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Need help and advice about aspie year 7

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Helen Ritchie, Dec 4, 2019.

  1. Helen Ritchie

    Helen Ritchie New Member

    Dec 4, 2019
    Hi, DS12 is v high-functioning aspie. We're still getting our heads around his behaviour being aspergers-related. While we were aware his behaviour wasn't the norm from very young, we thought this might be because he was extremely bright and emotionally out of sync. However, starting in year 7 at secondary has thrown up more clarity about his patterns and we're now realising that the oppositional defiance he's shown all his life is typical of someone with Aspergers, as is his hypersensitivity, his inability to organise himself, his habit of misjudging social cues and only applying himself to things which interest him, etc etc!

    Although he's done very well academically in school and has had no special support over the years, as a family we have had an endlessly challenging and emotional time. Almost all of our family tension arises from DS refusing to do simple things (shower, eat meals, do homework, tidy up etc) and his habit of speaking to us in a breathtakingly disrespectful and offensive way (as if he is the adult and we are imbeciles). In between times he can be a delight: kind, sensitive, funny, emotionally intelligent, but when he's in the throes of the 'fight/flight' irrational response, every step of the way can feel like an enormous battle.

    We're much more aware now that this defiant position is his position of safety and power, but I personally have almost reach the limit of my emotional endurance. I suffer from severe anxiety and depression and this has been exacerbated by the regular tension in my communication with DS. This evening, after 3 hours of him pushing back, being rude, refusing to do his work, then demanding and demanding my time to help him when he DID finally get around to doing it, I finally lost the plot (triggered by a tantrum about him having to cut his nails) and found myself suddenly screaming and crying uncontrollably. I felt as if I might be having a mental breakdown. It's been two particularly intense years of this behaviour escalating and I'm finding it impossible to manage and utterly unbearable. (I should add that I am probably on the spectrum myself, am fanatically conscientious about work and emotionally hyper-sensitive as well). I'm extremely upset and ashamed of myself this evening, heartbroken that my children have seen me lose control like that, but likewise it feels like it's been brewing for the past ten years and perhaps it's amazing that I didn't lose it some time ago!

    So anyway, DS is at a highly selective school where high grades are expected. His work in class is good but his homework is definitely lagging way behind. Our current battle is him being consistently lazy about his homework. He seems to view revision as voluntary (i.e. he doesn't do it and is doing badly in tests) and is doing the bare minimum with other written work. He also seems incapable of initiating doing the work on his own, but then gets into a rage when we ask him to do it. He keeps saying that he would like to be left with the full responsibility to do his homework, but I know for a fact this would mean it wouldn't get done. I know, ideally, I would let him feel the consequences of not doing it, but then I'm scared that his grades would suffer so much that his place at the school might be in jeopardy. It's an exceptional school and there's so much potential for him there. It would be a tragedy for him to lose his place because he can't get his act together in time. I know he will eventually get the hang of it all (he always does) but it may be too late by then. The local comprehensive is good but I know he would get away with being even lazier there and is also extremely susceptible to bullying due to his hypersensitivity. I'm very fearful of that scenario (having been severely bullied myself at school).

    I'm writing this because I suppose I needed a catharsis in a place where people will hopefully be empathetic and less judgemental than elsewhere. There's no-one I can talk to. My husband is brilliantly supportive (when not raging with frustration about the situation himself) but he doesn't understand that I now feel mentally ill with the constant battle and don't know where to turn. Words of wisdom and examples of how you dealt with similar challenges would be most welcome. Thank you.
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  2. tree

    tree Blue/Green Staff Member V.I.P Member

    Jun 29, 2013
  3. Isadoorian

    Isadoorian Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    May 16, 2018
    Welcome to the Forums! I hope you make new friends and enjoy your stay in the process! :)
  4. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

    Dec 3, 2017
    Welcome to the forums. I have a lower functioning son and am on the spectrum myself. All I can say is we do things at our own pace (usually VERY slowly unless it's a special interest). Maybe pushing him so hard about this school is having an adverse effect and making things more intense. I can't say though, I am not your son, I am however perhaps like him in ways.
    As far as your mental situation, see a doc. Mine helped me immensely and brought me back from the brink of completely losing my mind.
    Life is stressful, being on the spectrum is stressful, and raising a child on the spectrum will probably be the biggest challenge you will ever face.
    Keep your chin up.
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  5. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

    Feb 8, 2018
    Welcome to our little forum, such a great resource to discuss all things Autism.
  6. Nitro

    Nitro Admin/Immoral Turpitude Staff Member Admin V.I.P Member

    Apr 5, 2014
    Hi Helen

    welcome to af.png
  7. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

    Aug 10, 2016
    Hey there. There's a few things I want to say about this, as quite a bit of it runs parallel with my own experiences when I was a kid, and experiences in general as someone who is on the spectrum.

    The frustration you feel with him is certainly understandable. Who wouldnt be frustrated in that situation? But, it is likely that he is equally frustrated for almost exactly the same reasons as you. I went through this with my own parents. To some degree, I still do at times. They would try to get me to do certain things, which I would deem as a waste of time, and those things inevitably would not get done.

    The thing about it is, those on the spectrum often have a very different way of thinking and perceiving the world. This can be both a blessing, and a curse. Consider this: There are certain things that he seems to have much trouble grasping despite his intelligence, yes? I'd wager a guess that he sees a similar thing in his view of you, as his "different wiring", so to speak, allows him to perceive things in a way that many do not. I'll try to give an example here. One major difference between myself and my family is that there are certain psychological things that have literally no effect on me, yet that DO affect most of the populace. In alot of ways, I am immune to manipulation and trickery. Consider different products you might buy at the store. Many of them seem convenient and good to many consumers... despite that not being the case. Companies often (VERY often) try to make things LOOK good, try to make consumers think they're efficient, through psychology and general trickery. One product we use very often is Miracle Whip. Goes on sandwiches well. There are two types of containers this product comes in. Jars, and a squeeze bottle. My family will always buy the squeeze bottle. It's so darned convenient, right? So efficient! But it actually isnt. When analyzed, the squeeze bottle proves to be a very deceptive product. It seems so easy to use, but it is designed specifically so that you cannot get all of the stuff out of it. You simply cannot. With a jar, you can stick a spoon in there and dig out every tiny little blob, getting the most for your money. But a squeeze bottle? You *cant*. Try as you might, you will never get ALL of it. This sort of thing is done on purpose, because the sooner you "run out", the sooner you buy more, and the more profit the company gets. And done this way, the company gets to SAY that there's a certain amount of product in the bottle... despite that 15% of it will be inaccessible. Very, very deceptive, yet most will fall for it.

    But I see through this stuff in an instant. That sort of thing simply doesnt work on me... never has. My mental "wiring" is effectively incompatible with the sort of tricks that go into that kind of thing, and so I can spot problems in products within seconds. Yet, my family cannot. Unless I directly explain it to them, they will fall for it every time... just like most consumers. And with that comes frustration. Despite my family all being highly intelligent, their inability to spot something which is to me astonishingly obvious can get incredibly frustrating at times. And this is only one example.

    This applied to homework too. I refused to do it. Why? Because I saw it as a waste of time. And the thing is... it really was. I mean, think of it this way... What's the better way to teach someone something: Either 1, get them interested in the subject so that they want to know more and will even take it upon themselves to learn more because they *want* to, or 2, take away their free time AND bore the heck outta them after they've already been subjected to lectures? The answer seemed real obvious to me, yet no matter how often I explained how homework was a total waste (and actually detrimental), nobody would listen, and that led to fights. And the thing is... all these years later? Everyone seems to think I know alot about alot of subjects... yet 95% (edited that... it said 9.5 before, not 95...) of that knowledge DID NOT come from school. Simply reading books about things and experimenting on my own did what hours upon hours upon hours of lecturing and soul-draining homework could not. Dont get me wrong: I now understand that part of the reason they considered it important was purely about grades, since that influences future prospects... but still, that just seemed silly to me. I always thought school should be about LEARNING, not getting a high score by marking things on papers all day.

    What I'm getting at, is that just like how your son has some difficulty in grasping some things (such as the importance of showering, or the reasons to do it), he also may be seeing that the people around him have trouble grasping things that HE sees as very obvious. Those up above were only my own examples just to illustrate my point... he may have very different ones from those. And if he's thinking in this way (which is quite common on the spectrum), that can be a potential source of that anger and rudeness due to the inherent frustration that comes with it.

    As for only applying himself to things that interest him... THAT one is easy to explain. The vast majority of people on this site know all about this one. I'm no exception. We often call these "special interests". Subjects that we get into... *really* into. To the point of absolute obsession, beyond what people often think the word even means. One joke I see about this sometimes is that it's like a light switch: One setting is "couldnt care less", and the other is "utterly obsessed"... no in-between. I have no advice for this one, other than "just roll with it". It's one of those things that sorta goes with the territory. To be honest, there can sometimes be a tendency towards having a bit of a self-centered nature in a general sense (though everyone is different, of course).

    Honestly if I have any "general" advice... "just roll with it" might be it. Pushing too hard is likely to always result in the same resistance and frustration over and over again. Essentially what is happening is that old adage about "trying to fit a square peg into a round hole". And unfortunately, school doesnt help... rarely do teachers truly work WITH individuals... instead, they try to squash everyone into the same box, even if some of those people are incompatible with that box. Try to find ways to take his strengths and work with them, without trying to simply smash through the walls he puts up. He sees things differently, processes things differently, and may perceive things that others cannot, while at the same time NOT perceiving things that others easily spot. That's just how it very often is with those on the spectrum, and the best thing is usually for those around the person to try to just flow with it, instead of swimming in the other direction.

    But also, try to accept that there may be certain things he simply will never quite manage to understand even despite his intelligence. I know it's frustrating, but again... it goes with the territory. Finding work-arounds is difficult for sure, but worth doing if you can.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
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  8. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2018
    The problem with a high school kid deciding not to bother doing homework - since he can ace any test, proving that he understands the subject - is that in a higher level of education (college or graduate school), the material is much, much harder but the student never bothered learning study skills.

    I agree that too much pushing by the parents may just backfire.

    When possible, I believe in letting "natural consequences" follow from the student's behavior. That might mean losing his place in this exclusive school and having to go to a general school - where there may be fewer rewards and opportunities.

    I also think that natural consequences should follow from disrespectful behavior towards the parents. You and your husband should address the types of disrespect you have been receiving and state that when you are treated that way, you are withdrawing some of your support - which is EXACTLY what will happen out in the wider world. For instance, if you have been giving him a ride to an activity, but he calls you an insolent name or something, calmly say "I don't give rides to people who are rude to me." If you tolerate too much of his abuse, you are failing to prepare him for the situations that reality has in store for him.

    Finally, you should take care of your own mental health.
  9. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

    Sep 2, 2018
    Helen your post made me weep openly. Your situation touches me personally on a deep level. I was on the other side of your situation forty years ago. I was DS.

    I will reply properly later since it's rather emotionally charged for me.
  10. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor V.I.P Member

    Dec 6, 2016
    What he really need is accommodations, he is not Neuro typical he cannot learn in a Neuro typical way ,Where I live in the Northeast there is a school specifically for autistic people but !again !it’s still designed around the idea of what Neuro typical’s consider education ,Even the fact that he has to change his routine and leave his house,You need to educate him on cleansing for instance he could get a life threatening infection ,if you have no concept of the importance of cleansing requests are meaningless .
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