My nearly 18-year old son has Asperger

Emily - posted on 04/25/2011 ( 28 moms have responded )

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We have tried different approaches: heart to heart talks, tough love, bribes, threats, incentives but nothing works. He is so behind in his school work that he might not graduate. All he wants to do is tweak his computer and sleep. He's so disrespectful that he's become impossible to live with. He is on medication and attends individual and group therapy. He is a brilliant kid and has thrown a lot of scholarship opportunities away. But when I ask him what he plans to do if he doesn't graduate or go to college, he can't give me a response. Please help.



Update: Thanks for all your great responses.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Tammi - posted on 04/26/2011

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Take his computer indulgence and turn it into a career path for him. Find someone like what he aspires to be and have them mentor him or just talk to him about what it takes to do what he loves. If that means homeowork and collage turn it into small reachable goals for him to get there. Ultimately if you know you've done all you can and he still refuses to motivate he has no one to blame but himself. At some point I had to hand over my sons life to him and let him fail and succeed and learn the powerful lessons that come along with that. I tried so hard to guide him into what a normal kid should do that he ended up rebelling and I had to finally step out and trust that he either would or would not learn lifes lessons the hard way. My son is still young, but faces the same lazy, self indulgent, belligerant attitude. I found that if I backed off him and left the ball in his court he is much more effective.

Diane - posted on 04/26/2011

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Are you familiar with GRASP? GRASP – The Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership. This is an educational and advocacy organization serving individuals on the Autism spectrum. URL - http://grasp.org Lots of helpful links for young adults with Asperger's, and many support groups throughout the country. Maybe they have a meeting near you?

diane in TN

Lori - posted on 04/26/2011

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Went through this with my son who is now 25. We finally allowed him to challenge the GED and he actually passed it with Honors. He is a very smart kid but has no drive for anything much....although now he is finally focused on ministry type work. Still no paying job and I'm still allowing him to live with us...but he is working toward a goal now. It is not an easy road. I remember those days....and unfortunately, my son rebelled for two years but now he is back home and focused on the right things. It just takes them much longer to find their purpose in life.

Marie - posted on 04/27/2011

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Emily, I hear you. Our son just turned 19, just got his drivers license, just got a job and re entered high school to finish part of his jr year and his senior year.
He was an excellent student, kid, friend...until 6-7th grade. It took us to 8th grade to diagnosis him with ADD and I have suspected a little aspy. He (and our whole family) struggled through 8th grade to 11th. By October of his senior year, we knew that he was too far behind (failing classes and completely shut down) to graduate with his class. I did the unthinkable and pulled him out of school. We had several attempts at alternative schooling, but he always shut down. I nearly had a nervous break down and went to a psychologist and am on Paxil. I (my husband only became supportive after I did this) had had enough of tantrums, screaming matches, working with teachers, etc. and simply walked into school and pulled him out.
We let him sleep, eat and "hang out" for 18 mos or so, then realized he had matured and we challenged him to begin again.
He, in his own wonderful way, picked up his room, got his drivers license w/out finishing drivers ed, got a job that he loves, and returned to our local high school to finish his diploma.
Truthfully, he needed to grow up. The ADD brain is 2 to 4 years behind a typical brain. That is HUGE for these 16-21 year old kids, especially boys. College may be too scary for him to even think about.
I learned that in our state, there is only a 3% dropout rate, meaning that there are plenty of ways to finish high school.
Maybe the "fix" is just letting him mature a bit more without the added pressure to go to college right away. It is what finally worked for us.
You also have a safety net. Whether you believe or not, God loves him even more than you can and will be there for you and him.
Take care, Marie

Becky - posted on 04/26/2011

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My son was diagnosed AFTER he went to college and did badly. His local school system just figured he was a super nerd. I know that my son tells me that he has trouble every minute of the day trying to communicate with us and others, and he feels frustrated. You can look into getting him onto SSI to help him out with finances. Also, getting him on decent meds with a psychiatrist who specializes in Asperger's treatment. There is actually some indication that people with Asperger's get a great deal of interaction through the computer with others, and on a more equal footing (since they don't have to read body language they can't understand). Anyway, he started back to community college and he's doing better. It is ongoing and we all have to do lots of communicating. People with Asperger's may be high functioning, but they have significant communication deficits.

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Catherine - posted 2 days ago

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OMG, you are talking about my son! Nick has 2 months to graduate high school, but the stimulation is too much, and he can't tolerate the "immaturity" of the kids around him. He was put out on homebound schooling for one month. He had 2 English papers due today, but he couldn't resist his computer games. Now the papers are late. My husband doesn't understand that he can't overcome his addiction, and he should just stop gaming and get his work done. He wants to, but he can't. My husband has all but shut his internet off, but this only makes Nick angry and he shuts down and scowls. I am home with him (took off from work as a nurse at a hospital) to see that he gets his homebound work done. My big dilema now is, do I send him to the college he wants to go to for $34K because he really wants to go? Will putting him on his own for a year set him up for failure? I am blue in the face trying to get him to get a job. I've tried every known angle. I want to help him figure out how to help himself. Oh, what-to-do, what-to-do. Anybody been in the COLLEGE arena of Aspys?

Jen - posted on 12/15/2013

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my son is 18 has highs and lows .when he doesnt get his way or if he has something going on at school thats makes him anxious he gets really grumpy depressed. he will make unreasonable demands of gold medallions and three fingrr gold rings ., qucci backpac or BMWs. we are not rich and when we say we cant get it he spits at us and inside the house breaks things.we call the police they take him to the hospital and say that he is spoiled and sometimes some say that he has Aspergers.
They send him home with us and he starts right back up with the name calling and threats. when we call the police hes soooo mad. we remind him that u can't tell people that you will smash teeth, slit throat or burn the house down with us inside. we know hes sick and its sad/ scary.

Dawn - posted on 04/28/2011

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I so glad that ur school district is helping in that way. Ours will not. I had est. 7 swiss hearing and 10 ard meetings last year alone. This town is a good old boys town if u know what I mean. I can clear an office just by walking into the school. I don't like playing by their rules. I tell them no & fight for my kids rights, they don't like that.

Fiona - posted on 04/28/2011

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Dawn, this behaviour towards your son is not on. Sometimes it feels like pushing s**t up hill but you need to go back and demand that something is done about it.

My son (now 12) spent most of the year (2 years ago) being bullied. I can't count how many times that I ended up in the principals office (3 to 4 times a week at its worse) explaining that although my son was wrong, (for hitting, swearing, hiding, not following direction etc), the other child/teacher was also in the wrong and until they changed my son couldn't.

Until they saw that their blatant teasing, name calling "in fun", pushing (joking around) affected my son and stopped then my son could not be expected to stop either. I always asked what had set my son off because we didn't see this behaviour at home. It usually came down to one of two things (1) not reading or mis-reading body language or facial expressions by my son or (2) other kids poking (literally or verbally causing him to explode). However, in the first instance, the teacher needed to pull my son aside and explain why his behaviour was inappropriate and in the 2nd, the teacher is the one that allows/condones the behaviour through their actions.

I fully agreed with them that my son needed to change his behaviour and we have seen a dramatic improvement over the past 2 years (he rarely hits now and only swears when he's really stressed) and paise God, he hasn't had a full meltdown this year. However the other kids/teachers have also learned that they can't touch him (they will get hit) and need to be tolerant towards him (especially with rules).

My son has also learned that there are some games he can't play (handball - it makes him melt) and some that he should only play when the aide is near (soccer). He's also learnt that his view of the world may not be correct (although we are still struggling with this one, I know that he will get there with time, now we have the right support structure for him at school).

All in all, it suxs that people don't realise that their "joking around" is a form of bullying if it hurts the other person and when confonted say that it's the other persons problem.

If necessary, get an advocate to go to the school with you to address the problem. Your son is a wonderful, intelligent human being who deserves to be treated with respect and fairness.

Sorry if I sound like I'm standing on a soapbox but this issue is really close to my heart and my blood boils when I hear that it is still happening to others.

God Bless.

Dawn - posted on 04/27/2011

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My son doesn't have problems with grades. A/b/c average. He has a older sis /honor student & one younger/ honor student. The problem he has is bullies. Adults & students. If somthing happens in class...his fault. Something happen to him its his fault. He got stabed last year with a pencil. First they told me he did it. & when I brought proof from the hospital, then it was agirl in class did it but she didn't get in trouble cause he stuck out his arm for her to do it. That is the kind of things my son goes through.

Evelyn - posted on 04/27/2011

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No - I feel like the warden in a girl's home sometimes. I got my cellphone bill today, and she used about 300 minutes of overages last month. I flipped. This is with both of us adults unemployed, and only one of us collecting. I'm worrying about losing my home and this kid is just chatting for hours on her cell. But unless I sit with her, she does nothing - she stayed home today from school because she stayed up too late last night (she went to bed early, and snuck up on the computer after I went to sleep). At some point, she's going to get pushed out of the comfort zone and fall on her face, and knowing that is not easy to accept.

Becky - posted on 04/27/2011

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Another suggestion (assuming you can get him insurance one of the other ways I suggested): get him to volunteer for an organization doing something he likes, which will get him out of the house and also away from the computer. His interests will be broadened, plus it isn't even a waste in terms of work. Volunteering for an organization can even lead your son to a job, and/or possibly motivate him to finally study for a career he likes. None of this is easy, if my son wasn't trying to go to college I would have lost my mind by now. My son has worked but does badly in fast food or other customer oriented jobs..........and those are the basic entry level jobs for now.

Becky - posted on 04/27/2011

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Emily--my son was able to get on our husband's insurance by us getting a document from his psychiatrist stating that he has Asperger's syndrome etc. I don't think he was on SSI at that point either. Of course, if your son got on SSI he could also try for Medicaid.

Emily - posted on 04/27/2011

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Thank you for your wonderful response, Marie. It sounds just like what we are going through. At one point I did tell him if he didn't want to go to school, then don't. But truly, he needs to be in school or else he will lose his medical insurance. My husband is retired military and that's how it works. The kids are covered until they are 23 as long as they are in school. So I'm thinking he might just go to a technical school until he cleans up his act. I'm so thankful to know that there are moms out there who understand. I do believe that God will look out for him. That's what I pray for every day. Thanks again and God bless.

Emily - posted on 04/26/2011

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Evelyn, I too have another child. She's two years older and had always taken care of her brother. She even drives him to and from school. She is on the Dean's List on a full scholarship. They are like yin and yang. Fortunately, they love each other so much.

It's the same problem with my son in school. He hardly finishes work or if he does forgets to turn it in. I was just telling my husband last week that I don't think it's our fault since our daughter turned out well and we treat them the same. In fact, we give our son more leeway because of his condition. I got exasperated one time when his guidance counselor called me and told me about all his problems and I said that I am aware of that but short of sitting with him in the classroom, there's nothing else I can do. At home we are constantly monitoring his progress and it's not a pleasant way to live.

Evelyn - posted on 04/26/2011

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My other child is the polar opposite of her sister. There are days when being able to see that she lives under the same roof and is doing great in school is the only thing that keeps me sane. She somehow can talk to her sister, persuade her to take a bath and brush her hair, although I try to not put that burden on her. But when fighting the school district to get my other daughter accomodations (which she FINALLY got last year), I've listened to all the subtle acusations of "bad parenting", and pointed out the A student in all the advanced classes lives on the same roof as the kid that never does her homework and has the same parents. That usually at least gets me a more positive line with the people on the other side of the conference table at the IEP meetings.

Emily - posted on 04/26/2011

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Evelyn: I feel your pain. Now I know why my mom used to say she wished she never had kids.

Emily - posted on 04/26/2011

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My son was diagnosed in middle school so at least we have had some years conditioning him on how to deal with people. The awful thing is, he's utterly charming with other people but just so horrible to us. We've done everything to help him with school. His dad makes charts of his school work to keep him on track. His sister and I help him do research and advice him on how to attack projects. But he has this attitude that he knows what works for him and refuses to listen. And when he fails, he finds reason to blame his family instead of himself.

Emily - posted on 04/26/2011

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Caroline: We have always limited his computer time but he now wakes up in the middle of the night to play or tweak his computer. We take his network cable away at night but I think we need to take his monitor away.

Emily - posted on 04/26/2011

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Paula: He did have a 504 but he was doing okay and he didn't want the label. We consulted with his guidance counselor and it was dropped. It's really difficult to classify him as learning disabled when he can write computer programs from scratch, play music by just listening to it, and write at a professional level. He currently is not interested in girls and considers relationships too demanding

Emily - posted on 04/26/2011

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Lori: Thanks for letting me know that parents can survive this difficult phase. I had a nervous breakdown last January from the stress. I'm taking Xanax and still there are days that I'm just shaking because when he talks to me, he is just so stubborn and unreasonable.

Emily - posted on 04/26/2011

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I'm so sorry to hear that, Dawn. The public school system has failed my son twice over - as an identified gifted student and as a student with Asperger's. Even with a 504, we didn't really see any substantial accommodations. My son has ADD and OCD, too.

Dawn - posted on 04/26/2011

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All this is really hard to deal with as a mom, but try it with a red neck school system and town that doesn't believe that there is really such a thing as apergers. My 15 year old has apergers/bipolar/adhd. I'm haveing a really hard time finding any help at all. It took me over 10 years for someone to finally say yes mom u were right he does have a problem. But we don't know how to help you.

Evelyn - posted on 04/26/2011

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I also know just how you feel. I have a 16 year old daughter that, after years of hearing from her doctors that she was just immature or that she was emotional, finally was diagnosed with what I suspected all along - ADHD and Autism/Apergers. To say she is belligerent is an understatement. She throws things, screams, swears at me, and has even hit me. There are times where I despair of continuing to have her in my household because she will refuse to bathe, refuse to groom herself, insist on wearing clothing that is ripped, torn or dirty - and then she'll suddenly snap out of it. I am afraid for what will happen to her as an adult, that she'll never be self-supporting. She also lives to be online, with eight or twelve windows open in chat forums, while listening to japanese pop and watching anime videos, some of which I find unacceptably violent or sexual. If I try to block her access to the computer, she will literally stay up until I fall asleep and use all sorts of tricks to go online. Short of sleeping with the router (which I have done), I can't get her to get off or to understand that her behavior is extreme. It's not fun being a parent, nothing like I envisioned, that's for sure!

Fiona - posted on 04/26/2011

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Both my boys are Aspie and are still in primary school, so not sure if the following will help, however, my oldest is 12 and if allowed can become very self-indulgent in computers. As he is now hitting adolecents and becoming a man, I am now working with the teachers (in secret) to help motivate him. It takes a lot of work to get the teachers on side but once they are there and know that you will support them 100% (which I'm sure you already do) they tend to give the extra time needed to explain the why to these kids so they understand and can see the plan.

At present, we have the teacher giving my son $5 a week for good behaviour within school time (8.30 - 3). My son believes that his teacher is forking out the money (which we have already provided) and this is fine by us as it allows him to take control of his meltdowns rather than have the threat of mum and dad coming to school etc.

We also have the teacher giving him extra time on his computer within the classroom once he has completed his work. (Not sure how this will go in high school).

We are about to start on a program to improve his english (flys through maths but hates english with a passion). Again, this will come from the teacher and my son will have input into the process (all pre-determined but my son will see that the teacher is making the effort on his behalf). For him, if a person shows loyalty to him, he will be loyal to them (and work for them at) 150%.

Hope this helps. As a mum, all you want if for the world to to do is get past the Aspie traits and see how bright and wonderful your children are.

God Bless.

Caroline - posted on 04/26/2011

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We have always limited our 14 year olds computer time...it always come after all we have asked is done...we also home school so that allows him to study anything that he wants....if he is really into computers that is awesome....the secret would be in how to use that to motive things he would need for school....our boy is everything natural science....one of the subjects we have introduced and made him take was music witch has given him a wonderful out let....and its very pleasent.....he has thanks to that opened his mind even if it is a little to art and other people in history that might have been on the spectrum and have made wonderful contributions in these areas....good luck

Paula - posted on 04/26/2011

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maybe it's because all he wants to focus on right now is his computer stuff... Does your son have an IEP at his high school? Perhaps he's going through some personal things that he doen't want to share with his mum... maybe he has a crush.. who knows.. he's 18..

Constance - posted on 04/25/2011

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Finally somebody that knows how I feel. My Daughter also has Asperger's and she just turned 15. I wish I had words of wisdom to help but I am just as confused as you are. It is like no matter what I do she can't seem to care about anything. I have been trying eveything as well. I will keep trying and if I figure anything out i will let you know. Please let me know if you figure anything out.

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