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Calling on adults with AS - parents with older AS children - please tell me if it gets better?

(9 Posts)
WillowinGloves Thu 25-Oct-12 10:24:51

Hi all - I read regularly and contribute sometimes, but have never started a thread before! (So this is a bit scary.) I am hoping for some of the good advice and experience I've seen here.
My DS is 15 and really quite unhappy. He absolutely hates being at school and they have been of very little help to him. He's on the milder end of the spectrum and I think he feels he fits in nowhere - neither the SN or the NT worlds. I tell him that things will get better as he grows up and can leave school, live his own life, arrange his own world, and play to his own individual strengths, and that if he can make it through sixth form that University will be better ... At the moment, he doesn't even know if he can face staying on at this school into sixth form but he knows he needs A-Levels to go where he wants. I think schooldays are the worst time for having to conform and being condemned for any differences! So please - can someone tell us - am I right when I tell him it WILL get better in the end?

KenLeeeeeee Thu 25-Oct-12 10:45:22

Yes, it will. My brother has Asperger's Syndrome and is now 26, living a very normal life. He hasn't necessarily grown out of many of his symptoms (apart from the aggression, which was only a problem when he was very young) but he has learned to manage it all very well.

WillowinGloves Thu 25-Oct-12 11:01:13

Thanks for that! May I ask - does your brother have a good social life too and does he need much practical support from family? My DS too manages better the older he gets and I am hoping he will continue to do so, but I still fear for his future when he doesn't have me as daily back up.

EscapeInThePark Thu 25-Oct-12 11:33:20

My DH is on the spectrum.
He found school absolutely awful and it is still a very sensitive subject for him (he is now over 40yo).

But he enjoyed Uni as it was finally much more 'practical' and he was surrounded by people with similar interests to him.
He has had a very 'normal' life, lived on is own for years, holds a job and obviously now has a family.

Some things haven't changed though. Social life is restricted to his special interests. He doesn't do small talk etc.... But he has learnt some ways to make it all easier.

As his partner, what I have learned is that me knowing about AS and him not wanting to do as if it wasn't there is incredibly helpful.

WillowinGloves Thu 25-Oct-12 11:43:02

I phrased my question wrong, didn't I - very unimaginative of me not to think of DHs and other family members! Thanks - this will all help my DS. One of his questions is whether I think he will ever have a family of his own.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Thu 25-Oct-12 11:45:38

Ds finds school stressful. I've been told that he'll be happier when he's an adult as he'll be accepted for his mature outlook more, and he'll fit in.

stillsmarting Thu 25-Oct-12 12:00:17

My DS is nearly 18.
He went through a dreadful time when he was younger. As he has got older he has learnt to fit in. The other day he said "I think I'm about as normal as I'm going to get." This was followed by a discussion about how unfair it is that we praise people on the spectrum for making a massive effort to fit in, rather than accepting them as they are.
For my DS it has proved to be the case that things did get better. He has a social life centred round his special interest, although he is more interested in the activities than the people. He has a few people at College who he regards as friends, and goes out for coffee with them. He uses FB a lot,which is a big plus for people on the spectrum. He is even learning to drive, which given his spatial awareness problems when he was younger is a massive achievement.
I think looking too far ahead just makes us as parents anxious. I could never have predicted at 15 that my DS would have achieved so much in three years. I hope the same will happen for yours.

WillowinGloves Thu 25-Oct-12 13:12:18

Yes, LadyMary - I can see that could happen. Stillsmarting- I'd be fascinated to hear how the driving goes. My DS doesn't have particular problems with spatial awareness - though he still can't tie shoelaces - but the concentration needed and the juggling of different things at once to stay on top of a busy road situation - now that could be difficult.
I think maybe what you say about praising people for fitting in is a huge part of the problem. While every teenager has to make that call on where they stand out against the crowd for what they believe is right, and where they go with the flow, for people on the spectrum it must be so much harder as they spend all day trying to follow social rules that don't always make sense to them. Trying to draw that personal line in the sand must be even harder as they have to first work out what the social norm is and if they agree with that and how much it matters if they don't. My DS is strong on foreign languages and I always wonder if it's because he has a natural affinity with the idea of having to translate from one world - the outside one - to his own!
Thank you all so much for answering. I do too much worrying alone.

stillsmarting Thu 25-Oct-12 17:04:03

willow my DS only learnt to tie shoelaces when he was 16. He still can't tell the time on an analogue clock.
I know what you mean about all the different things you have to take into account when driving. We live in the country so DS did a lot of his inital driving on country roads where he could concentrate on actually steering and changing gear etc. He has progressed to quieter roads in the town where the tests take place. His driving instructor has a good reputation and we are letting him take it slowly, but it's early days yet.

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