Has Anyone Seen the Movie "Adam"? Your thoughts PLEASE...

  • SFGeoNinja

    Posts: 510

    Sep 01, 2009 4:56 PM GMT
    So I just saw this movie Adam the other day for the first time. It's the story of a 29 year old guy named Adam who lives in NYC with Aspergers Syndrome, who falls into his first romantic relationship with a woman in his building.


    A bit of background: my younger (16 yr old) brother has Aspergers, and one of my biggest personal struggles has been seeing him grow up and be unable to have many of the things that so many of us take for granted. Specifically, the ability to reciprocate friendship or basic social understanding, the ability to understand non-verbal communication, other basic pieces of life like humor, sarcasm, irony, innuendo, courtesy, romance, empathy and the things that make life worth living. I see him struggle in his high school where he is sometimes marginally accepted on the fringes of a social group, other times bullied mercilessly (and then I have to pick up the pieces from there :rollicon_smile.gif. I often wonder whether he will be able to succeed in his life after he graduates high school (God willing), whether he will be able to find his passions, make friends, and pursue relationships like normal people. He has been able to do none of these things even remotely in his life so far. I try to think of the "friends" and he has over the course of his life and I draw a blank. Whereas he used to have strong passions (some would say obsessions) like cooking, birds, or baseball statistics, he has no real M.O. these days he just seems to be floating around in space without any true drive. I think it could be the drugs he is taking for the condition - combination of Tegretol and Concerta - but I have no idea. I try to be there for him as an older brother and hang out with him but I have a busy lifestyle with my own thing going on, you know there is only so much you can do.

    Basically my questions are....1) has anyone seen this movie? What did you think of the characters and the way Aspergers was portrayed?

    2) What has your experience with Aspergers people been like? Do you have any advice as to how I can help my brother in this difficult time in his life?
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    Sep 01, 2009 5:13 PM GMT
    I have not see the movie and have no experience with anyone with Asperger Syndrom. Great that your brother has a caring brother like yourself. Only suggestion I could give is trying a support group, or some other networking tools to meet others dealing with the same issue.
    Wish the best of luck to you, your brother, and your family.

    Edit: Actually reading about AS sounds like a guy I knew in college. He would walk up and talk to people going on and on about his favorite topic: history. At first I would try to be polite and listen to him, but he wouldn't so much as have a converstation with you as much as he talked at you. Eventually, I just stayed away from him. I am not sure if he has AS, but it does kinda sound like him
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    Sep 01, 2009 5:28 PM GMT
    please look into the idea that these drugs could possibly be the reason to him loosing interest in cooking and all the other activities. (im no doctor--but take him off it for a week)---just to see how he behaves.Allot of these institutions...schools, hospitals< doctors force pills on individuals that seem different in hopes of making them adjust to society whereas they only harm the individual in some way or the other. plus giving them pills is a easy way out...i looked up this syndrome and i read that it is not life threatening, so why is he being given pills?. I believe that this syndrome only makes it harder for your brother to interact than the normal teenager. I sympathize with you but on the other hand i would def suggest that you help him out in whichever way you can. I know you have a life of your own but make sure you never leave him behind/ always find something for him to do where he must socialize as thats the only way he will adapt. Make sure you do allot of stuff with him. If he has issues at school then do what my mom did for my little sister, look for groups outside the school setting where he could socialize. We used this website www.meetup.com. We searched the site for individuals that had her own behavior patterns and what we found were multiple groups that scheduled events where individuals could meet, do fun things, outings etc.. It would be better for your brother to meet another individual that has the same issues as they know what he is going through. So take a look at the site and im sure you will find it useful and i look forward to seeing an update on here.
  • DuggerPDX

    Posts: 386

    Sep 01, 2009 10:02 PM GMT
    Haven't seen the movie, sounds interesting.

    My partner was once diagnosed with a mild case of Aspergers Syndrome, I think he exhibits a lot of the classic signs, slightly OCD, lacking some social skills, difficult to start and maintain friendships, can't read between the lines, things that are subtle or implied are sometimes missed. I spend a lot of time filling in the blanks for him if we are watching a movie and there are a lot of implied things going on. When he was young he had some real health issues, Hemophilia, so he didn't really get to experience a true childhood, this may have had an impact as well. And the romance side of things, well don't get me started, we have been together for 15 years now. And his mother can tell some very interesting stories!

    But on the positive side he is probably one of the most brilliant Pathologists in the country, very smart, I think Asbergers lends itself to a scientific mind.

  • Rholaenos

    Posts: 7

    Sep 02, 2009 12:04 AM GMT
    YES I have seen the Movie "Adam" - I am also an Aspie myself (officially diagnosed only about a year ago at age 32)

    I have only recently found a group to meet others, but I thought the character was fairly accurate portrayal of someone with "middle of the road" level Aspergers. It is considered on the Autism spectrum and as such there are some who are quite severe and some that are high functioning.

    I am lucky enough to be fairly high functioning, but many of the struggles Adam faced I have been going through myself in the last few years - I lost my first 'career' type job not due to the quality of my work, but inability to fit into an office setting and culture. I was extremely lucky to find another job through a series of acquaintances with a manager who's step daughter is autistic, so he knows what to expect.

    As for your brother, help him in any way you can - but rest assured he can be successful. I graduated from high school and have a bachelors in biology and was going back for masters in computer science (I even applied to some PhD programs) some my higher education didn't work out, but it was life getting in the way, rather than lack of ability.

    Also, talk with your parents about getting a second (and third) opinion about his treatment - so far as I know (and I've done LOTS of research once I knew I was an Aspie) there is NOT specific recognized drug treatment for Aspergers itself. Any medication I take is for secondary, but related problems like depression or anxiety (which are very common with Aspies), and I'm not even sure if its a good idea for me to be taking those as much as I do - I think there can be too much reliance on a magic pill, when the real fix is intensive behavioral therapy, learning how to get along and fit in. My personal opinion is to minimize medication to absolute necessity and if your brother has become zombified, I'm not sure that meds are actually helping. Aspies usually only have a small handfull of very intense interests that make up who we are and if he has lost those he may be having an identity crisis and maybe even severe depression.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Sep 02, 2009 1:10 AM GMT
    I haven't seen the movie, though my brother has Asperger's. He's not on medication for it, but his social life is functional enough without it. He found it fascinating on the way back home from family reunions when my mother and I would discuss who was upset with who, and why we thought it was, because to him it was like we were able to read an encrypted message that he completely missed--he understands and recognizes sarcasm, but he tends to take people either at complete face value or sarcasm, and has a hard time seeing other meanings or tells to facial expression and intonation and pauses in speech and all the other things that many of the rest of us process unconsciously. Essentially, he's the stereotypical math/computer geek, though with the unusual ability to talk to girls. Now if he'd only stop developing crushes on lesbians, things would probably improve in his dating life, but that's another matter...

    I can tell you that my brother's social struggles were much harder for him in high school than they were afterwards. Even among the rest of us on the high school math team -- yes, I'm a former competitive mathlete too -- he was considered weird and out there. For a time, most of his friends were really my friends who happened to be in his grade, and were nice to him as an extension of their friendship with me, but by the end they were his friends too, and a few of them even more of his friends than mine. With greater age and experience he began to learn the pattern of how others interacted, and he grew into his own. College and grad school have both been better social environments for him, and though some might laugh that he made his friends through a roleplaying game society, so what? They're friends, they play games, go to concerts, watch movies, etc. I worry, sometimes, about how he'll handle the transition from grad student to professor, but then again I used to worry about how he'd handle the change from college student to grad student, and he managed that one, so perhaps it'll all turn out fine.

    Really, I think the best thing you can do for your brother is to just let him be himself. If he acts in a way that's socially unacceptable around you but which you can tolerate, it's fine to just say "This is OK with me, but you do know that most people aren't OK with ... " and explain why if he asks. Talk to him about whether there are things he likes better on his meds, and things he likes better off them, because in just a few years that will be entirely his choice. And if there is something that captures his interest and attention, it wouldn't hurt to see if you can find something about it interesting too, as it gives you something to connect over.

    It's hard at times watching a sibling struggle with something that seems obvious and intuitive to you. But, sometimes, you just have to accept that it is their life, and they have every right to decide to handle their struggles how they see fit, so if they don't ask for help, maybe it's because they know full well you'd help them...they just want to do it on their own.
  • SFGeoNinja

    Posts: 510

    Sep 02, 2009 3:08 AM GMT
    Wow, thank you for all the wonderful and helpful comments!

    @Tereseus, you may have a good point. The drugs are definitely a problem, and I have fought with my parents many times about the subject. The problem is that because he's been seeing a shrink for so many years due to his poor integration in school, they are just conditioned to go along with what he says. Ever since being prescribed these drugs (he was on anti-depressants from about 12-13 onward), he has improved in some ways but lagged horribly in others. For instance, he used to have a violent temper and erupt in horrible tantrums when he was confronted on anything or simply feeling overwhelmed. I think a lot of Aspies tend to get "overwhelmed" quite a bit when there is just "too much going on in a room," am I right, Rholaenos? I've heard of Sensory Integration Disorders which I think are related to Aspergers.

    Well he's definitely less aggressive and openly hostile to people than he was before since he's been on the drugs, which is a good thing. He's learned to control his anger and not overreact to stress, which is surely a good thing. The problem is that these drugs seem to rob him of his energy - he has no drive and no lifeforce, like a soulless robot walking around aimlessly most of the time. Sometimes it's quite frightening - I would rather have a very eccentric but at least lively little brother than what I got right now. Plus I don't think any 15-16 year old should be prescribed amphetamines, even if he claims they help his condition. I knew girls in high school who would binge on Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall etc...to study for exams and their comedowns were horrific. I don't want my little bro to have to experience that ever.

    Also, I've used meetup.com myself a few times and never would've thought to look for something Asperger's related. I'll get on that, thank you for the idea!

    @DuggerPDX: That's really interesting to hear from someone who's dated an Aspie. I've always suspected my Dad of having it himself although he is far more high-functioning than my brother. Still shows many of the same tell-tale signs, though: few if any good friends, tends towards literal-minded humor and sober/professorial way of expressing himself, comes off as very cold and direct to people who don't know him, NEVER had any kind of immature or carefree period in his life (he's a successful doctor now, go figure!). I've had more than one friend tell me they think my Dad's an asshole after having just met him icon_rolleyes.gif But yeah family to this day will always recall back to his days growing up when he was the "little professor". Picture Napoleon Dynamite and you pretty much have him at age 15-16! I can't ever see him coming to be open about his own condition, if he does indeed have Aspergers.

    @Rholaenos: I'm going to add you to my buddy list. I've always wondered how Aspies come to terms with the work world and also with their sexuality. I'm not saying my brother is gay (personally I think he's delayed to the point where it doesn't really matter what he is), but if he is, I would love to hear from someone who has gone through what you have. Adam's constrained, tragically inhibited relations with his co-workers was one of the most painful parts of the movie to see.

    @MSUBionerd: Thank you for your story. It sounds like you've really been there for your brother. I try now and then to include him in my circles of friends but it's difficult because of the 5 year age difference. I even brought him to my fraternity a couple times to hang out, with ummmm.....interesting....results!

    Thanks again for all your very helpful stories, you guys!!!