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HELP!! Stepson with autism spectrum disorder

unsure about step parenting's picture

OK. I'm not a stepmother. I'm a significant other to someone who's son has an autism spectrum disorder. His mother says he's high functioning, but he's not very verbal. He is super loud aNd doesn't listen to meat, or anyone bUT his father. I am watching him while his father works 9 hours a day since he's here for the summer. I have a 5 month old with his father. His son is so loud early in the morning and doesn't seem to care that his half sister is sleeping still. He doesn't listen and honestly I think he my also have adhd. I don't know what to do or how to address this to my boyfriend cause he tells me all I say is "negative things" about him. I honestly don't though. I just tell him the truth about his bad behavior and not listening. I'm at my wits end. Any suggestions???

motherof_2plus1's picture

First off i'm so sorry that this has been dropped on your lap, totally not fair.

Was this something you agreed to do or was it just put upon you?

He is not your child OR step child for that matter and its simply not your responsibility. If you BF cant understand that then maybe the issue lies with him.

unsure about step parenting's picture

Thanks for understanding. This has been extremely difficult on me and my bf tells me it shouldn't be. He thinks cause his 13 year old daughter is here too and she helps with him that things are simple. He doesn't realize how frustrated his poor daughter gets having to watch him.

mapitout's picture

Special needs people require special skills. It is not likely that you would have these skills unless you have had some training, education and background in these disorders. Consideration for a day support program with skilled caregivers is what you may need. Contact your local social services to get the ball rolling.

unsure about step parenting's picture

Thanks for your comments. I feel terrible that I'm at my wits end. It's just extremely frustrating and his father doesn't think it is hard at all.

Harry's picture

I am sure that SD would like to be hanging with her friends, not watching SS. You must realize that your SS is not going to get better, he will have to be care for the rest of his life. He may never be able to live on his own,

Lady Tea's picture

I work with children and adults with disabilities and I just wanted to add to this comment that he "may never be able to live on his own". Of course that could possibly be true but if the SD is truly "high functioning" then he would have a greater chance of being able to live on his own. Try to keep hope and keep independence as the goal. If there are things that you feel are within his ability to do then don't do them for him, make him do these things on his own. With guidance and patience he may be able to live on his own with minimal assistance. For example, if he got a job, even if it didn't pay very well he could rent a room and you may have to assist financially a little bit but this would allow him to be out of the parental house. You could find him a place close by and do check-ins on him a couple times a month to make sure he is okay. Similar to a social worker role but he would have some level of independence and he would not live with you, giving you more freedom and privacy in your own home.

notasm3's picture

As I am older I know several people who have had disabled children that are now in their 30s or older. Many of these have launched. Some with a lot of help. One lives in a group home - but he has a job and is so happy. His brother takes him "golfing" every weekend - he rides in the cart. All the guys love him.

Two people have placed their severely disabled children in residential homes - both are quite expensive. Lovely places with lots of services, but not everyone can afford these. These children are not "institutionalized" and forgotten. It's more like going off to college and happened in their late 20s. Family members are still very involved.

Another Down syndrome son lives in an independent apartment and has a job. He has a life coach that helps a lot. His family is still very involved with him.

This is not the institutionalization that existed in the 1950s when people just shipped away a child who was not perfect and forgot they ever existed. Today's programs if done right help that person to live the fullest life possible with their abilities.

I feel sorry for the children that are isolated and kept at home until the last parent dies. Believe me it's not pretty when a 50 year old "child" is moved from the only home they have ever known. Even when loving siblings try to step up the disabled person is often too distraught to cope.

Years ago many of these children did not live long lives. Today they most often do. A parent who makes no plans for their future is not doing the right thing.

unsure about step parenting's picture

I understand that he may never be able to live on his own. And with the,way things are going it's not helping him mature or develop any self confidence or be independent. He still gets a bottle of milk at naps and bedtime, won't go to sleep tonight night on his own and at,his mother's he sleeps in her bed.

unsure about step parenting's picture

I understand that he may never be able to live on his own. And with the,way things are going it's not helping him mature or develop any self confidence or be independent. He still gets a bottle of milk at naps and bedtime, won't go to sleep tonight night on his own and at,his mother's he sleeps in her bed.

unsure about step parenting's picture

His mother also doesn't discipline him very well. He runs all over the house and my SD tells me he does things he knows he shouldn't but he still does them all the time. I think he needs some behavioral therapy but his dad seems to think I just "pick on him." When I mention his bad behaviors.

Not_The_Mama_type13's picture

My husband also thinks I have a vendetta against his so called "autistic"son. I've given up. I hide in my room and I'm over it. I want to leave but it's super hard because I can't afford ti live on my own here. It too expensive

KH4573's picture

My DH also says all I do is "point out the negative" about his child (my SD) unfortunately bio parents tend to have tunnel vision when someone points out flaws of their kids even if the intent is with good cause so they can seek help. It's unfortunate but unless he's willing to acknowledge there is a problem there isn't much you can do!

AuSolomon's picture

No win situation. I have a VERY similar situation with a Teenage SS with ASD. His BM and BF have learned that the only way to have a reasonable relationship with their son is to ONLY focus on the positives. So, they have very low expectations of what he can do. On the other hand, I have 20 years of professional experience in disabilities, relationships, resilience and success training. I have implemented these strategies with my ASD daughter and she is uber-successful and a very happy young woman. So, my expectations are a bit higher. Not outrageously so, but higher. And I can tell you that I am in a losing position. I get told that I only focus on the negatives. I think he is HIGHLY manipulative and I STRUGGLE to like him most of the time.

So, I am learning to not engage. And believe me this is much more difficult than it sounds because I HATE watching a slow moving, avoidable, train wreck. I have seen this parenting approach happen many many times and it always ends badly for the child. And that pains me.

So, I live with that pain and frustration rather than end the relationship.

One strategy that has worked for me is that I now keep a daily diary...there are a number of columns.."What I did for SS." "When I let things go and didn't correct things." And each week I sit down with BM and SS and list ALL the things I did to further the relationship. While it doesn't fix things, it does reflect reality rather than their "paranoid" claims. All the best SOLOMON

KH4573's picture

Insightful reply and informative. Great idea on the daily logs.

Cilya80's picture

I need to ask, how old is your stepson and what services does he get for his ASD (CBT, Speech, any therapies at school)? If he isn't aware that his behaviors are bad, then he wont be able to correct them. Also, when you agreed to be in your boyfriends life, you also took on this responsibility knowing that it would be difficult.

What you should do is have a sit down meeting with both bio parents and try to come up with a plan and course of action about how to better help and care for your step son, and having his 13 year old sister help with him is not it. It causes undue stress on her, and she will end up resenting both of her parents and her brother the older she gets. That isn't fair to her.