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jbosley81
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Location: Brantford, Ontario, Canada

28 Sep 2016, 9:08 pm

Hi all!
I'm new to this forum, but have been creeping some posts the last little while. I'm the step parent to an 8year old high functioning autistic boy. I've only been in his life for about 2 years, so relatively new at this! My step son was just diagnosed last year, as I knew almost right away he wasn't like other kids his age. It's been a battle....some things have improved but the biggest thing is he refuses to do his work in class. He's in a normal public school in grade 4. Any advice would be amazing!

Another issue I'm having is that his father and I have been discussing the possiblity of having a child together in the future, and all I keep thinking is if it's this hard...do I really want a child? I feel like an awful person saying this... but would love some opinions. Especially if you have an autistic kid and then had another one....



Twilightprincess
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29 Sep 2016, 6:56 am

Does he say why he won't do his work in the classroom?

My little guy sometimes gives the teacher a hard time when he's supposed to be doing something involving fine motor skills. He has a delay in that area and really struggles to do the work and his hand will hurt from the exertion. Does your stepson have any delays?



somanyspoons
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29 Sep 2016, 5:10 pm

Parenting is the hardest job on earth. I really am convinced its true. Here's the thing, parents don't do it in isolation. You shape and mold the child of course, but they also shape and mold you. Holding a baby releases neurochemicals that allow us to handle more boredom and frustration. Bonding hormones flood us with a sense of well being. Parents have the ability to do things that seem impossible because their child is changing them to be able to do so. So, I say go for it. Yes, it will be hard, but most people who have had a child report that they find the rewards to outweigh the hardships.

Also, you don't know that your child will also have special needs. Yes, there is a genetic link, but its like 10%, not 100%. I have one brother and he is NT as all get-out. Besides, once we got past elementary and middle school age, guess who became the easy child - me! My brother was out making all sorts of NT trouble. I was a good responsible child who always made curfew, maintained her own grades, never got drunk or high, and generally made life easy on my parents. My brother... well, lets just say again that he was a pretty normal teen/young adult. If memory serves, he spent large portions of his highschool and collage years on probation for one thing or another. But he's fine now, too. We do grow up. He's even got two kids of his own.



jbosley81
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Location: Brantford, Ontario, Canada

29 Sep 2016, 8:38 pm

Thank you for the replies and support!

I am not sure if he has any delays no one has really told us. He had a test through the school and he was average or above in everything but math. He won't say why he won't do work in class... sometimes he says it's because he doesn't get enough help. But we know he gets help, not sure how much though. It's frustrating! Sometimes it's even a huge battle at home of him arguing and wasting time instead of doing it. The stupidest things make him freak...well stupid to us obviously. It's a battle at home to get the work done.

Parenting is definitely hard... I know my significant other says it will be different when it's my own child...but sometimes my step son makes me so upset or frustrated I just want to cry. Not planning to add another child for a while.... not until we have more of this ASD thing under our belts.



somanyspoons
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29 Sep 2016, 8:58 pm

jbosley81 wrote:
Thank you for the replies and support!

I am not sure if he has any delays no one has really told us. He had a test through the school and he was average or above in everything but math. He won't say why he won't do work in class... sometimes he says it's because he doesn't get enough help. But we know he gets help, not sure how much though. It's frustrating! Sometimes it's even a huge battle at home of him arguing and wasting time instead of doing it. The stupidest things make him freak...well stupid to us obviously. It's a battle at home to get the work done.

Parenting is definitely hard... I know my significant other says it will be different when it's my own child...but sometimes my step son makes me so upset or frustrated I just want to cry. Not planning to add another child for a while.... not until we have more of this ASD thing under our belts.


Honey, if you get ASD under your belt, you will have found a million dollar idea. (Please don't be offened. I'm just poking a little friendly fun here.) Seriously, you can't have ASD under your belt because its your step-son's neurological makeup. And as a member of the human race, he is always going to have challenges and hardships. ASD just gives you a little direction about where those challenges are. He's likely going to be a little bit beyond the curve of normal expectations in several areas of his life. You're never going to have it under control. You can't without being super abusive and managing his every little moment.

As for not wanting to work at school, that's an easy one from our point of view. It is likely some combination of sensory issues (The classroom being too bright, the kids being too loud, etc...) and executive functioning disorder. You should probably read up on executive functioning supports. As the mother of a child who is autistic and more academically able, executive functioning is likely to be your biggest concern with helping him move forward. The thing is that children with this often just stop. They don't know what to do so they freeze. Some autistic people shutdown all the way - they stop communicating with the outside world. Some of of us simply "refuse" to do any work. I put refuse in quotes because it implies that they have a choice. they don't. They aren't able to get started.

You're not meant to do this stuff alone. You're meant to work it through with his special education team. That's what IEP meeting are for. If he doesn't qualify for an IEP, you can get a 504. Please ask if you need more information.



eikonabridge
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01 Oct 2016, 9:48 am

jbosley81 wrote:
Another issue I'm having is that his father and I have been discussing the possiblity of having a child together in the future, and all I keep thinking is if it's this hard...do I really want a child?

The reproductive right is perhaps one of the most important human rights. Each person is sovereign on his/her decision. There are people that choose to have dozens of children (69 is the world record), there are people that choose to have none. We as a society just don't interfere.

That being said, there are plenty of happy families with happy autistic children. Matter of fact, I don't know how to raise a neurotypical child. We have been babysitting a 2-year-old neurotypical nephew now and then, but it takes me some effort to adjust myself to interact with him. I find it awkward to interact with neurotypical children, they are so different from myself and my two children, in so many ways. I find it much more fun to raise autistic children. Take the word from my wife (she is neurotypical). She said, if she has a choice to do it all over again, she would still choose to have autistic children. Seriously, it's a lot more fun, and heartwarming. Precisely because autistic children are different, it makes you feel very special. Autistic children are simply amazing.

That being said, we have raised our children the autistic way. If you choose to behave like most parents out there and only want to delegate your parental duties to third parties (including therapists, schools, drugs and tablet devices), you will not find any of joy we have had with our children. If you are the type of person that asks: "but where is MY life?" then you will probably not be a good parent for an autistic child.

The silver lining is that technology is improving fast. Also more and more people are understanding autism. Things are getting easier with each passing day. Autism is not a new thing. If I am correct, it has been with us for 50,000 years, and it's what has made us different from animals. Autism brought us civilization. Autism has always been something intended by Mother Nature. She is smarter than all of us. With the arrival of the Technological Singularity (including mutants, robots and soon ETs), autistic children are uniquely suited to become the masters of our future. To me it's all part of the plan of Mother Nature. Whether you choose to join this ride into the future, or stay behind, it's your choice. It's a competitive world out there. There is no room for self-pity.

Quote:
the biggest thing is he refuses to do his work in class.

Nowadays I pay less and less attention to behavioral issues. Try to handle this type of issue to your best effort. But behavioral issues are not what you should worry about. For focusing all too much on day-to-day behavioral issues, parents neglect to develop the intellectual capability of their children. If a child is properly developed, all those behavioral issues will disappear, when they grow up. You worry about academics? If a child is properly developed, what the school teaches in a year, he/she will be able to catch up in a week. Develop his strengths outside school. What do I teach my children? Let's see. I am teaching my 3rd-grader daughter advanced music theory: that includes adapting chromatic solfège in the presence of modulation, if you know what that means. (Ehem, I have no prior music theory training, I had to learn or re-invent these things along the way.) She taught herself to play electronic piano with both hands. My 1st-grader son has written Python program when he was 5 years old, had assembled all sorts of advanced electronic circuits. I can guarantee you that my children are not savants: they are just your ordinary autistic children. I told my son's teacher and the school's principal: I have zero expectation about my son's academic performance in school, that's not my concern. I know who my son is, I know what his brain is capable of. Preserving my children's creativity and their happiness is my priority. School academics? Nahh... whatever the school can teach, it's all just extra bonus. I am not counting on schools for the development of my children. I work with my children's school(s), and greatly appreciate the extra miles that most of these teachers put in. BUT, I know my children, and they are my responsibility. Schools are there to help, and I am always grateful. But I don't delegate my duties.

While other parents have focused their energy on behavioral, social development, I have focused on developing the visual-manual intellectual capability of my children. While other parents go on frantic search for outside resources, I looked into myself and learned new skills so that I can help my children develop. Nahh... as more and more people are realizing: the children don't need to change. It's us, the adults, the parents and educators, who need to change.

I treat my children with reverence and respect, for one very simple reason: their brains are better than mine. And that's the same way I treat every single autistic child out there: reverence. It's probably hard for outside people to understand why I treat those children that others see as having behavioral issues (or simply as "mentally ill") with such a high degree of respect. Very simple. Because that would have been the way how I would have liked to be treated, when I was a child. And you wonder why my children are always happy and smiling, and why so many teachers have fallen in love with them? Ha!


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