Son hiding his face for the entire counseling session (Autism spectrum)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, May 8, 2010.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My son is now almost seventeen and, boy, he is going to have to have interventions as an adult. He simply is not going to be ready to face everything at 18. He does GREAT with people he is comfortable with, gets wonderful grades, and even has school friends (although he rarely sees them out of school). I want to explain how a counseling session went. She is my counselor and I wanted her to see him to find out if she feels I should start looking into services for him or if she feels he will be labeled as too high functioning. Plus we had an issue with him that we wanted to discuss.

    The meeting went like this. First he wouldn't get out of the car, but I left him there, knowing he'd eventually come inside, and he did (before the meeting). Then we (hub, me, son) went into therapist's office. He has seen her before, but it was a long time ago. She is a welcoming person with a nice demeanor and we were with him. Even so, he couldn't look at her directly and didn't talk much at first. He actually buried his face into the arm of the couch and spoke to her from there. I found that interesting. He is very, very uncomfortable with new people and will try to hide himself from them. At the same time, he did talk and h e talked more as the session went on and he even smiled when she made a joke. But he wouldn't look at her. When she asked if he'd be able to look at her next time, he said, "I don't know."

    (sigh) Son is going to have to have those services I was hoping he wouldn't need, in spite of having a 3.5 GPA and functioning well in a famliar environment. He's going to need a job he can go to every day that doesn't change much. He is going to need a worker who will look in on him and encourage him to hang out with other people getting services or he will sit home. He has the academic skills, but is still lacking badly in handling himself socially. On the way home he asked, "Am I always going to be so shy?" It broke my heart. I said, "We'll be working on at least making you less shy." Then he said, "I worry a lot about what will happen when you and dad are gone. Like forever. I won't have anyone." I tried not to cry. We have a very small family, spread out. If his sisters won't stay close to him, and I can't predict how they will be once they have their own families, he will have to rely on strangers. We aren't young...I'm 56 and hub is 53.

    L. has had intense interventions since childhood. He is doing really well for how he started out (angry, tantrumming, poor speech, poor grades). But he still will need some help. I'm not surprised, but I'm sort of sad. On the bright side, he is a nice kid whom everyone loves and whoever works with him with enjoy him. He will try hard to do a good job at work, regardless of the job they find for him. He is a very compliant kid who won't break the law or use drugs or do anything he shouldn't do. That should help him.

    Just a vent.

    There is no way to predict how an Aspie will turn out. He may grow up later, but right now he is way behind other kids socially and is not going to be independent for a long time, if ever.

    At the same time, I'm so proud of his smartness, his sweetness, and his good heart.

    Parents of older Aspies may understand. Because he functions so well at school and at home I'm always jolted when I see how poorly he does with strangers.
  2. ML

    ML Guest

    I know exactly what you mean. I can go weeks and months forgetting manster is on the spectrum but then a new situation will present itself and I can see the anxiety creep in and the difficulty he has adjusting. I think we need to talk more about our group home idea, MWM. Manster is 5 years behind L but you never know. I haven't given up hope that he will be able to function independently just yet but I have to stay open to the possiblity he will need that help. I'm not young either which is why I would like to help create a situation that will work for him when I am gone. I think L is going to be fine. Needing a bit of help isn't so bad. Heck if we could arrange a marriage with a strong, bossy, take charge girl he wouldn't need the group home lol. Hugs, ML
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ohh, he sounds like such a sweetie!
    This is very interesting, because I wonder about our difficult child, too. Sigh.
    Several girls called him to go to lunch yesterday (they only had half a day) and he refused to even go to the phone, much less agree to go to lunch. They are awfully aggressive, so at this age, I'm actually relieved. But someday, he will have to respond ...

    How did you get past the lousy grades to the point where he is now? I am banging my head against the wall with-difficult child.
  4. ML

    ML Guest

    I have to push manster every step of the way Terry. He's capable of getting good grades but he just doesn't put forth the effort. I hope he decides to care soon! I can't go on caring for the both of us lol.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, guys. Yeah, we need to form the "Spectrum Club"...hehe. It's so different from other problems because these are basically kids who want to do well, but who are confused...they see things differently. It's not the same as a mental illness, although some do have both.

    Terry, Lucas started out in a special education class for reading and math so he got a lot of 1-1. Then he had an aide too and she was extremely helpful, teaching him how to see the big picture and not just focus on little details, teaching him how to take notes, etc. He is pretty much without help now and maintaining that very high average. HOWEVER, it is not going to be enough to stop him from needing help as an adult. His social deficits and shyness (part of the spectrum) is severe enough that he will need somebody to at least find him a suitable job that he can handle anxiety-wise and to make sure he doesn't spend every day alone. He has nice sisters, but I know they will have their own lives and I don't want to just hope they will remember to check in on him often enough. I want to make sure he's in a good place.

    ML, I don't think it's bad if he needs a little bit of help. That's what I'm aiming for. He seems to realize that he will need that bit of help too. His life skills are very "iffy." Example: Although he can cook for himself and clean, he will NOT take a shower unless practically threatened with jail time (j/k). And he can't go to any job smelling ripe. He is going to need somebody to come over and remind him to shower and brush his teeth. Also, I don't think he will make his own medical appointments if he's sick. He may just lay around being sick and not asking for help. He will need somebody to come around and take him out on field trips or he WILL be alone after work. There are a lot of little things that are easy for most people, but not for L. I'm hoping he matures to the point where, if necessary, he can go without services, but I can't see that happening in the next two years.

    Lastly, Terry remember all spectrum kids are different. L. is actually doing really well as he started out very delayed in all's hard to figure out how independent our kids will become. Thankfully, there ARE services that help out adults with disabilities. I assume L. will be able to live in his own apartment, not a group home. That's a big victory in of itself.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Don't let this get to you too much. Remember, it has taken difficult child 1 ten years longer than usual, to finally get an apprenticeship. But he's done it. With a lot of help. He's also married (although I have to keep reminding him, he's her husband and not her child).

    We've had access to a number of support services but what helped us a lot was two things -

    1) My ongoing involvement especially trying to make sure he did VOLUNTEER work regularly, it all counts as work experience but we chose something he liked and felt safe with

    2) A good disability agency that really understood the problems and would continue to work with both him and the employer indefinitely if necessary, to iron out any problems. I also liased with the agency.

    I don't know how we'll go with difficult child 3. Maybe better: we already know where he will work - computers! And most of the people working in computers understand this sort of mind...

    Another thing we're having to do, is get difficult child 3 through school at half pace. So instead of being 17 at graduation, he will be 21. But we're also working to get him some tertiary qualification in computers at the same time, so he will get his high school diploma (hopefully) at the same time as his college diploma in computers.

    difficult child 3's drama class is for kids in our area with disabilities. A lot of the drama class kids are on the spectrum. In fact when we did "The Black Balloon" the Noah's Ark segment was cast mostly from difficult child 3's drama class (fluke - we all happened to hear about it, spread the word amongst ourselves) and so a lot of those kids knew one another beforehand. Also they were older than most - difficult child 3 was the youngest by a few years. Not all those "Afloat" kids were autistic, some of the siblings were in that scene too. And some were the main cast. But as we rehearsed, we all (parents) talked about where our kids were going and how we got them there. Several of them were in the workforce, mostly in undemanding jobs but at least they were working, and enjoying working.

    What we've seen happens - as they get accustomed to a position in the workforce, they get to know the people they see every day, they do their job as well as they can and slowly they begin to take more steps. Their special abilities gradually become seen as an asset. One young man who stocks shelves in the supermarket runs an ongoing stocktake in his head - a customer wanting a product, this man can always find it even if he has to go looking in the storeroom out the back.
    easy child 2/difficult child 2 is only borderline Aspie, but is a checkout chick par excellence. She keeps a running tally in her head of how much is in her till and ALWAYS balances, to the smallest coin. But working has forced her to confront her problem areas and work on them, especially her face blindness and her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) behaviours. She has developed a lot more people handling skills.

    difficult child 1 also is a lot better with people now he's had more exposure to strangers. He's realised that in the workforce, he is only seen as a fragment of his whole person, and he can 'hide' behind his "I am a lowly apprentice, you don't need to notice me" persona. He actually feels more secure if a client comes in and needs to ask questions, such as when will the boss be back. If a question is too hard, he just has to say, "I'm only the apprentice. The boss will be with you shortly."

    The skills do come. But just as we knew difficult child 1 would never be able to work in retail (too noisy, too many people) there is always the right niche for everyone. It's just a matter of helping him find it.

    Keep assuring him, when he goes out to work, it WILL be possible for him to have choice, and to feel safe. He will have some control and because of this, as he gets to know the people he works with, they will become an extension of himself.

    But yes, it does take longer. However, I consider the time I have spent to be a worthy investment in the future of my child.

  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I hope it works out for us too, Marg. I'm not sure our disability agencies are as good as yours. In fact, there is only one and it gets mixed reviews.

    I can not see L. ever getting married. He has no interest in that and says he wants to live alone with a big

    He isn't going to be allowed to go to school until 21 as he is too high functioning. Plus he doesn't want to.

    I don't think Lucas will get a computer job. There are hardly any jobs now and they can hire somebody with better social skills. Plus he would need a lot of supervision. We're going to tap the Department of Vocational Rehab. They are used to spectrum adults. I'm surprised you have a lot of spectrum kids in drama. L. would NEVER do drama. He hates being on stage and gets very nervous even singing in the choir. He has a gorgeous voice, but doesn't want to get into competitive choir next year. Regular choir was mandatory the last two years and he got nervous before each show even with twenty other kids on stage with him. Gentle pressure from us and even pleading from the choir leader (because he's so good) has not made him willing to do competitive next year. And at his age it's up to him, not us. They won't force him to try it at school. Back to drama, L. would have NO idea how to act out a part in a play. He does not understand other people enough to portray one. I don't think a hundred people could drag him on stage...he has no interest in drama anyway (sigh).

    I do hope L. eventually catches up a little bit. L. has also been forced to do things all his life. He did volunteer and play sports, but it hasn't stopped him from not feeling comfortable at all around new people and/or new situations. We'll just have to see.

    Thanks all for responding.
    Last edited: May 8, 2010
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, ML and MWM!
    Lots of things in common here.
    You have come a long way with-difficult child. I can understand your nervousness, though.
  9. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    MWM, Dept. of Voc Rehab is the first step. Look for social skills classes for young adults. There are a lot of very shy young men who
    bond together doing things they enjoy.
    Connect with Dept of Parks and Reacreation.
    He will need a caseworker and supports for living outside of home.
    My difficult child is pretty outgoing, articulate and functions pretty well. He drives out of state, grocery shops for me(small quantities) goes to doctor, dentist, pharmacy all on his own. He still isn't able to live on his own without supports.
    difficult child attends social groups, invites them over for movie night or they arrange going out as a group. He probably has adult friend get togethers 2 to 3 nights a month.
    I wish there was a campus for all of our young adults that allow them the freedom of being at ease within their peer group. It's difficult to find.
    Your difficult child will probably be able to go to community college and do well with supports. If he picks a job that allows him to do the work and not have a great deal of pressure for social interaction with strangers, may work.
    If he isn't interested in the opposite sex- fine. Whatever he is comfortable with will be fine.
    I hate to think my difficult child will be alone day in and day out when we are gone despite having caring family. It's not the same as living with someone who wants to be around him like a good friend or a significant other.
    I have pushed difficult child to be away from home intermittently without us which helps prepare him for life without us. Small steps.. Small steps. My difficult child is close to 26yrs old. If he had a job that made him feel that sort of dignity that honest work gives you and a significant other he would blend in as an unusual regular person instead of wearing the "I'm disabled" sign on his back.
    We are always looking for more ways to find social outlets and opportunities for difficult child to be adult. I'm sure you will find more opportunities for difficult child to grow into a little more social young man.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I would keep working on him. Fran mentioned some resources that will probably help a lot. I think you are a really great mom to recognize that your other children may not be willing or able to help him in the future. I have seen a LOT of parents who expected a sibling to care for another sibling with a handicap. It is nice to think that they will be close and help each other, but reality is not always what we wish. And iwth the economy it may not be feasible for your children to live close to each other depending on spouses and jobs etc...

    It shows a lot of love for each and every single one of your kids to recognize this and work to not put that responsibility on them. I really admire that. I hope that your kids help each other and stay close out of love for each other, and i think that you have set the stage for that as much as can possibly be done. That is so cool. I am sort of envious. My husband and his sister do not speak except at Christmas and maybe one other holiday each year. I will NOT be close to my bro after my parents pass. Not unless a whole lot changes between now and then. So I really admire the foundation you are setting up for your kids to be close.

  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all.

    Fran, I really appreciate your wisdom.

    My oldest son used to be very close to L. and promised to watch out for him forever. Then he had his own child and his focus changed. I can't assume his sibs will be able to be there as much as we, his parents, are so I have to find him supports. I'm open to more suggestions.
  12. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    MWM, I have a full expectation that my easy child will oversee that difficult child is not homeless. I do not expect that they will live together. It is what family does(in my humble opinion)
    Besides it's not the same as a meaningful adult relationship. difficult child will be lonely even if he lives with family. He needs to walk on
    his own path and not one of ours. All of this is discussed with difficult child. What does he want? How does he see his adult life?

    MWM, I can't stress enough that you and husband must gradually start to treat him like a young man/adolescent. The longer he is treated like a 9yr old the longer he will act like one. Look at his peers and ask yourself what can difficult child do what they do?(within his ability) Then work on teaching difficult child how to do it. Obviously with good academics he can learn. Teach him about his medications. Teach him about where to go to solve a problem.
    Out of medications? What should he do?
    Is he hungry? What makes lunch? How does he feed himself? etc etc.
    He feels sick. What should he do, who does he call?
    Teach about what to do with a headache and how to read the directions on the tylenol bottle.
    What should he do if he has a cold?
    Ask him to pick a movie to watch. Ask his input, his opinion. Talk to him about current events. Plug him into a bigger world than your safe home.
    difficult child told me no way would he ever go in the army or fight in a war. War is bad. Sounds great but I asked him who should keep us safe if we are attacked? Isn't it our responsibility to defend ourselves? our own home? Just gave him some thoughts to kick around so his thinking wasn't so concrete and he wasn't just regurgitating some stuff he heard or read. Obviously, he can't join the army but I wanted him to understand and respect those that keep us safe. They aren't the bad guys.
    Same with politics. He didn't want to vote because politicians are all crooked. We had the discussion about government and what happens when it's not there. Discussed the fact that human beings aren't perfect and people forget who they are responsible for but citizens have to be responsible enough to be informed and vote.
    Do you get my drift? Open the world up to him a little at a time so that the thinking becomes less rigid.
    Spend a lifetime preparing him to live a life without you. My difficult child still can't remember all of this and I have been working on it for a long time.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Fran, thanks for the amazing advice.

    Not only will I start doing that, but he is now in counseling and he is going to learn how to compensate for some of his deficits. You're right that he is sort of treated like he isn't sixteen, although we did insist he get a driver's license. I also let him make his dinner or ride his bike many miles away. He does his own laundry. It never crossed my mind though to talk about the big world outside of the house. I'm going to start doing that every time I have a chance so that he gets a feeling for the entire world. I think you have done such a great job with your son.

    My easy child's have promised to look after L., however because I can't be around to make sure they do I have to make plans. What if something God awful happens to one of them and they CAN'T watch out for him? I need to make sure he is hooked up to services while we are still alive to help him transition. He can stay here for a while, but then I want him gradually moved somewhere close by, in an assisted living apartment where a caseworker drops by to check in on him. That way he can learn that there are other people there beyond us. Also, yes, he needs to learn, and hopefully WILL learn in counseling and from us exactly how to ask for help.

    So much to do with these kids...thanks again.
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Billy is finally moving forward. It took us years though. I think, no I know, if we had known when he was a kid about Aspergers things would have been much different for him but such is life.

    He is finally working full time, driving, dating and handles all his finances. If I could get him to do chores and move out I would be in heaven! He doesnt have many friends outside of work. Ok...well, I should say off the internet but then neither do I. He went to his class reunion last year by himself which amazed me to no end and has kept up communication with several people.

    I also cant believe the job he has with his social problems. He works in sales! He is quite good at it Who would have thunk it?
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Janet, I have a biological son who is 32 and I think he is also somewhere very high but on the spectrum. He has HORRIBLE social anxiety. Can barely get up the nerve to go on a job interview. But he ROX at sales. Isn't that funny?

    Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate all the time all of you spent to answer my concerns and I feel better now and am armed with some good ideas too!
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I've missed this thread for a couple of days...

    MWM, about difficult child 3's drama class - it has been set up for kids with learning difficulties and for whatever reason, we've got a lot of spectrum kids so the whole thing is geared towards helping them face their fears about performing. All they ever do is perform for themselves or their parents, informally. Us parents sit in the next room chatting and drinking instant coffee while the kids are in the next room with a trained Special Education/Drama teacher, working with the kids and to a large extent, letting the kids drive the class.

    Initially I had to really force difficult child 3 to go. I know difficult child 1 used to also hate any performance stuff - if it was his birthday and the teacher said to him, "Stand up while the class sings happy birthday to you," difficult child 3 would spend the next few hours curled up in a ball on the floor. Then towards the end of Grade 5, difficult child 1 discovered that if he takes on a role on stage, it's not him up there but the character he is playing. I never saw his first major performance (I can't remember why I couldn't go) but friends saw it and were blown away - he stole the show! he ad-libbed, he clowned, he stayed in character brilliantly. and since then, he hasn't looked back. Whenever he has to do something in public, he tells himself it is a role and that is how he gets through. He had a helluva time trying to work on his speech for his wedding - as the groom, he HAD to make a speech! Thankfully it was a very low-key wedding, no fuss. And he knew he was among friends and family, that helped.

    Back to difficult child 3's drama class - it tends to be very theatre sports oriented. The ability range is huge - there are a couple of Downs kids there, one autistic girl is almost non-verbal and very shy, and then there are a couple of extreme ADHD out of control kids. Quite a mix. And the other high-functioning autistics like difficult child 3 - all he wants to do, is Red Dwarf. We've got the scripts downloaded off the internet, he prints out scripts and takes them in. But not all the other kids can read, or 'get it'.

    Sometimes the kids 'write' their own performance pieces. Again, with the teacher guiding them. For example, a piece about a bank robber being caught and turned over to the police by the people in the bank. The kids don't have to do anything they really don't want to do, the teacher works with them where they are at and brings them out form there. Occasionally the kids want to perform for us, and the teacher sticks her head in our door and says, "Can you all come in here for a minute?"
    And we watch a performance by our kids. The shyest of them might only be sitting there not responding, but somehow it has been written in.

    Over time I have seen some wonderful changes in these kids. They also are marvellously supportive of one another. Our Downs girl is very sensitive, gets upset easily. And one autistic boy seems to really help make her feel better, he just has to give her a hug and she is happy again. He is a lovely guy, not terribly high-functioning but so loving and kind. Whenever he arrives he gives us all a hug. Meanwhile you have difficult child 3 who won't touch anybody because it's not socially acceptable to do so. He is precise, fussy, insistent on things following all rules. ANd HE is learning to be flexible and also to accept that other people don't always function at his level. He has to learn tolerance.

    Sometimes these kids get together socially - ten pin bowling is a favourite activity.

    I know a drama class seems just such a bad fit for a withdrawn autistic, but for us it has turned out to be a salvation for exactly the reasons you would normally avoid it. Because the difference here - this class has been set up specifically to help these kids, that is the primary aim. Not to teach drama, but to help these kids, through drama, develop their social skills. They're also helping their communication - the non-verbal girl is talking more each week and really enjoys being with the other kids - they are all accustomed to one another now, and will tolerate what the teacher does in order to have fun together. As a result, she is doing even better. She said hello to me a couple of weeks ago, totally unprompted. And yet when she first joined, she would be sitting behind her mother in our room, howling wordlessly and we thought she was going to be just too difficult.

    This drama class varies depending on enrolments. Currently there is a younger group and an older group. The younger group currently begins at about 8 years old, with an Aspie girl (no splinter skills). There is also a 12 year old autistic/epileptic girl, and a few others. The class starts at 4 pm. At 5 pm, the younger kids in the first class leave to join their parents and then go home. But the older kids in that group stay there and mix with the older kids. It's partly age-based, partly ability. Until late last year, one of the kids in the early class was an 18 yo boy with global developmental delay. He's actually one of difficult child 3's best friends even though there are probably 100 IQ points between them. Now that boy is in the older class. It begins at 5 pm and continues until 6 pm, but at 5.30 pm the younger kids who began at 4 pm leave (if they could stay the course). This is a prelude to graduating them to the older group. This way they get to know the older kids too, and learn to make the change. it's actually very challenging for them because they have to learn to adapt their behaviour patterns of the older group, who have different behaviour standards. The oldest in the class would be about 20 or more. Occasionally I see kids 'age out' of the classes. So we've also been there for some personal triumphs - when these kids have graduated from high school, or got a job, or got a place on the Special Olympics team. And of course when "Black Balloon" was made... they used the older kids only, the autistics only and a lot of the Black Balloon kids were mid teens and older. difficult child 3 was 12 and the youngest by several years. That was a sheer fluke opportunity and again brilliantly handled.

    When difficult child 3 first began drama classes, I insisted on it purely for the social interaction. He spent most of all the classes sitting them out, watching. He hated it, didn't ant to be involved. The teacher at that time worked the kids towards a Christmas performance for parents only. That year it was "The King's Breakfast" by A A Milne and difficult child 3 was supposed to be the King. But the King behaves like a spoilt baby and difficult child 3 said he just couldn't be someone who was not behaving correctly. He had to struggle at the time to be good, and he was working so hard to be a good boy that to be someone who was less than perfect, to deliberately behave badly, was something that hurt him too much inside, he told me. In the end he dropped out of the performance as the King and instead of each kid acting it out, the teacher had them all in different costume (difficult child 3 in plain clothes) all reciting the poem together. And they were all happy with this. Even that much was almost too much for difficult child 3 at the time.

    But look at him now! The class has given hi so much self-confidence and like difficult child 1, he uses internal role-playing to help him in situations where he feels less than confident.

    Back to schooling issues - the reason our boys have taken longer to finish high school, is because they chose to do it at a half-rate. So they can do only half the subject load each year. The following year they do the rest of the subjects for that grade, but after it's all done, the previous year's work is added on and they graduate that grade. In NSW Australia, this is an option for ALL students, if they choose it. It's called Pathways. I think that has helped - it's not a disability thing, anyone can do it.

    When it comes to high-functioning, difficult child 3 is right up there. But sometimes people confuse "high-functioning" with "not as autistic as some". difficult child 3 has a very high IQ with savant skills. But his autism scores in the Moderate range. He can sometimes fudge his way through and "pretend to be normal" but it is a veneer, underneath he can be a quivering wreck. Someone can be high-functioning, but still need a great deal of support. The trouble is, educational authorities see the whole thing as linear and all connected, and it's not.

    There need to be other pathway options for education, than forcing a kid through the school grinder. Especially for kids who just don't fit the mill for whatever reasons.

    We are lucky in that we do have a wider range of options here, but there can still be other ways, including beginning as a volunteer or with a mentor. You needn't even begin in a field where you want him to have his career. You can begin with something he can handle, even if it looks like a dead end. For example, we had difficult child 1 volunteering at the local zoo. All he had to do was follow instructions, clean out animal pens and feed the animals. He could interact with animals when he couldn't manage well with people. But over time, he had to occasionally interact with the public (such as pointing out the toilet block) and it gave him confidence. Or he might be asked a question about an animal. At first he just pointed to the keeper and said, "Ask him." Then he began to answer questions where he knew the answer, such as "We feed this animal on chopped fruit and every day we put in fresh leaves. The old leaves go to the compost heap."

    It builds slowly, over time and with familiarity. And over time, our kids continue to grow.

    What we need to do, is keep the level of challenge present for them but not too overwhelming. They need their little successes in order to grow, but without challenge they won't have any change or growth. It's our job as parents to keep applying the change at a rate we feel they can handle.

    Your son may not turn out like my son. he may achieve more, he may achieve less. He will undoubtedly achieve different things. Some of difficult child 3's drama class graduate friends who now hold down jobs and we don't see at drama any more (too old) are in the workforce and feel that is success enough. I know these kids are capable of more, but they are happy to have ANY job, and do that job to the best of their abilities. One boy works packing shelves in a supermarket. His savant skills in spatial coordination and his eidetic memory mean he can do really fast stocktake, but the shopkeeper still doesn't know this.
    Or you can get a kid with similar skills plus a fascination for numbers and patterns in numbers (but not necessarily mathematical ability) - find that kid a job in a library. it's quiet, it's ideal for someone who likes order as well as for someone who can visualise patterns and arrangements.

    You watch your child. You talk to your child. You think outside the square. You try things. You encourage your child to try things. You encourage your child to tell you what they liked about X and what they didn't like about X. No criticism of their opinion of course, because it IS just opinion and as such, is valid.
    over time you put this information together in your own head and have some better ideas on the best things to try for your child.

    Last Thursday when husband & I were at the mall, there were some people there training therapy dogs. The dogs had working harnesses and coats on (with L plates on the harnesses!) and they were at the mall to get them used to the noise and bustle and still stay on task. I spoke to the workers to find out how you get such a job. I got the information and I've fed it back to daughter in law who I think would be ideal in such a job. If difficult child 1 didn't have a job, he'd have been knocking at their door too! Such a job requires a special person - someone who has an affinity with animals, someone who understands them instinctively, someone who can think outside the square and someone prepared to be meticulous and do every last detail of the job.

    There are so many things. You just have to keep your eyes open and grab every opportunity to find out, when you can.

    It's all anyone can do. Yes, it's more than most parents should have to - but we aren't most parents. Our kids aren't 'most kids'.

    We just do what we have to, and over time it DOES make a difference.

  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Marg, the drama class sounds interesting. We don't have anything like that here. We do have sports like that and L. has been in those things.

    I can see L. being happy just to have a job, any job, where others accept him. The private sector is a hard place to be in the US. It is extremely demanding with the threat of being fired (even without any reason) hanging over everyone's head. I will have to see if L. is up to that. When he graduates, we'll let him take a few college classes and work part time at some entry level job and go from there. No rush.
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Being involved in anything like tat, it doesn't have to be drama, is great for these kids. They learn tolerance, they learn acceptance, they learn a lot of valuable social stuff.

    He'll get there. As you said, any job is acceptable and frankly, it's the best place to start. The college course can be done while he is working and can also help with confidence. Consider studying part-time though, to ease anxiety (and costs!) as well as buy the developmental time he undoubtedly will still need.

    You use what you have in your area, and work from there.

  19. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    MWM, I just wanted to weigh in a bit about jobs in the computer field. I have worked in Information Technology pretty-much since I entered the workforce, and it is a very Aspie-friendly environment. In my current job, I am part of a large department and I would guess that about 50% of the staff are on the spectrum somewhere. There are lots of "unknown" jobs in IT: process design, technical writing, facilities management, logistics, etc. etc. And iffy social skills don't seem to be a barrier to success, the way they are in other fields that seem to require a more sociable atmosphere. There is also a lot of informal supervision in the form of mentoring, cross-training, backup workers and such.

  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure my son is good enough with computers to do those jobs, but we'll look into them for him :)