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Jeff: 35 year-old patient
Jeff is a 35 year-old patient. At a young age, he was identified as “odd.” He would repetitively play with water, pieces of grass, and bits of string. Others habits included “hand flapping” gestures and “thinking aloud” by saying the thoughts he was having. These signs contribute to an earlier diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia and not autism.

Noted frequently to be exceptionally bright, his verbal abilities sounded more adult and advanced for his age. He can do complex math problems “in his head,” has a precise memory for events, and achieved a degree in civil engineering. However, his understanding of abstract concepts and social situations were poor. Over the years, he has been repeatedly the victim of fraud.

This video clip points out:

The experience of a patient with an autism spectrum disorder that was diagnosed and treated for schizophrenia.

People with autism spectrum disorders can appear engaging in their conversations.

In this patient case note:

He is able to show facial emotions and laugh appropriately.

He has a history for social interpersonal problems.

He has had a history of being socially “gullible” and trusting. As a result, others have “conned” and taken advantage of him.

He does demonstrate an increased ability to calculate mathematical problems.

He has achieved a degree in civil engineering, but abstract reasoning can be a problem for him.

Clinical suggestions:

1) Avoid the clinical myth that patients with autism spectrum disorders do not show any emotions.

2) Although patients may achieve higher levels of training, they may have difficulties with abstract reasoning.

3) Try to alert families to the dangers that other people may take advantage of patients with difficulties assessing social situations.

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Jeff, Age 35