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Old 06-13-2012, 1:11 PM
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Question High Functioning Autism/Aspergers Syndrome = No go for enlistment?

Greetings to all! Warriors, officers, and civilians alike:

I know I asked this question in a previous thread a year or so back, but it kind of gave me vague answers to my question (absolutely no offense intended to those who replied in that thread, your advice was great, but everyone was telling me different things and it confused me greatly). So I'll formally ask it here:

I have High Functioning Autism, known to some in the psychology/medical community as "Aspergers Syndrome". It's basically a neurological disorder which (somewhat) hinders certain social skills, such as body language and on occasions (at least for me), word choice. It also has other symptoms/tics such as having borderline obsessive interests in certain objects, devices, or even people. It even goes far as to knowing about every single part of that object, it's history, even the sound it makes (prime example, I can tell what model of firearm it is be it an AR, AK, Glock, etc. many many kinds I've memorized) without looking at it JUST by the sound it makes when it's racked/cocked/loaded).

So to some, AS/HFA is a curse on your social life, to others such as me, it's a gift/blessing, granting us heightened prowess in certain areas/skills at the cost of reduced proficiency in some minor basic areas, such as social interaction.

I just turned 21 today (Born 6/13/1991 at 20:58, I know it's weird that I knew the exact time I was born, but I digress).

But on to my question...

Despite my HFA, which I hear is a technical disqualification from any form of military or police service (or any job requiring me to carry a firearm(s)), am I able to acquire a medical waiver for it if I can demonstrate that my HFA will not hinder my duties that would be required of me?

The particular branch I was thinking of enlisting in was the United States Army, unsure as to what MoS I'd want just yet...

Any input from AD/retired servicemen/women (especially recruiters) would be amazing!

Thank you all for your time to read this post to help me! And thank you for your service, you're the people that keep this country alive!


-Ryan
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Last edited by RMP91; 06-13-2012 at 1:15 PM..
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Old 06-13-2012, 1:32 PM
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There is a guy in my platoon that has what appears to be Aspergers (fits all the descriptions to a T) now I don't know if he does indeed have Aspergers or those traits manifested after he was injured while deployed (I think IED strike, big scar on the back of his head)

However what I can tell you is that he is roughly the same age as me, been in for just about as long as I have, yet is stuck at being a specialist, he is technically more proficient than any other person I'd say in the entire Brigade, however he simply has no leadership capabilities, we want to promote him, give him more responsibility and more money, but he just has shown time and time again that it wouldn't work.

As to you OP, I would say go talk with a recruiter, be completely up front and honest with him, worse he can say is no. Be prepared though for him to say no, just simply due to the fact that budgets are getting tighter and they are looking to downsized the military, so you not being 100% preferred enlistment material you might be passed over. Then again perhaps not, never know till you give it a try.

I would recommend for you an MOS that is something technical, there are tons and a recruiter will be able to point you in the right direction.

Also, keep in mind, if you do enlist, you are likely to receive more than your fair share of "attention" from the Drill Sergeants due to your condition, the tics and speaking mannerisms. However this isn't a bad thing, just means you'll get nice and strong, and PT tests should be a piece of cake for you.
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Old 06-13-2012, 6:14 PM
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Originally Posted by rero360 View Post
There is a guy in my platoon that has what appears to be Aspergers (fits all the descriptions to a T) now I don't know if he does indeed have Aspergers or those traits manifested after he was injured while deployed (I think IED strike, big scar on the back of his head)

However what I can tell you is that he is roughly the same age as me, been in for just about as long as I have, yet is stuck at being a specialist, he is technically more proficient than any other person I'd say in the entire Brigade, however he simply has no leadership capabilities, we want to promote him, give him more responsibility and more money, but he just has shown time and time again that it wouldn't work. 1

As to you OP, I would say go talk with a recruiter, be completely up front and honest with him, worse he can say is no. Be prepared though for him to say no, just simply due to the fact that budgets are getting tighter and they are looking to downsized the military, so you not being 100% preferred enlistment material you might be passed over. Then again perhaps not, never know till you give it a try. 2

I would recommend for you an MOS that is something technical, there are tons and a recruiter will be able to point you in the right direction.

Also, keep in mind, if you do enlist, you are likely to receive more than your fair share of "attention" from the Drill Sergeants due to your condition, the tics and speaking mannerisms. However this isn't a bad thing, just means you'll get nice and strong, and PT tests should be a piece of cake for you. 3
1.Some "Aspies", as people like myself are called, usually aren't cut out for top-tier leadership roles (There are exceptions to this though, but few). So I can understand why your buddy is still an SPC. Perhaps he's got what it takes for a leadership role, but is afraid to demonstrate as such? Maybe he doesn't want to take the chance of having to make split-second decisions that could mean life or death for those under his command, it's a very fine line, especially when it's the armed forces we're talking about.

2. Personally, as I am right now, I'll probably have a 50/50 chance of being given the OK, maybe slightly less considering the ongoing downsizing. It's not gonna kill me to ask though. And it's not like every recruiter views AS/HFA the same way (in fact, a few haven't even heard of it before, according to my father who served until the late 80s. May be different now though), some deviate slightly in terms of bending the standards to ease somebody into the enlistment process (VERY slightly).

3. I hear that the Army Drill Sergeants don't go ape**** as much compared to Marine DIs (I kid, but it's something I noticed personally from watching documentaries about BCT/Boot). Joking aside, I'm not afraid of a few people raising their voices at me, in fact I'm used to it.

As far as an MoS goes, I'm still undecided on that, Combat Arms may be a tad too much for me (doesn't mean I'm not willing to do it, just wouldn't be my first pick if I had to choose one immediately). But it's not off the table either, I'll have to keep researching MoS'es.
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Last edited by RMP91; 06-13-2012 at 6:17 PM..
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Old 06-13-2012, 7:02 PM
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With the downsizing you will not get in if you disclose your issue.

Do you take medication or anything? If it's something only trackable by paper you could lie but honestly if anyone finds out you'll be kicked out and most likely get in trouble for false enlistment. There are alot of things you can easily lie about in the military but you have to keep your mouth shut about them. If you can not tell anyone about this then you will be fine if not then you'll prob get screwed.

To give you an idea on how little research meps does. I know of a guy who enlisted under a dead persons identity. Then once he was in the MC was able to change his name, social, and date of birth back to his real information without anyone even thinking twice.
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by TAK View Post
With the downsizing you will not get in if you disclose your issue.

Do you take medication or anything? If it's something only trackable by paper you could lie but honestly if anyone finds out you'll be kicked out and most likely get in trouble for false enlistment. There are alot of things you can easily lie about in the military but you have to keep your mouth shut about them. If you can not tell anyone about this then you will be fine if not then you'll prob get screwed.

To give you an idea on how little research meps does. I know of a guy who enlisted under a dead persons identity. Then once he was in the MC was able to change his name, social, and date of birth back to his real information without anyone even thinking twice.
You make it sound like I should lie, which is the #1 thing NOT to do especially when it's the Military I'm talking about...
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:19 AM
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If you don't exhibit any physical issues from AS/HFA, no motor skill deficiency, ie you can run with the group when told to run and strip and reassemble your weapons in the same time as anyone not on the spectrum, you should be fine. If your diagnosis is older, from your early teens or before, you may want to be reassessed to show any areas in which you have become more "normal".

Having only become aware in the past year that I have lived with Aspergers my entire life, I am able to look back and see where I adapted and overcame the challenges I had when I was younger. And now that I'm aware, I am able to control my issues a little more when it becomes necessary for the situation.

Good luck!
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:23 AM
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You make it sound like I should lie, which is the #1 thing NOT to do especially when it's the Military I'm talking about...
Oh yeah totally. There is nothing but absolute honesty when it comes to the military. You bet!



I think the point is, if you're going to lie you keep your mouth shut, not whether you should lie or not. That's a YOU decision
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Old 06-14-2012, 6:24 PM
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You make it sound like I should lie, which is the #1 thing NOT to do especially when it's the Military I'm talking about...
Because you're in the military so you know what the #1 thing to do and not to do is, right?

If you didn't know pretty much everyone lies about something to get into the military, and if you didn't have to lie then you must have had quite a boring childhood. A few years ago a felony conviction was an easy waiver to get, now if you had a broken wrist when you were 10 it's a 2 month process to get it approved and some people get turned away.

If you make it into the military you will realize very fast the only way to get anywhere without buddy ****ing all your friends will be to lie, cheat, and steal whenever you can get an edge. Of course it's not what people want to believe but it's the truth.

I have never even heard a rumor about someone getting kicked out for false enlistment, and I have heard some pretty ridiculous stuff that has happened to people. That's not to say it hasn't happened though. If you keep your mouth shut you will be able to serve if you don't then you're not even going to make it to meps the recruiters won't do anything else than MAYBE make a phone call to hq to ask if it's worth running a waiver.
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Old 06-15-2012, 7:43 AM
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You make it sound like I should lie, which is the #1 thing NOT to do especially when it's the Military I'm talking about...
Not lie.

Simply do not voluntarily disclose information never asked for.

If you donít take medication then you wont have to disclose it when they ask which medication you are taking.

If they donít ask any questions about your medical situation then there is no reason for not brining it up.

You might need to overcome your social ability to clue in. Iíve met more than one or two in my short time in that left me wondering. I doubt you would be the worst.
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Old 06-16-2012, 2:09 AM
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Originally Posted by RMP91 View Post
1.Some "Aspies", as people like myself are called, usually aren't cut out for top-tier leadership roles (There are exceptions to this though, but few). So I can understand why your buddy is still an SPC. Perhaps he's got what it takes for a leadership role, but is afraid to demonstrate as such? Maybe he doesn't want to take the chance of having to make split-second decisions that could mean life or death for those under his command, it's a very fine line, especially when it's the armed forces we're talking about.

2. Personally, as I am right now, I'll probably have a 50/50 chance of being given the OK, maybe slightly less considering the ongoing downsizing. It's not gonna kill me to ask though. And it's not like every recruiter views AS/HFA the same way (in fact, a few haven't even heard of it before, according to my father who served until the late 80s. May be different now though), some deviate slightly in terms of bending the standards to ease somebody into the enlistment process (VERY slightly).

3. I hear that the Army Drill Sergeants don't go ape**** as much compared to Marine DIs (I kid, but it's something I noticed personally from watching documentaries about BCT/Boot). Joking aside, I'm not afraid of a few people raising their voices at me, in fact I'm used to it.

As far as an MoS goes, I'm still undecided on that, Combat Arms may be a tad too much for me (doesn't mean I'm not willing to do it, just wouldn't be my first pick if I had to choose one immediately). But it's not off the table either, I'll have to keep researching MoS'es.

marine di s arent as bad as the movies anymore
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Old 06-16-2012, 5:21 PM
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Originally Posted by TAK View Post
Because you're in the military so you know what the #1 thing to do and not to do is, right?

If you didn't know pretty much everyone lies about something to get into the military, and if you didn't have to lie then you must have had quite a boring childhood. A few years ago a felony conviction was an easy waiver to get, now if you had a broken wrist when you were 10 it's a 2 month process to get it approved and some people get turned away.

If you make it into the military you will realize very fast the only way to get anywhere without buddy ****ing all your friends will be to lie, cheat, and steal whenever you can get an edge. Of course it's not what people want to believe but it's the truth.

I have never even heard a rumor about someone getting kicked out for false enlistment, and I have heard some pretty ridiculous stuff that has happened to people. That's not to say it hasn't happened though. If you keep your mouth shut you will be able to serve if you don't then you're not even going to make it to meps the recruiters won't do anything else than MAYBE make a phone call to hq to ask if it's worth running a waiver.
wow what military did you serve in?
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Old 06-16-2012, 8:25 PM
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wow what military did you serve in?
Yeah I was gonna say...

What he posts are things that you should NEVER. EVER. DO.
in the military.

You must disclose anything and EVERYTHING, even if they don't ask for it.
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Old 06-16-2012, 11:28 PM
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I think at this point he either will or will not make it through MEPS pretty cleanly, or simply stopped dead in his tracks.

Give it a whirl.
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