argh my autistic son

diggerb2December 5, 2008

i just need to vent a bit, but i'm looking for suggestions to.

i have a a set of 20 yr old autistic twin boys.both are high functioning and number one would be aspergers except for a few minor diagnostic criteria

number one is in a great program for job training to bridge from high school to real world. he has the ability to do the work, the skills to do the work but stymies us with

impulse issues. he can identify (afterwards) that his actions are wrong.

we think they are going to ask us to have him leave the program at our review next week. and can not honestly blame the people for making the request.

the work skill he needs to learn is to work unsupervised for at least an hour without snooping in other employees

belongings/offices. this week he snooped thru everyone's lunches and decided to eat a bag of pretzels out of someone's (i know that this can be an issue for normal people in offices but that's another ball of wax) he just

keeps not respecting other people's space/belongings.

what to do, what to do, what to do.

the biggest problem with this is that it's a trait that has been with him since 2nd grade. almost every year its an issue in iep's and at grading time.

i guess over the years we've overlooked this limitation, because he can do so well in so many other ways; and when

watched carefully enough, is able to overcome this issue as well. in so many other ways we've worked so hard and so long at self regulation, but here he won't accept responsibility for his actions. its just so disappointing.

i'm really slipping into a funk about this (more meds for my

depression)as i suddenly face up to his limitations.

so what do we do?

1st impulse is to have him bounced out of the program. let him have a consequence that might shake him up.

then schedule him for a week or 2 in jail where his activities (sneeking/petty theft) might actually land him

and follow up with a month or so at the mrdd workshop/adult daycare center. to see if that would shock him into some degree of maturity since this is what he'll end up doing if he isn't able to handle the responsibilties of a job?

thanks for listening.

oh by the way, number 2 is much more compliant-- still highly skilled, but doesn't like consequenses. even as a toddler he'd watch to see if #1 got in trouble first before trying something.


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digger......I am not at all familiar with the workings of an autistic mind so any suggestion of mine is a shot in the dark. I do know how frustrating and emotional I have been in trying to get my DD16 through school with dyslexia. You end up being way more involved in their everyday activities than you can sometimes handle. In your case, to have twins, must be an enormous challenge. Bless you for all that you have done for your boys.

If your son would snoop into another persons lunch and find an unpleasant surprise would that memory stay with him? I'm thinking something that might startle him...they sell things are joke stores that move and unwind if moved. Perhaps a food that would taste awful but be harmless to him.

My DD20 has her lunch stolen from the beauty school's refrig. all of the time. These are low functioning human beings with a conscience problem. I've thought of some pretty disgusting things to wrap for lunch that I'd like them to find!!!!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2008 at 11:49AM
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Hi Digger -

I have a 13 y.o. son on the autism spectrum (well, probably - you know how 'fuzzy' those dx's can be...) and he also has impulse control issues. His mostly cause him to say wildly inappropriate things without realizing how wildly inappropriate they are... So I have an idea of what you're going through, though certainly not as much experience.

So, what have you tried so far?
What specifically for this particular problem?
What behavior-modification strategies have worked well for him in the past in general?
What specifically do you think is motivating his actions? Curiosity? Wanting to make a connection? Wanting to take something?
And how involved in the solution can you ask his co-workers and supervisors to be?

My first inclination would be to have a frank discussion with the people at the work place and arrange to have him 'caught in action' with instant, direct, pre-planned consequences. An uncomfortable confrontation that spells out explicitly that his behavior was inappropriate, why it was wrong, illegal, etc. -- that it could land him in jail or cause him to lose his job. They need to make it very clear to him exactly what was wrong and what will happen if it happens again. (Or three strikes.)

In addition to 'the stick', I always try to have a 'carrot' in there too. Maybe pack a few small surprises for him and if he works unsupervised for an hour (or whatever is challenging but achievable for him now), arrange to have his supervisor give him that surprise.

Your idea about having him try an MMDD workshop might also be a good one. Not strictly as a punative measure, but more of an "If you can't follow the rules there, you'll need to work here instead." strategy. You never know -- he might even prefer it there. It might be much less stressful.

Jail is one option I'd never consider. Sorry, but there's just no more natural target than an autistic for jailhouse bullies.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2008 at 2:39PM
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Hi Digger,
I understand completely the whole 'impulse control' issue. I have a 15 yo Aspergers son. His control issue has to do with anger. When something twacks his nose out of joint, he goes from calm to enrage in 2.2 second flat, the situation normally ended up with me sporting a new bruise or bloody nose.
No matter what consequences or rewards we came up to control this last (but very major) excabation of his disorder, he couldnt seem to 'get' it.
We had him placed in a group home (Lord it hurts)5 monbths ago. Just today, he dropped a soda pop on the ground. He still yelled, but 6 months ago, I would be walking aroung with a broken nose or cracked bone somewhere. Unbelieveably, he not only stopped yelling and did NOT hit me, he actually got the towels to clean it up.
I agree that a jail sentence would be inappropriate. He would instantly be marked a victim. The day program you mentioned sounds like it might be more of fit.
You didnt say, does your son take any meds? While alot of parents are against meds, thereare some wonderful impulse control meds out there that might turn the trick. It would be worth investigating with his MD.
Good luck, and God Bless you and your family

'Here but for the Grace of God, walks you. Until your feet have walked this path, In Gods' name, please dont judge what I do'

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 3:48AM
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