I’m sorry that you have had such difficulties with your son and that he has struggled throughout his life. There is certainly a chance that he could be on the autism spectrum, but the only way to know for sure is for him to go through a psychological evaluation. This could also open a lot of doors for him in terms of getting help with education and employment. Even if the problem is not Asperger’s, it sounds like his struggles are genuine and he needs help.
It is difficult setting firm boundaries with an adult child who should be living independently but isn’t. However, clear boundaries and expectations need to be in place. Ultimately the agreement needs to be that he can live with you until he can get back on his feet — only if he gets professional help. If he does re-enroll in college, the student counseling center and department for disabilities would be great resources to tap into. If that’s not a possibility right now, the local community mental health center may be the best place to seek services. Unfortunately, the way you describe his history he is unlikely to be successful, even with his intelligence, unless he gets help. I hope that you find a way to facilitate this process and in the meantime prepare yourself for the possibility of more bumps in the road.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts