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NYTG
06-29-2011, 05:06
I have been trying to find out a concrete answer to the following question (I searched the forums but found nothing on this topic, and all my web searches have come up with guesses from people who don't seem to really know):

I have Asperger's Syndrome, a form of High Functioning Autism. Unlike many others I know, AS does not effect me in such a way that would make me unfit for service. I do fine socially, I work good in a team, and do not exhibit any of the issues that are listed at the bottom of http://www.aspires-relationships.com/articles_as_in_the_military.htm except occasional literal interpretation of things being said.

I have done as much research into the topic (AS and the military) as I can, and so far the answer I have found is either "Probably not" or "case by case". The author in the above article said there was a recent policy change but I have been unable to find anything else on it.

I read through the listing of disqualifies for service, and Asperger's is not specifically listed. Am I to assume that this means as long as I meet the other requirements (Physical, no issues with my background, no other mental health problems, etc), I am indeed eligible to enlist?

I want to go the SF route, most likely through the 18x option. Am I 100% sure I am capable? no. But I want to try, and I think it is definitely within me to succeed. Before I get my hopes up, I really want to know for certain that it is possible to enlist. I talked to a recruiter some time back who didn't know the answer.

So, if somebody here does know the answer to this, or knows somebody who has AS in the military, I would greatly appreciate any information that can be given.

Thank you.

Edit: I was not exactly sure were to post this, since the question is about both enlisting, and SF in my case. If this is in the wrong section, please move it and I apologize for the inconvenience.

Penn
06-29-2011, 05:37
A classmate of mine at UPenn has your profile. He was recently enlisted;4yrs contract, Airborne Qualified. I'll contact him later today for him to contact you. PM me your email address.

NYTG
06-29-2011, 06:01
A classmate of mine at UPenn has your profile. He was recently enlisted;4yrs contract, Airborne Qualified. I'll contact him later today for him to contact you. PM me your email address.

Thank you. Sent a PM.

Dusty
06-29-2011, 06:40
I want to go the SF route, most likely through the 18x option. Am I 100% sure I am capable? no.

First thing you should do is change that mindset.

NYTG
06-29-2011, 07:11
First thing you should do is change that mindset.

Fair point. I should have phrased that better when I first posted. Please allow me to clarify what I meant:

I cannot be 100% sure I am capable of anything, but I can give anything I try 110%. Even though I am not positive I can, for sure, complete the training, it won't stop me from trying my hardest to do so if I am eligible and do enlist. I am also not looking for a promise or guarantee of any sort. If you make it to SFAS, from what I understand, you only leave if you injure yourself, violate safety, or quit. I have no intentions of any of those things, especially not quitting. If I make it through and am not selected, if given the chance to try again, I would.

I apologize if I came off the wrong way in my initial post.

wet dog
06-29-2011, 10:36
I had a good friend who was the same, high functionable, etc. He made an excellent career of SF, went as far as anyone could, did it all.

Have also a personal tax attorney, same diagnosis. He is less socialable, as any good lawyer is, but only second to a CPA I know. I've come to the conclusion, that most people just do not interest them at a level that makes for relaxed conversation, and when it get deep, they simple pound the other into a puddle of primordial goo.

They are extremely intelligent and posses an added benefit of common sense and stategy.

SF has a history for recruiting that which it needs. With any luck, you might end up a 18Z, having been a really great 18B, 18C, 18D, 18E, or 18F.

Do not limit yourself, GO FOR IT! Get your head on right, get committed, and get selected. Trust yourself, listen to the cadre.

NYTG
06-29-2011, 11:07
I had a good friend who was the same, high functionable, etc. He made an excellent career of SF, went as far as anyone could, did it all.

Have also a personal tax attorney, same diagnosis. He is less socialable, as any good lawyer is, but only second to a CPA I know. I've come to the conclusion, that most people just do not interest them at a level that makes for relaxed conversation, and when it get deep, they simple pound the other into a puddle of primordial goo.

They are extremely intelligent and posses an added benefit of common sense and stategy.

SF has a history for recruiting that which it needs. With any luck, you might end up a 18Z, having been a really great 18B, 18C, 18D, 18E, or 18F.

Do not limit yourself, GO FOR IT! Get your head on right, get committed, and get selected. Trust yourself, listen to the cadre.

Thank you Wet Dog, I really appreciate the encouragement. I take it due to the replies so far that the answer to my question is AS is not a DQ for enlistment. I'm glad I joined these forums.

JimP
06-29-2011, 14:25
I thought having some sort of "head space and timing issue" was a requirement for getting into SF. Not sure I've ever met ANYONE in Group or throutout SOF that much of society would consider "normal".

Roguish Lawyer
06-29-2011, 14:34
I thought having some sort of "head space and timing issue" was a requirement for getting into SF. Not sure I've ever met ANYONE in Group or throutout SOF that much of society would consider "normal".

LOL

rdret1
06-29-2011, 14:35
NYTG, I wish you the best of luck. My son also has AS, a little more severe than you are describing though.

Penn
06-29-2011, 16:30
My Friends reply:

I most certainly know that the military does not automatically DQ Asperger's
Syndrome or high functioning autism. As with any potential enlistee,
enlistment is on a case-by-case basis. From both my personal experiences
with an Asperger's diagnosis (diagnosed post-military discharge) and my
experiences working with others on the spectrum, I would exercise great
caution to anyone on the spectrum wishing to enter the military.

First, no MOS will ever be guaranteed. So if an individual on the spectrum
signed an 18x contract and doesn't pass the Q course, he must select another
MOS (unless the Army has the option where if you don't make it through the
course, you can drop your contract). Although I was only Airborne and was
injured before being able to earn the right to wear the coveted green beret,
the tempo and mentality of typical leg units (non-infantry, and even
airborne units in support roles) is likely to be far below expectation ...
and tolerance. And with the extended contract that an 18x is required to
sign, that's a lot of years in units with soldiers who will likely dislike
the hard-charging mentality. As an example, I did more with my"breathe-
at-your-own-pace" profile than most of the others in my battalion.
.
Second, for HFA and AS stress, especially unexpected stress (much higher
tolerance for AS), causes autistic behaviors to become manifest. My autistic
behaviors didn't noticeably surface until I was in the high tempo, graduate
work at Univ. of Penn. It was only then that I was diagnosed - at the age of
40. A small unit of 11 teammates wouldn't have been able to count on me when
my tolerance ceiling was reached. I would have unexpectedly "self-frago'ed"
into a liability, jeopardizing not only the team and the mission,
There is no way to know what that ceiling
for stress tolerance is, except through experience. Finding that experience
in training is much preferred, but then the team would, and should, peer-out
that member. There can be no "autism" in "A-Team," especially down range
where lead flies free and in abundance. (There simply aren't enough
letters.)

If the potential enlistee is very much interested in pursuing an SF
career, my opinion would be to recommend enlisting in a Ranger contract ...
with all the trimmings. Ranger school ought to be an excellent test for
appropriate social skills under stress. Then, when the stress experiences are found
not yet to be a hindrance, seek the plat daddy's approval to pursue an SF recruiter and
give that ole Q course a whirl.

Sun Tzu wrote as advice, never enter a combat scenario that you don't know
you will win. Know your assets, but more importantly, know your weaknesses.
There is sufficient information out there that appropriately discusses the
weaknesses of autism.

NYTG
06-29-2011, 16:59
My Friends reply:

I most certainly know that the military does not automatically DQ Asperger's
Syndrome or high functioning autism. As with any potential enlistee,
enlistment is on a case-by-case basis. From both my personal experiences
with an Asperger's diagnosis (diagnosed post-military discharge) and my
experiences working with others on the spectrum, I would exercise great
caution to anyone on the spectrum wishing to enter the military.

First, no MOS will ever be guaranteed. So if an individual on the spectrum
signed an 18x contract and doesn't pass the Q course, he must select another
MOS (unless the Army has the option where if you don't make it through the
course, you can drop your contract). Although I was only Airborne and was
injured before being able to earn the right to wear the coveted green beret,
the tempo and mentality of typical leg units (non-infantry, and even
airborne units in support roles) is likely to be far below expectation ...
and tolerance. And with the extended contract that an 18x is required to
sign, that's a lot of years in units with soldiers who will likely dislike
the hard-charging mentality. As an example, I did more with my"breathe-
at-your-own-pace" profile than most of the others in my battalion.
.
Second, for HFA and AS stress, especially unexpected stress (much higher
tolerance for AS), causes autistic behaviors to become manifest. My autistic
behaviors didn't noticeably surface until I was in the high tempo, graduate
work at Univ. of Penn. It was only then that I was diagnosed - at the age of
40. A small unit of 11 teammates wouldn't have been able to count on me when
my tolerance ceiling was reached. I would have unexpectedly "self-frago'ed"
into a liability, jeopardizing not only the team and the mission,
There is no way to know what that ceiling
for stress tolerance is, except through experience. Finding that experience
in training is much preferred, but then the team would, and should, peer-out
that member. There can be no "autism" in "A-Team," especially down range
where lead flies free and in abundance. (There simply aren't enough
letters.)

If the potential enlistee is very much interested in pursuing an SF
career, my opinion would be to recommend enlisting in a Ranger contract ...
with all the trimmings. Ranger school ought to be an excellent test for
appropriate social skills under stress. Then, when the stress experiences are found
not yet to be a hindrance, seek the plat daddy's approval to pursue an SF recruiter and
give that ole Q course a whirl.

Sun Tzu wrote as advice, never enter a combat scenario that you don't know
you will win. Know your assets, but more importantly, know your weaknesses.
There is sufficient information out there that appropriately discusses the
weaknesses of autism.


I will take this advice to heart and use it to help weigh my future choice. Please thank your friend for me.

Scimitar
06-29-2011, 20:29
May I ask what you scored on the HFA Test?

S

The Reaper
06-29-2011, 21:27
What does AR 40-501 say?

TR

NYTG
06-30-2011, 05:49
May I ask what you scored on the HFA Test?

S

What is the HFA test? I was diagnosed with Asperger's at 6...

What does AR 40-501 say?

TR

Sections 3-30 to 3-37 have no specific mention of Autism or Asperger's being an issue. I remember reading another AR document linked on this site (before I registered) that did mention ADD, ADHD, Bi-polar, etc, so I was unsure if as long as it was not mentioned it was ok or if I was missing something. I was fairly certain that AS was case by case as previously mentioned but I wanted to make sure, and all the posts on the military.com and other forums I found had a lot of people guessing without any concrete information.

wet dog
06-30-2011, 10:58
So you 've lived with it your whole life? How has it affected your relationships with the girls, friends, classmates, colleagues at work? Have you been able to engage well with others, participate in tasks, acccomplish assignments, etc.?

It is my opinion, that diversity is what makes the world interesting. If the current establishment wants everyone to be, act, think the same, well then, shoot me now because I ain't playin'.

NYTG
06-30-2011, 13:36
So you 've lived with it your whole life? How has it affected your relationships with the girls, friends, classmates, colleagues at work? Have you been able to engage well with others, participate in tasks, acccomplish assignments, etc.?

It is my opinion, that diversity is what makes the world interesting. If the current establishment wants everyone to be, act, think the same, well then, shoot me now because I ain't playin'.

To be honest I had plenty of trouble when I was younger. Until a few years back, I had many of the social (and other) issues typically associated with AS. I never was good with girls, had trouble making friends, difficulty in high-school, etc. Then about 2 years ago I decided I needed to change. I worked extremely hard on becoming sociable, doing better academically, and such. Granted I have a very supportive family and the friends I do have are people I am glad to call so.

These days, my grades in college have been very good, I have almost none of the social anxiety I used to, and I don't have any real "sensory" issues (those with AS often have problem with certain scents, textures, etc), I have become much better at "reading between the lines" and subtle social ques (traditionally a spot of trouble for those with AS) and I can walk into a room full of strangers, look people in the eye, and make new friends. I don't see myself as super intelligent in any way or that I am special, but I do believe I am a decent person with a solid moral core.

Two years is not a lot of time, granted, but I would say I am a different person now then when I was younger. The me know is somebody who doesn't quit when things get difficult, despite the urge to take the easy way out. SF is something I have thought about on and off for many years, and I am finally at a place in my young life were I feel I have "it" (whatever it is) together enough to enlist and succeed. My concern this last while was being unsure if AS was a problem. If it is not a DQ, then it's up to me to do what I want to do. I have never used my diagnosis as a crutch or an excuse, and I never plan to. I knew plenty of people back in HS who used whatever issues they had to excuse themselves, and I know people who are "professional" adults who do the same.

In many ways I am a typical 20 y/o guy, excited at the prospect of the 18x option, and doing/seeing things others people only see in movies. At the same time, I am a 20 y/o guy, who doesn't have much in the way of world or life experience, and like most people my age thinks he is right more often then he is.

Personally, what drives me to want to be in SF is knowing that (if I am selected), I have met a standard few do, will have the opportunity to meet the expectations of those counting on me, and have a chance to make a difference. I think I have it in me to do this, and I will give it my all to do so.

The SF has been tagged as "The peace corp with guns" by some, and from what I have been able to gather a decent amount of what SF does is teach (albeit not stuff you learn in chem class, and not in a "traditional setting"). Obviously SF missions are not limited to this, but knowing that part of the SF mission is to help others is very important to me.

I could be wrong and severely off mark in what SF is, and if my statements or anything I have said come across as ignorant I apologize sincerely. I have spent several recent weeks online browsing the web, on this forum (before I signed up), and asking family friends in the service questions so I can make the most informed decision for me.

I want to thank the people on this website for giving people the resource that it is.
After reading and searching, most of my questions have been answered. There is such a treasure trove of great information I might not have even posted at all if my question had not been specifically asked before.

Sorry for the long post, I wanted a chance to speak my mind fully and I figured it was better to do it like this then start another thread.

Thanks again to all,

NYTG

mark46th
06-30-2011, 14:43
I was sick, lame and lazy, Airborne crazy and I made it...

I have seen time and time again people who look for reasons to fail. They have been told their entire life that they have this or that by people who "love them". The ones who succeed are the ones who don't let what other people tell them hold them back. The ones who fail have a built in excuse. Learn to recognize which situations cause you problems. Learn to react to them in a positive way. If you choose, you can be your own best friend or your own worst enemy...

NYTG
06-30-2011, 15:24
I was sick, lame and lazy, Airborne crazy and I made it...

I have seen time and time again people who look for reasons to fail. They have been told their entire life that they have this or that by people who "love them". The ones who succeed are the ones who don't let what other people tell them hold them back. The ones who fail have a built in excuse. Learn to recognize which situations cause you problems. Learn to react to them in a positive way. If you choose, you can be your own best friend or your own worst enemy...

Like I said, I am making no excuses. It is up to me if I succeed, I know that. I am not sure if you misread my post or I am misreading yours...

wet dog
06-30-2011, 15:36
To be honest I had plenty of trouble when I was younger. Until a few years back, I had many of the social (and other) issues typically associated with AS. I never was good with girls, had trouble making friends, difficulty in high-school, etc. Then about 2 years ago I decided I needed to change. I worked extremely hard on becoming sociable, doing better academically, and such.....

In many ways I am a typical 20 y/o guy, excited at the prospect of the 18x option, and doing/seeing things others people only see in movies. At the same time, I am a 20 y/o guy, who doesn't have much in the way of world or life experience, and like most people my age thinks he is right more often then he is.....



Seems typical of a 20yo, time to read twice, maybe three times everything you can get a hold of, experience a few tough life challenging tasks, grow a bit.

I think you'll be alright, enlisting or not.

Reach out to us on this thread in about 8-12 weeks, until then, get your nose into the books, hit the PT trail, enjoy.

WD

mark46th
06-30-2011, 15:44
I was trying to tell you that you have to believe in your own abilities. People will tell you you don't have the ability to do things. You can either believe them or believe yourself. You said you have made positive changes to your life with improved grades and social behavior. Now you know the others were wrong. You made a choice for positive behavior and are succeeding. You have taken away the most important thing on the path to success, the reason to fail. Continue to make the correct choices and you will succeed.