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Problem solving skill

EveryoneLies's picture

SS stb 15 has shorter school days these week because of finals. He was immediately asking DH to pick him up after school. We asked why he cannot take the bus back home (he takes the bus to school), he told us because the bus won't come until an hour later. Truth is, that specific bus won't come until another hour, but other buses will come and can also get him home.

I know being on the spectrum means they are less flexible at times, but this really seems to be an issue of not interested in finding another solution (to me). Same attitude goes towards his homework, several were turned in late because "he couldn't figure out how" (teacher was there, classmates were there, instructions were there...none consulted). He looks one way and if it doesn't work, it is now someone else's problem. More often then not he sits there and wait for someone to tell him what to do.

These are all minor things, but this is coming from a boy who said he wanted more independence. (I mean, how do you "want" independence? Don't you just "be" independent?) I'm just annoyed by the lack of efforts. 


CastleJJ's picture

My brother is 24 and on the spectrum, and while he is on the higher functioning end of the spectrum, he is like this often. He has a one-track mind and if anything deviates from that single track, he freaks out. It's almost like a fight or flight response. He cannot see past that single track to find another option or solution and frequently requires guidance to work through problems. 

Like your SS, my brother wants independence, but can't seem to figure it out fully. He has no idea how to do household chores, is neurotic about his belongings being in an exact spot, can't cook or follow a recipe, and cannot for the life of him, handle a financial budget. Even if we show him how to do these things, he still can't seem to figure it out, becomes overwhelmed and freaks out until assisted. 

EveryoneLies's picture

I wonder if there is a way to help them. 

My SS is also on the higher end of the spectrum. I know I sound harsh and cold, perhaps it is really because I'm just a step parent. My patience is running really thin because many times when we try to suggest solutions he will argue. 

Does your brother live at home? Does he work?


CastleJJ's picture

My brother lived with my parents until he was 21. Then he met a girl and impulsively moved across the country with her after 6 weeks of dating. It was extremely toxic; he was being taken advantage of financially, we knew it, but he wouldn't listen to reason. After 2 years, he discovered she was cheating and demanded we come move him home. He moved back with my parents for almost a year and just last year moved back out on his own. He does have a full-time job as a firefighter, which has been his fixation since he was a kid (think ABC's Good Doctor). 

The biggest issue with my brother right now is money. He will blow through his paycheck and then turn to my parents and say "Can I come work for the family business?" If they say "No," he throws a tantrum, but if they say "Yes," he comes and tries to run the show. He will put my parents in situations where they have to pay for things - i.e. can you take my dog to the vet while I am working, I'll pay you back later, only to argue with them that he is broke when they come collecting. What irritates my parents is that he is broke and expects them to pay for his daily needs, yet he has all these grandiose travel plans and large purchases in the works. 

I can't tell you how many family events have been ruined because if it doesn't go his way, he threatens to walk out or creates chaos. He is also very paranoid. He comes off to strangers as a spoiled, entitled asshole, but in reality, I don't think he can help it. It's just how his brain is wired.

My parents have come to the conclusion that the only way to help him is to not come to his rescue every time - he runs out of money, oh well. He needs someone to take care of his dog, not their problem. This "tough love" as my Mom calls it, has caused my brother to lash out aggressively and reject our family a million times over, only to come running back a few days later when another crisis hits that he can't handle. The only difference is, when he comes crawling back, he doesn't apologize and acts like nothing ever happened. My parents continue the "tough love," but they haven't truly figured out how to help him without constant fighting. 

EveryoneLies's picture

This sounds very difficult. As family you and your family must worry quite a bit. 

My SS has similar issue with money. We've been trying to teach him the concept of budgeting. Both of our kids have their own debit card and bank account. They are free to save or spend their money, but if it is completely spent they will have to wait for the next allowance cycle. (Since neither of them work now) I don't know how much it sinks in, but it does reduce a lot of the "can you buy me this" kind of question. My DD so far has been a better saver...but partially it's because she's taking online class now. 

How is your brother's relationship with peers though? When I think back I think a lot of my "growing up" has more to do with comparing myself with my peers and less about "what mom and dad said." I don't see this part from my SS. He is finally starting to have friends (although I don't hear about them, perhaps he only talks to DH about them) but he thinks friends are just "people you hang out with," which is not wrong but also not the whole picture.