Hi, I’m just looking for some advice. My Sons girlfriend has autism with seizures and lives at home she is in her early 20’s. I don’t fully understand the situation but she is fairly capable in day to day life, stays at ours at the weekend and she communicates at a good level. However tonight she was distraught and was very upset on the phone because her family do not like my son and they keep having a go at her and my son over the relationship. On several occasions she has been threatened with being sent in to care and today they told her if she leaves she’s not coming back. She was also slapped by her mother. My son is very upset by the situation so has not helped himself by getting into arguments with the family. They believe it is my son who is the problem as they think he doesn’t treat her very well and he argues with them and also because it is ruining her routine which is the reason for her outbursts. The daughter says it is because they just keep picking on her all the time. On speaking with the mother this evening she said she only slapped her to stop a seizure and that speaking forcefully to her is the way she has been trained to deal with her, she isn’t allowed to talk as they say she is arguing and if she says anything they make her apologise with threats of care (I heard this myself). I guess I just need to know if this is how you are supposed to treat people with autism as I know a different approach needs to be taken. I really want to help by knowing a little bit more so we can give her some routine when she is here and support the family if this is the correct way. Thanks
Thankyou for all your advice and the more the better so I can understand:-) unfortunately the situation has escalated in the past day. The family is now saying we are bad parents etc and we do drugs, obviously I know this is not the case so it has given me a bit of insight into how they deal with situations. We were hoping to have a sit down with them so we could work on a way to make things easier but I don’t think this will be the case as her other daughter has called up my sons girlfriend and made threats to me now. I’m not prepared to get involved in such a volatile situation but will continue to offer support to the couple. Just wanted a little more advice as the mother keeps saying the social worker that they have will come and take her away but the girl has never met the social worker and doesn’t have anybody else she sees that can help her. The couple want to contact social services and find someone who can support her, which I have said is a good idea then you can have a neutral third party that is trained in dealing with these type of things. I’m just worried that this was the wrong thing to say and that I’m going to get accused of interfering and making the situation worse.
I have worked in several jobs where I have had to deal with difficult people. Drug rehabilitation and working with people who are trying to get off the streets, gain employment, and accomodation. Basically I've seen this type of stuff before. Not with Autism but I think I know what type of people you are dealing with.
They are people who want to keep their daughter in a cycle of their control. They don't want to involve you because of this. I've seen it with addicts, abused partners, people who have been pimped, and even abusive parents. People who have people around them who keep pulling them back because they depend on their part in a cycle of dependence. It can be emotional, practical (the person has some kind of use), or FINANCIALLY. These types of people are weak themselves so they need to use someone they percieve as weaker than them to facilitate certain parts of their life that they can't handle. It's also a sad fact of life that some people can't handle someone actually doing well, being happier or just changing their life, especially when it's someone that they considered below them in the "pecking order". They feel threatened when the cycle or order is threatened.
The reaction they are having is way over the top. Threats, slander, and the way they have outright refused to even have a conversation is an attempt at regaining control over what they see as "theirs". Their knee-jerk reactions are the only things that they have. Knee-jerk reactions are usually things that you can use against someone because they aren't thought out well. If you keep your cool they will give you all of the ammunition you need. If you are going to persist in basically trying to free the girl, I would try and find her some kind of advocacy. Contact your local Autism center or NAS and get more information on someone who will be a third party intervention. I would recommend trying to record any phonecalls you or your son recieve. If your sons girlfriend has never met a social worker I find it doubtful she even has one. Social workers are few and far between even in the most dire of situations.
One thing I do recommend also is trying to get your son to spend as much time with her at your place. It takes the ball out of their hands. There's far less room for drama and accusations. Also if your situation and home environment is more calm and comforting she will start to realise that her home situation isn't normal, you might get her to open up more too. You aren't interfering in anything then, she might make decisions based on her own free will, then she won't have any alliegiances to them, they can't say that you did anything and she won't have reservations based on betraying her family. Do try and get some kind of advocacy though, even if her relationship with your son doesn't last she will have a support system. All the best.