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TransitionMom
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07 Nov 2011, 11:46 am

My son was diagnosed at age 8. I spent from age 2 to age 8 combing the earth to find a proper diagnosis. Was thrilled when he got it because finally we had an answer. Studied, read, joined groups, started a group...did everything I could to become the best aspie's mom that I could.

Now....he is 17. I don't have a CLUE! He has never had a job. He wants one, but can't work up the nerve to go drop off his application. He doesn't want people to know about his dx, so I say nothing.

What is a mom to do? How do I transition him to adulthood? Do I go at his pace or push him? Where is the information for this transition? I can't seem to find anything! It's so hard. He is extremely bright, but not ambitious. He wants to do great things, but has no clue what he wants to do after high school (now in 12th grade).

HELP!! !! !! !! !! !! !! !! !! !! !! !! :?



Asp-Z
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07 Nov 2011, 11:53 am

I'm at that stage now myself. Is he continuing further education (i.e. college or uni)? Either way, you need to tell him there's nothing to be afraid of and maybe come with him and wait outside while he hands a job application in or something.



cjn
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07 Nov 2011, 4:30 pm

My son will be 15 in January and I have the same fears - so you're not alone. He doesn't have to have people know about his diagnosis does he? Has he prepared for a job interview? That's one of my biggest fear is my son would never get past the job interview but I honestly believe he could learn how to do it.

What kind of job does he want?

Could he volunteer somewhere first to "get his feet wet"? My son is volunteering with us at our local food bank (sorting cans, boxing up, etc.) just to get him in a "work" type environment where there are other people. It's been a good learning experience for him.

Fear is overcome by taking that first step - if he doesn't he will stagnate. Could you practice with him what to say when he drops off the application? Practicing before an unknown situation helps my son.



liloleme
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07 Nov 2011, 5:20 pm

I think it takes most Aspies longer than NT's to figure out what we want to do, then there are others who know when they are 6. I think you should go at his pace but you can give helpful suggestions and let him know that you can help if he needs you and if you see him struggling you can offer help but try not to push because he is going to push back. I think we all see the potential in our kids but they have to find it themselves and we have to let them be a waitress (or whatever) until they decide what to do. My daughters are both very talented in many areas but right now they are not doing much but making ends meet....however they are happy. My Aspie is not as happy as my other daughter but she is also ill right now so things are more complicated.

I learned not to push but to sort of stroke their ego like pointing out things they do and saying "you are so talented, I wish I could do that, imagine how much someone would pay for something like that"....ect. Instead of saying "you need to go to college and get a real job because you are going no where right now". My 21 year old daughter is happy and I have to be confident in the fact that she will do something when she is ready. Right now her and her boyfriend are taking care of themselves and that is a good thing. My 19 year old aspie is still working at getting things together but she has a more positive outlook than she had a year ago.

I just let my kids know that Im here for them and I will be proud of them no matter what they do career wise as long as its legal :lol: and they are happy. I know thats hard when you have aspirations for them but happiness and being comfortable at a job is most important to an aspie than what they do and maybe even how much money they make. I had a job that I was making a lot of money but it was very stressful and I was very unhappy. I changed jobs, took a pay cut but I was happy. I miss that job (cant work anymore due to chronic illness) but Im so happy I did it and have a lot of great memories.



Foxx
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08 Nov 2011, 2:45 am

What you can do is to prepare him as best you can.

First off, respect the fact that he doesn't want others to know about his Aspergers... It's very important, as it could close a lot of potential paths for him to take. I chose to not reveal my Aspergers manly because it's hell to get a proper job with Aspergers on the application (short of eg. Specialisterne here in Denmark)

What you can do as (a) parent(s), is to show him how it all works. Make a small roleplay out of it. Invent a small random company and give him a mock job ad and help him with the application. Then you can roleplay a job interview. It's really good practice for anyone on their first job search.

Also, the worst that could happen is that they say no to his application.

cjn's tip about volunteer work is also a really good option. It has the benefit of getting him into the environment, it creates a stable network for future jobs, there's a possibility of a paid job and it will look good on his resume.

Depending on what he's good at, he could also start something on his own. For example if he's good with computers (programming, hardware etc.) he can easily make it work in his favor. There's a lot of freelance programming jobs on the net, and many are in need of someone who can fix a computer. I, myself, have had a small backdoor business fixing computers when I lived with my parents.



markitzero
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08 Nov 2011, 2:27 pm

Make sure he dress nice to even when submitting a Job app even if it is on a Terminal computer in the Store because alot of places have eletronic apps that you have to do over a computer like the big box stores. If you think about it even dressing nice for doing that even there is a Camera in some places pointed at those computer terminals and the Manager can see the footage from the recording if the manager wanted to.


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DW_a_mom
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09 Nov 2011, 2:30 pm

I think many Aspies take longer to transition to adulthood and full independence, and I'm prepared as a parent to deal with that. What others may do by 21, your child may not do until 25.

I think it is important for a parent to keep nudging a child to take on new responsibilities and independence, but to allow that child to do it at his own pace, without worrying about some theoretical age line where the child is suddenly supposed to be an adult. The same as you've always done: know your child, encourage him to learn what he should be ready to learn, even if it is hard; be patient with the rest.

The complication is, of course, that legally your child could break his family ties at 18 and do something completely irresponsible. My hope is that if enough trust and mutual respect has been built, that won't happen. My son knows that I am not sure he'll be ready to stand on his own in all ways by 18, and I hope he also knows that his life is still his own to direct, even if I'm there to support him (I'm not going to pick careers, direction, etc for him). We are laying out some sense of when we expect him to take on responsible jobs, although we've said we're not that concerned about pay, if a door opening internship is what he chooses at that time (he has already done some interviewed and scheduled volunteer work). And so on .... we're not quite where you are yet (my son is only 14), but I do have an eye open towards that space, and am trying to set some groundwork, even if it's still pretty sketchy at this point.

This is definitely an area where services are lacking, but a few cities have things in place.

I think I would start with a volunteer job or unpaid internship, something comfortable, preferably with people your son knows, just so he can get used to the process of interviewing, showing up for work, etc. It would also help him see what he does and does not like in work. My son volunteered last spring at his old daycare center - had to apply, interview, follow a schedule, etc. - and it was a really good experience. Brainstorm with your son what some of his interests and talents are, and then consider what some options may be for utilizing them.


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aspie48
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09 Nov 2011, 9:46 pm

well the best thing is to be prepared. and have credentials. i have worked since the age of 14. made tons shoveling drives. it was because my dad is crazy about hard work. i was brought up on the concept. he got me to volunteer at a bike shop for three years. now i will be able to apply to bike shops and be more competitive vs other teens with no experience. my advice would be that its hard to get a job. you have to try many times. even if you do have the credentials. its a hard time. hard work is the only way. it needs to come from him. you dragging him isn't going to do any good. its hard to instill that sometimes. just sit down and be frank about it. he needs to start volunteering in a field of interest, start an apprenticeship in a trade, join the military, or go to college. the military has done wonders for some of my aspie friends. they like the hierarchy and routine. but that needs to be his choice if he wants to do that. the military will really kick his a** though. its not for sensitive aspies.



Janig
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28 Nov 2011, 4:03 pm

I have been in the same situation with my 18 yr old daughter. We found out when she was in middle school that she had AS. Last spring she applied online for a job and she got an email to go to the interview. (A phone call would have been terrible for her). I drove her to the interview. She sat in the car before the interview & cried. Eventually she got out of the car and got the job. She worked all summer and the seasonal job has ended now. She has no motivation to get a new job or do anything. She was going to College, and dropped out because she changed her career path. (I don't think she liked the school either). She has enrolled in Jr College for the spring. I feel like I'm always holding my breath until she actually follows through with something. I can't push her or she shuts down. This is really hard. I guess I have to give her space and let her grow in her own time. I want to coach her, but how?



hoegaandit
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29 Nov 2011, 12:41 am

Well I am keen for our 17yo son to stay at school as long as he can. I heard of one ASD child who apparently has a dispensation to stay on as long as twenty one! Certainly I would like our son to stay on for another year past what would be his normal "last year" of school next year, particularly as he has effectively failed his penultimate year. The wierdest thing, as I posted elsewhere, is that it appears likely our son can access up to $10,000 a year disability benefit. It will be really financially worthwhile for him to stay at school for another two years as the school has minimal cost for us, unlike any tertiary study which incurs significant loans. Then he could maybe work a year at my office, which will avoid him having to face the difficulties of immediate real work, but will also give him a leg up as to useful workplace skills. If he does that and can one way or another save 2/3 of his benefit (probable as he is of course staying at home and most costs eg extra help at school are "free") he would have $20,000 or so before he starts to incur the student loan burden, assuming he is up to further study. (I guess we will need to encourage him to do some form of further study as qualifications become more and more common; my NT daughter was saying yesterday that if she wants to become a lecturer at university, a possibility for her, she will have to have a PhD).

If our son is just unable to do tertiary study (and this is not impossible as his current academic level at seventeen years is probably at best a fourteen year old level) then at least he will have accumulated a small nest egg to start him on his way and could hopefully transition to some form of work, even if it was basic work. We have a friend whose son does basic mailroom work, but he seems to be ok with that and has now been working there some years (and has also saved quite a bit as home as well).