Officer with Asperger's syndrome?

#1
I would be very grateful if anyone could help me with this issue.

My son, who is 16, suffers from Asperger's syndrome, an autistic spectrum disorder, but he is very keen to join the army as an infantry officer when he finishes Uni.

He has now been told by our local careers office that he cannot join with Asperger's, but since their advice generally has been less than clear, and in some respects is at odds with the information on the Army website, it would be very helpful if someone could confirm whether this is correct.

He is not a typical Asperger's personality, ie socially withdrawn, obsessive and intellectually rigid, but is socially well-adjusted, has a wide circle of friends, is analytically intelligent, and is more than happy to engage in group discussions and presentations etc. He is very bright and I am sure that he is intellectually capable of being an officer.

He has worked very hard to overcome his Asperger's, and he is working on his physical co-ordination, which is his primary remaining issue.

He is in the ACF, and loves exercises, camps and all the military stuff. His unit CO knows he has Asperger's, but if anyone else does I think they have forgotten, and he is treated just like any other member of his Company.

He understands that he might not be good enough to pass AOSB, and he accepts that, but if he is rejected purely on the account of a condition which he has largely overcome, through a huge amount of effort on his part, he will be absolutely devastated.

Any information would be much appreciated.
 
#2
Look, no expertise in this at all, just direct experience of Asberger's through my brother, but 'socially well-adjusted, has a wide circle of friends, is analytically intelligent, and is more than happy to engage in group discussions and presentations etc.'? Are you sure he may not have been misdiagnosed? My brother is classic Asberger's in virtually every conceivable way, but I've started to think that it is being massively over-diagnosed.
 
#3
I'm an aspie and I'm in the TA so no there is no bar to joinging the army with aspergers - no matter what they tell you at the careers information office. Just make sure that your son is honest about it and there shouldn't be a problem. There is a thread on the recruiting forum about aspegers you might want to read:

http://www.arrse.co.uk/rhq-personnel-pay-discipline/22788-aspergers-army.html

I'm not an officer but if you have any questions, PM me.
 
#4
Officer with Asperger's syndrome??

Another one?
 
#5
Certain Corps are over run with Aspies Auties and a whole gammut of social probs :). But on a more serious note I think if he's not on any meds he should have no probs at least applying.
 
#8

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#10
I know absolutely nothing about the syndrome, but I see one day somebody arguing that it is a disability severe enough to prevent that hacker from facing trial in the US, and now I'm being told it should not prevent someone from joining the army.
What is the reality here?
 
#11
I know absolutely nothing about the syndrome, but I see one day somebody arguing that it is a disability severe enough to prevent that hacker from facing trial in the US, and now I'm being told it should not prevent someone from joining the army.
What is the reality here?
That's an interesting point, and goes back to what I said about over-diagnosis.

I am the youngest of three brothers. My eldest brother and I are (don't mean to sound self-satisfied, but for the sake of comparison) graduates of decent enough red-bricks, gainfully employed and in long-term relationships. While we have ups and downs, life's rich tapestry and all that, we are considered 'normal' by people who don't know us well.

Middle brother got one E at A level and a BTEC, has never had a relationship, is socially awkward, obsessive, has very poor social skills (ie frequently inappropriate) and while he is currently employed on a casual basis, has real trouble holding down a job. He is knocking on 30 and still lives with our parents; he has almost zero emotional independence, can't really feed himself, can't do much in the way of buying his own clothes or knowing when to wash... I get mighty pissed off when people say Asberger's doesn't exist or is the result of bad parenting.

On the other hand, the OP believes his son is capable of being an Army officer. I would put it to him that his son has been slapped with a label when he was an awkward adolescent, and that he should seek a second opinion.
 
#12
I would go along with asking for a second opinion.

I have worked with a good few young people who have been labelled as Aspberger or ADHD. Incidentally I also worked with a nine year old, though to have some undefined psychiatric problem and an IQ of 70.

The latter could beat me at chess, the foundation for his "suspected psych problem" was never eleborated upon, and on pressure to produce a diagnosis or withdraw, the psych withdrew.

Some of the "ADHD" kids i worked with were shown to be perfectly normal kids who when given occupation to keep their interest up, with sensible and stable guidelines for their behaviour, for all practical; purposes, lost their ADHD traits. .

Aspbergers is a further minefield- there are questions as to whether the "Aspbergers" label should be applied at all, and whether young people should be measured on the general spectrum of autistic disorders.

My suggestion regarding your son would be that you and he ask for an assessment of his (current), psychological state; ie
"what would happen if he came along to you as a patient now, with no history of labels etc.
 
#13
I know absolutely nothing about the syndrome, but I see one day somebody arguing that it is a disability severe enough to prevent that hacker from facing trial in the US, and now I'm being told it should not prevent someone from joining the army.
What is the reality here?
It is simply that all disorders such as Aspergers are on a continuum, meaning everybody will be effected in different ways, or to different degrees.

Although like others have said, it's also possible he was misdiagnosed.
 
#14
Solent,

If your son has been diagnosed with Asperger's, then unless you can get a specialist to say that he was mis-diagnosed, and does not have Asperger's (or any other similar condition) he will not be allowed to join.

Edited to add: The rules have changed, entry to those with Asperger's is possible if they interview sufficiently well.
Candidates with clearly diagnosed autism (F84) or similar disorders are graded S8. Candidates with a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome (F84.5) may appear unremarkable on examination. Those with a confirmed diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome should normally be graded S8 unless there is doubt about the diagnosis or the condition is mild and does not cause disability then candidates should be referred to the sS occupational physician responsible for service entry. In cases of mild, entirely non-disabling Asperger’s Syndrome, it is reasonable for the sS OH physician to recommend to sS recruiting staff that pre-entry tests of suitability for military life (e.g. selection interviews and tests) are as good a form of assessment as a psychiatric assessment; thus these candidates do not require psychiatric input
 
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#16
Officer with Asperger's syndrome??

Another one?

Socially awkward? Perhaps he should join the RTR? :)

Seriously, AOSB and the CCC are there to assess whether someone is suitable for commissioning, so he is either capable of passing or not. The only other issue is whether he will get to AOSB with his condition. That is a question for the pre-AOSB medical board, not for Arrse (where there are many who will give medical opinion based on a battlefield first aid course rather than medical registration :)). I would be surprised if he is turned down flat without some form of assessment (but that's an opinion rather than a fact).
 
#17
....The only other issue is whether he will get to AOSB with his condition. That is a question for the pre-AOSB medical board, not for Arrse (where there are many who will give medical opinion based on a battlefield first aid course rather than medical registration :)). I would be surprised if he is turned down flat without some form of assessment (but that's an opinion rather than a fact).
What I posted above was based on the rules in the JSP, which makes it a fact rather than an opinion.
 
#19
Its your unqualified interpretation of what you read. Therefore opinion. That's why we have medical boards made up of medical consultants rather than anonymous people off t'internet who read a book once.
Okay then, perhaps with your qualified eyes, you could care to explain to me which part of this I have misinterpreted.

Conditions that should always be rejected unless an exception is listed
Condition Autistic Disorders (F84).
Exceptions/Remarks Nil
 

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