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Stepson might never be independent

EveryoneLies's picture

SS is now 16, ADHD+ high functioning autism.

DH wanted him to learn driving this summer, gave the boy chances to look for information, and learn to plan. A month went by, nothing. DH ended up finding a course for SS.

Another month has gone by, ss is still not done with the 30-hour online course. He googled every answer in order to pass the quiz in the course, reported to DH happily that he had worked hard. 

DH wanted this online course plus paper test could be done so ss can move on to actually learning to drive im August. Well, August is tomorrow, ss still have 10 hours to do in the course. 

this is the boy who knows everything of course. I really hate that he has to be in my life.


ESMOD's picture

I know it's frustrating when kids don't take initiative on things.  And.. I'm sure he frustrates you in other ways. But hope is not necessarily "all lost here".

First, your DH has made an error in judgement thinking a kid who already has some underlying issues with his autism would be able to navigate this without more help with the organization and the schedule of it all.  He kind of set him up to fail imho.  First.. he waits a whole month for the kid to figure out where to take a couse.. this was your DH's job to set this up.. not many 16 year olds are going to know how to get things like this done and set up.. if companies will even talk to a kid.. they want the adult who is paying to call.

Then.. he again leaves him be.. with only a general long time frame.. for a kid who may not have the best planning and organization skills yet (note I said yet.. you have to learn).. he should have been checking in at least weekly for progress and if it wasn't happening.. he needed to be more active in reminding him to stay on track.

This wasn't YOUR job.. but your DH is supposed to be teaching his son how to plan.. how to stay on track etc.

And... even neurotypical kids who are good students are not always the best at doing independent work.  My YSD who is extremely smart.. and was a pretty good kid.. she struggled with doing work that was "at her own pace" when she was going to finish her HS degree from home.  It really was frustrating.. I kept telling her to "just do it".. I mean.. it wasn't that much work.. but snapchat.. other distractions.. she took a LOT longer than she should have to complete just a few classes.  But.. she also used to be a bit of a procrastinator too.. and as she has gotten older.. she has gotten better because in the real world.. as an adult.. you have to make sure you pick up your prescriptions on time to not run out of your seizure meds.. you need to make sure you are on your BCP.. go to your DR's appts.. get to work on time.. complete work assignments on time.. submit payroll so the employees can be paid.. all these things are skills she has improved on as she has gotten older.

Your SS.. if he is high functionning.. no reason he can't become independent.. but your DH needs to do better than to set up these tests... when the kid doesn't have the tools to succeed he needs to build his organization and self startiing "muscle".. and at 16.. it may be a while before he really has it down pat.

EveryoneLies's picture

I tried to make the post short so I didn't include all the details. There whole month finding a course included making a daily plan with him, set expectations what we wanted to see. Ss ended up just internet surfing and found "traffic schools" but not driving Eds.

we asked him to keep the links and just write down price and duration of each course (so that he gets a sense). I feel this is a reasonable request. It took a month because ss kept begging for another chance, that and there were days DH is too tired to deal with ss. It is frustrating because this is a common pattern of ss, who always rushes and does half ass jobs.

I don't think ss will be able to even fulfill his own medication when He is 18. He just thinks we know what he needs and that we will fulfill that for him just because. (Has been told many times, now he finally at least will do the job to let his dad know his medication is running low)

schools, therapists, and us have been working on his organization skills for years. He is however not cooperative, and only wants to talk about automic bombs and time machines...(I know this is part of being autistic, it just feels like that he thinks those thing are more important than being able to support himself) 

justmakingthebest's picture

My SS23 is Autistic and ADHD and GAD. It took a long time for him to drive. He was 22 before he got his license back. We made the mistake of letting him get it at 16 and  got in a terrible accident and took it away from him. 

SS still lives at home and probably always will. 

However, he is working full time now! That just started a few months ago but I am so proud of him.

AS SOON as your SS turns 18, make sure you get in touch with your department of aging and rehabilitation (DARS). They offer all kinds of services from trade schools, to life coaching, job coaching, job placement, transportation assistance, goal planning. That program was everything to us!

EveryoneLies's picture

Yes, we will be in contact with DARS for sure. I think the main problem for me is that I really don't feel like I can live with ss forever. If he has to live with his dad forever, then I won't be. 

i personally am happy that ss can't drive yet. I feel it is almost certain that he will be involved in an accident when he is allowed to drive on his own. Not to mention the possibility of stealing our cars..what I dislike is that my life has to be altered to a way that fits him, that and the lack of motivation in anything. 

ss has bad hygiene, makes a mess everywhere, lies and steals. (More lies than steals, he stole mostly candies but still..) even DH is getting to a point not wanting ss to be here. I just don't know how this boy will ever be able to move out, since he's always expecting things to be done for him.

Harry's picture

A man with disability kid.  This kid will never be fully functional. Hopefully he will be able to live on his own, with help.  BUT. He most likely never going to make enough money to live.  Hope he on social security disability ,  that will help. BUT. You will be supporting him for the rest of your life. 
The "writing is on the wall" You will NEVER. Go away on a long trip. To a foreign country..never go cruising, never just be alone. Some people can do it,others can't

i couldn't ,  I was not giving up my life. For someone's else's kid.  

EveryoneLies's picture

I hear you. I didn't know it will be this hard, ss was only 8 when I first met them. It was understandable younger kids requires more work. It is hard to accept when ss is already taller than me, talking over me, while still acting like a 5 year old.

i don't know if I will be supporting this kid forever. I'm not as kind as I first thought. I love DH and don't want to leave him, but if Ss is always going to be at my home, I guess I will leave.

didn'tsignupforapunk's picture

Why couldnt OP set the kid up to live in a place of his own with the help of SLS (supportive living service) providers? There are plenty of adults (I've worked with several) who have 24/7 help with living and do not have to rely on family for the rest of their lives. 

EveryoneLies's picture

To be honest I just don't know how to start this conversation (also, he's only 16, so not yet the time?). I also don't know what resources are out there. I've checked the public housing option but feeling really lost. Ss is not intellectually challenged and can actually do good work when he wants to. (He just rarely wants to)

CLove's picture

SD17 Powersulk CPS, I saw a groupon ad for online driving school, and then with money from the job I got her, we signed her up, a year and 2 months ago. It took her all summer to complete 10 chapters out of 11, and just a week ago finished the last one, and finally got her permit.

Its REALLY tough if the kids are not motivated and are left to their own devices.

EveryoneLies's picture least I'm not alone lol.

i hope this not being able to drive will not be the excuse why ss can't get a job. Although, that's going to be another fight because in his mind it is probably our job to get him a job.

la_dulce_vida's picture

I have two sons on the spectrum. If my partner said this, "I really hate that he has to be in my life," my partner would be shown the door.

I know it's hard, but I would urge you to exit the relationship if this is how you feel.

EveryoneLies's picture

I understand how you might feel as a birth parent of children on the spectrum. I don't dislike my ss because he has challenges. We don't gel with each because of the lack of respect (from ss), no matter how much I have done. You are assuming I have never put in the effort to understand the condition, but that's incorrect as well. 

You also assume my spouse will benefit when I am out of his life, do you know us? However, you might be right that I should separate myself from the man I love, for the sake of my own mental peace, because i am tired of cleaning up after an abled-body teen. 

Rags's picture

The eldest of two on the spectrum kids of a very close friend got way into go-kart racing.  He loved racing and that seemed to motivate him to get his DL.

Give it a try.  

See if there is a go-cart track with a racing league that SS could engage with.  That might just get him motivated to get his DL.

SS and I raced in a league together when he was early double digit aged.  Interestingly, he was not particularly motivated to get his DL. Partly because he was in boarding school at 16 & 17yo and there was not much opportunity nor need for him to drive. He did get his license at 18yo, 6mos before he turned 19.  He graduated HS at 17.