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3 year old autistic step-son, I'm going crazy, HELP!!!!

aidenjames's picture

Today is saturday and my husbands children are coming today. They stay the weekend and then go home. I have a 6 year old step daughter and a 3 year old stepson. I also have a 2 month old son of my own. I do not look forward to the son coming over. I came into his life when he was 8 months old and could tell something was not "right" I guess. He did not smile, coo, laugh, had a flat effect. As he grew he did not like to be touched and seemed not to respond like I have seen other children his age. He is now 3 years old and does NOT TALK! He still acts like a terrible two and when I mean terrible two...he gets into EVERYTHING, does not listen,and obviously don't not communicate well. I get down to his level after asking him to stop climbing the chair to climb over the baby gate to get into the kitchen so he can get into the fridge to grab whatever he likes. He took the shampoo last week and poured it all over the carpet. We have time out for the kids in the corner and that is were i put him but I don't even know if he understood why he was there after telling him many times why he was in time out and he was to stay in time out until i got him (Dad supports me). Several times he tried to sneak out of time out. I hate it and then trying to take care of my two month old, AHHHHH. This 3 year old is still in diapers because MOM won't get on board to help potty train(says "I don't think he is ready"). I told daddy I refuse to change a 3 year old's diaper, I'm sorry it is just so frustrating. He is getting absolutely no help with his autism either. Mom tells dad "well he says some things". Dad told his mom he needs help he only says "eeeee" for eat and "eeeesssss" for please and "mamamamama". Mom has the children during the week. This 3 year old was suppose to start speech therapy in aug. When I asked her how it was going she stated she did have him in it because she was still dealing with the little girls learning problems. My opinion is that she doesn't want to admit that her other child has a problem. When anyone tells her these kids have a problem she takes offense to it and thinks they are saying she is a bad mother. Mind you the mother is 23 years old (dad is my age) and she drank and smoked pot when she was pregnant with the girl and did the same with the boy. She also did crack somewhere in there as well, I think after having the little boy but something tells me it was during the pregnancy as well. Dad keeps trying to get these kids on board but since mom has them more and during the week nothing ever seems to get done. Me being the stepmother don't know what I can do for this child. I go to autistic websites to get ideas. The one main reason she has the children during the week is because she doesn't work and lives with her mom. This allows her to be a full time mom unlike my husband who works tuesday-saturday from 8-5pm and I work 12 hour shifts 60 hours a weekend. I don't know what I can do being the stepmother. It is REALLY FRUSTRATING to take care of this 3 year old and nothing is being done to help him. Getting full custody would be a battle, even to get it during the week. What can I do!!!!

kidsaplenty's picture

Does your dh have any legal custody? This child needs early intervention right now and he should advocate for this. Put any bad blood aside between him and her and have him tell her it is not her fault he is autistic, SO many parents of kids with autism get labeled as bad parents because of the kid's behavior and sometimes this will put up a defensive wall and make sure he is not adding to this or it will just hurt the kid and make her more defensive. Many school districts have programs he can be in that will address his issues. You are right, he is not going to respond to the things other kids do. He will thrive best in a low stimulus environment and one that has a great deal of routine. Autistic children are more visual learners then insight oriented. When you are looking at autism sites you may come across some good resources. There are different strategies you can use (none that are miraculous but may help). You can have a card with a red side and a green side. When you flip over the green side (or place it on your fridge) it means his behavior is acceptable, when it is red it means it is not. Try to develop a routine as much as you can for the child, regular meal times and bedtimes. Kids with autism do not 'play' like other kids but can be preoccupied with a particular subject matter. Try to find what his is (building thing/legos, trains, animals, whatever). Autistic kids sometimes need motor stimulation as well, can you buy a mini tramp he can use in the house to de-escalate or kushy balls to squeeze? Just pacing may be calming for him. Above all, retain your compassion (which can be hard in those most challenging moments). This child has a neurological disorder that was not of his choosing but can be helped with the right treatment. Also realize kids with autism usually do have much later readiness and some don't toilet train at all. Pushing it isn't always the right choice.

aidenjames's picture

Thank you for replying. We try to provide structure at home, I think some of the problem lies at mothers house, there is no structure. Here at our house we get up, eat breakfast, get dress, play, eat lunch, go to the park, nap time if needed, play until dinner and then start to calm down for the night by a bath, jammy's, a movie and then bed. It is like this all the time but I don't think there is structure at their mom's. My dh has legal custody on the weekends. Both mom and dad (my dh) get along but it is almost like what he says to her goes one ear and out the other. He even mentioned it to her last week. It's just so frustrating because if I had him during the week and he had my son's pediatrician to get a proper diagnosis I would be getting him the help he needs. Yep, he only see's a doctor when he is sick, I don't think he has a proper pediatrician. Instead here i sit and try to help raise this child who is not getting the help he needs. The dad doesn't want to upset the mom though because sometimes she does take things out of context or she says she will do something (like the speech therapy) and then doesn't do anything. Thank you for also mentioning the toilet training part. I talk to my friends about these things and of course they don't have a child like this and cannot believe he can't talk and is not potty trained. Of course this is no help to me and I feel like I am all alone on this. I really care about this little boy and it is just frustrating that if he was not my step son and my son, I have full care of him things would be getting done. I would have starting questioning when he was 8 months old and not smiling or coooing, it would have been brought up to the pediatrician. I guess i am kinda bitter at the mom. She says she cares about her children, I just don't understand then why if she knows this child isn't at where he should be why she isn't being a MOM and getting him the help he needs?

Anon2009's picture

As a person with Asperger's Syndrome (mild autism) I can relate to SS and think it's a shame that BM and DH aren't doing anything to help him. If your DH has some legal custody, then there are things he can do for SS. I think you need to document all that's going on with SS and see if DH can get it in the parenting plan/court order that SS get some form of help.

aidenjames's picture

Thank you, I will look into what we can do by getting a court order to get him help. I think if we try to get primary custody of these kids or just him it would be a huge battle but if we can get an order for this child to get help that would be better. I can't see the mother getting mad at that. Thank you

buttercup123's picture

I would document EVERYTHING, especially keep e-mails. Try and talk to her about your worries via e-mail so you have it as proof, then try and get a court order for custody. Otherwise the poor child will just get worse and worse. Good luck.

melis070179's picture

Who has LEGAL custody? Is it split? Can your DH make him a doc appt and take him? Can he make the speech therapy appts and take him on Mondays when he's off? Why are you guys relying on the mother?

"I child proofed my whole house, but they STILL get in!"

fedupstepdad's picture

AidenJames whatever the reason this child hasn't gotten the help he's needed is moot at this point. Autism needs to be treated as early as possible and while it would make it much easier for the child if he had a structured environment at BMs house a routine and choice of therapy have to be made. Depending on what state you are in, services can be home or center based OR both which helps tremendously. All children that have a diagnosis on the autism spectrum are covered for these services and in most cases provide transportation as well, up until the age of 5 at which point they would then have to be re-evaluated and depending upon your situation either enrolled in a private school or your choice or a public school with a program for special needs children. As the father of a child with autism I understand how frustrating the process can be and can't imagine how much harder it would be if the child were not living with me. But for the childs sake please do what you can as soon as you can. If you want more information or have questions you would like to ask me please do not hesitate. Good Luck!

aidenjames's picture

I need to add few things. So for the past year and a half my fiance has pushed to get something done. the children are on medicaid in the mothers name. I am going to look into it but maybe someone knows how we (my fiance and I) can take matters into our own hands and 1st take him to a pediatrician to get properly diagnosed. I don't know if he can find a pediatrician and say he is on medicaid or if he has to have the medicaid cards with him. I had mentioned the mother gets very offensive so I don't know if he can get the cards from her. can he then file for cards for himself. Does autism need to be diagnosed by a pediatrician first for treatment to begin? Thank you and to everyone who has commented so far.

vgill's picture

If she was drinking and doing drugs while pregnant she is still doing it now!! get those kids out of there, while they still have a chance!! I know there is a long road a head and it will be a bumpy one but for the kids sake get them out while there is still time to give them a happy life!!!

fedupstepdad's picture

Aiden I'd find your own pediatrician and voice your concerns regarding the child possibly being autistic. I believe the child has to be either diagnosed by a neurologist, which your pediatrician might be able to refer or psychologist. As for medicare/medicaid for children on the spectrum it doesn't matter because they are covered you would most likely just have to pay for the drs visit if not insured. Check out this website, it has alot of information. And if you need anything else, please don't hesitate to contact me.

fedupstepdad's picture

Aiden I'd find your own pediatrician and voice your concerns regarding the child possibly being autistic. I believe the child has to be either diagnosed by a neurologist, which your pediatrician might be able to refer or psychologist. As for medicare/medicaid for children on the spectrum it doesn't matter because they are covered you would most likely just have to pay for the drs visit if not insured. Check out this website, it has alot of information. And if you need anything else, please don't hesitate to contact me.

AwesomeStepMom's picture

Hello, I'm new to this website as of a few days ago. I came across your post and wanted to comment because I know first hand what you are going through, or pretty similar anyways.

When I met my fiance, his 2 boys at the time were 4 and 6 and having SEVERAL years of childcare, childcare conferences and classes under my belt I know the difference between a "normal" child and a child that might have "learning disabilities" and his oldest was showing BIG TIME signs of ADHD and some sort of Autism. He would run in the house the same path back and forth almost like a Tiger being kept in a cage at the zoo, ya know how they just walk the same path over and over again? He would also rub his hand up the back of his head from hairline to the top of his head and ALWAYS on his back left side while running and humming the Star Wars theme song. All the while he would have a straw in his hand that had to be a bendy kind so that it would form an "L" shape. And also this 6 year old little boy could tell you EVERY single mascot to EVERY single college and know the tune to all of the fight songs of those colleges PLUS he knows EVERY single character in all of the Star Wars movies. He's very interesting and very intelligent, but BM didn't think that there was anything wrong with him. At the time, this all started going on he was in Kindergarten and his teacher even brought it to moms attention but she didn't listen. Well Dad knew there was something wrong, he had a feeling from Infancy that his son was "different." Anyways, we kept telling her to take him to his Ped. but she refused so Dad took care of it and wouldn't you know that he has ADHD and he has Asperger's Syndrome which is a form of Autism, also because of these "learning disabilites" the doctor told us that his mentality level is that of a 4 year old(at the time of diagnosis) he will always be 2 years behind mentally unless we provide him with what he needs to grow and develop.... meds, appropriate learning tools etc. So now, 2 years later and after several different med tries we have found 2 that work and now he is a happy little boy who can now control his running habits and has learned that there are other things in this world then just Star Wars, college mascots, and their fight songs! He is doing GREAT in school and seems to be catching up to where a 3rd grader should be(that's the grade he is in now).

My advice to you is that if she was doing drugs, and drinking while pregnant most likely she is still doing them now so take matters into your own hands so to speak. Maybe the 2 of you(you and his dad) could find your own doctor for him and have them give you a diagnosis that way they your own doctor can help the 2 of you and you don't have to rely on mom. It's sounds like mom has ALOT of issues herself so she won't take care of her sons issues if she doesn't take care of her own. Something will ALWAYS come up when she has to take him to therapy, doctor, etc. So BELIEVE ME do everything that the 2 of you can do to help that little his voice because his own mom isn't living up to that responsibility. That's what my fiance and I had to do, but then again we used to get the boys a lot more compared to what you get him, but still.....

I hope my advice helps and if you ever have any questions please don't hesitate to write!

p.s. if his son is properly diagnosed there is an income award(kind of like Social Security) that you may qualify for, we get it for my fiances son. It comes every month and it helps so much with paying for his 2 COSTLY prescriptions, buying him clothes/outerwear for school, giving him lunch money for his account at school etc.

~Good Luck