OMG is at a loss and needs help

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by omghelp, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. omghelp

    omghelp Guest

    Let me start by introducing myself. I am a 42 year old mother of 2. I am here because of my 19 year old son. He was diagnosed at the age of 10 with Asperger's. Prior to that he had more initials behind his name than any doctor I ever met. My husband, his father and I have been a united front thru out his life to give him all the tools he needed to move into adult hood. We had therapy, medications, family based services,wrap around, IEP's, in patient, out patient. We followed all the rules and did everything we knew to do for him.

    The summer before his senior year (last July) things began to spiral out of control. He began to loose interest in sports, school, or anything that previously was of interest to him. His lack of social skills was always an issue but for the first time began to take an interest and "make" friends. He barely graduated high school. I think had it not been for me and the teachers at school he would not have. He had excellent grades but when he turned 18 he began to skip school. Stayed out the maximum allowable by law! but never the less he did graduate.

    He has been fired from 8 jobs since February, He has been arrested twice in the last 30 days for retail theft and possesion and he decided he does not need medications there is nothing wrong with him. The drug use is new as he passed a drug test in July. He has gotten verbally abusive towards me and his younger sister, stolen from us, his "friends", the public, been in 2 auto accidents, had 7 traffic violations. All have been relatively minor incidents but they have happened. He is spiraling out of control. Because he is over the age of 18 the state is telling me there is nothing I can do...he is an adult. The problem is he is a child in an adult body.

    He has come to the conclusion that he is going to jail so what does it matter....yet he truly has no real understanding of what he has done....he just doesn't get the big deal....(this would be the complete lack of social skills and social awareness). He has been removed from my home by my doing in October. He had to go...I had to protect my home, myself and my other child. His father told him he could live with him but he opted to sleep in his car!! He is stealing things to sell so he can pay for gas and food.

    We go to court on Monday and I have no idea what to do...I am trying tough love but I am not sure if this is Asperger's or some sort of personality disorder or defiant young adult, or that I just gave birth to the next lifetime criminal! I am exhausted, scared, sad, confused, angry and just plain ole tired! I want to be able to give him all the opportunities a parent can give but at what cost? I have another child I have to think about too....she has already suffered so much because of him. At the same token I can not enable the behavior regardless of the cause it is unacceptable!

    I am open to any and all advice, direction....anything...can anyone point me in the right direction!

    Thank you for taking the time to read! I appreciate your help.
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I wish I had some terrific answer to offer. Sorry. We have as AS grandson who just doesn't connect the dots. Pesonally I fear that he may come in contact with "the system" and because his communication skills are askew, he could be seen as insolent or a smart "fanny" by authorities.

    on the other hand, your escalating problems seem to have come on quickly. Changes in behavior patterns at that age often are linked to drug or alcohol abuse, bonding with new people (and AS kids are so desperate for friends that they can easily be pawns), or posibly the fear of being an adult knowing they are not up to the job.

    My suggestion is limited to having a neuropsychologial examination scheduled to "see" where he is at this time. It can be costly but when done by a qualified team usually is worth it as it removes alot of guess work. Regarding the drug test results...many of us have learned that those tests can lead to false security. OTC cold medicines, for example, did not show up on our personal attempt to verify. Please know that I am sending caring thoughts your way. Feel free to post as often as you want. This is a very supportive group that will provide support and a diverse brainstorming team. DDD
  3. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Your story is similar to mine in many ways although my son does not have Aspergers... he has other issues. My son is also 19... and you may want to check out the boards on substance abuse and parent emeritus as several of us can relate to your situation.

    So I would say from your post that probably the most immediate issue is his drug use. That is probably causing some of his behavior and the stealing and the general I don't care attitude. Whatever he says my guess is he is doing more than he admits. The new friends etc. all sound like fellow drug users.

    I agree there is not a whole lot you can do without his willingness. Unfortunately with our system once they are 18 they make the decisions. I also think you are right to not enable him, because in my experience (and observation) enabling them only helps them get further and deeper into the drug use.

    Does your son have a lawyer? If so I would try and talk to them and let him know about your concern and his need for help. If he doesn't have a lawyer that may be an area you want to help. Legal problems can have impact later on and so it might be worth helping him there.

    The court system is very faulty and problematic and can vary a lot from state to state. However if you work it, it can help. In our case our son (also 19) did a whole bunch of petty stupid crimes, all with "friends". The court kept letting him go, until finally it was too much and they revoked his bail and he went to jail. Like you son, I think he thought jail was inevitable and somehow would be a badge of honor or something. Who knows. Two weeks in jail and all he wanted was to do whatever he could to get out of jail. It was awful for me to have my son in jail, but it may have been the needed turning point. My son is now in rehab for his drug use......and of course I don't yet know where that journey is going to take him. I had found the rehab place we thought he should go. It was out of state and our lawyer was concerned the court would not go for that. He thought they would prefer drug court but the problem for us is to do that he would have had to live at home. Like you we have a younger child and we felt him being at home was no longer an option. So I wrote the court a letter saying why I thought out of state rehab was our best choice. I have to say it was a good letter. My son also wrote a heart felt letter to the judge which also helped.

    So I guess my concrete advice is make sure your son has a lawyer, go to court to watch and see what happens. It is helpful for the court if they know there is caring family involved. Tell the lawyer what you want to have happen, that you are concerned about his drug use. They may do something like put him on probation. That would not be a bad thing... then you are not the heavy hammer the court is. If he does end up spending time in jail that might not be a bad thing, it might wake him up to the fact he really does not want to do that.

    Good luck. I know how heartbreaking this is.... and check out the other two boards on this forum.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I would also like to invite you over to the Parent Emeritus board where those of us with older kids meet. You will get tons of support there from parents who have been through this for years and years.

    I will be honest and tell you I think you did the right thing in having your son removed from your home. It goes against every instinct we have as a parent but sometimes that is what it takes. I also agree with the others that it sounds like these new friends are not good friends. Your sons driving record sounds like it rivals my sons...sigh. Mine just keeps going. He may be eligible for a license when he is 60....if he lives that long.

    For me, I never got my son a lawyer. He had a public defender. I actually couldnt afford a private lawyer and I probably wouldnt have hired one anyway. The actual heavy charges he faced were against me so why would I pay to help him? That would just be plain silly. I cut him a major break on that anyway and let him come home to serve his house arrest. Actually, they didnt give me a whole lot of choice in the matter because this was his address of record when he was arrested. I always thought that was odd but I didnt fight it.

    Living with kids like ours is hard but sometimes they do grow up and get better in their mid 20's. For the most part my son is nowhere near as bad as he used to be. He still has his days...and this past week has been a real eye opener into the fact that he isnt cured, but then neither am I, I just am compliant with medication and treatment. He isnt.
  5. MyFriendKita

    MyFriendKita Member

    I would like to point out that although drug use and stealing go often go hand in hand, it's not the only reason someone steals. In teens, it can also be for the thrill, it can be a symptom of impulsiveness (I want it now so I'll take it), and it can be a way to gain status, especially in someone with low self esteem. There are also countless other reasons. Unless the underlying issue is addressed, the stealing will continue, no matter how much the person is punished. Also, even if you want your son punished, I've learned the hard way that no one, especially a kid who has a neurological or mental health issue, should be in court without an attorney. Prosecutors and judges are more than willing to steamroller over someone who doesn't have a competent defense attorney on their side. Some have found public defenders to be adequate; some have found them to be less than useless. If there's any way at all for you to afford to hire an attorney for your son, I would do it; his future is at stake.
  6. omghelp

    omghelp Guest

    Thank you all so very much.....Monday is his preliminary hearing for the retail theft. In the state of PA the maximum law is 5yrs in prison and a 5,000 he can be sued in civil court by the retailer to regain their costs. He has returned all the merchandise and cooperated with the police....I really gave him no option there....they had everything on video...from the time he pulled in the parking lot to the time he pulled out....kinda hard to fight that! We do not have an attorney right now as I can not afford one. I will bring that up in court on Monday. I will also see how this district justice is and perhaps be able to speak to him would be an option...I am not sure. His arrest the other night was for possession of pot. He did not understand what the big deal was.....or he understood and just didn't care.

    I never thought I could get to a point of disliking my child but here I sit. He has had extensive physco therapy thru out his life...when I tell him now to go to counseling...that I will go with him if he wants...his response "why I don't have an issue with my life you do!"

    The tears flow now with no control...I have no idea why he is stealing...for the thrill, because of drugs...does it really matter? Either way it is unacceptable behavior. He is a smart allec big mouth who will fail miserable with "bubba" in jail. I'm sorry I know I am rambeling on and on here...I guess sometimes it just helps to talk to other parents who have been there...are there...and who understand the pain and heartbreak these kids can cause.

    I will check out the other forums and see what I can find there...thanks again everyone!
  7. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I don't know what is state law or federal law but I am pretty sure that if you have done something that could end up with jail time and you have no money, the court has to appoint you an attorney. I so understand the pain and heartbreak.... I have so been there. The two weeks my son was in jail were two of the worst weeks of my life, even though I knew it was the best place for him in the moment. Sounds like your son, like my son, has to learn the hard way what a big deal it really is.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I think of that marvellous line in the first Sister Act movie, when Dolores says she doesn't need to think about her life, it is just fine thank you, and Mother Superior says, "You're hiding here because you're hiding form your married lover who wants to kill you. That doesn't sound fine."

    Your son's life is not fine, and not by your measure, but by society's. He may not realise he has an issue with his life, but it's there in black and white in the police reports. You could say to him, "If you see a counsellor now, it could go easier on you in court later."

    To engage an Aspie, make it personal about them.

    Welcome. Sorry you need us. Glad we're here.

  9. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Hi omghelp. It's a difficult tight rope you are on. Despite being 18, he is delayed in his development and is not really thinking like an 18yr old. My difficult child also had a multitude of labels behind his name. Unfortunately, there is a reason. Our kids seem to have symptoms of many different labels. I think it's overlap.
    His behavior is pretty unusual for an Aspie. Usually they are very rule driven and don't tend to break laws or do drug or alcohol. Obviously, your son has some secondary behaviors that are outside the norm of Aspie.
    One thing you know for sure. He will not get better or learn anything in prison that will help his Aspie thinking. If there were other alternative programs that could be substituted for jail time, I would beg on my knees to the judge to let your son get "rehabbed"in a facility that can cope with your son's complicated diagnosis. In the meantime, Get his doctor to write a letter to the judge, advocating for him.
    None of this will cure your son but it may give him time to grow up and benefit from the therapeutic environment. Our kids just aren't ready to be adults yet.
    I wonder if his "friends' are not putting a very negative influence on him.
    I'm sorry you are going through this. My difficult child was quite difficult. He failed a couple of opportunities and realized his life was going no where. At 26, he is doing better.
    Hope they can find something that will both protect and teach him.