This is Mathew.
He was diagnosed with autism (mild) and intellectual disability (mild), oppositional defiant disorder and an anxiety disorder at the age of 12 after 8 wrenching and difficult years of seeking help and answers. It was not until he was 16 that a pediatric neurologist added a mood disorder to that diagnosis that life calmed down at all. The mood disorder is similar to bipolar disorder and I will use that term to help you understand what is going on.
There are all neurological disorders that cannot be “cured”. They can be managed with medication, education and empathy. None are easy and finding the right balance to achieve maximum success is a long and exhausting road. You are never sure what is being impacted and how it is affecting the other difficulties Mathew has.
A lack of social skills and a rigid interest in certain topics makes it hard for people to converse with Mathew as everything is one-sided and limited to Mathew’s interests.
Once Mathew turned 19 we lost legal rights to his care and affairs unless he gives us verbal consent or if we (he and us) sign consent forms. It is incredibly frustrating that this happens overnight because of a birthday. We are looking into establishing a trusteeship in the event we pass away before Mathew so that he is not at the mercy of anyone who wants to step forward and take over his care. Unfortunately not everyone is trustworthy or honest.
Mathew was going to a non-profit adult day programme until his cancer diagnosis. He had to take a break during treatment and we are waiting for further news and for his Oncologist to okay a return to work. Life is good there and he is among like-minded peers and has made some good friends.