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to ask if anyone with aspergers can help me communicate with my DS

(33 Posts)
Denton89 Thu 04-Feb-16 09:14:09

18 and no diagnosis but pretty sure hes on the spectrum.

Unemployed - lost his job as he wouldn't meet a few simple requirements like filling in time sheets as "it was stupid"

Good verbal communication skills with the very few friends he has and okay with strangers (shop staff ect) but rarely utters a word to me or DH.

In primary school would spend art lesson drawing 100s of tiny circles as other kids did pictures of there dog ect.

Clever at school - maths and sciences - but mostly refused to cooperate in other subjects - "no point". Was never labelled at school - seen as single minded and clever rather than having a problem.

Has a few friends who he sees rarely and then its about playing / talking about computer games but laughs with them and seems like a "normal" teenager. DH is mostly at work and says its just how DS is which is no help.

Lacks empathy - doesn't seem to care if me and DH live or die. Only communicates when he can't find the food he wants. But this is more than being a stroppy teenager. I'm so worn down by it I've lost the will to try and break through the barrier he puts up but want to help him.

AIBU to ask for some tips on how to communicate with my DS?

TheSecondOfHerName Thu 04-Feb-16 09:24:12

I have Aspergic traits, as well as a father and a son with Asperger's.

You haven't mentioned what it is you want to say to him.

Would it help if you clearly listed your expectations? Start with the most important ones.

Dawndonnaagain Thu 04-Feb-16 09:42:55

I have AS. Give him time to process what it is you require and time to answer.
He does care whether you live or die, we have too much empathy so we shut it off so that we're not overwhelmed. He's probably run over such a scenario in his head so often that he can't cope.
Write him a letter, we do love you, how would you like to communicate with us so that we can best help you achieve what you would like to achieve. We don't expect an instant answer but I would like a reply in (for example, one week) to say that you are considering what is written here.

Have you looked into local groups, there are many groups for adults and you don't always need a full diagnosis, they are there to assist both you and him with this type of thing.

I strongly suspect DH is on the spectrum and this is what I have found helps

State your communication expectations neutrally e.g. I have told DH when I say Good Morning to you, I like it if you say Good Morning back.

I have asked him to acknowledge when I have said something to him. Just because he knows he has heard me doesn't mean I know that he has too.

If I have something big I want to discuss with DH I tend to mention that I would like to talk about X with him in a few days time so that he has time to think about it.

DH often talks more if we are doing something else rather than having an intense conversation where he freezes or gets wound up.

If he starts to talk, I listen without interrupting (when I can) because often its clear he has been churning something around in his mind for days.

nightflies Thu 04-Feb-16 09:59:09

I have autism and I have a son with autism. I can definitely relate to how you describe your DS, both being in that position and seeing it in my DS.

It was really hard for me to manage my autism before I was diagnosed (as an adult). It isn't ever going to go away, so I think it's a good idea to seek a diagnosis now so he can get support in place as an adult.

I often don't speak much as I don't see the point unless it has a specific purpose. I think that asking closed questions helps, but when I'm at home that is my 'rest time' from being sociable so it's good not to have pressure to communicate verbally.

Unemployment is very high amongst (diagnosed) people with autism (I haven't worked since I was a teenager) as it's very hard to deal with neurotypical demands. If he is good at math and sciences can he look at doing further study in that area, perhaps through distance learning? I would say that it's important not to put too much pressure on him to achieve the same as his NT peers, it's quite common for people with autism to take longer to achieve milestones and he will be aware of it and feel low about it as it is. Mental health problems are a very common co-morbid with ASD so it's important to watch out for signs of that.

I have a decent level of support around for me and DS (at special school) - benefits, respite, social workers, Mencap volunteers - but a diagnosis is the first step.

LarrytheCucumber Thu 04-Feb-16 10:08:01

My 21 year old DS has AS (diagnosed at 12). We have had our best conversations in the car, when I am not looking at him and he can say what he wants to say looking at the road ahead.
Your son might not want to talk to you because he fears your reaction. We were told to communicate with DS with the effect turned off. Try to make things factual and devoid of emotional weight. Even now if I become upset DS accuses me of trying to manipulate him and I have had to explain that if I am upset it comes from within me, and that I am not trying to provoke a reaction from him.

Denton89 Thu 04-Feb-16 22:51:07

Thank you all so much for sharing your situations with me and for giving me some tips.

hiddenhome2 Thu 04-Feb-16 23:04:26

Do you think he would agree to having an assessment? It would be useful for him and help him to access some support perhaps.

hiddenhome2 Thu 04-Feb-16 23:08:04

Oh, and he will care about you and your dh. People with asd do feel empathy, we just don't feel emotions in the same way as neurotypicals, but we do have feelings.

GiddyOnZackHunt Thu 04-Feb-16 23:08:11

Ha! I was going to say the same thing Larry
I get far more out of DD when I'm driving so I do try to conduct important conversations there.

hiddenhome2 Thu 04-Feb-16 23:10:23

Yes, I do the driving thing with ds1. It's the only time we have a good talk. There's no face to face pressure.

ouryve Thu 04-Feb-16 23:19:42

I've always had conversations alongside DS1, rather than face to face. No diagnosis, but plenty of traits of my own (and enough genes to be mother to 2 with ASD!) To me it's so logical - why wouldn't you discuss something with someone without looking at it, rather than them?

As for the dying issue, DS1 often comes across as pretty cold on a scale of coldness. He can talk about death completely dispassionately. FIL died, today and DS1 made it clear he didn't want to go to the funeral. No argument there - DS1 cannot cope with gatherings and had no relationship with FIL. He terrified DS1, as a small child because he didn't understand his strong regional accent and DS1 has refused to be in the same place as him ever since. While I was having the conversation with DS1, he completely surprised me, though, saying tat if his other granddad died, he would want to go to his funeral.

OutWithTheDogs Fri 05-Feb-16 00:43:05

i have found the best place to communicate with non communities DC is in the car - preferably when you are driving them somewhere they want to go.

I have also found that taking them out for a quick bite to eat works well especially if you can play cards or a board game so it's easy to relax.

Are the any computer games that you can play with you son. MarioCart or something like that.

WombOfOnesOwn Fri 05-Feb-16 06:17:46

Your son is perfectly capable of social relationships with friends and being nice to strangers, yet can't be bothered with you and your DH?

That's not Asperger's, it's assholishness. I've never yet met the ASD person who is better with strangers than with their own parents; it's very usually distinctly the other way around.

Katenka Fri 05-Feb-16 07:05:50

I have aspergers.

I care wether my mum and dad or any loved one lives or dies. I care a lot.

I can conform to rules. Wether I Seeth on the inside and think it's pointless, doesn't matter. I wanted the job, I signed up for it. It's my part to do what they ask. (Obviously within reason I wouldn't do anything illegal because a employer asked it)

People who see things like time sheets as pointless piss me off because they still want to get paid. They want the employer to keep their part of the bargain, but not their own.

The fact that he can have relationships outside the house says to me, there maybe issues at home or extreme teenage shittyness.

My NT brother was just like your son as a teen and, to a degree, is still like that now. But since he doesn't live at home it doesn't impact mum and dad too much.

For example he o lay ever calls them when he wants to borrow the car, a baby sitter etc. Never to ask how they are or to chat.

Katenka Fri 05-Feb-16 07:08:41

That last paragraph should read

For example he only ever calls them when he wants to borrow the car

ChalkHearts Fri 05-Feb-16 07:10:04

You could also try texting him. He might prefer to talk like that.

MephistophelesApprentice Fri 05-Feb-16 07:17:38

I have ASD. For a long time I found it much easier to appear 'normal' around my friends than around my parents as my friends simply accepted me and did their best to manage the burden of emotional labour required for relationships, while my parents seemed to be actively impose as much emotional stress as possible. Communication with you, as his parents, sounds like it is now associated with emotional turmoil which he is poorly equipped to manage. You will need to take that burden away if you hope to communicate.

ArmchairTraveller Fri 05-Feb-16 07:35:19

'That's not Asperger's, it's assholishness. I've never yet met the ASD person who is better with strangers than with their own parents; it's very usually distinctly the other way around'

My daughter works incredibly hard at relationships with her friends and with the strangers she encounters through her job. It's exhausting. She slumps at home, the veneer is worn thin and she doesn't have to put on the mask and grin.
That said, when she is being a selfish arsehole or forgets a basic civility, she can usually cope with being told so.
Just because you've never encountered someone like that doesn't mean it's a universal truth.

PolterGoose Fri 05-Feb-16 07:36:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Toughasoldboots Fri 05-Feb-16 07:40:48

Polter I agree completely. This is very common and what we experience with dd2. The act is maintained outside the home.
It's so hard when teachers say that she looks 'fine' at school and then we have the fallout at home.

FaithAscending Fri 05-Feb-16 08:14:11

Hi OP. I'm an Aspie (recent diagnosis). Some of this sounds familiar. I think in these circumstances it's worth considering persuing an assessment because he needs (whether ASD ir something else) are affecting his ability to work.

I did wonder based on his refusal to do stuff like time sheets if this info on demand avoidance would be helpful?

Theendispie Fri 05-Feb-16 08:53:04

I have no diagnosis but did things like taught myself to read before I went to school and have been labelled odd many times.

I cannot cope with lots of information all at once so hated formal education and in house training at work. I basically switch off to cope and teach myself by reading the information.

Speak to him one to one don't both try and talk to him at the same time. I need straight forward instructions, I'm literally not interested in why anyone wants or needs X I just want to know what they want of me. I don't need the round about waste my time story and am not interested in the little nuances of tales. MIL rang for advice on her mobile phone yesterday. I literally just want my phone won't do X can you help me rectify this issue. I don't need the build up bullshit of niceties because people worry about asking for stuff. I have been described as cold by my sisters.

I actually like nice straight forward rules like time sheets as they are very specific.

I become obsessed with things and am in to gaming like your DS some games like Destiny and The Elder Scrolls are very immersive. I think one of the reasons I like it is I can wear headphones and cut out the outside world and people leave me alone.

Had lunch out yesterday with some friends for a couple of hours and had a nice time. When my DH rang to say he was reminding me he had a seminar to attend and then a social and wouldn't be home till about 10 I was thrilled because I had done my talking for the day.

Denton89 Sat 06-Feb-16 21:45:44

This information is so helpful in assisting me to understand what may be going on with my DS - thank you so much.

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 06-Feb-16 21:55:40

Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) is something that might be worth reading up on. Its part of the spectrum and as the name says its those that the more something is demanded the greater pressure they feel by it and the more they question.

I've one DS diagnosed, a DD in the process and and now a DS suddenly out of the blue being identified as potentially being Autistic. Some of the best advice I've ever received is behaviour is behaviour. Diagnosis or not unacceptable behaviour is just that.

Lack of communication and engagement with you is not acceptable behaviour and a logical system of sanctions for unacceptable behaviour is something you possibly could consider. House rules. Whether NT or not boundaries are important.

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