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Mental Conditions And Symptoms

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How do I convince my brother to apply for a VA mental disability pension?

He needs the pension so he can live in a house, pay bills, and buy food. He thinks nothing is wrong with him but he has all the classic symptoms of Aspberger’s. He always has. It was just never discussed. My sister talked to a Psychiatrist about our brother’s behavior and he said he would definitely qualify. How do we do this? He will get terribly upset. We already suggested he apply for it and he said he is “certainly not going to act like a crazy person to get over on . . . uh on to that.” Please help.

I am assuming by this post you are talking about a moderate ASD, not a mild one, but please hear what I have to say as I am very knowledgeable about developmental Disorders (particularly ASD).

And if anyone here is going to say my information is incorrect, bear in mind I am describing a more severe case of Asperger’s because that is what I gather this question is referring to.

Firstly, is this Asperger’s or Autistic Disorder? A person can be profoundly disabled by Autistic Disorder, but the most severe cases of Asperger’s only make it to moderate on the Autism spectrum (Autism is referring to the category, not autistic disorder). Asperger’s generally doesn’t regress but individuals with autistic disorder may develop normally and then regress around the ages of 2 or 3. Individuals with Asperger’s may have speech idiosyncrasies, whereas individuals with autistic disorder may have delays in acquiring speech (and sometimes a complete absence of speech). Intellectual impairment is never present in Asperger’s syndrome when it is relatively common in autistic disorder. I understand you may need to ask a parent about some of these, and in milder cases the conditions are practically identical, but specified is good when you are trying to explain to your brother why he needs help.

Does your brother really need help? Many people with high functioning autism spectrum Disorders are very capable of living independently. Life skills can be learned from psychiatrists, and having a job will probably improve his condition (he will develop social skills and independent life skills). That said some people can’t hold down a job. He may need this pension but be aware that there are many programs in place whereby disabled people can be employed so that the employer pays percentage of a non disabled persons salary, this percentage is decided by what percentage of a non disabled persons job they will be doing (for example someone with a physical disability in a shop may only be able to serve half as many people as his/her coworkers, so this person is payed 50%), the rest of their salary is made up by the government.

Before getting him a pension you will need a diagnosis. Unless you really can’t afford it then you should probably go to an ASD specialist, they will also be able to talk to your brother and they can explain exactly what the diagnosis means. This process is difficult but the good thing is the same place will often have classes on how to cope with HF ASD.

Just ask the psychiatrists/psychologists to explain it to him. He may get upset if you try to tell him that he has something wrong with his brain and he needs to get money so he can live normally, but he might not think he needs money if you try to tell him that he has a small problem, but it doesn’t mean he is stupid or crazy, and he needs a little support to help him get by. The people their have years of experience in telling mothers in denial that their child has autism, and people with the disorder that they have it.

If you have to convince him yourself use examples where this condition has caused problems with his independent living. Make sure you have loads of information about Asperger’s so he can see that there are actually some good things about having it. You need to get him diagnosed by a professional anyway so you may as well get them to do that (or explain to you how to) anyway.

Good luck.

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