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Advice urgently needed - My sister, 20 with aspergers and ADD has just found out she is pregnant

(11 Posts)
Chilimama Mon 23-Feb-09 01:56:40

Not sure which forum to put this in but figured that somebody might have some good advice here. Apologies in advance if this is a long post.

My 20 year old sister was diagnosed as a child with Aspergers and ADD. I must admit I do not know a lot about it except what my mother and her have told me and what I have read in publications/articles myself. There is an 8 yr age gap between us and I left home not long after her diagnosis so I apologise for not being very clued up.

After attending a specialist school until she was 18 my sister has been at a college for young adults with learning difficulties. My sister is very bright and articulate but has some difficulty in social situations and has very low self esteem. She is currently living in a flat which she seems very happy with, she is thriving and has become more independent. She has the support of a houseparent who is on call should she need them but who allows her to be independent to an extent.

Last week she called our mother to tell her she was pregnant. Our mum does not deal well with other people's problems (a whole other post I wrote a long time ago on here) and immediately asked me to call my sister and "sort things out". Turns out my sister is around 8 weeks pregnant and although pleased she is very scared about what the outcome will be. Her boyfriend is also a student at her college and also has aspergers. Apparently the college know they are in a sexual relationship and have giving them sex education talks which they chose to ignore and according to my sister they have planned this baby and have been having unprotected sex for the past year.

My sister is scared because she was told by her social worker that if she were to have a baby it would be taken away from her, something which my (retired social worker) mother in law has told me is unlikely but obviously I don't know what the opinion of social services would be. I want to support her as best I can but don't know where to start.

Another problem is her college is 50 miles away from us so my sisters' social worker and other key support is based in another place/council. I have spoken to my mum about how best to help but she is wrapped up in how she is feeling about it all herself. My mother in law has recommended my sister finds herself an independent advocate so I am trying to find out how to do that.

My sister said the college will throw her out (and leave her homeless) if they find out she is expecting as it happened to her friend. I'm not sure how much of this is true or if it's what she has been told will happen. For the moment she is keeping it quiet at college although she said the college nurse knows and she is going to her GP this week. I'm not even sure if the nurse has to keep this info to herself, is there any confidentiality in this case if my sister is considered to have difficulties?

Sorry if I have not made much sense or if the details are sketchy, I am having a hard enough time dealing with my own children and the process we are going through with CAHMS for my son so to have all this on top of it is really hard to handle, but I have to be there for my sister and her boyfriend as they seem to have no other support and I will do whatever it takes to make sure they are ok.

Can anyone suggest how I can help them? Or what agencies they can get in touch with for support?

Thanks in advance.

lottiejenkins Mon 23-Feb-09 09:12:20

Dont have any advice but am bumping this for you....................

amber32002 Mon 23-Feb-09 09:49:16

Best plan is to talk to the National Autistic Society, as they will direct you to the right charities and contacts for that area, who in turn can find advocates and support services that may be able to help?

www.nas.org.uk

What a worrying situation for your sister if she's thinking that a baby may be taken away from them....

The nurse may have to breach confidentiality if she considers there is a risk to a vulnerable person. But they should do so in a very sensible and well-described way, not just tell anyone anywhere.

I'm ASD and we have a son. Many of us do have good relationships and bring up children in a good way, but it depends on our skills and how much support is out there for us. It's definitely not impossible...

bullet123 Mon 23-Feb-09 10:11:18

As an adult female who is Aspergers I am appalled that the social worker could come out with such a dangerous, scaremongering decision before the baby has even been born and an adequate assessment of the parent's ability to raise the child has been noted.

Chilimama Mon 23-Feb-09 11:36:10

Thank you for your responses, I have noted down the info from the NAS site and will pass on the helpline number to my sister when I ring her tonight.

I have no doubts that she would make a wonderful mother with some support, she is a very caring and considerate person and on talking things through with her on the phone the past few days she seems to have thought things through and decided that she feels mature enough to cope with a baby and the responsibility it would entail, her boyfriend is also very supportive of her but is obviously as worried as she is.

Amber - Thanks for your input, I am sure my sister would find it a relief to hear of other parents who are ASD. I tried to look for info on parents/expectant mothers in the same situation for her on the web but didn't find much at all.

Bullet123 - I too am very shocked at what the social worker said to her, I am wondering if it was a shock tactic to dicourage her from getting pregnant, but still it's an awfully frightening thing to say to anyone, particularly someone with anxiety issues. Thankfully my sister has complained about that particular social worker and has been given another social worker who has been more supportive of her but now my sister is scared of social services finding out full stop for fear of what they may do.

I have assured her that she has the full support of my husband and I but trying to reassure her without any real knowledge of the system and what the future holds for her with regard to SS is really difficult.

I will come back and update, thanks again.

MaryBSearchingForaJob Mon 23-Feb-09 12:26:00

Chilimama,

Just offering my support too - I have 2 children (aged 9 and 7) and have Asperger Syndrome, although I was diagnosed only last year.

How worrying it must be for your sister, I hope she can get some support from the NAS

mumslife Mon 23-Feb-09 22:16:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Chilimama Tue 24-Feb-09 18:38:28

Just a quick update and a thank for all the responses.

Spoke to NAS and have a few contact numbers for advocates and other sources of support. Called my sister last night and arranged for her to stay here with us for the weekend so we can look at the info I have got from the web and make some kind of plan for who she needs to contact. Will be nice to see her and give her and her boyfriend a big hug and let them know we are here for them as well.

Thanks again to everyone who responded

lottiejenkins Tue 24-Feb-09 19:05:30

I think your sister is lucky to have such a wonderful supportive person like you..........smile

MaryBS Thu 26-Feb-09 10:47:23

Thanks for the update, I'd like to know how it all goes.

(do they like hugs then? I know I do, but many people with ASD don't!)

Chilimama Thu 26-Feb-09 20:59:13

I will update again when I can.

My sister is ok with hugs from very close family or kids as long as you ask her first to make sure she is in the mood for close contact and affection. Not sure if her boyfriend does (I'm thinking probably not) but I know he will be happy with a handshake anyway as thats how he usually greets us

Spoke to my sister yesterday and she has told the college and they have been surprisingly supportive of her and her bf. We have arranged for her to have a week off college next month and to stay with us in order to chase up housing issues, advocate contacts and social services, So I'll update then with any progress, looking forward to seeing her this weekend

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