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Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Keke, Jan 2, 2020.

  1. oregano

    oregano THIS IS JUST BEGINNING

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    You need to get your stepson to a psychologist who specializes in neurodivergent "disorders" such as autism. You may need to travel quite a ways to find one, I don't know where you live. At 17 it's hard for an outsider to tell if he's autistic or just a rebellious, cynical teenage boy. You need answers so that you know how to proceed. Only a specialized psychologist can give you the foundation to help him. You may need to go to a dozen doctors to get an answer; many of us here have had to cycle from doctor to doctor, each one with a different take, in order to get an answer that makes sense.
     
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  2. Dr. Eh Hol

    Dr. Eh Hol not a real doctor

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    There are a lot of good responses on this thread, and there is great wisdom on this forum in general. Welcome.

    From my life I can testify that high intelligence can compensate for many social difficulties. Especially if left to their own devices - such as with a parent that is an alcoholic or otherwise distracted - ASD kids will create proprietary methods of understanding the world around them, including strange language and one-off explanations for how things work. I would call it a highly proprietary user's manual for their environment, and others are unlikely to understand it's contents or logic. Because of this, it is terribly hard to correct an ASD because you don't speak their language and can come across as tyrannical or threatening instead of a mentor or translator.

    That being said, intervention now is important to prevent him from collapsing inward until he is unable to cope with life and ends up a lifelong burden to himself and his family. It will take time and lots of energy, but I'm confident you can help him forge his best life. I can tell you are strongly emotionalizing your role in his life, and that's great. He needs a competent advocate.

    Keeping in mind that autism isn't definable like football or the flu, I'm going to throw out some things applicable to me that may or may not be helpful to your situation.

    I hate surprises. When I'm being taught something I need to know what you are going to do. If you were teaching me how to drive, for example, and you may reach over and correct the steering wheel I need to know this in advance and your justification for it. Once the ground rules are set I won't be so triggered or surprised.

    On driving; it took me years and years to understand that "the rules" aren't directives for proper operation of a motor vehicle, but instead are imperfect guidelines for the movement of people and societies' way of assigning liability for wrecks. It is tough for me to tolerate rules that aren't concrete or followed by everyone. Making things worse are police, who are supposed to enforce "the rules" but are terribly inconsistent in everything they say and do.

    Further, I have a very good relationship with my mind that doesn't always extend to my body. When working with my hands, for example, they don't always do what my mind wants to see happen and it is frustrating, even triggering when repetitive. It doesn't matter if I'm cutting a board or pressing the accelerator of a car - if what I want to happen in my mind doesn't happen in reality I can get pissed and have to step away for a bit. This may help explain some of the problems your stepson has driving. However, it is not uncommon for autism to accompany other developmental disabilities and he may have lots of trouble learning to adapt to driving, amongst many other things. If he learns to drive independently and you are at all concerned, put everything in his name or form an LLC to protect you if the worst happens.

    Oh! For the love of God teach him how to cook, plan meals, and grocery shop. Nobody taught me any of this. When I moved into my first place it had a fridge, which was empty. Instinctually, I ran off to the grocery store and spent over a hundred dollars on ketchup, pickles, mayonnaise, and a bunch of other things that all fridges have in them. Only after taking some time to find the right place for every single condiment did I notice that I hadn't bought any food.

    Not only with cooking and meal prep, you want to form his routines in a way that he can continue them unaided. If everyone could leave the house for a few days and you know he'd bath and be fed then he can do the same in his own apartment.
     
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  3. Keke

    Keke Active Member

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    The incredible amount of knowledge and I site everyone has offered in this post has been beyond helpful. Hearing all of your stores even the heart breaking ones gives me hope that we can find a solution whatever the diagnosis ends up being. There are so many stories I have shared with my husband from this post and website that almost seem to be written about our son and what he experiences in daily life. Many many thanks to you and everyone else who has commented for taking the time to respond and share your experiences and knowledge and giving my husband and I a place to start. And also for the understanding that we are not too late to get him the help he needs.
     
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  4. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member

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    If your son is very high functioning but struggles socially, there are some programs aimed at specifically giving people on the spectrum worthy jobs. There is definitely hope!
     
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  5. BlueSky Aozora

    BlueSky Aozora Well-Known Member

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    Useful knowledge. Sounds like lots of work. I wonder, cant he learn that by himself, for example by reading a book or manual? Of course it'll be easier if somebody can patiently teach him. But what if he is not interested in being taught? I'm asking generally about any autistic people, out of curiousity.
     
  6. Dr. Eh Hol

    Dr. Eh Hol not a real doctor

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    You are not alone either. Feel free to pop in as required, even if it's just to vent. There are all kinds of people on here managing their ASD - people that are married, have children, maintain professional careers or are entrepreneurs, homeowners, you name it. And people who have dealt with very dark times in their lives.

    If he has made it this far in life without being diagnosed - kinda flying under the radar - it's likely that he can learn to manage it independently and go on to live a happy and fruitful life.

    EDIT: BTW, being a nurse, you may find good info Googling the DSM-5 definitions of ASD Level 1, Level 2, Level 3. I can't give you lots of help in this area, but others on here can.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
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  7. Dr. Eh Hol

    Dr. Eh Hol not a real doctor

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    As I said, the stuff I wrote is particularly applicable to myself. Every ASD is different, especially due to the ramshackle nature of codifying behaviors and psychology into a workable diagnosis...because NT people are largely responsible for these things. ;)

    When I was young I needed guidance and information, something I never received. I did not want someone to hold my hand or do things for me: I wanted a mentor or, more accurately, an interpreter. Since I recently found the ASD community, I have not had a chance to peruse or assess the literature discussed on this forum.

    But, since every ASD journey is different, his learning style, needs, willingness, etc. will have to be assessed by those closest to him. Based solely on other ASDs I've seen/met, there are some cases severe enough to have a complete break from empathy toward others causing an apparent unwillingness to change, while there are many who pine to change and fit it. Note this is only my interpretation of what I've experienced.
     
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