I am concerned about my nephew's strange behavior. He paces a lot, is extremely antisocial, and exhibits other odd behavior.
posted by ElizabethEllis to human relations (38 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My nephew will soon be 16. He is the youngest of two boys. His brother is "normal"--friendly, outgoing, and so on. They both do fairly well academically. The younger one, however, has behaved oddly for several years. It really bothers me, as well as my parents, the boy's grandparents. I have tried discussing it with my sister, but she basically told me to butt out. I suspected that he had Aspergers and mentioned it to her, and she burst into tears. One of his teachers apparently also suggested he be tested for Aspergers. My sister told me last year that he was tested, and that he was "borderline." I don't know how to deal with him, so for the most part I ignore him, except to say hello and goodbye, usually with a brief hug. He does not hug back. Some of his behavior includes:
Pacing. On Thanksgiving Day, he first watched some football in the family room, but then got up and paced in the formal living room, where no one was. He did this quickly and continually for at least an hour. He has done this several times before.
Not eating. The same day, he sat in front of an empty plate and ate nothing and said nothing. When he was younger, he would eat only bread rolls, and my father would comment on that. I suspect that this may be why he does not eat; he does not want anyone to comment. However, a few weeks ago we had a family meal at a restaurant, and he ordered food and ate it--I think he had a hamburger. No one commented on his eating at all. He is not particularly thin and is not anorexic. Oh, also, he is a slob when he eats--he doesn't cut his meat, just puts it on his fork and chews off pieces, and he chews with his mouth open. I don't even know why his parents allow that. (His father is in his life, but has issues of his own.)
No social skills at all. He appears to be the rudest young man in the world. This isn't typical "teenage" behavior, which would be somewhat expected: rolling eyes, sarcastic comments. I could handle that, because it's fairly normal at his age. But he acts like no one else exists. He does not say hello when someone comes or goodbye when they leave. His mother has to tell him to say goodbye, as if he's a young child. He has few if any friends, and he spends most of his free time watching TV or playing video games. He seems to have no interest in anything. If you ask him a question, he will ignore it most of the time, unless his mother tells him to answer, and then he will mumble. But on rare occasion, I have seen him talk "normally." Those episodes are becoming more and more rare, though.
Ruining events. A few times I have tried accompanying my sister and the boys (she is divorced) to events, and each time he has made all of us miserable. As soon as we get to where we are going, he starts with "When are we leaving?" "Are we leaving yet?" "Can we go now?" He does this continually--about every two minutes. I finally gave up doing things with them, which is a shame, because I enjoy spending time with my sister.
When he was young he exhibited some Asperger symptoms such as wanting his shoes and clothing to be tight, wearing the same clothes for days on end (even sleeping in them and then wearing them the next day, for several days), remembering minute details about seemingly insignificant things and repeating them over and over.
Any ideas what I can do to communicate with him, or should I just keep things the way they are? Right now I pay little attention to him, which seems fine with him, and hope that someday he will discover that he can learn how to function in society. He certainly doesn't know how to do that now. Also, are these symptoms of Aspergers? I still think that's what it is, even though he tested as "borderline."