19 1/2 Year Old Struggling With Complex Developmental Challenges

Discussion in 'Failure to Thrive' started by tbod, Apr 28, 2016.

  1. tbod

    tbod New Member

    Our 19.5 year old son, still living with us..for now...is our only one...is completing evening HS and just started a new job (fired from the last 3). A little history: Expelled from the last 9 schools, had an IEP, but was labeled as ED (Emotionally Disturbed) which got him ultimately sent to a Residential Treatment Center when all other options failed. Pulled him out of there...as he was basically drugged up. Been on every medication you can name throughout his life. Clean from those drugs the last 4-5 years. Also, had been hospitalized 11 times throughout his life due to psychological episodes mostly occurring while in those "special - level 5" schools he had to attend due to mainstream schools not equipped to handle his issues. Was definitely diagnosed with ADHD...but has a "soup sandwich" of other things to include anxiety, poorly developed ability to socially integrate (likely a spectrum issues/Asberger) which led to lots of rejection and resulting poorly developed self identity, no real self-respect, insecurity, and huge anger issues. Hangs with a very unsavory group of peers and is in love with pot. Its been hell over that last 5-7 years. Arrested for possession last year, thousands of dollars of damage to my house due to being high and setting fires in my garage and sundry other things he would do as a result of poor decision making, impulse issues and being high. Wont go into detail on that. Good news is that he's close to making it through High School which a few years ago I would have said was never going to happen. We have a family psychiatric that we all see, he attends mandatory drug counseling, and local NA mtgs etc. But, I suspect that none of the help he's receiving is making a lot of progress with him whether that is due to the fact that he really doesn't understand his issues, or any desire to help himself get better. Will just have to have faith that maybe some of the help is getting through. Maturity is seeming to have some positive impact, but there are pervasive tell-tale issues of what I see as some very concerning underlying issues that we are dealing with. Personal hygiene is abysmal, doesn't take showers, has very very angry violent sounding self dialogues in his bedroom or bathroom or where he happens to be in the house where doesn't think anyone is listening in. Hasn't really acted on any of the things, and perhaps its his way of venting (almost like an autistic child does when they rock)...self soothing I think. But, it is a very violent sounding dialogue. He cycles from what seems to be almost a euphoric almost silly behavior to a very dark thuggish mode. Thought about potential for bi-polar..not sure...but something is going on. Have recently shared this with the psychiatric. He's not a dumb kid...just makes very dumb decisions and that coupled with poor decision making skills and rather immature attention seeking behaviors, he's way behind his peers. Either way, he has to go...and that is the plan for now...thinking military if he can even get in...or just move out. Thought I'd throw this thread together just to see who else out there can relate to any of this.
     
  2. soapbox

    soapbox Member

    So, your family fell into the huge crack in services... as soon as he got labeled "ED", he got NOTHING of value. In reality, he wasn't ED. He was/is dealing with pervasive developmental issues, which should have had intensive interventions very early. In addition, at some point, these "mood swings" have shown up.

    He is "hanging with a very unsavory crew". What else do you expect. He has major social skills problems, and neurotypical kids are about the most cruel beings on the planet. Outcasts are welcome by the druggies, because the only rule is that you have to use drugs.

    It's such a challenge to get resources for a supported move-out. Which is probably what he needs, but not what he wants. I'm guessing that he finds change difficult to manage?
     
  3. tbod

    tbod New Member

    You nailed just about everything in your response. Thank you by the way for responding. He does want to move out. partly due to fact that I've put into place a contract that I had him sign with curfews, and a bunch of other rules that he has to comply with otherwise I throw him out...and this is for our sanity. He doesn't want my rules and wants to live on his own and found two (knuckleheads) to move in with. He has a part time job now and so do the other guys. At least he's thinking about doing something.
     
  4. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, T.


    Would your son be open to going to a psychiatrist for an evaluation, to find out if he has any issues that could be diagnosed? He may qualify for some assistance based upon certain diagnoses. Of course he has to be willing and cooperate, which is the main obstacle for most of our D Cs.

    He may very well be autism spectrum or bi-polar or any of a number of things combined. He won't know unless he submits to testing. I hope he will.

    He talks to himself? Can you tell if he is talking to a 'voice' in his head? Some people do talk out loud to themselves, but others hear voices talking to them in their heads. Can you tell which it may be?

    I think this is the hardest part to know--whether they choose to live and behave as they do, or whether they could do better but choose not to. Or something in between. Where helping stops and enabling starts.

    Is he following the rules you have set down, more or less?

    Was he adopted?

    Any possibility of Fetal Alcohol damage or brain injury?

    Stay with us and keep posting. It helps.

    Apple
     
  5. tbod

    tbod New Member


    Apple, thanks for your thoughts. Good questions as well. Its been a long while since he's been to a psychiatrist...and was about about 7 or 8 at the time...probably too young to get too accurate an assessment. But, they were very willing to put him on medications....which kind of didn't make sense to me as there wasn't a definitive diagnosis...so how did they know what to put him on??! So, of the testing that was done then...they made the determination that he was AD/HD as well as Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) not otherwise specified..and I knew there was much more to what was going on in his mind than that. Also, some of these medications were hypertrophic drugs and only made my son's situation worse. So, instead of just having angry thoughts...he would begin to act on them as well. That tells me there is much more going on. His current psychologist is certain that he has pre-frontal cortex issues...and asked if we were aware of any brain injuries or falls he may have had. Scary. This explains the social developmental delays and anger over rather minor things, impulsivity, not reading social queues...and the rest. What I see these days is great difficulty in him managing anger over rather minor issues as well as working himself up through verbal dialogues that he has that are usually negative and many times violent sounding. When he is calm..he's fine...but when he's not...he's like a very shady, angry guy lurking in the shadows who is easily angered/set off. All that said, I did put a contract together with curfews and rules and he seems to be abiding by that which was absolutely necessary for my sanity if not for anything else. So, I know he can follow rules. I'm certain without them...he wouldn't be capable of parenting himself at all...or to the degree that he could really function on his own. Way behind his peers socially and every other way. Cant relate to people very well. I don't think he's choosing to live the way he does...but clearly is not interested in exerting himself enough to help himself enough to make a difference. He was not adopted. And I'm not sure if he'd be up for any more testing if we were to find another psychiatrist. This evening was a bad one. He left his cell phone in mom's car and forgot to take it with him when dropped off a evening HS. I picked him up after school and he was extremely angry that mom didn't turn the car around and come back to the school and drop his phone off with the school. wouldnt let the issue go. She was at work and nothing could be done about it until she came home from work with his phone. He just blew up over this for the next hour. Wanted to throttle him. He finally calmed down...but I tell you..it was basically just one big ugly trantrum....from a t 19.5 yr old young adult. Didn't want to take any responsibility over having forgotten it and just wanted to blame mom for not turning around and brining his phone to him. Talk about issues.
     
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This diagnosis IS on the autism spectrum. Which would explain some things, like not letting go of an issue easily.

    If you're anything like my hubby... the cycle goes something like this: kid ramps up, hubby ramps up, kid ramps up more, hubby ramps up more, and so it goes until either there is a major confrontation, OR I happen to walk in at the right time and throw wet blankets on two fires. It's so hard not to take their anger personally. And hard not to get mad when they won't "listen to sense"... of course, "sense" = you, right? (been there done that, both sides of the table) It's really hard for us to see it from THEIR side of the table.
     
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  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have a spectrum kid who was difficult when young, but not now. However, this kid was having seious interventions since before age three so it is hard now for others even to figue out he is neurologically different of course, he is. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) never goes away. But he is not argumentative and is in fact is quite chill. He rarely ever gets angry.

    I dont know your son, but I have spent years in a group of parents with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids who have sinse grown up. An Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kid has a chance of being a beloved, productive societal member.

    If your son is open to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) intervrntions, he can much improve. Of course...that is a big BUT.

    I hope things get better for you and your dear son.
     
  8. tbod

    tbod New Member


    Thank you for this advice. I'll talk to my wife about it. Sometimes its hard to tell whether he intentionally wants to be an A## H### or whether he really can't see how ridiculous and illogical he really is, in time to do a course correction. Its probably a mixture of both. But, to the degree that he carries these anger issues is way beyond the norm...and he doesn't do much to curb them ...even with all of the help he's had with our psychologist. He has to want to get better and help himself. Im sure things will improve to a degree due to some growth in maturity...just hoping he doesn't trade one problem for another in this process. You know?
     
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  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Psycology doesnt help autism much. Id say an older ASDer needs an autistic specialist in social skills, a job coach and somebody to help with life skills. This is not a psychological condition. Its a neurological difference. They may also, say, have depression too, but the biggest issue is life skills. Unless taught them, they may never learn them.
    And they may remain clueless and childish forever. We started early but its never too late.

    Neuropsycologists are good.

    Lots of luck!
     
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  10. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member


    Where should he go for an initial diagnoses (if he is indeed willing to look for help)?
     
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Find an autism-related support group. In Canada, there is one called (of course) Autism Canada. They have local chapters, and can often put you in touch with resources.
     
  12. tbod

    tbod New Member

    Exactly correct! Its like you were there! I've gotten a little better...by just sticking to the facts and throwing fact based reality back at him each time he decides to escalate his emotional and illogical cycle. Sometimes that even makes him mad...because he sees that I'm not ramping up with him anymore. And hes very slow to learn from these events to make adjustments to how he handles his anger issues. Case in point..he recently got fired from his job working at the local movie theater (tickets/concessions) for getting into a fight in the parking lot with a co-working after hours. They told him he cannot come back in person to collect is last check and that they would mail it to him. Has a new job now working at a local Chipotle (just started) and spent the whole half hour drive to get him to work venting aloud "stating they better get my check to me today"...etc. etc. to which I stated to him "did you ask if they would mail it from their corporate office or from the theater as that will drive how long it may take to get it to you". He just got madder ...calmed down and at least tried to call them to figure it out. But, you see, he doesn't think through his issues and just locks up and loses it. Meant to add that his problem solving skills are also abysmal :)
    largely attributed to pre-frontal cortex issues (his psychologist has also pointed out). Would tend to think this might be tied to maturity...but, since he doesn't seem to be learning much from these experiences and seems to repeat them...I have to think there's a hardware issue going on here to. Yep, we probably need to bring another expert into this as you suggested.
     
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Maturity may help somewhat. Keep in mind that "typical" teenage males are notoriously immature, and our differently-wired kids are usually way behind their peers in maturity. Which means, it could be 5-10 years before he "ripens" and you have a better idea of what he really is.

    ** I keep telling myself this, too.
     
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  14. tbod

    tbod New Member

    Good Lord!! Hoping it doesn't take that long. He may have to ripen on a vine outside of my house somewhere else.
    Cant wait to see what he turns out to be though. That'll be interesting!
     
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Food for thought.

    If you have a 12 year old who can talk about nothing except dinosaurs, and knows all sorts of arcane facts about them, the kid is considered strange. Take that same intensive, narrow interest about 20 years down the road, and you have... a PhD scientist in paleontology.

    Not all people on the autism spectrum are high functioning. But some are. Those who are, are often found in careers related to science, mathematics, engineering, information technology, and the arts. (Notice... all the careers where "geeks" and "nerds" show up, seem to end up with some on the autism spectrum :D )
     
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  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would go to a neuropsycologist. A support group is just parents who have opinions but dont know how to help him. Forget psychiatrists and counselirs. They dont know enough. My son lives alone,works, makes decisions (some kind of silly) and is young for his age (22). Autistics mature late and tend to remain younger in heart, but many live alone and work and my own son is very happy. Seems he is never in a bad mood. He is content in his skin.

    I dont think seeing if your son is still open to interventions is anything but good. Autism is a s struggle, but it doesnt have to keep you from learning about life or being happy. My son is proof.
    He did not speak, potty or sleep until age five and he raged. We never dreamed he'd be the fine, nearly normal young man that everyone seems to love. Your son may be able to really improve as well. You will not get anywhere arguing with him. Best to go quiet and calm the storm.
     
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  17. tbod

    tbod New Member

    Taking your advice not to argue with him..good stuff as always...thanks....and I will continue to try and keep the steady and calm hand. Finding I still succumb to his ranting illogical and often childish arguing and impulse driven unrealistic rationale....wanting to blame others for his misfortunes....but I have to remind myself that this child (19.5 yrs old) is developmentally delayed (significantly) and hopefully time and some maturity will "kick in" and help get him up to speed. Hoping that he will be soooo tired of himself one day that "the light" will just come on. Here's one for you...you can laugh yourself to sleep on this one...its ok. A trying episode last night...where I'm finding that I just need to just let certain things go...at least for my sanity and blood pressure. So, my wife and I go to see this local jazz band play last night and of course my son is like "are you kidding, I don't want to go to that!" Shocker...But since we cant leave him home by himself (a rule I put in place due to damage that I would find much later on due to his impulsivity, lack of judgment and self control and just screwing around in the house while we're out...like a 10 year old...you know what I mean...like stabbing apples with a knife or play boxing in the family room and accidently breaking something. Yep...you know what I mean). So the compromise was to drop him off at his friends (always a risky venture...as its a 50/50 chance his self discipline will crumble and he will smoke it up with his friends. A gamble my wife and I always consider when thinking about actually attempting a date night. He's going to do what he's going to do until I hope he comes to his senses. I've learned this. The alternative is to be prisoner to our house or find a sitter for my almost 20 year old. Yep..thats right. So, the concert was great...we picked up my son on the way back..yes, he was where we told him to be for pick up. That was good...but he was also very high..red eyes, etc, etc,...nice trade-off!. my wife just says..."get in" ...that was kind of funny...sounded like she's been down this alley a billion times with him...but she was just tired. And we head home from there...then suddently from the back seat we hear "hey you guys...I'm hungry!". Now... here it is...yep. he's high, hungry and I have to work the next day and my wife is now asleep in the passenger seat...and this could have really pissed me off...but for some backwards kind of way...was actually kind of funny...but I'm spooling up a little now partially since this is absurd and that he thinks this is funny....I'm sure of it. You can't make this stuff up! So my wife wakes up and actually makes me hit a McD's on the way back...drive through...and now my son wants to yell some silly, stupid things at the poor order taker dude in the window..cause he has a heavy Indian accent and hard to understand. An unfortunate target for my high son. Managed to prevent that....barely Then we're headed home...he's macking down in the back seat...I'm dreading the mess that will be there...we get home...my back seat IS a distaster (wished I hadn't looked...instinctive)...and he says, "sorry dad"...heads off to bed..and that was that. It was cleanable.... I mean...really. But, it could be a lot worse...and that's where we're at. He doesn't have any friends that are "reasonably ok" because he met all of them in the various night high school classes he's had from two of the last schools that would take him...which are a good distance away...of course. The ones that would be great for him...he can't even really relate to....they're too preppy (in his opinion) and my son still wears his pants half way down his butt and wears chains around his neck. A little sad. I mean his closest friends are like a whole collection of various types of Beavis's and Buttheads. When my wife and I can sneak away, this is the scenario that usually plays out. Sometimes he's sober...sometimes he's not when we pick him up...oh yeah...he does not drive...you can see why...I'm sure.. At the end of the day, I know where he's at, he's not climbing out windows anymore...or lighting my garage on fire (at least not lately)..or shooting up my house with air rifles and what not..which is where we learned that someone needs to be at home if he's there. I just hope he gets to a place before too long where he has the emotional stability within social norms to go the distance and make it. You can put a fork in me now!
     
  18. tbod

    tbod New Member

    Well, thought we were finally on a good track. Anger issues somewhat under control, etc...him trying to hold it together long enough to simply graduate high school....until 3:30 yesterday...received two phone msgs and an e-mail from school asking me to immediately come to the school and get my son. Called them enroute and found they nearly had him arrested had I not called right then and there. So, now all of the old and ancient pains, anxiety and dread (hundreds of phoncalls from angry and exasperated teachers and principals in the past) are coming back in a rush. Called the school enroute (school is about an hour and a half from my work...so lotsa time to sweat) and found that he nearly assaulted another kid...and they had the whole thing on tape. Teacher had to break it up. Was the straw that broke the camel's back this time. Got to the school. There's my son..and the principal and other adminstrators...we're now all hunkered around a computer screen watching the replay of the incident so everyone's on the same page and there's no way my son could dispute the issue or deny anything. Bottom line is, due to his inability to control himself, his mouth, and his anger issues, he cannot finish out the last 2 weeks of the school year and is only allowed back to take his finals and at least can still graduate. Nearly expelled for what would've been the 10th time in his short 19.5 year life. We're talking a kid with anger issues for which he's been seeing a psychologist for a few years now. Not seeing a lot of progress. I mean, when I watched that tape replayed at the school...there were several opportunities my son had to avoid the confrontation. He was the obvious aggressor and the other kid tried to back down and clearly showed my son continuing to push and be the aggressor. You do all you can as a parent....been down this alley for so long now...that its nearly a cliché when I get a phoncall now...however, seems obvious now, he's just going to have to learn things the hard way unfortunately. I mean he has a court date coming up next month to hopefully close out a marijuana possession charge...and had he been arrested yesterday...yeah you get it...the judge would've had him for lunch. Lawyers are expensive...and we're up to our elbows in bills for that let alone anything more to add to that heap of trouble. So, again hoping he can hold it together long enough to get beyond that trial date and hopefully on his own with a relatively clean slate. Part of me just sees this as a matter of time before he really does something that going to get him in huge trouble. Maybe, he will just need to hit the bottom of the barrel and be confronted with the reality of his choices for the "coin to drop" finally. More on this soon. Promise.
     
  19. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    HI T,



    Geez, only two weeks left before graduation! Ugg.

    Does your son have any plans for after graduation? Does he have any direction at all?

    Have you talked to him about getting some testing done? This may be a good time to approach this, since he is graduating and needing to move on to the next phase of his life.

    Apple
     
  20. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I'm sometimes a bit oppositional about these kinds of statements.

    They say "video doesn't lie". School LOVES to use this kind of "evidence"
    Well, it does - because it does NOT tell the whole story. Like, the 19.5 years of history. Nor does it tell the prior history - this other kid may have been set up by one or more additional kids, to provoke your son, because they like seeing your son get into trouble. been there done that.

    Where did your son learn to behave like this? I will pretty much guarantee that YOU didn't teach him - he didn't learn it at home. He learned it at school. Kids who are consistently bullied from a young age end up being bullies themselves. And because he has fallen between the cracks for so many years, he hasn't had the kinds of interventions that could have made a huge difference - and the interventions that WERE given (such as punishment) haven't had the intended consequences, because he is wired differently.

    Yes, it's a huge problem, because the legal system assumes people are like 2x4s. There is a single set of expectations, and you either meet it, or you don't, and if you don't, you get the same consequences. There is no allowance for developmental challenges, or mental illness.
     
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