Friend's son is autistic. Came after her last night. How can I help her/she get help?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by RN0441, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I do not know anything about this as my Difficult Child struggles with SA. I'm asking those of you that have experience with this.

    My friend's son is 17. Is in IEP in regular school. She has devoted her life to doing everything in her power to help him. Therapy, counseling, tutoring. You name it, she's done it.

    Son has a very hard time learning. He does have some friends so is somewhat social. Husband a VP and not around much. Friend has done everything for son mostly on her own. She does not work.

    Last year September son came "after her" as she put it because he was angry. They tiptoe around him so as not to get him angry. I think husband is in denial that son really has a problem. Son is angry a lot. Won't comply with medications and they really don't want him on medications. Won't go to therapy etc.

    Last night friend brought up with son about the ACT test which is required since he is a junior. Long story short he started swearing at her and calling her names. She naturally told him to talk to her like that. Husband did not interfere but he should have. She told son he needed to leave (go to a friend's) whatever and husband said where can he go and that she should leave as she did last time this happened. Son pushed her down and was punching her. She was trying to get into her car and son was trying to open door. He hit window and cracked windshield. Knocked over fridge in garage. Tore her coat to the point of stuffing coming out. She called me from a Kmart parking lot. It was 20 degrees here last night.

    I told her to call the police and talk to them about what she should do. She said if she presses charges against son, she will end up divorced. Her husband is a very nice and kind man and we like him very much and I do not know why he won't protect his wife against their son. Their marriage is strained to the point of almost being roommates because of her resentment toward him in dealing with son and him not stepping in to help her. I thought maybe a police officer can talk to son about this being ILLEGAL and that may scare him. Also she said the autism community "doesn't want to talk about it". I do not know what that really means. I know she is ashamed, sad and embarrassed.

    I know I can't personally help her other than being her friend and listening but what do people do in situations like this? I offered last night for her to sleep at our house but she did go home and barricaded herself in her spare room. She is worried about son being off of school for 2 weeks. He is a senior in high school. I am so afraid next time he will get a knife or something. She said she is bruised and sore and her nails were bleeding from being bent backwards. What a horrible nightmare. What a horrible way to live.
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This is the autism communities dirty secret. I stopped going to an asperger's support group when I brought up the violence after seeing bruises on several other family members and was told that we were not allowed to discuss that because it was not part of autism, because all autistic people are happy. There is no way. It simply isn't possible. That is like saying all nannies are Mary Poppins. It is a lie. Anger is part of it. My son knew he was different and he didn't want to be. He wanted a T Rex instead of a sister and he blamed it on her, it was J's fault in his 3 yo mind. That stuck, and all bad things became her fault, even though he loved her. It just was a loop that got stuck. He tried not to be stuck, but that didn't work.

    I would urge your friend to go to the local domestic violence center. My son was VERY violent with my daughter and I. I had to get help. My daughter had a therapist, but we couldn't afford to pay for me to also see one. I went to the DV center for help and it was great. They had not ever had a parent who was assaulted by a child before. But they welcomed me, and figured out how to tailor their programs to help me, to fit my situation. By this time I had insisted my son not live with us. I knew that my son was just too violent to live safely in the same house with my daughter, so he went to live with my parents. For some reason he NEVER acted out violently with them. He came close once, but realized who he would be hitting. For some reason, hitting my mother was out of bounds. It was the only time she ever saw what we saw regularly from him.

    The DV center will not tell her husband or anyone else that she is asking for help. THey will give her therapy, resources when she is ready, and they will help her see that she is worth more tahn this. I don't know why her husband doesn't step in. I know if my husband saw my son punch me, he would restrain my son. I know my husband stayed out of most of the discipline with our son, but it was mostly because he was afraid. My husband is afraid of his own temper, afraid he will lose his temper and hurt someone. He was especially afraid when our son was acting out violently that he would react and hurt our son in retaliation for hurting me or our daughter. My husband has had problems with this all of his life, so this is something we have dealt with for years. But he would not let me get punched and not do something, anything. Mostly because it would ignite that temper that he is so afraid of. I wonder if your friend's husband is as terrified of the son as your friend is? EIther way, she must get help and a domestic violence center is the place to learn to do this in a healthy way. If they don't have other parents who are abused by their kids, they can still help her.

    Bear in mind that my son is now 25 and I went for help over 10 years ago. Now our DV center in my small county has a program in place and has about 20 parents a year who they help who are in situations similar to mine, with abusive children (either minor or adult children). If our county has this, other areas of the country and other countries certainly can help parents with children who are hurting them.

    I am so sorry for your friend. If she wants email with a parent who has been there, send me a private message.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This teen needs help and obviously isn't getting the right kind of it. I wonder if he got the proper interventions for autism. My son did and he's 23, on his own, and my hero..he never had and never will hurt anyone. He's very chill and kind. He does not act out in anger me and my neurologically typical daughter and I have often said we wished we were as mellow as my son. So not all autistic people have unusual degrees of anger. And the child you are discussing sounds like there may be more going on than autism. His violence is extreme.

    At any rate, this teen would likely do best in an out of home placement to address his disorders, which I suspect are many. He is dangerous and you are just a friend. There is nothing you can do.

    It really is up to the family but it is awesome that you care about your friend so much. Emotional support helps more than you know.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
  4. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Thanks ladies. Dad is in denial there is even a problem so he would never seek help.

    This only happens once a year - too much for me - but I don't know if she would go to a DV shelter. I think she is really embarrassed/ashamed etc. She is not texting me back this afternoon so not sure what is going on. I will give her the advice you have both given and ask her Susie if she wants to email with someone that has dealt with it. I think her husband also is afraid that he could become violent with his son if he steps in but to tell his wife to leave is not acceptable either. I think she feels hopeless and alone and it sucks. She knows we've been through the mill with our son so that is probably why she confided in me.

    SWOT yes she has been doing interventions since he was born. Devoted her life to the boy.

    I think the anger comes from frustration because I think he gets teased at school. He works out every day though so he is big and strong and that combined with anger is scary.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Th, that is sad. I would have homeschoolef my kid before letting himbpuy up with peer abuse. It happened to me (really bad) and affected me deeply. An autistic child is less capable of knowing how to fight back. I learned, but it still took a toll on me and was a form of ongoing abuse from childhood.

    My son had me watching school closely. He was never teased. The other kids liked him
    They accepted him. That's partly why I feel he is doing so well.

    I feel so badly for the entire family.
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  6. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    This is so important, that a child's learning experience be positive. Maybe more important that what they actually learn, academically. They can always pick up any subject later that they might be deficient on, but the devastation of a continued bullying experience lasts possibly forever.
  7. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    He actually took a girl to a dance this year - first one - and my friend was so excited. Limo, flowers etc. The kids at the dance told the girl he was dorky or whatever and she dumped him at the dance. My friend was so heartbroken over it.

    I feel so bad too. I hate to see someone I care about hurt.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Maybe your friend is living through her son. That is a very bad and common mistake. I did it for a while with my oldest
    Maybe her son needed to be with people more like him so that he felt accepted. If parents force kids with disabilities to be only in mainstream classes, then yes they probably will get teased.

    My son was in Special Education for math and reading in elementary school and was kind of the main helper and leader in that class and was the smartest and well liked. His self esteem was good.

    The other kids at his school were used to going to school with kids with special needs and my son is so endearing that he was very beloved. The other kids really liked him.

    He did not really want to go to homecoming but his best friend was a girl in his Special Education class and she talked him into taking her. Nobody teased him. His friend, another great kid with aapergers, was voted by his peers to be on Homecoing Court. The kids at that school were golden to those who were different.

    Some people who have kids with challenges decide to force their kids in mainstream classes only, often in schools not as accepting as my son's school. They dream of their child being "normal."

    We adopted my son at age two. We knew he had been drug exposed and had special needs. We never expected anything from him other than to do his best and be kind. He exceeded both of those things. I love him to the moon and back. He is so special. I love him for him. I don't care about college or a bang up CEO job. I just want my kids to be happy in their own way. And he is that. He does have two part time jobs and is loved there too. Definitely not a difficult child.

    RN, again you are a great friend for caring so much. My heart breaks for that family. You are such a good person.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
  9. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    He is in all Special Education classes also. He actually takes two classes to help him get through the Special Education classes as they are hard for him. He wants to take a language next year and she knows he won't do well because he has a hard time with SE English now. So I think he is mainly with the kids like him but at dances you are with everyone and many kids are cruel. They are immature.

    Worrying about her makes me worry about me less. LOL
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Honestly, I don't coddle my kids but if they had been bullied, because of how much it affected me, I would have homeschooled.

    Kids are brutal. So sad.
  11. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    We have students who get violent because of their autism. The school requires them to take their medicine. It doesn't work that way in all school systems. Many times, those students have autism, plus another condition to complicate matters. It sounds like your friend's son needs to be medicated. His father needs to be involved in family therapy sessions with his wife and son. He needs to educate himself about his son's condition and support his wife. He's either on denial or is so overwhelmed that he doesn't know what to do, so he's running from the problem and focusing on his job. Now that his son is bigger than his mom, the dad needs to physically protect her. His wife can't work because of their son, so he knows he has to give his full attention to a prestigious job so they can depend only on his income. When you've a vice president of a corporation, you are expected to put your family second. But, he's going to have to take off for family therapy appointments, anyway. He just has to. This is out of control.
  12. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Yes, you are so right. He is a good man and I told her that but his actions are unacceptable. I did not talk to her except early yesterday and I am trying not to get too involved but she knows I am here if she needs me.

    I agree son needs to be medicated. They don't seem to want that but it may come to that. I am so afraid something really bad is going to happen there. I don't want to read about them on the news.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    There is no one medication for autism. Many autistic people are sensitive to and do poorly on medication. My son had interventions only..medications made him act out and he is normally a gentle soul. Stims made him aggressive and he isn't. Anti depressants made him psychotic and he is not mentally ill.

    in my opinion that teenager needs to learn coping skills. And not live at home. He needs a group home that will work to help him learn to control his anger.

    medications, of which I have been on since 23, can help certain problems, but not just by themselves. AND it took me a decade to find the right medication combo. Often it is trial and error for years. It is no quick solution not does it work without other help.

    Meanwhile he should live elsewhere in my opinion.
  14. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I agree with you and it may come to that eventually. They have a long road ahead of them. I don't want to interfere too much. Only can tell her my opinion when she asks but I agree. I would not want to live with him. I would be afraid. And no way do I want to tiptoe around anyone. Been there/done that.