Prepare to enter the wild and wooly world of an adult with Aspergers Syndrome, a form of autism characterized by intellignce, quirks, social difficulties and downright strange and oddish behaviours.

People with Aspergers generally are high functioning in everyday life but have great difficulty connecting with others due to the inability to read faces, body language and subtle verbal clues. They also tend to take words literally and have a hard time multi-tasking.

Oversensitivity to touch (clothing has to be soft and often the tags removed), light (do not leave home without the sunglasses), sound (loud noises and noisey places are avoided), taste (many Aspies have quite a limited diet and are frequently very picky eaters) and smells makes the everyday existence more of a challenge.

Fasten your seatbelts and come on in...
To find out more about what Aspergers is..please check out my earliest blog entries

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Raising a Teenager with Aspergers Syndrome

"He closes his eyes and I become nothing more than a figment of his frustration"

As a parent, I believe children and especially teenagers, need boundaries and rules. Not strict rules, mind you, but rather "guidelines" to help navigate the murky waters of impending adulthood.
So I have proposed that eldest, my almost 18 yr old Aspergian child, be home on school nights by 9pm and weekends by 11pm. In wondering if I was being too evil and overly strict, I called and asked a friend of mine if I was being fair.
She thought the 11 pm on weekends was a little early, but overall, it seemed pretty ordinary.
Eldest is simply having a fit about curfew and yes, he has closed his eyes.
Before he stormed off this afternoon, I asked if he wanted to revisit or discuss the curfew times. He absolutely refused, snorted and stomped out.
My impression, is that he has no interest or inclination to show up on the doorstep until he is darn good and ready.
I don't know...I am doing my best. I see his struggle and he fails to see my reasoning. An obvious impasse.

So what is this Aspie mom with the Aspie son to do? I'm not sure but I am going to remain as calm as possible, encourage him to discuss his feelings and impose consequences that are fairly easy to live with.
I have found that Eldest only has a small amount of appropriate punishments that make him stop and think.
For starters, banishing him to his room would be more reward than anything else, so that is out. Grounding him from parties or hanging with friends is out as well. He just has the one girlfriend. Taking away the car keys doesn't work at all, go figure, as he hasn't been interested in learning to drive yet. I used to confiscate his Nintendo Ds as that was like an IV, forever being on...and that one did work (until he got sneaky and bought a second one from some kid at school. Dang, it took me awhile to figure out why he was handing that over so easy lol) Now he doesn't play.

So what does work? First off, for most infractions I banish him from the computer for one weeks time. And he and I have kindof an unwritten understanding that if he talks very nicely to me and does a few extra chores around the house, then I will acquiesce and let him online earlier. I try to be flexible.
Regarding the curfew, I have spelled out for him that the following will happen if curfew is not adhered to:
1) First infraction, I will no longer drive him to school in the morning. I feel that this is a privilege, not a given, and this has worked in the past. He is very familiar with the bus system and it really is a minor inconvenience for him.
2) The second time, I will change the curfew times to one hour yearlies. I am really hoping the severity of these consequences will get him to think about his actions.
3) The third time,I will no longer pick him up from school and he may either walk or make arrangements with the bus service. Okay, this oneis a bit more inconvenient.
Is my point getting across? I sure hope so because the next one is a biggie....
4) On the fourth infraction, I will no longer pay to put minutes on his Trac phone. Thus, he and girlfriend would be non-communicado which would be similar to hell on earth for him, of that I am sure. And I really, really do not want to go that far. I would so enjoy him opening his eyes and seeing my light.
I know part of the problem is that his girlfriend has no rules of any kind and i am being compared to her parents...Palease....
I care about my son and I am really trying to work with him to form good values and practices.
Wish me Luck!!! I am gonna need it :)


Anonymous said...

Circumstances have found me living with my sister and her family, which includes a sixteen year old "Aspergian" grandson. He is such a lovely boy, but oh... I so related to your article. C can be so unyielding, stubborn... frustrating at times. He doesn't seem to understand that the rules (wisdoms as I call them) are there as guidelines to help him cope as he grows into adulthood. Learning good practices and good values are only going to help him in the future. Bless you for posting this. You are an incredible Mom.

Amy Murphy said...

Aw, thank you so much. I admire your looking up and finding out more about apergers due to your living situation. That says a good deal about your character. I thank you!