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Adult son living at home with no job or life prospects. Am I a fool for allowing the situation to continue?(25 Posts)
I have a 26 year old son who lives at home. He will be 27 very soon. He has a diagnosis of Aspergers which he received at age 18. There were signs that something wasn't right going back to when he was a child, although no one involved with DS at the time (teachers at school, etc) seemed to suspect autism or Aspergers as a possibility. I didn't know what Aspergers was at the time and I don't think there was as much awareness of it compared to now. I will try to describe what DS' current state of mind seems to be and what his daily routine is. He has a number of issues relating to social interaction, and some sensory issues which are centered around sensitivity to smells and bright lights. He has to have the blinds or curtains closed when he's in a room and gets agitated by what most people would consider to be normal household smells. He very rarely leaves the house and will not go anywhere on his own without having someone with him. He rarely goes out except to attend medical appointments.
He doesn’t work and has never actually had a job. He is usually up all night playing games and sleeps during the day. He has paid lip service to the idea of finding a job, but does not seem to have any plan regarding entering the world of work. I can't force anyone to give him a job, but he's shown no ability to get one of his own volition. He has GCSEs but no specific work-related qualifications or experience. He also has no friends or acquaintances, and has virtually no interaction with anyone except me for months at a time. People in the family have essentially forgot that DS exists. No one ever asks about him or what he’s doing. They stopped asking a while ago. He does not get invited to social events like weddings and parties. He has also never had a girlfriend. I can’t imagine any woman giving him the time of day because of the way he is. I unfortunately have no other children and I have reluctantly accepted that I will never have any grandchildren. He also comes across as being socially awkward and clumsy when he talks to people, and has a poor understanding of the unwritten rules of social interaction, which come naturally to most people. If he somehow obtained a job that requires teamwork and communication with the people you're working alongside, as a lot of jobs do, I honestly think he would end up getting sacked or quitting on the first day. It wouldn't surprise me at all.
On a practical level, it's difficult having two adults in a house where only one is earning any money. He doesn't claim any benefits and has no other income sources, so I'm having to prop him up financially. I have not been able to have a holiday for over 10 years as I don't think DS would cope at home on his own for a prolonged period. He can do the bare basics like getting washed and dressed and preparing food for himself, but if there is a problem that he can't sort out himself, then he will just capitulate. When events happen unexpectedly or there is a sudden change of plans, which most people just take in their stride and deal with, DS can't manage. That's been an issue since was younger. If there was a problem with something in the house - for example if the fridge or the boiler wasn't working, or there was a power cut - he would just be a headless chicken and wouldn't be able to cope. I have tried to convince myself that it could be worse and that I should just accept the situation for what it is. I tell myself that if he was going out getting into trouble with police, doing drugs etc, maybe it would be worse. That doesn't make everything fine and dandy though. I know the situation isn't acceptable or right.
The situation has been ongoing for several years now. I don't want to throw him out but I am finding the situation increasingly difficult to maintain. I'm having to pretend everything is fine when it isn't. What would other people do?
I would see if you could find him a job even if it si just one from behind a computer screen at home and perhaps see if you can fix separate accommodation for him so he starts being more independent and you get some freedom.
He (or you) can apply for Universal Credit benefits online and PIP over the phone.
Hi OP. I offer no solution just a handheld as my brother is exactly like your son. He is 44 now. He had jobs but not for long and usually job with little interaction with people bit they never lasted long. Age makes things worse so now is out of work and living in a country with no benefits he is helped by my mum and by some inheritance.
He does not live with my mum as it would be too much - he can get quite angry at times (the pressure of not fitting in and find everything difficult must be hard) and also due to that inability of carrying out the simplest of tasks that you describe he can live in squalor. At the moment he lives in a hut in the woods like a hermit. I suppose that is what hermits always were. He is content. But it is heartbreaking.
It is such a difficult situation. My mum worries about him constantly. It is difficult to get help as relatively functional bit not enough to lead an independent life.
Hope someone can offer more insightful advice.
Pm me if you like.
When people say “get a job” they do not realise how difficult it is for them to carry out the simplest of task and how much effort it takes. Admittedly we all sometime explode feeling he is taking the piss but no, it is not so simple.
Would he cope if you went away for a couple of nights? My brother is the same as this but can cope with being left for a while if anything goes wrong knows to call mum or dad for help. Even if you have a friend that could check in on him every so often.
Have you tried involving adult social care from your local council? They might be able to help him with his independence or help find some supported accomodation for him. Perhaps respite for you.
You could also look for a local carers support group, either by Google or asking the council, because people there might have similar experiences and could be quite knowledgeable about his options. And at the very least talking to people who understand might help you emotionally. They often do nice tea and cake meetings (don't mean that to be patronising as it sounds!!).
Fwiw it sounds like you are doing amazing and he is very lucky to have you!
If he was diagnosed at 18, and has GCSEs, then this suggests his ASD might be in the mild to moderate category. So he could work. I suggest switching the wifi off at night (or maybe getting rid of it altogether) to force him off the games because it’s possible his issues are being compounded by addiction, then basically force him to look for work. I suggest non-customer facing jobs that may require him to work alone or in small teams (night security guard / janitor etc) but basically tell him to start trying or you won’t pay more than the bare minimum for him.
If he is affected badly he should apply for PIP to support him
Also what about a part time college course as a stepping stone for getting work. It could just increase his confidence a bit. Maybe IT related if this is his interest.
M Ds is 12 now and is HF autistic, he only just copes with school and I worry about his long term future. He has an EHCP in place so he is getting some help. I don't know what help is available for adults but you could try your local Socail Services. It must be really difficult for you OP
How was he at school? If his ASD as severe as you describe, it seems surprisingly that he wasn't diagnosed till 18 (unless he had some other SEN diagnosis that was later amended to ASD?).
If he coped with mainstream school without additional support, do you think his ability to cope has deteriorated sine leaving school?
If you are in Wales, there is now an independent Autism service, that can help and advise, apparently.
Whatever you decide, the current situation can't continue (as even if you can support him now, you don't want to be doing it in your retirement and he won't cope with your passing).
He can't have it both ways, he either gets help and benefits or gets a job. There are supported accommodation schemes too, so he's better assessed and supported than left gaming in his room.
I would look for a local support group too.
i would definitely contact social services, support group and maybe volunteer work?
Good advice above but please do not "throw him out"
He is a vulnerable adult and he will end up in all sorts of bother.
Had he been under 25, with his agreement you could have applied for an EHCP and asked for a supported internship or work experience placement, for anyone else in a similar position.
Contact your local NAS and see if they have events or support for young adults. Many areas offer travel training and social events for example.
Help him apply for Pip.
Have you looked at contacting Mencap or a similar charity for support for you and for him? It sounds such a desperate situation for you both.
Social services are obliged by law to assess the needs of adults with autism. You may need to be very persistent though! You/ he can also try applying for PIP but the system seems designed to exclude anyone who can stand up and breathe. Still try,all the same.
Contact the NAS and see if they can suggest any strategies or organisations which might help,maybe locally.
It's draining,frustrating, worrying but you must try and get some help and support, primarily for your son but the knock on effect will be to your advantage too.
As a pp has said,he's a vulnerable adult and he obviously hasn't a clue how to help himself. It's going to be down to you try and get him the help he needs or this will continue indefinitely.
Would online jobs be a possibility for him, while min wage if that, they generally have no face to face interaction... have a look at thread , on work, think it's something like earning ten pounds a day. Might help him feel better as well as getting some cash
I would look at ways he can build his confidence. Are there any social groups for people with Asperger's? Is there a support group for you for parens in a similar situation?
Would he be able to cope with a supermarket job or something like that?
I really sympathise with you, it's a desperately difficult situation.
If he could manage to volunteer part time that would at least get him out of the house and meeting people, and his social skills may improve with practice. The volunteer work needs to be something he can cope with - perhaps the Wildlife Trust or working in an Art Gallery or charity shop? It is important he claims benefits too, to help you.
My nephew sounds very similar to your DS and he has recently got a job in a charity shop - one day a week, but it's a start and it is increasing his confidence and forcing him to meet people. He found it very difficult at first but actually enjoys going now and is hoping to increase his hours. He has also started to get the bus there which is a massive thing for him.
Best of luck, it is a very difficult situation.
OP not sure if you will see this but try Hendrickx Associates http://www.asperger-training.com/about-us/
The woman who runs it is autistic and greatly helped a friends son
@Teddybear45 tough love doesn't always work with autistic people. And just because he was late diagnosed and has gcses it doesn't mean his autism is mild.
OP this is what i dread with my dd. Having the confidence to go to look for work is difficult and she often has panic attacks at the thought. Some great advice here to build your sons confidence
Exactly moomoogalicious just what I was going to say. If you have gcses it is not necessarily an indication of mild ASD or at what age you were diagnosed.
Def see if he could work from home maybe something to do with computers
Failing that you would need to see what benefits he would be entitled to for his disability. They can also provide a social worker in some cases that can help him in various areas
There may also be support groups he could access even if only online
To add just because someone went to mainstream school and "coped" does not necessarily mean they can cope in the workplace
My daughter is the same though she does claim benefits. She gets esa and got dla but that is at the moment being challenged and we are going to tribunal. We have also changed our will so that a trust is formed on our deaths and trustees (our siblings and husbands cousin) manage the house and money. No idea what the answer is to getting them out the door and into work though or to socialise.
As much as I understand your frustration it sounds like throwing him out would be cruel and it wouldn't force him into functioning like an adult.
I also think expecting him to immediately get a job after no human interaction for a long period of time would be unrealistic.
He does need an income, universal credit is a pittance but better than nothing. I also agree about applying for PIP.
He needs something to get him out and interacting with the world again, I would look into education where he could have his needs assessed or specialist programmes for people with MH problems.
What appointments does he go to? Does he have any specialised help for his mental health?