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SD w/ disabilities....learned helplessness?

witsend71's picture

My SD25 has multiple disabilities, but the thing that keeps her living with her parents is her autism. She is afraid of people, has few social skills and poor manners. The sad/funny thing is, she's never been diagnosed or treated for her autism. Her mom "homeschooled" her. Which really meant, "You sit and watch tv while I run a family daycare". She had the academic ability of a 3rd grader. Her interests are severely limited. She refuses to attend any parties or gatherings or anywhere she would have to interact with people (unless it involves a trip she wants to go on). She takes her father for granted (asks DH for trips to Europe, day trips, expects extra money for this and that). She'll ask DH to drive hours out of his way on a work day to run an errand for her. She got her first job one hour a day 15 minutes from her house. Her mom was sick, so she asked DH to bring her. Why doesn't BM set up a caretaker for her???!!! I would help BM get funding/set it up if she would let me, but she won't.

SD is so unpleasant. I just want to clean her up and give her hair a conditioning treatment and 2 inch thick eyebrows a wax. People/children mistake her for a man in part because of her grooming/dress, and I don't think that's the look she's going for. I'd like to be able to accept her for who she is, but that is easier said than done. What's worse, DH babies her to no end. She is with us EOW for 56 hours!!! and every Wed. It used to be more like 80 hours, so I guess I should be thankful. When she is here, we eat only foods she likes (limited), he makes her bed, cleans up after her dog, waits on her hand and foot...even starts her bath. Come on! She can figure it out. She has never made a meal for herself. She has never had a friend...or an opportunity to meet a friend. She is kept isolated and that is how she likes it. DH would like it if I rode in the backseat with her stinky dog half the time, but that is one line I have drawn.

On the other hand, she doesn't lie, cheat, steal, nag, swear, get pregnant, or break I guess it could be worse. She's caused a lot of friction in our 13 year relationship, we even split up for six months 5 years ago...but we've made it this long, and I have an exit strategy if it came to it.

Orange County Ca's picture

So you've decided to spend/waste more years at this THEN get out.

I admire your loyality to your husband. Why don't you just disengage fromt he "child" and go and do your own thing while supporting what he feels he must do?

This article is valid for you:

Thatonegirl's picture

I work with some highly functioning autistic children and they can accomplish more than what you've described. All the children are involved in inclusion programs to help them better themselves and become functioning adults despite their difficulties. Try looking into some programs for her at local community centers (like the YMCA) and bring it up to your husband in a caring but concerned manner. She might look down on it at first but all of the children in our program are doing extremely well, even the ones who didn't like the program at first, and working really well without constant aided supervision from facilitators.

witsend71's picture

The problem is, she won't like first anyway....and her parents won't make her go. Her father has so much guilt thinking he somehow caused this. She has tiny seizures and the doctors told them to "watch her like a hawk" so she has never been out of sight for 25 years. Stress causes seizures so she can't be put under any stress. I want to scream at these doctors.

ownedbypedro's picture

Your husband is doing such a disservice to his daughter. Does he see her going on this way forever? What is she to do when her parents aren't here to take care of her anymore? How much joy can she possibly have in her life?

And OMG - poor YOU...I feel bad for you, honestly I do. You are truly between a rock and a hard place. My ss was supposedly "normal" but a lot of problems were obvious to me and others - dh and bm just wouldn't ever admit it - and it was sooooooo difficult.

So, I'm thinking you have tried suggesting some of your ideas to your husband and he rejects them?

witsend71's picture

I agree yet they think it's for the best. Yes she has avoided being institutionalized or ridiculed and bullied or put in awkward or uncomfortable situations but what kind of life is it for her and her parents?

herewegoagain's picture

Read up a bit about autism, as it seems you don't know much about it and you are blaming her and her mother for MANY of the issues that are truly caused by autism...that might help you deal with it a bit better.

witsend71's picture

She has never been diagnosed with autism. I know she has it because I DO know about autism. I'm not
blaming her for having it...just frustrated that there have been zero attempts to treat it or address it. Attempts that are made are feeble at best...she says she doesn't want to so BM gives up. Social skills and hygiene can be taught. A kid would stay in diapers forever if they could. You have to insist sometimes until the idea catches on. Parents just ignoring and accepting doesn't improve anything.

On the other hand, I wrote a blog post months ago stating I was going to be more supportive and I'll try to remember that.

ctnmom's picture

Wits, what on earth is this girl going to do when her parents are gone??? Someone needs to address that with them, because this is a disaster in the making. They won't live forever.