My son is in JROTC. He has very mild Aspbergers and ADD and is doing extremely well without scholastic accommodations and medication for the ADD. If he takes the ROTC path in college and gets off his meds do you think there is a chance the Army would accept him? I have read many differing opinions on this.
He is a driven young man with a strong desire to serve.
It all depends. Some recruiters turn recruits away for asthma, some dont.
Air Force and NSA are filled with guys who stare at shoes.
Fortunately he doesn't have an eye contact problem.
Just saying there's places for everyone. Combat Arms my not be that place. It's not so much the ADD that's the issue, PT is a wonderful equalizer, and Americans are a nation afflicted with ADD. I firmly believe it's in our genetics.
But, you didn't say how much the Aspberger's affects his day to day, or what might trigger him. Going in as an officer, he can't afford to retreat into himself when a command decision needs to be made.
The question is largely can he handle the possible situations he will be in. That is for the recruiter to figure out. I know that if he is on meds it will be a problem.
He hopes to be off the meds by the time it would be an issue.
Before commenting I want it to be clear that I have only a superficial understanding of the challenges your son faces. You know your son and his capabilities best.
That being said, as a leader in the Army, I'd like to point out a few concerns.
1) Your son would repeatedly be in extremely stressful situations, how would this exacerbate your son's symptoms?
2) As an officer your son will need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively, this is needed for both the success of the mission and for the safety of his subordinates.
3) How are his social skills? Much of leading is understanding the men you lead. While the army is diverse, I wouldn't describe the majority of soldiers as accepting of eccentricities in their officers.
4) Officers need to be mentally flexible. I have no idea what your son is like, but isn't a tendency to depend on established patterns of behavior a symptom of the autism spectrum disorder? Plans last till first contact with the enemy and all that, how would your son handle the need to change plans quickly? I've been, as everyone who's been in the military, given a hip pocket mission that needed to be executed within an hour.
I've no desire to talk your son out of the military, but these things are important. If your son becomes an Officer, whether commissioned or nco, lives will depend on the decisions he makes under stressful conditions. There are many ways he can serve his country, the military is not the only option.
Thanks for a clear reasoned post on the topic. I had the same concerns but not being military I did not feel I had the right to express them.
Excellent points. #4 is a concern, but as he gets older it has diminished greatly.
I have planted the seed that there are many ways he can serve as a civilian. He is very concerned with how soldiers deal with returning stateside after combat. I told him that most psychologists who work for the military are civilians. So that is one of many options and his time in JROTC would serve him well.
I don't want to discourage him, but I want to make sure he is fully informed. I have an appointment to speak with in JROTC instructor after Thanksgiving and everyone input will help me know what to discuss with him.
Thank you for the thoughtful posts.
You know your son. You know his strengths and his weaknesses. There are national/strategic level posts which would be better for him than the chaos of tactical or even operational level billets. Ask about everything you can think which plays to his strengths and mitigate his weaknesses. Lay it out, don't sugar coat it, ask for options.