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SHARING BED WITH AUTISTIC SON

(10 Posts)
Pabster Fri 18-Jan-19 08:49:11

I am 39 and live in Indonesia, where I am an academic and the single (divorced 8 years ago) mum
of a 12 year old boy who has been diagnosed as a quite high-functioning autistic person. He is being educated at a fairly good school – the choice is not great, where I live – although he is not being stretched intellectually or in any other way and, additionally, can exhibit very immature behaviour, both at school and, especially, at home. I spend time every evening, helping him with his school work and trying to supplement and extend it. I live, with other members of my extended family, in an appartment, which is constricting, especially in terms of space; this is an important fact behind my question. My closest friend is a European academic, who frequently expresses concern that – mainly for the above practical reasons – my son and I share the same bed. His concern is that this is inhibiting – and likely to inhibit with increasingly serious consequences – my son’s development as an individual: in terms of his ability to be independent, socially confident and intellectually, emotionally and sexually mature and secure. I occasionally worry about my friend’s insistent anxiety about this – he is very preoccupied by it and, furthermore, says this it would be at least frowned upon in Europe - and wonder what other people’s opinions are.

ShutUpPeppa Fri 18-Jan-19 09:31:56

I think the key question is: do you feel able to recognise, in the context of your own culture and living arrangements, when he needs his own space? Will you be able to provide it when the time comes?

If you do feel confident that you’ll know when he needs space, and he’ll tell you, then personally I can’t see the issue with it.

BlankTimes Fri 18-Jan-19 09:47:39

The issue is, what's ordinary and acceptable in your country?
If it's normal and acceptable to you, your family and your society, then tell Mr Nosey Parker European Academic to stop putting his european values and prejudices onto you. You aren't in europe so have no need to comply with european behaviour or standards.

can exhibit very immature behaviour, both at school and, especially, at home.

It's very common for kids with autism to be much "younger" emotionally than their chronological age. Very rough estimate is about two-thirds for emotions, so you may find treating your son's emotional side as being around 8 years old gives you and whoever else he's in contact with more understanding when you and they assume he's being immature.

zzzzz Fri 18-Jan-19 10:03:56

I would be more concerned about your adult male friends focus on your pubescent sons sleeping arrangements and development. Our children are very vulnerable.

I assume that at some point your son would reach an age where he wouldn’t sleep with his mother? What would the plan be if he wasn’t autistic?

How would you like it to be in an ideal world.

Pabster Fri 18-Jan-19 10:29:35

Thank you, ShutUpPeppa, Blank Times and zzzz!
Your replies are very reassuring.
As far as the future is concerned, the logistics and shortage of space make it difficult to be sure when, or if, we will be able to sleep separately, although, of course, I hope that this will be possible one day.
I think I understand your implicit warning, zzzz. My friend's essential worry - I think - is that my son and I are too wrapped up in each other, as it were.
Thank you very much: I would be very happy to receive further points of view.

GalacticChickenShit Fri 18-Jan-19 10:36:22

Does your son have an alternative sleeping place available to him?

I think in this country, social services would only really be concerned if there was no alternative for him, but not so much if he was bed-sharing out of choice.

zzzzz Fri 18-Jan-19 11:31:14

What would the plan be if he wasn’t autistic?

headinhands Fri 18-Jan-19 12:51:46

I'm in the Uk and asd ds whose 12 sleeps in my bed most of the time. He gets anxious at night and it's the best way for us to all get good unbroken sleep. I'm fairly sure it will naturally trail off so am not at all worried.

In other areas he is maturing and becoming more and more independent. He's just not ready for his own bed. He does have his own lovely bedroom which he spends lots of time in, just not sleeping!

At one point asd dd was also very anxious so we were all sleeping in one room! 😂

KisstheTeapot14 Sun 20-Jan-19 12:29:11

Our DS is 9 and has mild SEN and likewise emotionally young for age, gets nightmares and scared to sleep in own room (did previously for a couple of years before we moved to new apartment). He sleeps next to us on fold down bed. Our wider family raise eyebrows but its our decision based on what we think and he is showing us is his need to feel safe and secure.

I think its fine, but have a chat with him as he gets a bit older. He may value a space to retreat to then, as well as the usual teen boy preoccupations ; )

For most of human history/geography sharing sleeping space has been the norm for practical reasons. Western society is obsessed with notion of personal privacy about bedrooms.

Hopefully you'll be somewhere with a bit more space when he gets further into teenage hood where it may become something you and him wish to look again at. Its nobody elses' business. You know your own child and just posting here shows your concern to do what is in his best interest x

KisstheTeapot14 Sun 20-Jan-19 12:35:34

We do lots of work with ours too, but he's on the other side - very delayed academically. Its always difficult to encourage an appropriate amount of independence and doubly so when our kids have SEN.

I will just say, God bless us all for trying our best!

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