Aspies' Failure to Launch - what are you supposed to do?

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cherrycoke
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27 Nov 2012, 10:32 am

The only input I have is: throwing someone out who cant/wont become independent is not likely to work. My parents threw me out, it didn't give me any boost to become independent, I was just homeless. It is the worst thing that can ever happen to a person.

If someone can't become independent from the comfort of their parents house, they sure as hell won't be able to from the streets. If someone won't become independent, the streets will make sure they can't. They can't get a job with no address. They can't clean themselves or clothes for interviews. They can't brush their teeth and won't have much left of them in a few years. Landlords won't go near them even if they can get housing benefit and a guarantor. Council housing waiting lists span over 10 years or more, I can't remember the specific statistics but the vast majority of homeless people will be dead by then. They exist in total isolation, unable to go into any part of society such as shops without being asked to leave. Those homeless in a city are assaulted weekly by drunk people and get woken up by people emptying their bladders on them, which they have no means to wash off. The chances of becoming an alcoholic and drug user to deal with the problem of existence are almost guaranteed as is developing a criminal record.

It baffles me that people even have this option in their head to put their children through. I figure it must come from a lack of understanding of just how dark the situation is and only think of things such as "they must be cold" when the cold is the least of worries. Family relations are likely to take a permanent blow.



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27 Nov 2012, 10:52 am

Uhh autism and aspergers is not defined by bad behavior in need of disipline. A lot of times its hard for people with autism to adjust to independent life or be successful due to their autism and potential co-morbid disorders. I suggest keeping that in mind. Its not a matter of improving behavior.

This is not to say one with aspergers cannot behave badly, but to place all the blame on them for not just getting over their symptoms for instance and treating it as a simple behavior issue is probably not appropriate. If they can't function well enough for a job or independent living or whatever chances are kicking them out would= homelessness and potentially death depending on what sort of situations they end up in.

If your child autistic or not is being abusive towards you or just a plain jerk then yeah I'd say do what you need to do, but not growing out of autism is not a matter of refusing to improve behavior autism is a life-long disorder that doesn't go away.



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27 Nov 2012, 1:32 pm

Lesley1978 wrote:
So I think it is wrong to criticize parents if their child is not performing well in some certain areas, and assume the parents have not been working on it. It is as bad as blaming the child in a way.


Hi Lesley. I read my post again but I still do not see what you see. I was not trying to criticize the parents. I just wanted to help the parent understand the kind of help her son needs to become independent. I was trying to make her answer those questions to herself. Because it is difficult for NTs to understand the kind of help a person with AS needs. It is difficult for us to understand they need to learn EVERYTHING, including all those little things we understand without even thinking about them. My mom never taught me how to cook a meal. I just learned looking at her. I am teaching to my AS daughter how to cook. I started early because I know it's gonna take a while. And I need to teach step by step. It took me time, reading and help to understand that concept, and I just wanted to make sure the parent did understand it.



Lesley1978
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27 Nov 2012, 7:16 pm

It is a sensitive topic for me b/c my aunt and uncle are often criticized for not teaching my cousin skills he "should" have. They are judged very harshly by some other relatives.

I think I see things that are not there sometimes.

Sorry about it.



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27 Nov 2012, 9:00 pm

I'm 28, have one more semester at school before I get my bachelor's degree in computer science, and although I'm living in student housing at school, where's my permanent address? My parents' house.

That's where I'll be living once I get my degree, while I look for a job. While I've heard that programming / math / other jobs in this field are in high demand compared to the general job market, I've still got my potentially off-putting mannerisms and competition that is far more willing to "stretch the truth" about their qualifications and experience than I am to contend with in the job market. Not to mention that network size and/or extroversion may secretly be 90% of the "grade" as far as attractiveness for the job is concerned... And I hear that after you've been in the job market a certain time you get discriminated against for that!! !

But should I be kicked out, expecting to just "make it" on my own? I will have no address, resulting in further discrimination against me in the workplace, and even with some assets getting any kind of apartment is unlikely, since no regular income = cannot pay rent long-term. That means I cannot keep myself clean AT ALL, and I don't think ANYONE has EVER been hired for ANYTHING who has not bathed or showered in a month!! !! ! Or a week, for that matter!! !! Basically, finding a job will go from difficult to impossible.


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MomofThree1975
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27 Nov 2012, 11:59 pm

Comp_Geek_573 wrote:
Not to mention that network size and/or extroversion may secretly be 90% of the "grade" as far as attractiveness for the job is concerned... And I hear that after you've been in the job market a certain time you get discriminated against for that!! !


I disagree with this. I work in IT. Most of the folks in my department have poor or non-existent social skills. Our senior manager tries a2 or 3 times a year to do some "group building" things with us and usually has a hissy fit since most people try to get out of it. We don't talk much during the workday except for the nod or so walking the halls. We all work mostly from home and come in 2-3 times a week. I think we are a pretty good group but I couldn't tell you much personal information about my co-workers. I think the most social part of our jobs is working on fixing a users problem so we do have to communicate there. To be honest, that's the highlight of my job, figuring out something. But over the years of interviewing, most of the questions were very technical in nature. I think only HR asked the "fluff" questions and they don't really matter anyway. Hiring managers hire employees, HR just makes sure you are who you say you are.



Ilka
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28 Nov 2012, 9:35 am

Lesley1978 wrote:
It is a sensitive topic for me b/c my aunt and uncle are often criticized for not teaching my cousin skills he "should" have. They are judged very harshly by some other relatives. I think I see things that are not there sometimes. Sorry about it.


I totally get you. I have been there. I have been told from "you just do not know how to handle your daughter" 'til "your daughter is spoiled". From teachers and relatives. Some know about the dx and my relatives just ignore me and change the subject every time I tried to tell them about it (my daughter was dx 4 years ago). And I do know how long it takes for my daughter to learn a new skill. That's why her therapist and us are working so ahead. She is only 12 and we are already planning on providing her the skills so she can become and independent adult. It's hard. It takes too long. And I HOPE we will get there eventually. You can only hope, because you never know for sure.



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28 Nov 2012, 1:13 pm

I think the tough love thing is really over-advised. I suppose it might work for those who really have the skills and choose not to use them, but IDK. I think society encourages moving out quite a bit and most people really don't like to be going by mom and dad's rules into adulthood. I think the ones who stay home (in most cases) do so out of necessity. There are some skills, confidence, something, keeping them at home.



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28 Nov 2012, 3:55 pm

Petals021 wrote:
I'm just wondering what kind of discipline is supposed to be appropriate for older - teen and college-age - aspies who don't adjust to independent life. Have any of you ever resorted to extreme measures like throwing your kid out of the house or cutting them off financially? Is that considered an acceptable way to deal with an aspie kid and does it ever improve their behavior? II haven't seen too many articles on how to deal with this problem, or if it is even considered a problem or just is the way aspie kids are. Do any of you have experience with this?
Thanks!


EDIT: My question seems to have been misunderstood. I'm not a parent asking how I should treat my child. I'm an aspie myself and I'm wondering what the conventional wisdom is, or what the current expert opinion is on this subject. If a parent today goes to the "experts" with the problem of a young adult child who has no interest in getting a job, for example, what will those experts tell them? I haven't seen any "official articles" on this subject so I wondered what the standard approach is. I actually did see some mention of the concept of 'training" the aspie kid and I wondered just what this involves, and whether "tough love" is any part of it.
Thanks for everyone's answers here; I'm sorry I didn't make my question more clear at the outset.


As to what advice parents might get when they go to an "expert", it totally depends on who that expert is. If it someone who believes like Dr. Ross Greene does (www.livesinthebalance.com) then they would be advised that kids (and adults) do well if they can and if they are not doing well its usually because they are lacking the skills to do well. Professionals who subscribe to this theory or something similar would not, I think, advise a parent to kick a son or daughter out of the house to see if he or she can sink or swim. Unfortunately, I think there are a lot of so-called experts out there who don't get AS and who might fail to take into account that it takes many spectrum folks longer to reach the stage where they are ready to be independent. Such a person might advise a parent to withdraw all financial support, etc. "Tough love" is a pretty slippery concept. Some might think of tough-love as setting boundaries, e.g. a parent might set a boundary that the young adult must take some steps toward finding a job each day or each week. The example mentioned above of volunteering could fill that requirement or taking some action like signing up for a job training class. There could be a consequence agreed upon if the son or daughter doesn't follow through like perhaps the parent would not pay for cell phone service for a month or something that would effect a want (e.g. cable TV) rather than a need (food and a roof over your head). Other folks might think of tough-love as something much more drastic like forcing the young adult to leave the parents' house. As others have said, I think this would be a grave mistake.



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28 Nov 2012, 4:18 pm

I think, also, that if your child is NT there can be plenty of other legitimate reasons for this being an issue. I don't know that there is a difference in the way you handle it, just that your expectations need to be tied to another issue than development.

Ask yourself why this is happening to this kid in this instance. I doubt it is because your child prefers to live with you rather than on his or her own. However, that is no reason for this adult child to take over your home and be waited on hand and foot: just like when our kids are small, we are the parents and have the right to set boundaries in our own home.

I think in one of the threads in the index there were some "experts" linked, or I seem to recall it out there somewhere. I think reading "expert" opinions sometimes gives you something to think about and a way to wrap your head around a problem and see how it applies in your case.



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03 Dec 2012, 9:58 am

The tough love thing did honestly work for me. I moved out at 18 and skinned my knees 57 million times while I was still close to the ground.

But there are a bunch of caveats. Daddy didn't by any stretch of the imagination kick me out. He told me that he loved me very much and I was always welcome at home, but it was time to move out, and he helped me do everything. Pick a trailer, set up utilities, the lot. I was home as often as I was in my trailer. I could always call with questions, or just to socialize. I was on my own, but definitely not all alone.

That said, even Daddy later said he did that because his sister told him it was the way things needed to be done, and that he kind of wished he'd done things differently (I think when I up and moved to Arkansas, he might have thought I'd gotten TOO independent).

The idea that children move out at 18 and that anything else is "failure to launch" is, historically and sociologically, an anomaly. Modern developed societies are the only cultures that have ever done that. Historically, you generally stayed with your parents until you married.

It makes sense from a lot of angles. Economically and ecologically of course it benefits both the family and society. Less consumption. Keeps relationships closer, reminds people of their interdependence, which makes for a stronger social fabric over all.

I think the idea that not moving out at 18-21 constitutes "failure to launc" is as ridiculous as the idea that people are a mass-produced commodity that should all adhere to standardized guidelines. Silly. A ridiculous idea that would have been dropped long ago if people did not conform to social pressures probably perpetuated by an ad culture created by the handful of people that stand to profit from increased consumption and a weaker social fabric.

Tell your folks I said so.


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03 Dec 2012, 11:16 am

More kids live at home these days past the age of 18. I think parents who toss their kids out when they are through with high school should not have kids to begin with. I see it as they don't want them around and were looking forward to being childless again and were counting down the days over the years. I think what is the point in having kids if you don't want them around and are wanting them to move out? If they were freeloading and not even trying to be independent and were blowing you off when you try and help them or abusing you or not following your house rules and they were out of control, then that is different and I can see why they would want to toss that kid out. I would do the same too as a parent if that were the case.

Plus some kids move back home when things go wrong so they need a place to stay. It has been happen in this poor economy. Plus some parents and adult children live together as family like I do. My in laws and sister in law all live together with her kids.


No way would the tough love thing worked for me if my parents threw me out. Instead they signed me up for Social Security and i did try looking for work and no one would hire me so my mom had to help me. Then someone was going to hire me but someone else decided to call me for an interview. So I went in and she decided she would try me and I'd be on work probation. So I didn't have to do that other job after all. I wouldn't have become independent with touch love. I am not sure what would have happened if I got thrown out. I wouldn't know where to go or what to do. Maybe be homeless or be staying at my grandparents house and live there for free until I try and get on my feet. Maybe it would have worked with me then because it be a fortunate I had grandparents nearby unless my whole family had a problem with me living there, so the tough love approach wouldn't have worked then. I know, look in the paper and see if any rooms in homes are being rented and I could have rented out a room and stay there. Maybe I would have made it even if it meant living in the car and no shower and I would have maybe be hungry all the time due to not eating much since food costs money to eat everyday. Then go and look for a job once I find a place to stay. Maybe it would have worked after all but I have to look at back then and I wouldn't have known what steps to take to be independent and would need help with it and without it, I would have been homeless and starve. Perhaps steal food or eat food from trash or eat left overs people leave on their plates. Hang out in restaurants to look for food left on plates after the customer leaves. wait until i get arrested and then be taken to a homeless shelter. Maybe I would have made it but hard to say but it would have been hard to survive and then get a home like a room to rent that's for sure and who knows what job I would have ended up getting and how the heck do you still get your disability if you have been kicked out of your parents home? You would need direct deposit and if your mother is your payee, then what? How do you still get your money? I would have no access to it to survive. I would have to steal food or eat from trash or dig in dumpsters at restaurants and how would I pay for gas since you need a car to get everywhere in Montana?

I am so glad my parents didn't toss me out when I was 19. My mother may have been tough love with me growing up but she wasn't always such as in this situation.


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03 Dec 2012, 12:02 pm

All this being said, I did start telling DS a few years ago that I expect him to live on campus when it's time for college, and after that some kind of place of his own. Not as a threat, but I am well aware that he needs a LOT of time to process change, and I want to make sure the expectations are known, even if we can't meet them and have to change plans.

As we get nearer to that goal and I see how able DS will be to make that transition, I plan to reassess that goal and if need be will explain to him that plans sometimes change, and we will set goals that make sense.

I also tell him that it is my and my husband's job to make sure he has all the tools he needs to live on his own, and I point out all the chores and things he is learning that help him towards that goal. That way, if we aren't there when we said we would be, I can point out that we didn't give him the right tools so he has more concrete goals.

I don't know that I would go the same route if we didn't have so many years to plan this, though. (I started this when DS was 10.)



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04 Dec 2012, 9:57 am

Yeah, you are going to have to be independent some time. Who knows-- someday, it may be you taking care of your folks.

That's the cannon-barrel I'm staring down now. I was not skilled enough to take care of myself, my kids, and my stepmom all by myself, and because of that I have lost her completely. My in-laws are rapidly coming to the place that they are going to need all kinds of help. I actually spent ten months living with them-- at first it was because I had just gotten out of the nut house and we needed to make sure I was going to be OK before I was alone with the kids for hours on end, but it quickly turned into me being needed there.

They're coming here because we are the only ones really in a place to help. "Oh, s**t. I've just gotten good at looking out for myself and my little ones. Time to raise the bar again."

Time to process does help. Try to break it down into steps-- maybe you will be lucky enough that you can ask your folks to help you. What do you need to do to be able to live on your own???

There is a great book called Life and Love: Positive Strategies for Autistic Adults. It is written by one of us, for us. If I had had it 10 years ago, it would not have taken me this long to get to where I am and I might not be feeling like I am hanging on to functionality by my fingernails like something out of a Warner Bros. cartoon.


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04 Dec 2012, 10:43 am

@BuyerBeware - contact your local Senior Services or Department on Aging. There are often services covered by Medicaid (if you're in the US) to help seniors live independently in their own homes. Meaning not your home.

No reason to push yourself over the edge if there is support available.