19 year old son: Finding job and place to live

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poptart1964
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08 Jan 2010, 12:16 pm

My son is 19 1/2 and is attending a technical school in the automotive program. His social life is Modern Warfare. No other interests. Never had a girlfriend. Have found porn on his computer and he "borrows" my lingerie.
Mark can go from 0-100 in a second flat when it comes to anger. Scary at times.
My main question is: What resources will be available to him if/when he finishes technical school? My husband and I cannot stand him living at home for too much longer.
What can he do if he is unable to hold down a job and live out on his own?
Is the military an option for him?
He did go with a friend to talk to a recruiter for National Guard. After that, he asked his doctor to take him off his meds. He takes Lexapro and Risperdal. My husband and I have noticed his aggression/anger being worse since off meds.
We need answers and FAST!
Please respond!

Concerned Mom in GA



Gaya
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08 Jan 2010, 1:01 pm

Is he interested in the military? I don't think the military would be an ideal setting for someone on the autism spectrum. I'm on the spectrum and I shudder at the thought. (Crowded settings, people shouting orders at me, getting up at the crack of dawn after little sleep, etc.) If he's interested though, I say he should go for it. Just because it's something people on the spectrum typcially wouldn't like doesn't mean he should avoid it if he's truly enthusiastic about it.

The best thing to do would be to find out what he's interested in doing and go from there. A lot of times people on the spectrum do well with jobs involving solitary work. If he doesn't want to work... well, good luck motivating him. Unfortunately it's very difficult to control people, autistic or not.

As for the porn... well. Porn is a pretty standard thing for people born in the 80s and 90s, especially guys. The lingerie I'm less sure of, although it isn't a behavior that's unheard of I'm sure. Some guys like to wear women's clothing, and may have been born the wrong gender. (check into gender dysmorphia).



poptart1964
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08 Jan 2010, 1:13 pm

Gaya, thank you for responding.
I think the interest in the military is due to the Modern Warfare stuff. Plus his friend told him about all the money he's saved while serving in the Guard.
I really don't know what he is doing with my lingerie. Well, the stains are obvious, but I'm not sure if he is wearing them or just using them as an "object".
Should I encourage him to try to get on disability? What is available for someone like Mark? His diagnoses are: Asperger's, depression, aggression when provoked, ADD.
He is really putting a strain on my marriage and as much as I love him, I think he needs to live elsewhere. I hope I don't sound uncaring toward my son. I am leaving out A LOT of details!

Others...please respond! Good or bad!



demeus
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08 Jan 2010, 1:39 pm

It sounds like your son graduated high school but needs transitional services. There may be an organization that can provide those services. I cannot help too much because I do not know where you are at. Your best start would be with social services. They can give the housing options available in your area, make a determination to apply for disability, vocational rehab services, etc.

As for the military, if he can get in and wants to, then I am all for that. He will have to learn to control his anger however. I tried to join the military in the early/mid 90's but was denied due to childhood records/issues. However, that was a time when recruiters and the military could be selective. Now with 2 wars going on and the military being less enticing, the recruiters may not be as selective.

For other work, if he does not want to work, you cannot make him. It is so easy to get fired from a job that it would be an exercise in frustration on you, him, your family, and the employer.

The porn should not be too much of an issue being that he is 19 1/2 as long as it is legal stuff (no kiddie porn for example). You may want to try to talk to him about the lingere however to see what is happening. You could also tell him that it is not ok to take other people's clothing.

Finally, you need time with your husband to work on your marriage without your son present. You can check with social services to see if they provide respite care to give you that time alone or work with your church. Of course, this assumes that your son is not independent enough where you can leave the house for a couple of days on a trip.

I wish you the best of luck.



visagrunt
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08 Jan 2010, 2:25 pm

He may be contraindicated for military service. The narrative you put forward suggests to me that his request to be taken off his meds was related to a recruiting bar for people who are reliant on medication for mood disorders. (I don't know this to be the case, but it seems to me to be logical).

I think priority one has to be getting him through school. Without a qualification, his employment prospects are marginal. With a trade qualification, he will have a much stronger scope for success.

Priority two should be getting the military issue resolved one way or the other. Even if he is off his meds, there is no assurance that he would be found medically fit for service. The sooner that card is off the table, the easier it is to look at other options. If, on the other hand, he is medically fit for service, then I don't think there is any harm is seeing if this will be a successful option for him. If he washes out in Basic or AIT, he will still have a trade qualification to fall back on.

Priority three would then be prospects for independent living. It has to be understood that the life changes that involve the greatest stress are changes in family status (both positive and negative), changes in employment and changes in residence. Piling on both a change in employment and a change in residence one after the other might present too significant a stress level.

While it is a strain on you and your husband, taking a longer view about getting him settled into employment before getting him settled into independent living might serve his long term interests better. If there are supports out there for you to cope with these transitions, they might be more productive.


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08 Jan 2010, 2:52 pm

Hi, I am 41 years old and am diagnosed with classical autism. I also served a brief stint in the military. If the military will take him, it might be a good option, but the military does not go as far as it used to in order to mold men. Like everywhere else, it expects people to be practically molded in their (the military's) favor. If, however, the military knows he has been taking Risperdol, then it is highly unlikely that the military would take him.

From the information I have about your son, I can see two options. The first option is to try to get him on disability or SSI. I am politically opposed to such programs due to the fact that it goes against the U.S. Constitution. But by receiving SSI, he will be able for other forms of help as well. This includes government subsidized housing, help with paying power bills, food, and other necessities. A group home setting may also be good for him. I recommend going this route in order for him to receive financial help that he may need. If he has never worked, has a long history of being on medications such as Risperdol, etc, there is a pretty decent chance that social services may be willing to get involved.

The other option can go along with the first. This option is the "for us by us option." It involves locating other families similarly affected by autism where resources, etc can be shared and where families can teach and learn from each other. I am a volunteer instructor with an Autism Education Center. I teach a class that is called the "fix It" program. I have years of experience programming, repairing, and designing computers and electronics. My program is unique in the fact that it does not offer any college or vocational credit whatsoever, but rather teaches students real world knowledge and skills necessary in order to open a home based business. All of my students are on the autism spectrum but are generally higher functioning than myself. I believe that for such a program to work, it has to be taught by someone on the autism spectrum or at least familiar with how autistic people generally think. This is something that you and other families affected by autism will have to put together. If some of the students or teachers are really good at providing such a useful service (computer, automotive or other repair service), customers will come. Once my students learn enough to start repairing items and enough business comes in, the grades will be a part of the profits realized from repairs made to customers' equipment. It is my hope that my students will be able to have the confidence that comes from the knowledge and money that they have picked up while being a student of mine. Setting up such a program is difficult, but with enough families involved, it should be worth the effort

These are not easy answers, and I wish I had easy answers but I cannot think of any. NT group group dynamics is generally ruthless towards any one who is obviously different. It is better, if possible, that your son be around Aspie or Autie role models and peers that have "been there and done that." Not to put NT's (neurologically typical people) down, but most NT's have very little clue as far as our abilities, disabilities, etc. are concerned. Being around successful or semisuccessful autistic people may be one of the best things for your son.


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zer0netgain
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08 Jan 2010, 3:04 pm

1. Military is likely a very bad idea. If he doesn't adapt well, the result can leave deep emotional scars that impact everything from that point forward. Military doesn't care about YOUR issues. Besides, if he's been on meds, odds are that will disqualify him from serving.

2. Let him be with his social life. If he has AS, he's not going to seriously pursue what does not interest him. The most you can do is encourage him to try new things.

3. His anger will pose an issue. If he has AS/autism and it's related to that, not much other than meds might help him regulate the tendency. A good therapist might help him manage it so it does not pose needless problems. I have a short temper and anger issues, but I've learned to do much to control them, but it's still there.

4. Employment and being self-sufficient. That's the hardest issue. If he can't interview well and get a job, he'll never get a good job, and if he does, behavior issues could keep him from keeping it. If he can document his disability, he's in a Catch 22 situation. Disclosure of a disability brings a high chance of not being considered for a job and proving discrimination is very hard to do. Not disclosing and poor interview skills = low chance of getting hired. More so, while one can hope to get hired, wait for a problem to develop and than invoke the "disabled" card, the ADA only mandates "reasonable accommodation" which is whatever the employer thinks counts. If inappropriate outbursts of anger make it impossible to work with someone and working with someone is a necessity of the job, no amount of accommodation will solve the problem.

Hence, I think your son needs to deal with a therapist who knows how to deal with his condition to help him get along with others well enough to give him his best chances at being self-sufficient. He might resist this "help" but if he does nothing about it now, it will cost him later. Most of us who are there now wish we knew about our condition before a lot of painful mistakes/incidents happened out of ignorance.



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08 Jan 2010, 5:09 pm

If you believe the military interest is largely influenced by the computer game fixation, then he's probably developed a distorted view of the military and will surely be disappointed if he pursues that path. This also suggests a certain level of nativity and recklessness by him which can only be addressed in time with your support and mature guidance. And if he is easily influenced then I can think of better things for him to do than playing COD:MW to counter his aggression...

I think for his long term well-being you should guide him into thinking about careers best suited for aspies, which take advantage of his strengths/knowledge (see this forums threads for examples) and encourage him to be independent, but you shouldn't pressurize him to do anything. It may take some time for things to work out and it may be hard on your marriage - but you and your spouse must accept it's one of the burdens of raising a difficult kid with AS.

Do you know if he's watching a lot of porn? You should encourage him to spend less time on his pc.



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08 Jan 2010, 8:52 pm

I am 19 with depression, autism, ADD, aggression when provoked and undiagnosed bipolar disorder. :x

I feel that it's time that Mark (am I right) live elsewhere. If he cannot live alone, then just send him to another place that provides better support for his conditions. If he cannot live independently without you and your husband (it's also the case for me) who will take care of him forever? What's more, you said you need to work on your marriage, which is 'strained' by the stress of taking care of him. It's not just leaving your son aside, let us see it as ensuring that your son will be well taken care of by people who have the expertise to 'look after' him. If my native country has similar social services and living arrangements for people like me to live away from my parents (like group homes, living communities etc), I think my parents would love to have me in the program.

If this means he has to take the SSI, so be it, it will help him better to deal with his life.

I used to have the same lingerie problem. I think most probably, he is trying to use them as an object to show that he's really a straight guy. Cool.

Perhaps he could try the military if he can, because this would be a good way he can contribute to the country. I know a few Aspies who also served in the military, too. He will just need plenty of help to fit in there.


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09 Jan 2010, 1:11 pm

Talk to him about the anger, but let the pornography be (relatively normal).

Might there be bullying in the technical program? When I went to college, a "prestigious" state college, there was a fair amount of bullying in the dorm. I later decided, that unlike my high school, these guys hadn't known each other every since junior high, so there was the posturing and hierarchy, not so different than if we were a pack of chimpanzees.

A little coaching might have gone a long way, but looking back at it, there really was not a mature adult present. The senior assigned to be the "RA" was largely absent, plus he had his own anger issues when present!



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09 Jan 2010, 2:33 pm

My father has had serious anger my entire life.


I remember one April morning when I was in 11th grade (age 17) and was hurrying to get ready for school and make the bus. My Mom wrote a note for me being absent two days ago. She said, "Make sure to give it to them this time." I said, "I will, I will."

My father who was in the living room stepped right next to me, and said "Don't say it twice. Say it once AND DO IT!" And he thrust his finger into my abdomen, and he tried to hook his finger.

I stepped away. Good survival instincts.

I said, "Don't hit me." (always struck me as somewhat pathetical)

I walked toward the front door, my Mom was coming from the study (my father did it in secret, just occurred to me, he committed the violence out of eyesight of my mother, and he was often mean out of her being a direct witness)

I had been combing my hair. As I walked toward the front door, I threw down the comb as a protest, as in no business as normal, as in the seriousness of the situation way trumps normal and being well-groomed.

My Mom focused on that. She often focused, following my Dad's meanness and including his violence, that the problem was that I was upset.


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And my father would try to "neutralize" and in some way equalize blame. In a way, he would feel so guilty that he was almost incapacitated. That instead of making simple plans to better handle the situation next time.

His plan was never to get angry again!

He frequently came back to that. And as a plan, that is insane. Anger is part of being a human being. Even though a lot of it was all the misdirected issues between my Mom and my Dad, and my Dad not getting what he thought he was ?entitled to from my Mom (she's Aspie, she can't give him it in any case, plus he bullies her), but you can't just turn it off. If you have a lot of anger, rational, irrational, anywhere in the middle, . . it's all a question of how to handle it.


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'It's okay to say ___________________________. Please don't say some of that other stuff. It's hurtful.'
Spell it out as clearly as you can the positive side, what you'd rather your son say.

'Please do not approach me when angry. You may not intend it as a threat. But it feels like a threat. . . '
You might say, please stay where you are. You might say, it's okay to shout, or it's okay to pound the table, pound a surface. You need to think this out ahead of time, but what you're trying to do is preach a positive. You trying to clearly say how you would like to be treated.

A person cannot wish away severe angry, whether it's irrational, long ago, dispropotionate, whatever, you still cannot wish it away. Again, how to handle it.


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Exercise might help you son. After getting angry, go out and take a good long run. But that largely needs to be his decision.