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HELP!!!! Not diagnosed, possibly borderline autistic

Luv2ride4w's picture

I'm 32 years old without children of my own but I'm I've been a step mother to my husbands boys 5and 10 for 3 years now. My 10 year old is borderline autistic but my husband and his ex wife believe that he will grow out of whatever is going on. He's been in the same occupational theorpy for 5 years now and in the last 3 years there has been absolutely no improvement. Now if you talk to my husband and his ex they will say the complete opposite. I know they just want their child to be normal and I'm trying so hard to be understanding but I've got to the point where I'm having a hard time being nice to my stepson. My husband continues to tell me the things he does is normal. THEY ARE NOT NORMAL FOR A 10 YEAR OLD (maybe a 3-5 year old). I've done unbelievable amount of research and found several good doctors to at least get him help but I feel like im the only one that cares. He's bullied, can't pay attention, he has no friends, Ect. I would think a parent would want help with that. 

Well I'm to the point of wanting a divorce, I can't handle him anymore and I'm tired of being the only one trying to get him help. I've gone to counseling about this and honestly it made my marriage worse. Does anyone have any advice or words of wisdom?

tankh21's picture

Disengage....I also have a SS who is autistic (Asperger's) and my DH and the BM use it as a crutch to enable him and they just let him get away with everything. If your skid's parents don't care then why should you? Please do not waste your time just disengage.

captjacksprrw's picture

I hear you on that.  I am 99% certain my SS28 has had this spectrum of ASD and no, you do not outgrow it.  My DW has babied and enabled him.  At least he is gainfully employed, pays rent to us and knows that he must sit down and develop a plan to launch by age 30 at the latest

Rags's picture

We have long time friends who have two kids who are on the Austism spectrum.  For years they coddled their sons, blamed the docs and therapists for their kid's behavioral crap and let the run amok.

We visited them fairly regularly though I had major issues with the behavioral crap they tolerated from their kids.  On one visit their eldest who was bout 8 at the time punched me in the balls.  I grabbed him by the scuff of the neck, dragged him to the sofa, put him over my knee and blistered his butt.  I then stood him up, poked him in the chest repeatedly with my finger as I told him to never do that again and to start behaving, then I told him to go get a book, sit down, be calm and we could read the book together.   For a couple of years after that every time we visited he would grab a book and ask me to read with him.  

His parents nearly stroked out as I blistered their kid's butt.  Then were in slack jawed shock when he got the book and remained calm for hte rest of that visit and any other time I visited.  They implemented far more behavioral structure in their home after that incident.  We visited them in 2016 after not seeing them for a few years after we both moved.  Their kids were held to strict behavioral standards by then and had thrived.  Still autistic but no longer feral animals.  Sadly our friends have since divorced.  The good news is that mom got custody and is the one who has structured their kids lives and holds them to behavioral and performance standards. She is working with docs and therapists and is hopeful if not confident that her sons will be able to function autonimously, at least at some level, as adults.

She does not let their condition be an excuse for crappy behavior.  Their dad on the other hand, is the prototypical Disney Dad who is all about letting them do what they want when they want.

So, while there certainly are autistic kids that are beyond thriving even in a structured behavioral environment, I firmly believe that the syndrome of the month that Pseudo Science otherwise unemployable "professionals" make up are generally an excuse for shitty parents to feel better about themselves and to justify their own existence from an employment perspective.

I hope that DH and BM will get this kid help.. but don't expect much out of it.  They are delusional about their crappy parenting so getting the kid help won't change that IMHO.

Rags's picture

Nope, I disciplined an ill behaved little shit.   I invoked structure and consequences for crappy behavior.  WIth the choice of behaving or suffering, he behaved.  Effective consequences for crappy behavior changes behavior for the better.  As evidenced by this example.

His parents adopted structure and enforced behavioral standards after he decided he would rather have me read to him than punch me in the nuts and then get his butt spanked.

Funny how that works.

Kes's picture

I think sometimes parents can be in denial of conditions which limit children in some way, and go through a process of grieving for the child they'd dreamed of.  However, you'd think by age 10, they would have come to some sort of peace with it and be prepared to try and get the child the best help available.  

I don't think letting children behave badly is a good idea whatever their issue, it will just hamper them more if they are not given sensible rules.  Mental or physical disabilities, mental illness, etc should be no excuse for poor behaviour or mistreating others.  

waffles's picture

...I'm going through something similar. Turns out my SD was never officially diagnosed (sensory processing disorder) but has sure as heck been given a pass for all sorts of crap behavior and lack of life skills. She has an "I can't do that" attitude which is both heartbreaking and frustrating, so I try and challenge her to do new things. But she's always insisted on doing stuff her own way (half *ssing it) while expecting applause. Not from me. I am NOT going to infantilize a 14-year-old child who I KNOW can do better. (I've seen it.)

I'm not big on physically admonishing a kid (though if I had smashed balls, I might have a different opinion) but I have one hell of a God Voice, and I use it. I try not to put her down, but I also insist she stop her fake babytalk BS and endless five-year-old goofy questions "if you were a cat, would you want to watch TeeeeveeEeeeEEEEeeeee?" (giggle giggle giggle fake laugh)

"I don't know, but if I were a 14-year-old high school Freshman (like she's going to be in September) would I think that you're being annoyingly immature right now?" 

When she leaves here at the end of each summer, she's vastly improved. her skills, self-awareness, and composure.. with absolutely no progress when she's at her BMs. 

Dizzyjell's picture

They will keep not believing it is true. It won't matter at all what you think or say if they are not on board. I have a severely autistic and low functioning stepkid who is 11 and only last year did her hcbm finally accept the diagnosis after it was out in writing. There is nothing normal about my Stepkid's behaviors. Both of her parents think she will grow out of it and get better  Autism doesnt go away . I got to the point where I really just am drained from being around sk and all the chaos it brings. I left this week. Being a stepparent is hard. Being one to a kid with autism is 100x harder. Especially when the parents are living in fantasyland as to the severity of the issues. Even disengaging did nothing for me. I was completely miserable. 

Lady Tea's picture

I believe my BF's son is on the mild side of the autism spectrum.  I have thought this even before the day I met him when I would be on the phone with his dad. I could go on and on with a list of signs from over the years.  He will be 22 yrs old this year and was never given a diagnoses despite having been in special education classes since around 1st grade but not under autism, it was for inattention and speech difficulties. Which if you know about autism goes along with the characteristics.  Over the years I have tried to approach the subject many times but was met with anger and denial. Both bio parents are in denial but I'm glad he is functional and is able to hold a job.  He is still socially awkard, few friends, no girlfriends yet and I'm not surprised.  Autism is not something you grow out of but just like anyone without a disability you change and develop as a person.  Oh and I work with children with disabilities, but of course I'm never asked for my professional opinion on this matter.  I have dealt with it over the years by trying to coach my BF on how to talk and teach his son using strategies that I use with the autistic children I work with.  I just don't use the "label" so no one is angry.  Its sad, but he is doing okay, the saddest part is that i believe he is capable of more but the bio parents have kept him like a child instead of pushing him and challenging him to grow.  And because he never had a autism diagnosis, he never had services to address his social skills needs.  He passed his drivers license test, I taught him to drive even though I knew he wasnt ready because the mom was pressuring him, but he does not drive and the mom has stopped pressuring him to but at least he holds down a job close by that he can get to without driving.   I really hope in your situation they will see past thier denail and get to acceptance so that they can get him help.

Dizzyjell's picture

My sd is 11 and has autism along with a ton of behavioral issues, with her diagnosis measuring at a child of age 2 or 3. Her parents, too, think she will grow out of it some or improve, get better. They do not see things objectively and view her thru rose colored lenses. I've seen therapy after therapy done with her with little to no improvement. I've been saying for years now that she requires way more care than any of us cam provide  (she is quite severe on the autism spectrum and will require lifelong care). I , too, became  resentful. It was very clear her parents and I were living 2 different realities. The impact of her issues in our home and relationship ship were many. Over time, I just couldn't deal with it and decided I didn't want to live like this anymore. I left. I do not regret it. I read so much about parents of these kids who really do not accept what is real about this. Who are in denial. I appreciate coping skills but hope isnt a strategy. I grew so unhappy over time. Sending you hugs. It is not easy. Steplife is already complicated, then you throw autism and other issues on and it seems insurmountable.  I left.

Tammy1's picture

I have a special needs daughter and married a very patient man thank God.  My first husband passed away and her grandmother within mos of eachother.  Needless to say my child was feeling abandoned and was acting out.  In walks my husband and of course didn't fully understand all of my daughter's limitations and feelings.  No one could be expected to.  I took her to counseling, physical therapy, occupational therapy and anything that I could to get her on track.  During all of that, my husband and I had fights...major fights and one very brief seperation.  The only way we got through it was: Counseling for the entire family.  Establishing what is and what is not acceptable behavior.  Finding my daughter's "currancy".  The last one was really key.  It sounds cruel but my daughter loves music.  I bought her a raido because it was her currancy.  That was the one thing I could use to get through to her.  When she acted out, I removed the radio.  Later it was her computer, tv and so on.  

By the same token, as the mom of a special needs child I will say that not everyone is cut out to parent a kido with multiple issues.  If you fall into that box, don't feel guilty at least you're honest with yourself.  Staying in their lives only to leave years down the road makes it 10x's worse.  

Counseling only works if everyone is involved.  That includes all parents, siblings and so on.  It needs to be a group effort.  

OnlyHuman's picture

Living with and trying to aid in managing a child and/ or young adult  On The Spectrum (Auspergers in my SS19 case) is exasperating, exhausting and leaves me on edge constantly.   

When my Husbands' son was 6, officially diagnosed with autism (high functioning), I was a nervous nelly then (his behavior drove me crazy!!!). I began worrying then, will he ever be independent??  

He came to live with us 5 years ago, when his mother was on hospice (she subsequently passed a year ago).   He's now going on 19, will graduate HS in 2 1/2 months, and is no where near operating on an independent level, despite being bright and capable of so doing much more. 

I will opt to end the marriage before living in this craziness if he doesn't move on somehow, and soon!  Will that be easy for me?  No...but living in this stress filled environment (complicated by my own grief with loss of family and now trying to care for my elderly mother who also lives with us) is taking a toll. 

Your efforts to help your SK is admirable.  You have youth on your side, however, and I hope you'll do what's in YOUR best interest so that you can find joy in life.  Doesn't seem like its to be had where you are. 

Rags's picture

It is never a good choice to sacrifice yourself on the alter of SParental martyrdom to a toxic Skid and the idiot breeders who refuse to effectively parent.

Whether the Skid is on the specrtum or not.

IMHO of course.