God help me

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by profchaos71, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. profchaos71

    profchaos71 New Member

    My relationship with my 14 year old is draining.He lives with his mother out of state and honestly we dont see each other much.He supposedly has aspergers and ADD and is currently taking Abilify.He is so hard to get through to.He doesnt shower or bathe unless told.He is generally lazy and not outgoing.He behaves mentally like he is 10. At 13 he was still big time into pokemon and at 12 still wanted to carry a stuffed platypus around like a 5 y/o. His only interests are movies and video games.But in this he is picky and avoids anything too challenging or competitive.He pouts,fakes sleepiness and gets sullen and or mouthy when we arent playing or watching something he finds interesting.He seems to have no interest in girls and even turns his head away from the TV like an 8 year old when anything like that comes on.He has been expelled from school twice for making threats against students picking on him.I think the threats in his mind are coming from fantasy video game land.What i mean is that such things from what we might call a normal 14 y/o would be serious.But from him it's like coming from an 8 y/o. At 14 his testicles havent dropped yet and surgery is likely.He is clumsy,non athletic and a poor loser.Never makes eye contact when speaking,sneaks food out of the kitchen in the middle of the night and eats it in his room and stashes the wrappers wherever. At some subjects in school he is alright but he is failing math and science and often fails to complete assignments and or turn stuff in.However he is on the creative side,likes to draw and shows alright talent for it.Enjoys building models etc. Is this behavior from a mental condition?? I mean some of this sounds like aspergers from what i have read but the immaturity and lack of normal interest in girls,combined with the whole narcissim,all about me pouty thing just wears me down.I'm pretty much out of the loop since he has lived out of state with his mom and former step-dad since he was 5.He is with me this week and is supposed to stay most of the summer but right now i'm not sure i can handle it.I'm raising a 1 y/o little girl and thats enough on it's own.His behavior drags the whole house down and i need some help and advice on what might be the root cause of his odd personality and his increasingly annoying and dissappointing level of maturity.Please help me to get through to him and possibly help him to catch up to his peers.I fear he will never go to college,or be able to hold a job and live responsibly on his own
  2. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Well I just want to welcome you and just say that I am impressed that you have sought help!
    It does sound like your son is very much on the Spectrum. Maybe there are other issues going on? Or maybe he has not gotten the proper help/treatment to learn how to develop the skills you see he is lacking.

    The thing with our kids is that they really are many years younger than their actual ages in so many aspects.
    This is one of the hardest things to grasp for many of us. You look at your child and think, how can you act like a 14 yo at times and then like a fricken 7 yo at others!?!?!?

    But they really don't want to. This is the thing we all realize at some point, our children really don't want to be like they are.
    They truly need help, mostly from us, their parents.

    My child is not on the Spectrum, she has Mental Illness.
    There are a lot here who do have children on the Spectrum.
    My little one N, might be on the Spectrum.

    You will get some great advice here. I would say look into some web sites on Autism.
    Autism society of America is one. There are a ton.
    Read up and keep asking questions.
    Also depending on where you are, there are now a lot a great support groups!
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Wanted to add my welcome as well.
  4. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    This sounds like pretty typical behavior for an Aspie - a developmental, or neurological, disorder; not a mental condition. Is he receiving any services/interventions at home?

    I think it's important to learn as much as you can about Aspergers and possibly meet with someone who can provide you the tools to help your son while in your care, as well as to help you cope. A change in environment can really throw off a child on the spectrum, so that is probably throwing a wrench in things, too.
  5. Stella

    Stella New Member

    I also want to add my welcome and commend you for seeking help.

    You say your son "supposedly" has Aspergers. Is that you don't truly believe that he has Aspergers? He is not purposely trying to annoy you with his behaviours and it is not his fault that he is immature for his age.

    I need some help and advice on what might be the root cause of his odd personality and his increasingly annoying and dissappointing level of maturity.Please help me to get through to him and possibly help him to catch up to his peers.

    There seems to be a lot of disappointment in your post. It is hard for all of us to accept that our children have not turned out the way we would hope. I think acceptance is the first step. Accept that your child is different, that he has Aspergers. That is the root of his odd personality. Read up on it as much as you can and hopefully it will help you to being to understand your son and how his mind works.

    I know your are scared for him but there is a lot that can be done to help kids like your son so try and stay positive.

    Best of luck.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the board.
    Your son is a typical Aspie. He's not narcistic. Aspies simply can not relate to other people well--it's part of their disaility--so they may seem all about themselves. However it is NOT a psychiatric problem like narcism. It is a neurological difference. My own son is on the spectrum. At almost 16, he is very young for his age, doesn't make good eye contact, still likes cartoons, isn't interested in girls (he may never like people e nough to want to get married and thinks dating is a waste of time), is very quiet, etc. You just explained Aspergers Syndrome. It is hard to get close to Aspies, but you can if you don't have expectations that he will behave like a typical teenager. It isn't going to happen. If you join his world, you can have a close relationship, but you can't change him. He is wired differently. You can not make him that teen boy who dates a lot and plays football and cares about how he looks because of the girls and is outgoing. THese kids really struggle with social issues and most are very introverted or else inappropriate when they socialize and often have few friends. But many have good, fulfilling lives, just not the lives we thought about when we heard we had a baby boy.
    Grief groups can help come to terms with children who have disabilities. Hoping his Aspergers will go away will not help you. I suggest going a lot of reading about Aspergers. I love Aspies. We adopted our boy and I wouldn't trade him for ten "typical" boys. I love him the way he is. And my son, although bright, will probably not go to a four year college and may need assisted living. This is common. Your son has a disability and you are having a hard time accepting him for who and what he is. I think you need to get some therapy. You are rejecting him in my opinion because he isn't like the boy of your dreams...we all understand the initial disappointment. Word: You can't make him catch up to his peers. Aspergers is a pervasive developmental disability--it is on the autism spectrum---he will mature, but far more slowly than his peers, and he may never completely reach adulthood. It's hard to say at his age.
  7. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    On the non-medical side, be sure to see him whenever you are scheduled. I realize it is difficult, but for a kid knowing your parent choose not to spend time with you is detrimental.
    Plus, sometimes a new environment can actually move them forward leaps and bounds.

    I know it is difficult. And exhausting. And not very much fun which is what I am sure you are hoping for. We all wish it were more fun.

    One added note about the visitation. Just imagine your ex and how much this break will do for her. Her getting reenergized and him getting to experience life in a different way - truly can be helpful.
  8. profchaos71

    profchaos71 New Member

    Thank you all for your comments and advice. My son has seen more than one therapist and the last one is the one that said aspergers. I think part of this is due to aspergers but some of the attitude comes from basically being babied his whole life by the mom. It's not so much that i cant except it,but that since we dont live close and dont see each other enough i have trouble dealing with his issues.Mostly because i understand that he needs someone to keep him on track daily and thats not fun for either of us!The last thing i want is for him to not want to come see me because dad is too strict.See his mom was married to a good guy for 7 years and my boy wasnt this bad.But mom ruined the marraige and now they are divorced as of a year and a half ago.Since then they are shuttled back and forth(he has siblings) every week to two different houses with two sets of rules.Step dad is on top of things,mom is self involved and more lenient. Myself, i was never really there like i should have been and honestly i struggle with emotion and empathy on top of that. To add more fuel to the fire,the step dad has already remarried and for the first time ever my son is also having to share me with my new daughter and my girlfriend. In reality, i think i understand him more than mom or anyone because i see alot of me in him which is why i actually want him to live with me full time.He needs someone checking his homework and making sure he showers and gets excercise and gets out and does stuff every week,not just every other week. I know the problems i had with school work etc. and i know that the only thing that would have made it better was constant help and supervision.I dont care if my boy isnt an athlete or whatever else.I just want him to graduate highschool and be able to work a job and have a functional life. I am now considering moving close to him and seeking someone to talk to about coping with this issue.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Profchaos.

    My son is on the spectrum. The behaviors you have described are VERY similar to what I see in my son, except that we have put in place lots of interventions and have made a lot of progress.
    I am wondering why you doubt that he has Aspgerger's. The symptoms and signs you have described fit to a T.

    Yes, it is disappointing, because it seems like they (Aspies) are lazy and selfish, on the face of it. But once you understand what's going on, it will all fall into place.
    Many Aspies excel at something--and as you have pointed out, your son is creative. Go for it! Sign him up for every class you can think of that relates to his strong points. Exploit those strong points to the hilt. That is where you son will succeed.

    Two things that jumped out at me from your post were lack of hygiene and lack of eye contact.

    We had to teach our son eye contact. We also had our therapist help out. He would talk to our son and if our difficult child looked down or away, (especially if it was an embarrassing or stressful topic, which is natural) the therapist would raise two fingers, point them at his own eyes, and say, "Eyeballs. Pay attention." We do the same thing, "Eyeballs," and then when he looks at us, we say, "Thank you."
    He is more likely to look at you and your family than at strangers. It takes yrs of practice and it can be done.

    In regard to hygiene, we've had many battles over that, especially when my son hit puberty. (As he comically points out, by holding his noise and yelling "P-U-berty!")
    I finally resorted to emailing the teacher and principal and they called him into their office. They offered to talk to him as much as he needed, as they weren't thrilled with-the b.o., either! He came home and got on my case for embarrassing him, which made me happy--that he was actually embarrassed!!!! That was a first for him.
    Now, I bribe him, in a way. I put "take a shower" on his list of chores, and until he washes thoroughly--he'd sneak in and wet his hair and think I wouldn't notice--he doesn't get his PS2 controllers or mouse back.
    When you institute something like this, expect an explosion. Just walk away and don't take it personally. Time after time, once you and he get into the routine, he will learn that you mean biz.
    When he finally takes a shower with-o a fuss, then reward him with-an extra 15 min. of game time.
    Clearly, he likes video games, and that is a powerful tool that you have at your disposal!
    Do not take away the controller while he is in the middle of a game. I always take them away when he's at school, or get him to relinquish them at night b4 he goes to bed.

    One other thing that caught my attention was the fact that your son is cryptorchid. We have a collie that was and I've known a few humans who were. The surgery is very important, as the testicles can adhere to the bladder or other organs and it can be dangerous. I would make sure you have done several ultrasounds and that the dr doesn't seen any encroachment.

    I agree with-busywend, know in your heart that you love your son, that you respect your ex, and this visit will be a good change for both of them. Just take a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other.

    And read lots of books on Asperger's.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    by the way, my son sneaks food out of the kitchen and stashes it in his room, too. Wrappers everywhere!
    I have no idea where that fits into the spectrum ... just that it does.

    Also, remember that Aspies stick to rules. So if you say you're taking him to the store, and you change your mind, he will probably call you a liar. Do NOT argue with-him. I have been there done that. Slowly and carefully explain why you changed your mind and make sure that he understands that it is not a lie. I've had to sit down and discuss simple things like that for 1/2 hr at a time!
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm dashing offf a quick answer, it's late here and I have to get to bed.

    A few points - what you describe is VERY familiar. I have a family full of these, with a easy child in there as well to tell me that it's not my parenting, it's just how my kdis are made. However, we've been able to make a difference too.

    Kids like this - they are babied because it's what they need. You can help them towards maturity but only at a rate compatible with t heir own much slower rate of maturation. They take a lot longer, but with support they will get there, or at least close. Interest in girls - don't push it. If he's gay, then he's gay already. Chances are he's not, he's just not ready to think about it.

    The undescended tgesticles - independent of the autism, but needs to be dealt with as a matter of urgency, for long-term health reasons. It should have already been dealt with.

    Kids like this are a puzzle, but the one HUGE bit of advice I can give you - change your mindset. I'm not saying here that you are being hard on him, just that because these kids' brains are wired so differently, we need to constatly watch ourselves that we're not expecting them to 'tick' the same way the other kids do. But it IS possible to get into their heads, it takes time and a bit of digging (and picking the brains of those who have gone before - plenty of us here).

    Example - if a 'normal' kid behaved the way ours do (such as hitting back when other kids bully them) then we'd punish, and thereby get the message across. But to punish these kids the same way,sends the wrong message andcan reinfoce the very behaviour you're trying to change. You CAN modify the hitting behaviour, but in a totally different way.

    Read "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. There are some good posts on this already (in Early Childhood forum for example, although he's older than this).

    For specifics - we can help there, too.

    But he is going to need supporting, a gentle hand, a lot of love and patience - and he IS capable of giving back the same love, too.

    He's getting pulled from here to there, from this household to that. He's confused, scared, NOT lazy in the way you think but more likely to be fearful especially of change and especially of change which he is not permitted to have input into. Kids like this need to feel they have some control or ability to predict what is going to happen, they don't cope well with being dragged here or there with little notice. They DO respond very well to you behaving toward them, as you want them to behave toward you. Routine is important.

    You say he seemsmentally about 10 years old - that's typical. I describe my 15 year old autistic son as being like a 10 year old genius. In some ways he seems even younger; his best friend is another autistic boy who is 10 yearsold. Another close friend is a girl of 10, a VERY bright girl. A nearby neighbour who often asks difficult child 3 to play, is 8 years old. Kids his own age - they try to converse with him but it's like pulling teeth. He's just not capable of holding aconversation unless it's about what HE can talk about (computer games, mostly). But yesterday there was a study day at his correspondence school (which means the kids go to school for a change and work in a classroom together). difficult child 3 teamed up with a bright girl of 15-16 and was teaching her how to compile a powerpoint presentation. He then helped the other students work the interactive whiteboard to demonstrate their powerpoint presentations. There was a problem with one of the computers; difficult child 3 stepped in to help fix it in time for the teachers to demonstrate some technology to the class. He did really well - and then last night threw a massive tantrum because he couldn't let a topic go, and couldn't understand how we were trying to find a good solution to a computer problem that has been bugging him.

    difficult child 3 is also showing a very delayed interest in girls - the girl he was helping yesterday slipped him a note which said, "I think I have a crush on you," and difficult child 3 was grinning a sheeping, wry grin. However, he's not ready for it to go ANY further.

    difficult child 1 had a girlfriend from about 13, but SHE did the chasing. And at 15, she had outgrown him and broke up with him. He was heartbroken and suicidal for 2 years. He then found another girlfriend for a few months, was not quite so heartbroken when they broke up and then almost immediately attached himself to another girl he met. They were boyfriend-girlfriend for two years and have now married. He is still immature, still needs a lot of support, I worry about her workload because in some ways he is a husband but in other ways he is her child. And there are times when SHE needs support and for him to be strong, and he is still learning how to do this.

    Your son will need time, will need you to model good social skills for him and will need you to lead the way, not push him.

    We can help. I'll be back in a day or so, maybe 20 hours' time when I've caught up with Life!

    Meanwhile, welcome to the site, you're in good hands. So is your son, he has a dad who cares for him - because you're here. My husband (Marg's Man) is also a member here, he will be around before I will be. He can give you a uniquely male insight into fathering boys like this.

  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I just want to add that most Aspies are NOT really high IQ kids. Some are, many have average IQs and some end up with jobs and some independence, some even marry, but many others never do and we have to accept them as they are. I am starting to think that for the forseeable future somebody will have to tell my son to shower. It's not that he doesn't know he should or that he doesn't know it makes him smell bad not to shower--he's smart enough to know that--it's because his brain is wired differently and he doesn't CARE if he smells bad (or if others do). He'll even take smelly shirts that haven't been washed and put them on because he doesn't care--I have to constantly make sure he is wearing his clean shirts and putting his dirty shirts in the wash. I have to watch him put on deoderant. He doesn't like the way it feels (sticky he says). Aspies tend to have sensory issues so they don't like certain things that others don't think twice about such as the smell or feel of deoderant or water rushing at him from the shower or certain food textures or materials. It isn't deliberate. It can be downright painful for an Aspie to be touched the wrong way because they are so sensitive.

    I have asked my son about eye contact. He says "Eyes are gross." This is a typical Aspie answer. There is a site called Wrong Planet for Aspies and most are grown. I believe it's under construction, but you can try looking for it in your search engine. Maybe it's back up. It's an excellent sight. I also think it would be helpful to read books about teenage Aspergers.

    Unfortunately, nothing could be worse for an Aspie, who like consistency and loathe change and don't do WELL with change, than to have stepfamlies and have to go from house to house. I think that would make my son regress if he had to do that. Spectrum kids like things to stay the same and all that shuffling around is probably very upsetting to him. It is probably more the fact that there are now new significant others and new siblings and three families that he visits that is causing his discomfort than that the stepfather is gone. These kids, through no fault of their own, do not do well in chaotic situations. Even the most typical kids have trouble adjusting to confusing family dynamics, but they can. Aspies really thrive on consistency and sameness. Maybe less changing of caregivers and homes would benefit your son. Although I'm sure everyone loves him and wants to see him, it may be best if he doesn't have to do so many visitations that often. That can drive him right into his shell.
    Good luck. You sound like a very caring man who identifies with your son. Do you think that perhaps you have mild Aspergers too?
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  13. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Another thing to keep in mind -

    It's not uncommon for high functioning Aspies to be able to maintain until about middle school or so. That's when more independence and age-appropriate behaviors are expected and that's when they can no longer maintain. This is when they really begin to lag behind their peers socially and with independence, for example, so it becomes more obvious.

    Some are aware that they are different and they don't want to be. Hence, the aggression toward classmates. He doesn't have the appropriate tools for dealing with whatever (I'm sorry...I can't find my words today - hope the gist of it is coming through).
  14. profchaos71

    profchaos71 New Member

    Something i didnt mention. I am probably incorrect but it seems to me that my son should be treated as much like any other child as possible.But i get the impression from some things that he has said and just from the whole kid glove,the TV is my babysitter approach taken by mom in the early stages that he has been told he is "different" and "not like other kids". Last summer when i had to discipline him he actually said these things.I realize that may be factually true but i can see him using this as an excuse for his behavior and as a crutch. It's a very negative attitude to give a kid with aspergers in my opinion,but then again i'm a novice here
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You can't treat him the same. He is different. My son knows he thinks differently and has gone for counseling to understand his disorder. However, we never dwell on "You are different" to him. He isn't let off the hook in ways such as chores because he's an Aspie. It's so individual. in my opinion it would help you to get counseling about Aspergers Syndrome. He doesn't think like other kids/adults. I think you need education on this disorder. There are some things that you can do the same and some that don't work with Aspies. Treating him "the same" won't change him. He will make progress at his own rate. Most parents treat Aspies as their ability allows--both emotionally and in every way. Each Aspie is different. That makes it hard for us to know if your ex is doing the right or wrong thing. It all depends on where this child is at, intellectually, developmentally (usually they are much younger emotionally and should be treated that way--they WILL progress). Is your son getting any interventions in school? That's what helped my son the most--his IEP at school. He's come a long way.
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I know you want to treat him the same. It just won't work. been there done that with my own Aspie. You MUST come up with other ways to parent him. He does need structure and help. He simply ISN"T like other kids. His BRAIN works differently. It DOES explain his behavior, but it isn't an EXCUSE for his behavior. Some kids do use it as a crutch. If you could get away with it wouldn't you? Most people, esp kids, would.

    REad the Explosive Child. Also look into the Love and Logic book for special kids - you can find it at www.loveandlogic.com .

    As for his undescended testicles, get him to a doctor NOW. My son had 1 testicle that didn't descend. We had to have it fixed before he was 2 to prevent future fertility problems as well as other problems. It is NOT good that it waited this long. As it is he will have to have a full workup to see if he is fertile and what, if anything, can be done to fix any problems with this. I am sorry his mom didn't see the need for fixing this when he was much younger.

    This is hard stuff to deal with. Take it slow, stay as calm as you can and keep checking in here. Sending LOTS of support!
  17. melodyofsong007

    melodyofsong007 minnieof4aspies

    Hi :D Let me tell ya I know how you feel about your son. I have to Aspie young men. One 21 who works at Sonic's and one who is 19 who has a regular high school diploma still wondering what he is going to do with his life:sad-very:. Know they still have shower issues and changing clothes. I agree they just don't care what other folks think. My son 21 still thinks girls are a pain in the butt and doesnt have a girlfriend yet. I ain't rushing the issue but I do miss saying like an average MOM when the phone rings Tim its your girlfriend again..lol but I guess that will still be sometime down the road with him. He has been workin since he was 17 same place and likes it there. Know his brother Kris total different story has a so called girlfriend who calls often so I yell up the stairs when the phone rings its your girlfriend..lol He cares alittle bit about smellin good when he goes out to meet with his friends. His friends are neat topic in itself. So, you know you and my husband have the same outlook with aspie kiddo's he thinks they are lazy and uncaring but its so not true they care when their 15 yr old sister gives me hell which she does often. She is a sore subject for another forum. So, take heed understand that I know what your going through you can't change their thoughts or feelings and each aspie kiddo is different. Just hang in there they are awesome kids in their own right.

    God Bless!!;)
  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree with-others, that he IS different, but that he CANNOT use that as an excuse. He still has to do chores, he still has to go to school, he still has to find a job.
    The way he goes about doing those things may not be the way you would do it, but he must find a way, with-your guidance.

    I also agree that you should not let the TV be his babysitter. Since you know that he likes TV and computer games, use those as rewards after he has showered and done his chores.

    It sounds juvenile, but my son is often happy with-the reward of a Reese's Peanut Butter cup for all sorts of things! Hey, whatever works!
  19. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Another echo here. He is different and requires different parenting. It does not mean he does not need to master the skills that all children must master. It does mean that he will probably need to learn each skill through solid repetition and instruction rather than by the osmosis that a lot of kids learn social skills. If he is functionally 8 years old, then that is where you need to meet him. A family therapist can help you identify which skills to target and where to set the standards for his behavior this summer.

    It is wonderful that you are seeking help prior to his coming to stay with you. That is a sign that you are going to do a great job.
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm with the others here also, although again I just checked in on the fly.

    Your son IS different. The book I recommended - you can use the same techniques with "normal" kids, so your son needn't be seeming to be handled differently. But the way most people handle the average kid, to increase the firmness/stgrictness andcontrol when the kid is giving you trouble, is exactly the opposite of what is needed here.

    These kids are wired differently. I have had to give this very serious thought, I also started out wanting to make my child as normal as possible. But where we havecome to now, after many years (check my sig, you will see what we have been dealing with) - our boys have been taught that their brain works differently but is still cpaable of getting to the same place. Because both boys are computer-capable (extremely, with difficult child 3) I explained it in computer terms. I told them that the printout off the computer, of a text file, cannot tell you if the original file was typed up on a Mac or on a easy child. It's just as quick and easy to do it on either. But the operating instructions that have to be programmed into each computer are very different. If you try to operate a easy child using Mac software then you will have a lot of difficulty. They are very different computers but over time, have had software carefully written for them, that help them SEEM to be very similar. I then told my boys, "Some people have Mac brains while other people have easy child brains."
    I did not say which was wich, not did I say one was better than the other. They already know that overall, Macs are fabulous at some things, but in other areas a easy child is perhaps a more valuable choice.

    In the same way, some people are wonderful artists, writers and singers. Others are brilliant mathematicians. Still more people are good, honest, hardworking people who enjoy a good and productive life doing what they enjoy and do best.

    Autism is an explanation. It can never be an excuse because there is always another way (or more than one way) to resolve a problem.

    Our boys know they are on the spectrum andalso know I won't tolerate excuses. They see themselves as of value BECAUSE of teir autism - difficult child 1's recent job that he held for almost a year before the recession lost him the job, had him highly valued by his boss for the very characteristics that are classic in autism. He was meticulous almost to obsession about ensuring a perfect finish on the furniture the company was making, but also fast and efficient with it (once he learned what to do). He was scrupulously honest with the boss, and hardworking (because to not be so with the man who was paying him, was not honest).

    Another author to read - Tony Attwood. He speaks highly of the positive qualities of people on the spectrum especially those with Asperger's.

    Your aim as a parent is to produce a happy, integrated, functioning and productive adult capable of living independently. The way you get there with THIS child will probably need to be somewhat different, to how other people parent.

    Using the TV as babysitter may not have been such a bad thing - for THIS child. I'll have to explain later - I'm out of time.

    Hang in there, there are some useful answers coming up. You have some good ideas and you obviously love your son and wnat him to blend in as "normal". It might surprise you to realise (or it might not) that YOUR SON is probably actively working towards the same goal.