Lack of maturity - sign of Aspergers or not?

Its often difficult to tell but when you see son amongst other kids it becomes obvious.

Hes 14 at the moment, and to think in 4 years he'd be considered an adult is frankly a bit scary. He does not seem to have a basic grip of sense at all, and seems to think solely of himself and no-one else.  Literally at the moment, you couldn't trust him to do something like take a bus journey. He seems to be getting worse not better - if I had to guess I'd say his maturity level is about that of a 9-10 year old.

We just don't know whats bad behaviour at the moment and whats aspergers? He spends hours and hours in his bedroom but any sort of interaction or task he is completely useless. BUT, we've found that when he tries he is perfectly capable - but he seems to just switch off from life most of the time. 

We've tried to make things easy for him for some things. Clear agreed rules. But he either "forgets" or just does what he wants anyway. He will literally get told about something 20 times but then deny hes been told it. He will lie about anything and everything.

Example - he gets home from school before anyone else. So we put the front door key in a lock box. Thinking if he takes key to school he'll lose it. So we tell him unlock the door, put key back in the box for next day. Does he do this? Nope he takes the key into the house and forgets about it. So next day he cant get it in (and other family members use this too at times!). So far hes "lost" 4 keys - somewhere in his bedroom/house. This week for probably the 10th time wifes mother couldnt get in because he took the key inside. Number of times hes left standing on the doorstep too many to count.

So we sit him down and explain again. Take key out of box, open door, put key back in box, do not take key into house with you. In one ear and out of the other. Does this sound like  a kid with Aspergers not being able to cope with the instructions or a teenager who just can't be bothered? We suspect the reason he takes key in is because hes rushing to get home and play computer games he can;t take the extra 30 secs to put the key back.

  • A key without a keychain is an easily forgettable and losable object. I sometimes forget to lock my door after I come home (it requires a key even from the inside), and the only reason I don't lose my keys is that I have them on a long lanyard attached to my purse. Maybe make your son his own copy of the key and have him attach it somewhere on his backpack (or something he always carries with him) with a long lanyard or something, and then he'll always have it and he won't lose it. 

    Have you ever thought he might lie about stuff because he's under too much pressure? Or that he doesn't listen to stuff you tell him 20 times because it's boring to do so? Is he rewarded for doing things right, or just scolded for getting things wrong?

    Kids mature at different rates, those with Aspergers and otherwise.You obviously care about your son, but you also have expectations of him. Is he motivated to live up to those expectations?

  • Could be.  I've always been immature.  In my late teens and throughout my 20s, I was far more immature than my contemporaries.  When I got to university at 28, that was when the difference became most noticeable for me.  People my own age almost seemed like my parents - and even the normal-age undergrads seemed more mature in many ways than I was.  Even now, in my late 50s, I lack the kind of maturity commensurate with my age.  I'm very childish at heart, and I've always been emotionally immature. 

  • I can't say with any certainty which parts of your son's behaviour are autism and which are bad behaviour but I will say that hearing you're "completely useless" sounds like a very strong contender for believing / acting completely useless. Why bother trying if everyone knows you're just going to mess up anyway? 

    Perhaps if the things he were asked to do were made fail-safe he'd start to build up enough confidence to try harder? 

    Attaching the key TO the box with a long enough string so that the door can be unlocked? One parent puts him on the bus and the other parent is waiting at the stop he's to get off at? (After a few runs like this, he'll know the journey by rote and it becomes possible to attempt others once he has that confidence.)