Questions about autism spectrum disorder

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by How did I get here, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. How did I get here

    How did I get here New Member

    This is a relatively new diagnosis for my son. So I have questions. When he takes the medications, he is a great kid. When they start to wear off, ugh. He can talk about crazy things or even get violent. Is this normal?

    He doesn't mind taking his medications, when I'm with him. But, if I'm not home, he won't take them. I can call and remind him, set alarms on his phone, leave a huge note on the table next to the medications; but, he still forgets to take it. He turns 18 next year. For my sanity and safety, he needs to find an apartment. Any suggestions on how to get him to remember to take his medications?

    Also, on another note, he has talked to a military recruiter. It appears they will accept persons with mental health long as they are not medicated for them. As I'm proud of what he wants to do, handing him a gun and training him to fight (especially untreated) scares me. Has anyone heard this before?
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I have a 24 year old son on the autism spectrum who never gets violent, rarely even gets angry, and has controlled his autistic behavior to his apartment. He works and is independent mostly, but does get supplementary SSI (very little due to work) and has a case manager when he needs assistance.

    He is not on any medications. He doesnt need any.

    Never in my life would i encourage somebody with autism to join the military. I cant see them, sensitive souls that they are, surviving the military with any semblence of normalcy. If it were me I would alert the recruiter as if he goes, it will likely be dangerous to him.

    The military does not make men out of our struggling young adults...they are not here to cure anybody. The military is best suited to very stable young men. Autistics are soooo overly sensitive!! Just loud noise bothers most! If my son hurt anyone, he would be destroyed

    by the way, autism is NOT NOT NOT a mental health problem. It is a neurological difference with a developmental delay. Sensory issues and social anxiety go with it.

    Did your son get a neuropsychological and in depth assessment? If not, there is a chance he is diagnosed wrong. If you feel it is correct, I suggest getting him autism interventions...and do NOT allow him to join the military. My family hunts and my husband was in the military for ten years, but autistics do not need guns or to shoot...they are wired differently. Those skills could be used wrong. I just feel this is a very bad idea. They can also do things on impulse, worse than someone with ADHD.

    I wish you and your son luck, but hope he takes a healing direction. Call an autism group and ask for a neuro psychologist (these are phd psychologists who have extra training in the brain) both to affirm the diagnosis (it took my son ten testing hours) and to refer you to helpful specialists if he does have it.

    My son does not rage or lose control as he did when he was little. He is beloved by all. Autism can be greatly helped, but you need the right sort of help, not to have it treated as a psychiatric problem. He may need Disability and the adult help that comes with that. I dont mean this in a bad way, but your son is lower functioning than mine was at his age...and my son benefitted greatly from adult services. He has grown and improved so much it is like he is a different person.

    Shuddering at the thought of your son in the military. Hoping he can get the right interventions do he can learn, as my son did, to deal with his sensitivities and challenges. And to be comfortable in his skin.

    Love and light!
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Every person on the autism spectrum is different. My son is VERY different from SWOT's son. Actually both my son's are. The younger son has sensory integration disorder, which is on the autism spectrum at the mildest end. Or so some doctors claim. Others say it isn't, I say who cares as long as my son is doing well, Know what I mean??

    My oldest son is definitely on the spectrum. He has Asperger's, or what used to be Asperger's. He was incredibly violent at times and with certain people. We were lucky in that he liked who he was and how he felt on his medication, so he took it. He still takes it and he is an adult living on his own. He does not have any supports because he doesn't need them. He is a manager at a grocery store and has his own apartment, car, etc... The military kept after him when he was in high school, almost stalking type behavior and finally my father had a talk with them about getting after them if they didn't leave my son alone. They really didn't want my son, he would NOT have been good for morale or team building things.

    I do know your son would have to be off of his medications for at least six months before he could sign up. With some medications it is longer, and with some medications they just won't take you at all. I know they are super hesitant about any medications to treat seizures regardless of whether you take them for seizures or not (many medications treat more than one things).

    I don't think someone with autism would do very well in the military but how would I know? I wasn't in the military. I don't know that you can make this choice for your son. You can tell him that if he is in your house and gets violent when he goes off his medications, then he will have to find somewhere else to live as he waits for the 6 months to pass before he can join the military. You can also let him know that he has to either be working or in school or both, he cannot just be waiting to join the military. It is perfectly acceptable to set rules for him to live in your home while he is not on medications. Just be sure that you follow through with any consequences you set.
  4. How did I get here

    How did I get here New Member

    Thank you. I don't want him to join the military. I was shocked to here that they would even think of taking him. I'm steering him to complete the machine shop course that he is taking in votech.
    He doesn't want to quit school. He has a part time job. He is in JROTC at his high school. He does fine with all of them. At home, when the medications wear off, he is violent towards me or goofy as heck (I prefer goofy).
    He does have Aspergers. If you don't mind my asking, what medication is working so well for your son?
    Thank you!
  5. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    It's hard to imagine that he was not diagnosed until 18. How well did he function in grade school and high school? Did anyone dealing with your son give you any input?
    Medications of different sorts work differently on each person. My son is completely different than either of the mother's above have described. I'm pretty sure the military would run screaming if they interviewed my son(I'm joking). Some medications worked on anxiety which is common with folks on the autistic spectrum. It helped my son. Mood stabilizers helped with the highs and lows of his emotional responses. He is not bipolar but all things are a spectrum. Some on the spectrum get antipsychotics even though they are not psychotic. If a medication works to help my son I don't care what the classification is. I hope you can get some services to help your son to learn independent living skills.
  6. How did I get here

    How did I get here New Member

    My son was diagnosed ADHD st 3. We went through 21 day cares before he started school. Then he was diagnosed ADHD/ODD. Then mention of bipolar later. He's 17 now. The aspergers came at the end of 16.
  7. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    My son had been diagnosed with all those things too. medications,never helped him, just dulled him. He was misdiagnosed. Bipolar is not him. He doesnt have mood swings.

    My son had a very in depth assessment at 11.
  8. How did I get here

    How did I get here New Member

    Mine has the mood swings, violence, ups and downs. He has been assessed 3 times in 3 different hospitals.
    He can be the best kid on the planet. Then the medications wear off and "hello, Mr. Hyde."
    We have another appointment with a new doctor that is highly recommended. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
  9. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    So he has had services? You have been in a whirlwind with 21 daycares. Did the high school not speak to you about post high school plans? Disability? Just different educational experience than I have had.
    I know you want him to move on and become more independent. He may need a supportive living environment. He may need independent living skills support to do this.
  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Psychiatric hospitals are not the best for assessing autism. Autism is NOT a psychiatric disorder. It is a neurololical difference that causes some unusual/difficult/frustrating behaviors. Our son's psychiatrist(s) did not understand higher functioning autism so he kept getting diagnosed wrong. There are specifics for autism spectrum although autistics can present differently. They almost all have sensory problems, diffiulty in some communacative way and anxiety is there. Other things too I am sure.

    A commpn misdiagnosis from a psychiatrist is bipolar. Be very vigilent. Know your stuff. Read. Never assume a doctor of psychiatry is always right. This is a very inexact science so far. As our neuro psychologist told us,"every diagnosis is just the diagnostician's best guess. Mistakes are made all the time, even here at Mayo."
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    When my son was younger he took risperidone to help with the violence. It is an atypical antipsychotic and a very heavy duty medication. It allowed him to control his violent tendencies to some extent.

    Have you taken the time to sit down with him when he IS medicated and ask him what is going on when he gets violent with you? I often found that my son could, in a quiet time, tell me what was going on and why things were happening. It took some persistence and didn't magically happen the first time I asked. I had to ask the question, then give him time to ponder it, often a week or more. Then in another quiet, peaceful time when it was just us and he was not in a hurry or deep into a game or book, I could bring it up and ask what he thought about it. Sometimes it took doing this 3 or 4 times and would like to drive me crazy because I wanted my answer NOW. But autism doesn't work that way. It works on its' own schedule, not mine. So I learned more patience and I could get answers. Sometimes. The answers I did get were definitely worth waiting for.

    RIght now my son has found that a combination of 3 medications works best for him. He is taking strattera for his adhd, trazodone for sleep disturbance, and luvox for depression. These actually are all antidepression medications but 2 of them work on other things better than on depressions. He has what they call unipolar depression, meaning is all doom and gloom and never ever gets manic. Poor kid. It takes all 3 of the medications to keep him out of the depths of depression and functioning, and without any one medication he just doesn't feel like himself. We are lucky in that medication compliance really has not been an issue. He has tried going off of his medications a time or two as an adult, but he felt so awful that he called his doctor and said it just was not worth it. I think most young adults would do that.

    Since childhood my son has been on more medications than I could even list here. But risperidone is the one that did the most for the violence. Geodon helped it for a little while and we also tried the other atypical antipsychotics too.
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  12. JRC

    JRC Active Member

    Hello HDIGH:

    Welcome. Sounds like you've been through alot and are still looking for answers and you are wondering what is normal to austim and if your son's aggression is normal to autism. Although Autism is a neurological difference, one can still have co-morbid psychiatric disorders, just like neurotypical people. No one shouldn't dismiss that possibility simply because they are autistic. As in all things, people have specific experiences which inform their opinions and may not fit exactly with your child's experience. But it's wonderful that we're able to share what we know and take from it what we need. Also, everyone's experience is different with medications, so your son should do what works for him. If he feels better on a certain drug that is actually a really wonderful thing. If it's not working, he should find what does. But being able to treat our issues is a marvel of modern science.

    You mention that he had an ADHD diagnosis. Is he still taking medications for that? Because those certainly wear off. But most medicines for mood disorders (Is that what he's taking the medicine for?) don't wear off within a day or 12 hours--or if some do I'm unfamiliar with them. I'd be curious to hear more about that.

    But it sounds like your question is about getting him to be compliant with medication. That's a tough one. I wish I had some advice for that. My 22 year old nephew has schizophrenia and has recently decided that he doesn't need medication anymore. His parents are watching his paranoid delusions build by the day (he still lives at home). They can't convince or force him to medicate. It's heartbreaking for them because things will only get scarier. Their other son is autistic and bipolar. But he is only 11 so is quite compliant with his medicines. These children do not have the same issues as your son, but my point is that even within families compliance is a tough problem to solve. So, what works for one kid doesn't always work for another, sad to say.

    I wish you the best of luck managing him. You sound like you are at the end of your rope. Have you looked any local service providers in your area that can help with the transition he is going through to adulthood and independent living? Local to me is a place called which is supposed to be very good. I don't know where you are or what services you have but googling Autism services or autism residential services might give you some local resources.

    And last, are you *worried* for yourself about the aggression? Do you feel as if you are unsafe? That is something to take seriously as he is pretty much a grown man now.
  13. How did I get here

    How did I get here New Member

    Thank you, everyone, so much. My son just doesn't feel or want any help to transition into the adult world. He feels like most teens....that he knows it all. He is very set in his belief that he is leaving home the day that he turns 18. (He doesn't graduate until a week after.)
    As far as my safety, the day after Labor day, I was going to press charges against him, fot hitting me in the face and pushing me, to get him out of my house.(Which really kills me because he can be the sweetest kid around.) But, my father asked me to give the new doctor a try first. He guarantees he will get my son to go to the appointment. We'll see how this plays out.

    Thanks for the advice on the medications. We have tried some of them. I wish there was a miracle pill that helped all of our loved ones.
  14. JRC

    JRC Active Member

    Thanks for the advice on the medications. We have tried some of them. I wish there was a miracle pill that helped all of our loved ones.

    Me too HDIGH!