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I’m posting privately to discuss autism because this conversation includes my friend “Jules,” who is exceptionally private. Everyone has their boundaries, and I dearly respect Jules’ and his privacy. Anyway, this post is currently open to G and D. If either of you feel that someone else should be included, I’ll add them to this group.

Forgive my bluntness and lack of grace, but I might not get this out otherwise:I suspect very strongly that Jules’ brother, “Freddie,” is autistic. Freddie lives overseas in a country with minimal social programs and even less tolerance towards people who are different. His family is perplexed by his behavior and battles with him frequently, especially about personal hygiene and reclusiveness.

For two months, Freddie lived with us and we got along splendidly. Essentially, he liked to keep his own hours, watch his six favorite movies repeatedly, and work on the computer. That seemed like a pretty cool life to me, so long as he washed up his dishes and didn’t burn anything down. Although he would rarely look me in the eye and seemed to avoid me (especially physical contact), I could feel that he was happy here.

I never thought that his desire to be alone or away from others hurt him, and encouraged the family to respect his privacy. Freddie has had intense difficulties at school and at work. He does quite well on the tasks he likes, but he can’t be bothered with those he does not care for. I realize that these few sentences are not enough to diagnose anyone, but it’s a bit of background so you can see why I am wondering about autism.

Any ideas or experiences you could share would be helpful. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I am learning that the world is bigger than I imagined. If he does have autism, maybe Jules and I can help the family understand and accept Freddie–he really needs some quality of life assistance. I feel I must also add that I am not an advocate of “curing” autism, it seems to be a part of who a peron is, and why change that? Thanks.

ETA: It turns out Freddie had been diagnosed with autism in his late childhood. The family was resistant to this diagnosis then, and is still now.

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