My 17 yr old with autism is cyber stalking girls

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pvj
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16 Aug 2016, 4:23 pm

ASDMommyASDKid wrote:
Don't blame yourself. You can only do what you need to at the time.

As far as the friendship goes, I think unfortunately, the girl's mother is right about refusing access. Based on your description of what is going on, I think he will interpret any little thing from a smile or less, to meaning more than it does. He is going to be controlled by his wishful thinking.

Hopefully his therapist is working on this from a cognitive approach in someway. Knowing about wishful thinking bias and other cognitive disconnects might have him get some insight into what he is doing.

I wish I had something more constructive to offer.


Thanks for the feedback. I agree - any contact is going to be either misconstrued or cause rage because it's less than what he wants.

Since I last posted he's been staying with his dad with no access to phone or internet. He's gone to school yesterday and today. He called me from any phone he could get his hands on yesterday to try to come back home but I didn't answer and let the his counselor and aide know what was going on. They reported that he's been doing well at school.

Unfortunately, contact with me is likely to drive him to hysterically begging to come back and so I need to stay away, which makes me sad but it's best for him.

I'm going to use intense in-home behavioral therapy with him once I decide to let him come back (or perhaps it will begin at his dad's house though he doesn't seem to need it there).

I think the entire way I've been parenting/allowing him to spend his time has been wrong or, at least, no longer working for him. I'm going to consult with the therapists but my feeling is that he needs to earn back the internet and phone and even at that be significantly limited in terms of time spent and social media sites. He's gotten into so much trouble on Facebook I'm inclined to completely disallow it for the time being. He's too slick with creating new profiles to not outsmart me if he has access.

I think I'll have to wipe his chromebook to set myself up as an administrator and put Facebook on the barred list. I hate to reset his computer but I don't think there's another way.

I'm not sure when I will let him come back home. As it stands I'm not safe with him - especially to do things like restrict social media or take away internet or devices - at worst he'll become violent, at best he'll lock himself in his room and refuse to go to school, take his meds, etc. He's very big and strong - nearly double my weight.

I feel very badly about casting my son out, for making decisions to placate him rather than figure out ways to assert boundaries and consequences. I did have some rules obviously but I backed down on anything that threatened to cause a meltdown. I was trying to keep him calm so he could get to school and work and just show up for his life. He's capable of discipline and patience at school and with other people - just not with me - I'm the fixer I guess.

I don't want to go back to living the way I was living - at his beck and call, at the mercy of his moods and meltdowns, having to drop work or get up from my sick bed for one tantrum after another, him going to school half the time and always late. I don't know how this is going to play out, when or if he'll ever come home, when we will get to a point where we can have contact without it upsetting him. I'm thinking maybe thirty days? Maybe after time with the behaviorists. We'll see.

Thanks everyone for being so kind.



InThisTogether
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16 Aug 2016, 6:56 pm

I am so sorry this is happening to you. I can hear your heartbreak and dismay in your posts.

You know, as parents, we do the best we can at any given time. Sometimes we look back and realize that we were right and we made good decisions. Other times we look back and wish we could do things differently. This has certainly happened with me before. Sadly, as parents of atypically developing kids, I sometimes think that we are conditioned to beat ourselves up even more than others, because most of us feel like we aren't just parents, we are protectorates and advocates. When we make a wrong choice, we feel we have failed that much more. I will be honest and say that it has crossed my mind on more than one occasion that I might be too indulgent regarding certain things...that I have advocated too much...that maybe I am making things worse. But the truth is, we will never know these things until they are in the rear-view mirror.

It's not helpful to let ourselves get stuck here. All we can do is figure out how to move forward. If you need space and time away from your son so that both of you are in a better place, that is what needs to happen. It is not weak or cowardly of you. It is strong and brave. The easier thing to do would be to let him come home and to continue to just try to make it through each day. It is much harder to come up with a plan and stick with it, no matter how hard it is and no matter how much it hurts in the short-term.


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16 Aug 2016, 7:03 pm

Often, kids behave the worst around people they trust the most. When they feel safe, they let out the stress they feel in other situations. When I worked as a special educator, it was hard because we had some parents with REALLY poor parenting skills. Things like not feeding them or berating them in public. The kids would behave around them, but really act up when they were alone with us. When we brought up their bad behavior in meetings, the parents would inevitably blame us, because they were "fine" at home. I'm just saying this because I think its important to remember that a child misbehaving around one parent or teacher doesn't always mean that that adult is doing anything wrong. Sometimes its the opposite.

I'm glad to hear that you'all managed to get him off the internet until he works through this. Law breaking 17 year olds become law breaking 18 year olds way too quickly.



rvacountrysinger
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16 Aug 2016, 7:08 pm

As a teenager, I got very fixated on a few girls and it was very intense. I think it has to do with getting "stuck" on something. I would take his internet away as someone else said, or restrict it. When I was a teenager, most people didn't have internet. I would call girls up frequently from school and fantasize about them , write poetry, etc. I didn't realize what I was doing was inappropriate. It was more than just a boy trying to get a girlfriend. It was obsession.



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17 Aug 2016, 9:54 am

rvacountrysinger wrote:
As a teenager, I got very fixated on a few girls and it was very intense. I think it has to do with getting "stuck" on something. I would take his internet away as someone else said, or restrict it. When I was a teenager, most people didn't have internet. I would call girls up frequently from school and fantasize about them , write poetry, etc. I didn't realize what I was doing was inappropriate. It was more than just a boy trying to get a girlfriend. It was obsession.


How did you get yourself out of that kind of thing?



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22 Aug 2016, 8:41 pm

pvj wrote:
Uncle wrote:
He is also at an age where his entire body is going through a very rushed transformation... So hormonal and testosterone levels could be through the roof and he might not understand whats happening to him or that his new adulthood biology has gone into a major kickdrive...Puberty can be tough for anyone and any sex, but as a guess it might be even more intensified with many on the spectrum due to their increased emotional states... A basic blood test might show the signs of this influx to his system and if they are elevated might be able to tone down the excessiveness of this new found bodily chemistry to levels he is able to cope with... It might not be that at all or it maybe as simple as that... Just my quick 5 cents! I hope things work out and can find a solution!, i understand more than you, realize!:)


Yes, I agree the testosterone may be a piece of this. I asked his psychologist - who specializes in autism - if she thought I could get him treated hormonally and she said doctors are loathe to do that in our state. Perhaps next visit to the psychiatrist, when he hears about how the current meds aren't curbing the behavior, will elicit some other options.

I'm not willing to go with risperdal, which has been suggested, because of the side effects of weight gain and gynecomastia. My son is already overweight, already has breasts and zero muscle tone due to hypotonia so the last thing I want to to do is exacerbate this - he's at risk for diabetes and heart disease now due to his weight as well as suffering the social consequences - I can't make that worse.

I hope they have other medical tricks up their sleeve because the non-medical side isn't working, he's not even willing to participate in therapy at this point or social skills groups.


I don't recommend him taking Risperdal either. Not only did it make me gain 50 lbs in the 6 months I was on it, I also had a lot of anger on it. I don't know if that would have the same effect on your son, but it would make the situation worse if it did.



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23 Aug 2016, 12:46 am

pvj wrote:
Thanks so much for your feedback. He's on a low dose of Zoloft - 50mg. He started on 25mg and that seemed to work beautifully but they upped it to 50mg. It's below a therapeutic dose for non-autistic folks.


Could Zoloft be part of the problem without you realizing it? My son is on Zoloft, and we've found that if he skips a pill (by accident - he tries to take them and is pretty good about it) there is a bounceback effect that is incredibly dangerous - we've been to the ER once, called police once (fortunately, we know our police department quite well and it was actually a good experience) and had a whole-family meltdown cascade once - all because of missing a dose. See http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-cond ... t-20047502

Might be worth asking your psych to step him down and try a different SSRI to see if that might be part of the problem.

ASDMommyASDKid beat me to most of the things I was going to say - I have shared that book (5 is against the law) with my teen; it's written to accommodate teens with cognitive impairment but worked with my son who is presumably not.

I'm also wondering if you can apply to your state for respite care: most department of human services in states offer it. It seems to me like you need some in-home intervention and a break!



pvj
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23 Aug 2016, 10:40 am

momsparky wrote:
pvj wrote:
Thanks so much for your feedback. He's on a low dose of Zoloft - 50mg. He started on 25mg and that seemed to work beautifully but they upped it to 50mg. It's below a therapeutic dose for non-autistic folks.


Could Zoloft be part of the problem without you realizing it? My son is on Zoloft, and we've found that if he skips a pill (by accident - he tries to take them and is pretty good about it) there is a bounceback effect that is incredibly dangerous - we've been to the ER once, called police once (fortunately, we know our police department quite well and it was actually a good experience) and had a whole-family meltdown cascade once - all because of missing a dose. See http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-cond ... t-20047502

Might be worth asking your psych to step him down and try a different SSRI to see if that might be part of the problem.

ASDMommyASDKid beat me to most of the things I was going to say - I have shared that book (5 is against the law) with my teen; it's written to accommodate teens with cognitive impairment but worked with my son who is presumably not.

I'm also wondering if you can apply to your state for respite care: most department of human services in states offer it. It seems to me like you need some in-home intervention and a break!


Thanks for the info on zoloft - I kind of feel like he got a bit more tense or hair trigger when they upped the dose. I'm seeing the doctor in two days. Of course he only started zoloft after he was aggressive and obsessive with young women for months - so it definitely didn't cause the aggression or other behavior. I just think it's not helping or adding more anxiety or something.

I do have respite but it's wonky really. The times the workers can come - in the evening - are almost always very mellow times for my son anyway and when I might be relaxing, watching tv, settling in for the night. I could really use help getting him to school and picking up and immediately after school - well, maybe what I really need is a few weeks off or regular intervals off. He spent a week with his dad following the latest meltdown and it took me several days to even feel functional again. I was pressured or guilted into taking him home early than I wanted to - he'd been doing well at his dad's and actually went back to work. I was afraid if his good behavior wasn't rewarded there might be a backlash, so I caved.

He's been home two days and is already threatening to kill himself, cyber stalking online and refusing to go to school and I already am out of patience - I didn't even get a full two days without incident.

I'm so angry and exhausted. I have four appointments this week alone related to his treatment. I can't work when he's home threatening to harm himself or runaway. I am going to have to once again resort to tricking him to get him back to his dads and this time he's staying there for 2-4 weeks.

He does better there even though he doesn't want to be there. That makes me feel like crap. He comes home and lapses back into hibernating in his room cyber trolling young women, obsessively checking this one girl's instragram account and then melting when he sees he's still blocked. All his bad habits are located here.

I've turned off the internet and phone so he can't do that anymore - but he's holed up in his room alternately crying, expressing anger and then being calm. I can't believe he's refused to go to school. He's been doing so well there and really enjoying it. I believe he may think if he displays his distress by sabotaging school and work it will force some desired result - like I'll make this girl come over and see him or something. It's like a giant tantrum on some level.



Last edited by pvj on 23 Aug 2016, 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

pvj
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23 Aug 2016, 10:41 am

goofygoobers wrote:
pvj wrote:
Uncle wrote:
He is also at an age where his entire body is going through a very rushed transformation... So hormonal and testosterone levels could be through the roof and he might not understand whats happening to him or that his new adulthood biology has gone into a major kickdrive...Puberty can be tough for anyone and any sex, but as a guess it might be even more intensified with many on the spectrum due to their increased emotional states... A basic blood test might show the signs of this influx to his system and if they are elevated might be able to tone down the excessiveness of this new found bodily chemistry to levels he is able to cope with... It might not be that at all or it maybe as simple as that... Just my quick 5 cents! I hope things work out and can find a solution!, i understand more than you, realize!:)


Yes, I agree the testosterone may be a piece of this. I asked his psychologist - who specializes in autism - if she thought I could get him treated hormonally and she said doctors are loathe to do that in our state. Perhaps next visit to the psychiatrist, when he hears about how the current meds aren't curbing the behavior, will elicit some other options.

I'm not willing to go with risperdal, which has been suggested, because of the side effects of weight gain and gynecomastia. My son is already overweight, already has breasts and zero muscle tone due to hypotonia so the last thing I want to to do is exacerbate this - he's at risk for diabetes and heart disease now due to his weight as well as suffering the social consequences - I can't make that worse.

I hope they have other medical tricks up their sleeve because the non-medical side isn't working, he's not even willing to participate in therapy at this point or social skills groups.


I don't recommend him taking Risperdal either. Not only did it make me gain 50 lbs in the 6 months I was on it, I also had a lot of anger on it. I don't know if that would have the same effect on your son, but it would make the situation worse if it did.


I've heard and read similar results from risperdal - it's really not meant for autism and it's being prescribed off label and causing all kinds of problems for people. I won't use that on him for sure. Thank you for sharing your experience.



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23 Aug 2016, 10:50 am

FYI, school refusal is the school's problem and should be in his IEP - and if they can't get him to go to school, they have to offer tutoring hours to make up for the school he's missed, so you should be getting help during the day.

You can't possibly manage all this yourself - do you have a SPED advocate? You are fortunate, in Arizona there are lots of resources. Call the number on this page and explain what is going on - this is an issue the school should be helping you with on all kinds of levels; it affects other kids, it's something he needs to be educated about, it is impacting his ability to go to school, etc. etc. http://www.azed.gov/special-education/r ... ce-in-box/

Do NOT feel like the school is doing "everything they can." Until this problem is resolved, they are not.



pvj
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23 Aug 2016, 11:19 am

Thank you for the link and info. I had no idea the school could help. He's been in private school up until this year.



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23 Aug 2016, 12:41 pm

UGH! I am so sorry that I didn't think of this first! Yes, the school is required to provide services - see the link below. (The ugh is that this should be stuff your local school district is telling you about!! !)

From http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/,root ... alBrief,17, The purposes of IDEA include ensuring that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.

Ask the school for help in writing. Email is usually sufficient.

At 17, he also should be eligible for "transition services," or at least be discussing them. They are (see website above) a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that:
* Is designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment); continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation;
* Is based on the individual child’s needs, taking into account the child’s strengths, preferences, and interests; and
Includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and, if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.

It also sounds like you need legal support: he is going to be eighteen soon - you should have a special needs guardianship if getting him to stay in school is a challenge.



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31 Aug 2016, 8:17 pm

I'm no doctor, but a change in medication might help your son control his emotions better. I used to have meltdowns all the time until my doctor put me on a medication called loxapine. It was originally designed to be used to help people with schizophrenia control their symptoms, but when it is used by people without schizophrenia, it quiets the emotions instead. I no longer have meltdowns and I'm a lot calmer and more rational than I used to be.

It was only after I started taking that medication that I became a successful adult. Honestly, it saved me. Might be worth looking into with your son before he gets into some real trouble.



pvj
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01 Sep 2016, 11:21 am

PuzzlePieces1 wrote:
I'm no doctor, but a change in medication might help your son control his emotions better. I used to have meltdowns all the time until my doctor put me on a medication called loxapine. It was originally designed to be used to help people with schizophrenia control their symptoms, but when it is used by people without schizophrenia, it quiets the emotions instead. I no longer have meltdowns and I'm a lot calmer and more rational than I used to be.

It was only after I started taking that medication that I became a successful adult. Honestly, it saved me. Might be worth looking into with your son before he gets into some real trouble.


Thank you for sharing your experience. I really help we are as lucky as you and find the right medication. I found out after our last dr's visit that my son isn't even on a therapeutic dose of his medication yet. They are ramping it up 25 milligrams at a time, once a month. He's currently on 75 but a therapeutic dose for OCD is 150. So it could be awhile before we get to where we know if this one is effective or not.

The Dr. said that people with autism can be more sensitive to meds so I'm guessing he wants to see if we can get results on a lower dosage.

It's only been about 5-6 weeks so far on meds so we have a ways to go.



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02 May 2021, 8:39 am

I sometimes have milder form of these behavior issues, but I try my best to control myself. Sometimes my dad takes my computers away when I use too much internet or text too much, not because I am grounded, but because he is worried that I might do something wrong when I text too much on the internet.

My dad explained why he sometimes takes my computers away, because I was not feeling well at the time.

My dad took my computer away when I was 19, so, in my opinion, my parent's responsibility does not end just because I am an adult, because I have Learning Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD and Bipolar Disorder.

My parents are going to sign up for conservatorship for me soon.



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04 May 2021, 8:06 pm

(I'm aware that this thread is 5 years old and the OP's son is now 22.)

This thread kind of hits home for me, since I used to do something similar during my high school years. While I didn't cyber-stalk girls in the true sense of the word, I did talk to try to look for a girlfriend online, and desperately so. Oftentimes, that devolved into a rescue complex: I looked for girls who said they were going though life's troubles, and tried to help them by giving advice, hoping one of them will want to date me. (Sound familiar? ;)) The internet was quite new at the time, so people's fascination with the medium was strong and their online attention span was excellent. People would chat with each other online for months just because.

The "date acquisition" channel I used was Yahoo Chat. (1997--2012, RIP) It had lots of girls my age, and a decent number of them lived a few hours or less from me. So I jumped on Yahoo Chat like sharks on blood, desperately looking for a girl who'd like me. I targeted location-specific chat rooms the hardest, although I also dabbled with "teen" or "romance" rooms.

I remember one time I almost got myself in a comical, yet dangerous situation. A girl I was chatting with for a couple months lived about 150 miles from me; she admitted to "liking me a lot", and we once chatted about how nice it would be to meet. Well, 150 miles is far, and I didn't have a car. "Aw, shucks!", right? Wrong!! The resourceful son of a gun that I was even back then found out that her town had an Amtrak station, and so did the city I lived in. I truly believed I could pull it off meeting her, because I've been riding public buses to my city's museums since I was 13.

So I put two and two together, and started looking into buying train tickets. Well, that Amtrak line runs only 1 daytime train a day, plus it would take an insurmountable amount of effort to do it behind my parents' back. (I was 16 or 17 at the time.) So the meeting never panned out. That was for the best! When Google StreetView came about a few years later, I looked up her town. I learned that its Amtrak station was NOTHING like the nice comfortable historic station in my city. It was a glorified bus stop shelter that looked like crap, in an industrial area with a car repair shop, a grain silo, and a post office. The nearest reasonable diner to have a date in was about 5 miles away. Whew! I can only imagine the cluster**** that would have unfolded if I tried to ride an Amtrak train to meet that girl.

I'm basically posting this as a cautionary tale. While Yahoo Chat Rooms are long gone, and today's teens have a fraction of the online attention span the Millennial teens had, it's still a good cautionary tale.