Hi! My name is Penny, I have 5 children and my eldest Son was diagnosed with ASD nearly 10 years ago when he was 6. We’ve had our ups and downs but we’ve navigated his needs really quite well I think...that is until now.
A letter came in the post about 18 months ago for my son and apparently it read, PUBERTY, PLEASE BEGIN COMPLETE AVERSIVE BEHAVIOURS NOW :( Obviously I’m being sarcastic but that’s how quickly he changed. Overnight.
I could ride out the puberty but it’s everything else that has grow since. The chronic slow moving, inability to achieve anything. It’s taken him 7 hours to have a shower and tidy his already fairly tidy room. His only ‘chore’ is washing up after dinner. 1 and a half hours...easy. Homework, 1 piece will take him from dinner till bed only for him to walk in to the lounge and announce at 11.30, “I didn’t get it”. He sits and stares at walls. It’s not like he’s desperate to get on his x box or watch a film he literally sits and does nothing!! It’s like pulling teeth. “Ben, you really need to get on mate”, “yes, I know”, he’ll say....then still sit there. I stop to drop him off at school and sometimes I have to prompt him to take his seatbelt off and get out of the car and even then you would have thought his legs were made of lead!! And if you’re thinking that he doesn’t know just because I’ve stopped he needs to get out of the car or that, “you really need to get on mate” to him is a non statement well all I can say is he would have understood two years ago. If suddenly he doesn’t he’s regressed massively.
Then there’s the brewing temper and self harm, the biting his hands and rocking. Today I looked out in through his bedroom window (his bedroom is downstairs and viewable from the lounge) and for no apparent reason he was doing something that vaguely represented Irish dancing?? I asked him just now to do the (well overdue) washing up before he went back to his room and he ran off for his room like he was about to attempt a long jump and when he got in there he’s throwing himself around, shoving things into his mouth and head butting his bed. Now he’s sat at the kitchen bench staring at the sink. And the mention of homework, well, all he’ll can let loose.
We’re in regular contact with his consultant, we’ve even moved him School and he was on aripiprazole until he developed a second voice he started talking with but taking him off of the meds seems to have solved that.
I don’t know what to do or what to think. If you’d asked me a couple of years ago I would have said he had a relatively high functioning autism but I’m not so sure anymore. We’re pretty sure he has the emotional IQ of around a 10/11 year old
Any advice would be gratefully revived. Even just someone else saying their young person is the same.
Thanks for reading.
NAS36021 said:Any advice would be gratefully revived. Even just someone else saying their young person is the same.
What you describe above is classic autistic behaviour, and is as such not rare. Unfortunately I do not have the time to go into this at the moment, but I seriously recommend getting a copy of Tony Attwood's book, The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome, as it is what it describes on the cover, and explains everything you are describing, and how to work with the issues involved.
Well I thought perhaps this might be typical of an ASD teenager but his consultant it looking for a ‘root cause’ for his behaviours which obviously made me think that he didn’t think this to be typical behaviour.
Consider the information via this link:
As it will give you a pretty good round up of where your son is in terms of coping with the outside would. I will be back on line in a couple of hours if you wish to discuss this further, and you may well get a few replies about what's going on from other community members as well in the meantime.
NAS36021 said:Thank you.
Glad to have been of some service. Obviously, if you have any further questions, you are very much welcome to ask them.
I ordered the book you suggested. I’m at a complete loss with him at the moment. For the first time since he was 5 I really don’t know how to help him. He’s completely imploding on himself and I just can’t reach him. Worse than that, me trying to help him is just giving him more to process. He has his GCSEs in June and if he doesn’t come back to us soon it’s going to be a complete waste of his whole education and he will be so disappointed. He used to have ambitions for his life but right now he’s just absent.
Your son sounds like me at that age. I have only been diagnosed with Aspergers very recently, aged 44, and am certainly no expert on the subject but I do know what it feels like to be a teenager (and adult for that matter) completely overwhelmed by EVERYTHING.
I have no idea what the books and experts will recommend but I can say, for what it's worth, what would have helped me at that age and what HAS helped me as i've grown to live with being me.
A room of my own away from the noise of the rest of the house in which to recover. Preferably with blackout blinds or at least some way of blocking everyone else out so that whatever I want to do in there is private and not open to public scrutiny / explanations / judgement. A bolt-hole, if you will, where I could talk out loud to myself, sing, read lying upside-down, or whatever else made me calm without having to explain why it did (because I didn't know why). A place that no-one else is ever allowed to enter.
One thing to deal with at a time. Like exams for instance. Even now I cannot run more than one project / program at a time without risking a wipe-out / crash. Exams + Home Life + Social Life (which might include social subjects such as PE because they're actually more exhausting than subjects requiring no social contact) + Puberty is already 4 things!! Something has to give.
If the school would agree to your son (if he wants to) dropping non-essential subjects such as Core PE and any others during this important build-up to his exams, I think he would feel the benefit. It would probably also help a lot if he could absent himself a little more, just during this exam period, from Home Life a bit (chores, family meals perhaps, possibly family social time in the evenings if he feels the need).
Obviously I don't know your son and I wouldn't presume to tell someone else what to do, I hope this isn't coming across like that, but I do know what it feels like to have too many things going on to be able to process ANY of them efficiently and he can't put Puberty on hold or his Exams on hold so that's already 2 things to cope with! Maybe, until the exams are over, everything else apart from those 2 could just stop and be still for a while. To let him catch up with himself again.
Hi again! Just wanted to say you have described what I had in my mind,even more so.
Although I self diagnosed as Aspergers I didn’t have the extremes of many, I did have all the many things you talk of, Just reading each one brings back vivid memories,just not as debilitating.
I hold back giving such advice when I feel less sure. Please don’t stop telling how life was and is for yourself,we are all varied but we share so much to.
If I think it might just help I describe my life,my worries,how I coped, we the mature have so much knowledge and I feel compelled to help so that the young don’t have to suffer as we did,
many thanks and you are definitely fitting in fine here, you fit nicely,
NAS36021 said:I ordered the book you suggested. I’m at a complete loss with him at the moment. For the first time since he was 5 I really don’t know how to help him.
Once you have read the book, you will have the knowledge to help him, and not only better understand him, but also to better communicate with him too. Thus as such, in ordering the book, and asking for advice here, you are in the process of continuing to help him all the more.
So quite frankly, give yourself some parent points here, and respect the fact that feeling confused and overwhelmed by unfamiliar goings on, whilst in the midst of it all, is not in any way unusual, at all.
NAS36021 said:He’s completely imploding on himself and I just can’t reach him.
The imploding in on himself thing is due to the lack of concrete experience in relation to the abstract information he is learning from school. Standard education involves the theory or subject first and the practice or object later, hence after leaving school work experience needs to be gained. Autistic education needs practical experience with the subjective theory together, otherwise the objects have no words or the words have no objects and it makes little or no sense.
So rather than asking or telling him, "Ben, you really need to get on mate" ~ you may well find that simple and concise instructions to do something are way more effective. For instance, "Ben, it is time to you wash up now." or whilst pulling into park the car "When we stop ~ it is time to unbuckle your seatbelt." and such like, as instructions.
Remember that his mind is processing multitude ranges and levels of sensory experience simultaneously, hence the slow processing, whereas you can do so selectively and efficiently ~ according to what you need or want to do, and the other levels and ranges of your sensory processing are dealt with subconsciously for you.
Also, when overloaded, one state of your son's mind will in essence collapse in exhaustion, and another state of mind will compensate by coming on line ~ none the wiser to what the previous state of mind was engaged with, and it takes time to assess what is going on ~ provided that state of mind does not collapse in on itself from exhaustion also too, and so on.
So when you state that your son is just sat there doing nothing, staring at the wall, remember how real dreams and nightmares can seem to be whilst having them, whilst outwardly to an observer ~ nothing much may appear to be going on at all.
NAS36021 said:Worse than that, me trying to help him is just giving him more to process.
Keep in mind here that new ways of dealing with things are required, and realising as much is productive and valuable, so perhaps consider all problems as being solutions in disguise, and in making any mistakes use them as retakes ~ rather than as means to feel anything other than good about yourself and your parenting skills. Respect your weaknesses and honour your strengths, and remember always you are not alone, and that there are both ways and means to go about dealing with this.
Breathing deeply and staying as calm as possible is quite possibly the most important thing for you when with your son. So if you feel yourself getting particularly stressed, perhaps imagine that your lungs are in your pelvis, and deeply and gently breath the stress or tension through, as your calmness will establish a healthier atmosphere. It can help also if you focus your attention on the soles of your feet ~ whilst doing the de-stress breathing technique, and additionally whilst walking anywhere imagine you are pushing the world around like a treadmill, as it helps ground pent up tension. Teaching this to your son, once you have got it sussed that is, may prove particularly useful, if you feel so inclined to follow the practice, being that I can only offer suggestions, and what works for you works for you ~ and so fourth, of course.
NAS36021 said:He has his GCSEs in June and if he doesn’t come back to us soon it’s going to be a complete waste of his whole education and he will be so disappointed.
The thing here is to remember that your son's psychological health is important now, and his examinations come later, and even if there are problems with the examinations ~ these can be negotiated also too; once you find your feet and come to terms with what is going on.
Keep in mind that the Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome book is a complete and utter "wise-up" manual ~ that covers everything about each stage of preadolescent and adolescent maturation, and educational needs, and has reference and resource avenues aplenty.
NAS36021 said: He used to have ambitions for his life but right now he’s just absent.
He is overloaded and severely stressed out for the time being, so whilst the overload and stress are being addressed and mediated, he will be able to engage more effectively with his aims.
Perhaps also, for a bit of a comparison, and some relative 'your not the only parents' insight, check out the following thread on this site:
If that helps any?