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Step child with autism - anyone understand?

(3 Posts)
Christie81 Mon 16-Sep-13 13:49:21

I will also post this in special needs. Previously to meeting DPs son (16) I had not had any experience with special needs children. His son is autistic and at first this did not bother me. I met him, he was lovely and polite and very sweet and a pleasure to be around. We got on really well and I was so pleased as DP had built up this nightmare scenario that it wouldn't work out because he had an autistic son etc.

Anyway as the weeks went on he got chattier and chattier with me and other family members started telling me that he talks about me all the time. One evening we took him out to dinner and whilst his dad was buying lunch he started talking to me about college and girls. He asked me "do you think I might even get a girlfriend?" and I replied "I don't see why you wouldn't!" (wrong thing to say?? I don't know!). He then said "well if I did I think I would take it slowly at first."

Bearing in mind he is pretty low functioning - this didn't seem like something he would naturally say and more likely, had heard from someone else. I got a little paranoid that it was a reference to me and his dad. He clammed up all of a sudden and said "anyway, thanks for listening."

He was really quiet for the remainder of the weekend and when his dad took him home he confessed that he was worried he had offended me and that I no longer like him!! I couldn't work out what I'd said to create that impression but DP told me not to worry and just forget about it. He then said "I think he may be holding some affections for you that he doesn't understand." ?? what does that even mean?

Since then he's totally turned his back on me. Barely talks to me when he comes over on a weekend and if I talk to him he won't look me in the eye, gets VERY nervous and uncomfortable and starts stuttering. It's awful :-( He seems frightened to death of me all of a sudden.

Yesterday he was sat in the living room watching TV, I walked in and sat down and he sighed and immediately stood up and walked out!!

I keep thinking "it's not personal. it's not personal. it's not personal ... " but its such a sudden change and I don't understand.

But then before he left he came up to me and said "by the way I need to leave you with something before I leave - and that is a quote off toy story which says 'you have a friend in me.' goodbye" ???!!! lovely but again, so out of the blue.

As he was leaving I said "bye! see you next week" and he replied "yes, I can barely contain my excitement" !!??? Sarcasm?? I don't get it.

I suppose other things that are bothering me is that I worry like mad that DP will go back to his ex wife for the sake of his son. Especially if she starts to struggle. One time we were talking about time machines and his son said "well if I had one I'd take us back to the time when you and mum were still .... actually I better not say." and DP went all distant on me.

He promises he'd never go back but I do worry about it and I suppose the more I struggle to understand his son the more I worry he'll give up on it and just go back to the lads mum. Talk some sense into me please.

oreoaddict Wed 09-Oct-13 10:03:34

Hmmmm, tbh I think this all sounds quite normal behaviour for a 16 year old ds with autism.

What is it you're confused with? You obviously understand his behaviours because you seem to get the whole learnt phrases thing, like the toy story one and it can take people a long time to pick that up and see it. My DD is 6 (nearly 7) and she tends to do this too. Her grandparents insist that all children do it, but they don't and I can see it a mile off with other children. Anyway, I digress slightly

I think what your dp said about his ds having affection for you and not understanding it properly, is fairly self explanatory. He obviously knows he's different to his friends because he's asking if it's possible for him to get a gf. His mind works in a different way and he'll probably be very much in his own fantasy world. He may have had thoughts about you as a gf, but then got very scared because he can understand that that would be wrong. As I'm sure you're aware, people with autism can have crippling anxiety and so his response to these feelings he may have had, are going to be a little extreme.

The whole "I can barely contain my excitement" comment is completely normal for him! It goes back to the whole the boys being meanest to the girls they like the most, in the playground.

There's nothing cryptic going on here. You might not understand, but remember, he'll be far more confused than you are. The world can be a scary place for people with autism, especially when their hormones are probably going a little crazy. Just be as supportive as you can and remember, that it's nothing you've done.

As for your dp's ex, that's a normal fear of course. My ex's new gf thinks that he's going to come back to me all the time and he promises her that we as over as you can get because we were never really right for one another in the first place. I think some of her insecurities also lie with the fact that I'm only in my 20's (ex is 30) and she is nearly 50, so I kind of get that really. I'm in a relationship with a woman now anyway, so she really needn't worry grin Do you see them together now? Is there a spark? I'm sure there's nothing to worry about.

Icansign13 Wed 16-Oct-13 11:20:56

I imagine and its just an imagining that something somewhere along the line has been miscommunicated or misinterpreted. It may be helpful to ask what he he understands by his dad's new relationship etc and maybe even making it clear that parenst can have more than one relationship etc. (I'm not saying that's what is confusing him its just a suggestion)

I worked with a lad (SS) with autism who went on his first sleepover. He came back all anxious and quiet even though it was something he was really looking forward to. As it happens SS got confused because his friends dad kept calling him 'son' just as an expression. As a consequence SS thought he's been adopted!!

I'm sure the confusion will all come out in the wash but I'm just putting it out there that is may be a simple if hidden misunderstanding!

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