You are here

How much should you expect a 15yo?

EveryoneLies's picture

SS14 almost 15 is severely lacking common sense. I'm kinda beyond my words. 

Just yesterday he told me he doesn't know what a semester is, and that he thinks there are 4 semesters in one academic year. He's autistic but I really didn't expect to hear that from him since he's been mainstream in most of his class (although doing quite poorly, Cs and Ds..)

He also doesn't know how much time is needed to heat up food in the microwave. When covid just started he put 15 minutes (yes you read that right) for some chicken nuggets and that literally put the microwave on fire. 

And yesterday he was actually asking me how to open a pack of frozen food..

Am I really expecting too much from him to just have some common sense?



Crr18's picture

If the bioparents haven't required him to do anything then he probably doesn't know. My SS13.5. Makes straight As in school but since he is coddled by SO and BM takes him out to eat most of the time had an issue when SO actully made him get his own chili from the crock pot and then asked if he should use a spoon or a fork to eat it with. I was out at the time and SO told me about it and said he couldn't believe it. I said you and your ex have done this to him. So now he does have him doing more for himself but IMO not enough. He still microwaves Skids breakfast and pours their drinks on the days they have school while the skids just sit at the table and wait to be served.100% SO fault. 

Cover1W's picture

YSD16 (then 15) STILL does this:  What should I use to get the food out of the container?

Me:  WTF? (in my head)..."Really?! You cannot be serious."

DH:  "Oh, I'll get you a spoon, do you need a spoon? Is that what you want? Here's a spoon."

Me:  Dash 1


Crr18's picture

That is how my SO talks to his kids. Do you want a burger, how about a chicken patty. Do you want orange drink, propel, juice. Do you want French toast sticks. A waffle, pancakes. Did you get your cup yet ? I'll get you  a fork, what size plate.       Oh my it is torture  I would rather bang my head like your post then hear it .

EveryoneLies's picture

He's with us 100% of the time. BM hasn't seen him for over 2 years now. At least since the time I've been with DH we ask him to do chores and all in the hope of one day he can be on his own. DH is used to get the kids stuff when they can get it themselves (he does that for DD too), often time I'd stop DH for doing things for them when it is something they can easily do it themselves (such as, get the utensils or water on their own) 

It's just his attitude and lack of effort really pisses me off at times. 

justmakingthebest's picture

It all depends on his level of Autism. My SS21 is Autistic and is age adjuested to 12-13. I know what I can expect from a normal 12 yr old boy and that is where is threashold is. He can  do the dishes. He can clean his room and do his laundry. I have to monitor him with his clothes and inspect his drawers to make sure he isn't just throwing clean things back in the dirty clothes or wearing dirty clothes. I also have to keep track of brushing teeth and bathing. He has a water aversion, so that has always been a battle. Oven and Microwave have to be "asked" to use- that is so we can make sure he isn't making 15 minute chicken nuggets because he once made 12 minute Ramen- and ended up with 3rd degree burns and an ER visit.

Not fully understanding the difference in a semester vs. Quarter for some kids on the spectrum, isn't surprising. The understanding of time in general is hard for a lot of kids like him. Have you asked where he is emotionally age adjusted? Just because he can "make it" thru normal classes in school doesn't mean that he can handle real life. There is a big difference between knowing how the world works and the ability to memorize and regurgitate information for a standardized test. 

EveryoneLies's picture

Ha ha, you and I both lol. (15 min nuggets vs 12 min Ramen lol)

Did you get that age accessement from the doctor? My SS can do some of the chores you mentioned (Laundry, folding his own clothes, clean up his own room..etc). He does require a lot of supervisions too, drives me nuts. We've been over this "you need to use soap to shower" for so many times I don't even know why it still needs to be said. He doesn't have any sensory issues over water or soap, he is just rushing through things and doesn't care if he stinks.

To be honest I don't really think SS is doing that well at school, although he himself is still super confident he can get in college. DH is starting to learn to accept that his son might just not be able to do that.

justmakingthebest's picture

Yes, both times we had it done it was by a therapist. When he was like 15 he was adjusted to around 10. At 21 he was adjusted to 12-13.  

Is he in any special ed classes? Does he have an IEP and 504 plan? Study hall can do wonders for his struggles in school. My SS didn't take elective classes in high school. He worked with his special ed teacher to complete the work from regular classes. It was the only way that he graduated. However, those plans were enacted before DH and I got serious. By the time SS was about to graduate, I had done research and realized that we should never have allowed him to get as far as he did. He could have stayed in HS- but sent to vocational school- until he was 21. That would have made a HUGE difference for us in him adjusting to the real world. 

Instead, we have him with DARS and a job at WAWA (I hate saying gas station because I picture a nasty place!) where he works 3 days a week, 4 hr shifts and then goes to welding school at a local vocational training center. Our problem now is that I don't think he can handle being a welder. Not in the real world. He does an ok job in class but that is 2 hours, 2x week. He struggles with being overwhelmed by that- how is he going to work in a Ship Yard?? I just don't see it happening, neither does DH. DH thinks he will get a job offer but not last 2 weeks. I don't think he can make it through an interview. I don't know what will happen in the long run. Part of me wishes he was "more" disabled because being a level one just doesn't get you much help in the real world. However, he can't survive on his own. Not even close... 

EveryoneLies's picture

We haven't have a psychiatrist or a psychologist to evaluate him for quite some time now. The therapists seem to be used to work with lower function kids and all told us how wonderful SS is. I mean, obviously it's not them who needs to fight SS with his homework or pick up the trash he left, of course he's wonderful.

SS has an IEP, we also had to fight to make sure he can atten summer school. (He forgets everything if not attending). SpEd teachers also seem to have low expectations for the kids though. (Or is it me whose expectation is too high?) He was getting tripple Ds half semester when we met with his home room teacher and he told us...."He's doing great, yea sure there are a few homework that didn't get turn in, but he's really close to getting Cs!"

Is getting Cs really good? I've accepted he's not going into college unless a 180 degree change happens, but is this really where we should lay our expectation? It seems like the teachers thought if SS has questions/challenges he will go to them. Truth is, he never will. He's not interested in doing any work, so unless there's any consequence (such as losing his device) he doesn't give a f about his grade or missing homework.

And, just just got a big ZERO for one of his test last's really hard to celebrate that, isn't it? 

Sorry i just ranted a $hit ton again...

I think my SS is going to be like your SS in similar ways in the future. He's also fully confident everyone would want to hire him. The other day he asked DH to bring him a I don't think i can stand living with SS forever, I just don't know how he's going to be able to live on his own....

justmakingthebest's picture

I think when they are "high functioning" it is hard, because they aren't visually disabled. They can talk, they can walk, they can complete tasks. However, they can't be functioning members of the world really. 

I would suggest first having a new Autism evaluation done on him. Tell the therapist that you want it done independently of the current practice that he is being see in. A fresh set of eyes. Expect there to be around 6 hours of testing done over 2-3 days depending on how well he tolerates it. There will also be questionnaires for you, dh, bm and teachers to fill out. Once that is done, you can review with his current therapist and start a plan for going into adult hood. THEN take it to the school. Bring the results and have a better plan for next school year for him.

Are C's a goal? Maybe, they certainly were for my SS. That meant average, and if he could get Average grades- we were doing great!!! Passing was the only real goal. So D's were ok too. I would NEVER accept that from my bios. I am not happy if one of them has more than 2 B's. They are capable of earning straight A's, but they have to do the work, if they aren't earning A's they are lazy. For SS, it was just all around different. 

Make sure you and DH are talking to the schools about what happens next, that you don't want him pushed through to graduate. That you want extended support for your special needs child. You just need that paperwork to back you up! There were areas for my SS where is emotional age was that of a toddler- there were areas where he was semi on track for his age. It averaged out to that 12ish years old. But that information is so important and you have to make the change in his plans now, or the school WILL push him out to graduate him and get him off the books. That is what schools just do. 

EveryoneLies's picture

I agree it's hard when they are high functioning. It's really difficult to differentiate whether it is the lack of effort or needing help. It also doesn't help when SS lies just about everything. I am having a hard time believing he is stupid, because he likes to play the word game  and it is always " but you said..." 

But truly, I also don't know whether the teachers have different standard for him. I'm certain his English teacher didn't held him the same standard of other kids (never corrects his spellings error and capitalizations for example). So even he gets a B (quarter grade) in that class he really didn't seem to be progressing. 

In classes like Math where the teacher really is treating all students the same he's getting a D...My understanding is that D is not a passing grade here. I could be wrong, because I didn't grow up in the US, I don't always know the system that well.

DH is now at a stage about not even wanting to hear his son's name being mentioned. I don't know how to bring this up to him really. 

justmakingthebest's picture

Unfortunately you can't burry your head in the sand because having an autistic kid sucks. Because, no matter how much you love them- it sucks.

My SS always lies about everything. It drives me crazy. For him, even though we have proven time and time again, he does it to avoid conflict. He thinks if he tells us what he thinks we want to hear- the conversation will end. But he is a crappy liar and it just makes things 100X worse. 

Your DH needs to decide if  he is going to cut his kid off after graduation and leave it to BM or not. Because if not, you guys need to get involved NOW. Before it is too late. Special needs kids, even high functioning, need extra help. 

EveryoneLies's picture

This is certainly the case with us too. He lies to feel good about himself ("Grandma I cooked for everyone!" In reality he put the utensils on the table), and lies to avoid conflicts. Problem is he doesn't remember his own lies and therefor a crappy liar as well. It's been more than 5 years I've been trying to get him to understand why lying is bad. I can't get this through him.

I really don't know what to tell and even how to start this conversation with DH. I mean if I get to choose I'd choose not to live with SS every time! But that also makes me feel wicked and mean. Like, how can I actually tell my husband that his disabled kid is not welcome to live with us. I don't know, I feel conflicted. DH also told me he doesn't know how long he can keep doing things (like, being on SS's arse to make sure hw is turn in) for this kid because it's really ridiculous. But i dont' know how firm he is to move this kid out when he's grown. 

How did you and your DH start this conversation?


ESMOD's picture

To have gotten a zero he would have had to literally sit there and do nothing.  I would think with his issues/IEP that a teacher could be monitoring his testing progress.. and if he is sitting there doing literally NOTHING.. redirect him to the task.. read the questions out loud to him if that's what needed to happen.. or any number of accomodations I'm assuming can be made.

EveryoneLies's picture

And as we speak, he just got another zero at the same class. I asked him what kind of test those are and he told me they are multi selection questions.

His dad was very mad about this and told him "literally if you put all As in your test you'd get 25% of it." Well, that was the wrong thing to said to SS because that's what he did for the second test. I told him not to tell his dad this because it's only going to get DH even angrier (as he would be blaming his dad for giving that "advice"). I also told him he needs to treat his tests seriously and not play stupid games like this. 

We've asked him to get a copy of the test so we can help. He kept telling us he can't, until yesterday he said he had never asked his teacher. I just can't even with this kid. 

ESMOD's picture

Two zeros from the same class and I would be contacting that teacher directly to see if we could figure out the problem.

IDK.. maybe it's a math class where even if it is multi choice..they require you to show the work and SS hasn't done that part?

But, certainly the odds are against a kid getting a zero on a multiple choice test are basically zero.. he should get something right.. even a blind squirrel gets a nut occasionally.. haha.

And.. stop trying to buffer this kid and his dad.  His dad SHOULD be mad.. he should be angry that the little jerk is being a smart aleck and answering all A's.. let your DH lose it on his kid.. let him punish him.. let him bust his Xbox on the lawn.  Better a blow up now than this kid on the basement couch for the next 25 years.

EveryoneLies's picture

Haha, it is the Spanish class, and no work needs to be shown.. But don't even get me started on him not showing work for his math hw lol. His teacher asked all kids to sign the "contract of understanding" (sort of) stating that no work equals to zero credit. He signed too but just this week he stopped showing work again.

You and I both try to understand the cause. It's frustrating because SS himself doesn't haha. He told me (in tears, ugh!) that he was so ashamed of the grade it got him depression (right). but then went ahead getting a second zero....I'm beyond my words haha.

DH is already mad enough at SS, and we already have a lot of yelling due to their conflicts in the house. I explained to SS why his action was wrong and I think I've done my job. He doesn't listen anyway so he might still slip one day and get his dad explode. I know we are not living a rosy perfect blended family life, but still I guess deep down I still wish the father and son can have a better relationship. 

Damn I even hate myself for not liking SS sometimes. (Just sometimes)

ESMOD's picture

You know what you know... It's entirely reasonable for him to not know some of these things.. 

He doesn't know a semester.. in my distant and dusty past.. I recall that my school was measured in QUARTERS when I was in HS.. I didn't really measure things in semesters until I got to college.  Whether I was aware of the word or not? i don't absolutely recall.. but again.. if this isn't something he would be exposed to to learn the meaning of it? how would he know.. his school might talk to the kids in terms of quarterly progress reports.

The microwave... I guess he could have gotten distracted or rushed and read the directions incorrectly.. the OVEN instructions might have said 15 minutes and he went with that?  Depending on the amount of independance and instruction on using kitchen appliances beforehand.. he may not have understood that 15 minutes is an unreasonably long time for a small serving of food.

Some frozen food does use the packaging to heat it.. or has special built in ways to seal it.. not sure if that was what the issue was or not.  I would expect most everyone could get into a food package like that.. but maybe the question was more how do I open the frozen pizza so I can heat it up properly.

EveryoneLies's picture

SS's school has the platform whether they can log in to see upcoming assisgments and current grades. On the platform it clearly marks both quarter grades and semester grades (which the numbers are rarely the same - it's not like he's getting straight As) so I just assumed he should know. I also asked DD who's in elementary school right now, and she also understand the system. This itself is not a big deal I guess, it's just i really didn't expect him not to know..since he always give me the talk as if I had no clue of how schools work.(except when he needs things from me)

The frozen chicken nuggets were pre-cooked, instruction says 1-2 minutes. It's possible to be 15 mins for oven - perhaps that's why. I don't know what happened the day he burned the microwave, because he has actually done it successfully without burning things many times before. SS is really unpredictable sometimes.

For opening the frozen food, it was actually a bag of frozen dumplings, which you can either open with a pair of scissors or use your hands to do it...he's seen us doing it so many times, it just never registered with him. Lol

Winterglow's picture

This brings back memories. Many years ago, I shared a flat with two guys (we were all 4th year university students). I did the cooking and the shopping, they kept the common areas clean. One day, they were in a hurry to go to a party and decided to cook a frozen pizza. They asked me if they had to take the plastic wrapping off it before putting it in the oven ... My face must have been a picture. Given that question, I thought it was probably pointless telling them to heat the oven first. This was not an isolated incident.

simifan's picture

Common sense is not common. SD did not have autism yet didn't understand the difference between trimesters and semesters. She could burn boiled water. If no one teaches these things, you can't expect them to know it. & Let's face it, not all kids are as intelligent as we would like. 

Ispofacto's picture

Studies have proven that IQ increases when people with Down's Syndrome get jobs and are allowed to live in their own apartments.  Doing something for yourself forces you to learn.  I'm convinced the vast majority of stupid people just don't make an effort, possibly because they don't have to.


Winterglow's picture

One of my daughters has Down Syndrome. I persistently look for ways for her to do things for herself and my dh persistently does things for her. It drives me nuts! Example: she loves a boiled egg for breakfast so I bought her an egg cooker and showed her how it worked. Dh gets her up every morning (fat good the alarm clock I bought her is!) and has her breakfast waiting for her when she comes down. Talk about two steps forward and two steps back! 

EveryoneLies's picture

I was a single parent for a while, and I gotta say I found single parenting, although not easy, definitely eliminates the possibility of your spouse undermining your parenting effort!

Winterglow's picture

Oh absolutely! He does't think he's undermining ... he's only "helping". ARRRRGH!

EveryoneLies's picture

I just received a rude message and I think this is the post that pissed off the random stranger so much. 

to the person who called me a mean bitch and my DH the ahole, you are more than welcome to come and make my SS's life better, since in your opinion we are putting him through hell. His own mother doesn't even see him but somehow I am the bitch? Am I not allowed to have feelings ?

you obviously are very experienced working with kids o the spectrum, why not take on the work?

it is people like you that make steplife even more a living hell.