at Missouri St. His medication hasn't been altered in years. People with AS crave structure, routines and activities that promote social interaction with clear signals and intents.

High functioning autism is at the far end of the autism spectrum. Moderate to low cases/people are going to be predictably borderline situations best suited for a specialist at a MEPS. Or an enlistment waiver from a board certified professional civilian.

Interested to see what others think.
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:31 PM
 
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Honestly, do your child and those who they may serve with a favor don't push an autistic child into the military unless you are sure he won't get himself or someone's kid killed.

My stepson has AS and is truly is not military material. Having retired from the Army myself I can honestly say I couldn't live with myself if he got someone killed because of his poor reasoning skills or lack of common sense.

Not all AS kids have good reasoning skills, and kids who take everything literally are the most dangerous because in combat there isn't a referee around to explain things to someone with AS.

Your child can be as sweet as pie, but life and death decisions are made in the military even if your a truck driver or cook so don't assume a desk job is a safe job.

I know it is harsh, but so is the world we live in today in the military and our enemies within our own government AND overseas enemies are not giving us any timeouts for mistakes. Just ask the men who died in Benghazi.

Unless your "AS" kid can think under pressure, keep him or her home.
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Maryland not Murlin
8,185 posts, read 21,657,704 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skatergirl View Post
I'm a parent with a child on the spectrum, asperger's,and many parents on one support board have posed the question if their child can join the military. Many parents are reluctant to just ask a recruiter as some consider hiding the dx.

Does anyone here have specific knowledge as to whether someone with asperger's is denied entry into the armed forces based merely on their dx?

Thanks for any input!
I actually looked into this not too long ago. I came across a story about a guy who did very well in the Army who was diagnosed with Aspergers later in life. According to him, while in his Apsergers support group he learned of five or so other aspies who not only were former Military, but served their particular branch well. Like him, they were all diagnosed later in life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by melaniej65 View Post
People with AS are well suited to the Military because of the structure and I know of five outstanding Officers with AS. One is a Full Bird with high hopes of becoming an BG.
Most aspects of the Military will be well suited to those with Aspergers, but not everyone with Aspergers can handle the Military.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollytree View Post
You mean to tell me that they are diagnosing people with Asperger's who are simply shy and geeky? This whole thing is even more out of hand than I, a tremendous skeptic, realized.
To continue from above; they guy with Aspergers mentioned above wrote that the Military has been taking an active interest in Aspergers in particular, including their own research into it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by melaniej65 View Post
I would never suggest a lie of omission- that is why my son brought his medical records(Military since he was born and raised Army)- the very fact that he was highly successful in his studies and did so well at sports (and was never on any meds for his DX) AND had an almost perfect score on his ASVAB more than pleased his Recruiter and easily made it through his physical before leaving for BT & AIT.
There is no medication or treatment for Aspergers or other types of high-functioning autism. While the brain of those on the spectrum is "wired" differently and most, at least those with Aspergers will attest, they simply feel like they are on the wrong planet, are not developmentally or physically challenged. For the most part, it is simply a different way of looking and thinking about the world....that often times confuses NTs (neuro-typicals).

However, many with high-functioning forms of autism also have secondary or tertiary conditions such as ADD, depression, OCD, agoraphobia, etc. It is unclear if these other conditions are directly related to autism, or if they stem from corollary events. With a tendency to be reluctant to change and a stubbornness to adhere to routine, I can see someone with Aspergers developing OCD. Or perhaps depression if they if they were constantly teased, bullied, or told they were "retarded" or slow by grade school peers. Generally, this is where the prescription meds come in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Padgett2 View Post
It makes me wonder how the average person could tell if a "highly functioning" person with autism really had that condition.
Well, those with a high-functioning form of autism will stand out...even if they generally appear normal in most respects. There is generally something "off" about them that makes them seem weird.

Quote:
Originally Posted by looktowindward View Post
Take a deep breath. I have known good people who have lost some great opportunities in the military because of a subjective (and probably erroneous) diagnosis from early childhood. Think "ADD", which used to be wildly diagnosed amongst young boys. Now, think of "Autistic Spectrum" which is wildly misdiagnosed amongst young boys.

The fact that some doc, somewhere along the way, had given you a very subjective diagnosis, doesn't mean that its correct. There is no blood, DNA, or skin test for this stuff - its all observational..
Quote:
Originally Posted by MovingAloha View Post
^^^^^^What BLS2753 said! I've been following this thread and shaking my head. Bless your heart for wanting the best for your child, but the premise that the military is so structured that he or she would flourish there is a false premise. At the most, boot camp or basic is about as structured as it will get and even there you must be flexible and able to quickly (emphasis on quick) adjust to changing situations.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MovingAloha View Post
My apoliges, for the confusion! You are correct about few seeing Afghan and Iraq duty - Thank God! But my assertion remains that I find it hard to believe an austistic service member would function well in the military. But I will concede, I am not a medical expert and I can possibly be proven wrong.
Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that not only are there varying levels ranging from high-functioning to low-functioning, but each level also has its own ranges within. Those with Aspergers are probably the only ones on the spectrum who would do well, but then again, those with Aspergers can have varying degrees of severity of symptoms from non-existent to completely debilitating. Even though Aspergers is considered high-functioning and most with Aspergers are of average intelligence (IQ) as it is, and can function "normally" day-to-day, some with Aspergers need help with doing some very basic day-to-day activities such as eating/cooking, brushing of the teeth, shopping, etc. I know, I have Aspergers and am thinking about the Reserves.

How well a person with Aspergers would do in the Military would really depend on the severity of each diagnostic criteria. Like everyone, people with Aspergers have their own personalities and how well they will do in the Military, like anyone else, is based solely on the individual. In my opinion, a person with Aspergers could do very well as a sniper, linguist, operational specialists, intelligence, MP, etc., but might go "nuts" being in the infantry.

If I were a recruiter, personally I would have a preference for someone with high-functioning autism as long as they were not completely "out there" based on a few hallmarks of Aspergers:

1. Those with Aspergers have an almost obsessive tendency for loyalty towards those in their lives.
2. Those with Aspergers tend to be detail oriented and usually see things and/or patterns that NTs do not.
3. And, those with Aspergers generally do not have the habit of doing things on a whim. If someone with Aspergers came into my recruiting office I can be almost certain that he or she has spent a significant amount of time contemplating the pros and cons of joining the Military, including the possibility of war, and by the time they walked through my door they have came to a logical, certain, conclusion that the Military is what they want to do.
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:31 AM
 
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I am former Air Force. While in the military I was selected for a very technical job which required about a year of school. One of my peers was released from the military near the end of our school. I don't know if he was diagnosed with autism prior to the military but he was diagnosed before he was kicked out. (His parents met some of us in the lobby when they came to take him home and they talked to us then and shared it.) Although he was very smart, he was ultimately kicked out because he could not adapt to the military lifestyle. He was very angry, constantly frustrated, very anti-social and did not engage with is peers. He did very well in the school but was not capable of routine tasks like showing up on time for formations, keeping his room clean, keeping his uniform laundered, and showering regularly. My point in sharing this is that being smart is not enough when it comes to doing well in the military. There are no IEP's (Individual Education Plans) or special standards/programs for individuals with problems. People in the military have to pull their own weight and honestly it isn't fair to expect someone with autism, or any other condition, to be given special treatment or concessions. All of that said, I'm sure that there are plenty of folks along the spectrum that are (or have) served their country and done very well. Personally I think it is a tough call. I know the hell the kid I went to school with went through before he was kicked out. He was forever getting himself and his roommate weekend duty because of his short comings. That led to his roommate being constantly angry and fed up with him. The boy had very bad body odor and was unpleasant to be around. The military ended up being a crushing experience for him. Please just seriously consider your child's abilities before encouraging them to try to serve in the military. There is a lot more to it then thriving in a "routine" or how intelligent they are.
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:02 AM
 
1 posts, read 38,307 times
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Default ASD in Military

My daughter with high functioning ASD was in JROTC for 4 years and loved it. She love it so much, she believed she wanted a career in the military. JROTC made her feel important, capable of anything and went a long way in helping her overcome many phobias. Of course, in JROTC, the environment is governed by a school system which means your child is nurtured in a way that NO BRANCH OF THE MILITARY will do. I supported my daughter in her quest to join the National Guard and then go on to basic training. She passed through MEPS with flying colors. She enjoyed the guard drills prior to her send off to boot camp. Reception week at Boot Camp went as expected. Little adjustment but all in all fine. When it came time to separate into new barracks for the actual basic training, that's when the ASD started to reveal itself. The RUSH of basic put her into sensory overload mode. She struggled with sleeping, eating and functioning. She became ill. She struggled till week 3 (the 2nd week of basic) and refused to train 3 separate times so she was sent home. As much as she wanted this career she has come to realize she failed to adapt to this environment. She could likely do many of the jobs required in the military but the reality is that she would need to get through basic first. She is happy to be home again and back on track in college. My suggestion for those with high functioning ASD is to go on to college, participate in an ROTC program in college and enter the service as an officer. I believe you can skip basic at that point. This will also give you more time to mature. Hope this helps someone. Thanks!
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Middle America
35,779 posts, read 39,016,419 times
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There are many, many people with mild autism who are never diagnosed, because it minimally limits their ability to function, and certainly, many of them serve in the military, just as they hold any number of civilian jobs with success.

Having a diagnosis presents a challenge, as does the fact that "high-functioning" and "low-functioning" are not clinical terms, are very subjective, everyone's idea of what constitutes high-functioning and low-functioning are a little different (I am a special education teacher - and soon-to-be military spouse - who worked within various contexts where "high-functioning" basically was used as an indicator of verbal communication ability. Kids with autism who could speak were considered high-functioning, those with no verbal ability were considered low-functioning...I know this to be false, but that's beside the point, it's just meant to indicate that the labels don't really have any intrinsic meaning, they really just relate to the preconceptions of whoever's doing the labeling.

I worked with teens with autism who I believe would be as functional in the military as many of the neurotypical new recruits my fiance trains, some probably more so. I have also worked with teens with autism who in no world could ever function in the military, no matter how "high functioning" someone labeled them somewhere along the way. I don't believe it's a disability that would necessarily preclude military service, but having a neurological and/or psych-emotional diagnosis (which many people with autism have, as anxiety and depression and oppositional-defiance issues are often comorbid with ASDs) is really probably going to be a problem for most. Particularly if they require medication for mood issues, as many folks with autism do. I guarantee that there are plenty of servicemen and women already out there on the autism spectrum who are serving, they are just ones where it is undiagnosed, or ones where someone for whatever reason opted to look the other way. There are lots of people functioning in various modes of society, including the military, who might be considered just very rigid and type A, who, in fact, have a slight degree of autism.
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:39 AM
 
12,399 posts, read 11,934,528 times
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Goodness, cannot even pass boot, yet expects to be an officer.
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:35 AM
 
Location: SW OK (AZ Native)
14,463 posts, read 6,616,738 times
Reputation: 6433
Quote:
Originally Posted by DinLA View Post
My daughter with high functioning ASD was in JROTC for 4 years and loved it. She love it so much, she believed she wanted a career in the military. JROTC made her feel important, capable of anything and went a long way in helping her overcome many phobias. Of course, in JROTC, the environment is governed by a school system which means your child is nurtured in a way that NO BRANCH OF THE MILITARY will do. I supported my daughter in her quest to join the National Guard and then go on to basic training. She passed through MEPS with flying colors. She enjoyed the guard drills prior to her send off to boot camp. Reception week at Boot Camp went as expected. Little adjustment but all in all fine. When it came time to separate into new barracks for the actual basic training, that's when the ASD started to reveal itself. The RUSH of basic put her into sensory overload mode. She struggled with sleeping, eating and functioning. She became ill. She struggled till week 3 (the 2nd week of basic) and refused to train 3 separate times so she was sent home. As much as she wanted this career she has come to realize she failed to adapt to this environment. She could likely do many of the jobs required in the military but the reality is that she would need to get through basic first. She is happy to be home again and back on track in college. My suggestion for those with high functioning ASD is to go on to college, participate in an ROTC program in college and enter the service as an officer. I believe you can skip basic at that point. This will also give you more time to mature. Hope this helps someone. Thanks!
You cannot skip "basic". It's not Basic Military Training like an enlisted person goes through but ROTC still requires field training, with open-ranks inspections, drill, and a lot of training. I personally would not want to have anyone as an officer making quick decisions who could not function outside of a structured environment. Also, depending on the officer's assignment he/she can end up in a position that demands a great deal of maturity RIGHT NOW.
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Ashburn, VA
466 posts, read 1,267,662 times
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Wow, this is so wrong. Your child, if they can not pass Basic Training, will not be able to handle ROTC (not high school JROTC - it is NOT the same thing). JROTC is a program for children to instill discipline. ROTC is an officer training program and puts participants into the precise form of stress that your kid couldn't deal with in Basic.

Honestly, if your kid can't deal with Basic Training, should they be in combat?
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Old 08-03-2018, 10:04 PM
 
1 posts, read 1,685 times
Reputation: 10
Smile Accepting this just isn't for me

I'm sure it can make things more difficult or even deadly for other soldiers if someone with AS can't follow instructions correctly because some of the tasks they have new recruits perform require precise execution from everyone; somebody messes up and that could mean 10 or more people on the team end up badly injured and must now be sent home. Although BCT is by no means an enjoyable experience (at least not in the very beginning), it can help anyone who can successfully complete the program with things like:

* Self-Discipline
* Time Management/Organization
* Teamwork

I find I struggle with some of these, but I'll need to look elsewhere not so much because of the difficulties I have from AS, but even more so because of a heart defect I was born with that required open heart surgery and resulted in a minor leakage in a heart valve as blood is pushed through by my heart muscle, as well as Amblyopia (lazy eye) that remained after eye surgery for Strabismus (crossed eyes). I know it's really for my own safety (and the safety of others) to recognize that things like these are just not for everyone. I guess what I'm saying is I'm looking for other ways in which I can "grow up", since many people think most millenials as a generation can't seem to do anyway, but there are minor but significant differences in how my brain works that make me do things that are uncomfortable to the average person such as:

* Constantly talking out of turn/too much
* Talking too loudly
* Incorrect tone of voice
* Rambling on about a topic rather than getting straight to the point
* Problems paying attention to detail at times
* Spatial reasoning

I'm not necessarily upset, I just wish there was an easy way for me to communicate these things with employers without potentially being rejected right away due to performance concerns; if there was I wouldn't
feel an unachievable desire to try and join. Again, I understand it's really for the best and I'm simply just meant for other things. I just hope I can find a different way to "grow up".

Last edited by Artorias2718; 08-03-2018 at 10:15 PM..
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