Cannot cope anymore with autistic step son(54 Posts)
I'm really really at my wits end and don't know what to to do anymore. My step son was 18 months old when I came into his life and he is nearly 13 years old now. At age 6 we got the autism diagnosis. His mum cannot cope with him, she therefore never bothered, never took him to see santa, never did a birthday party for him, step son is with us most of the time. We've always dealt with his educational needs too. I've always been there for my step son but I now cannot cope, anxiety is so bad, I feel like leaving my husband who I love so I don't have to deal with step son. I feel I'm not aloud to not be able to cope. We have two other kids together too. Unless you've had an autistic step child you will not understand how hard life can be. Family and friends have always praised me on how good I am with him but my sanity has gone and I'm losing the plot. I went to see the doctor after plucking up the courage to be told I'm fine and go and get on with it!! This has been going on about a year now and things not getting any better 😢
Aw, of course it is ok not to cope. Well done for holding it together for so long.
What support do you get?
It is hard, very hard having an autistic child in the family and puts a big strain on many relationships. Your feelings are totally understandable.
Please go and see another dr to get yourself some help, it's awful that the last one fobbed you off.
I cannot imagine how hard it is dealing with your own autistic child, but it must be even harder with a step child.
Is your DH aware that you're not coping well, can you talk to him about it? If you are to live/deal with his autism on a daily basis, then you must be able to have as much authority as his father has in his life.
I would suggest a full and frank discussion with your DH as to how this will go forward, and what your role in it should be...a no holds barred conversation, this is a time for honesty and realism!
Thank you for your replies. For the last 12 months I've been falling apart. My DH knows all about it, we even tried counselling. Ive even increased my work hours to full time so I'm out of the house and away from step son. We had support when my step son was diagnosed and up until he started high school but since then we don't get much. I've read lots of books, attended lots if class about autism and have made friends with other families. We have good patches and bad ones but he is nearly a teenager and that isn't helping. Every day is a battle at the moment, days out are almost impossible. Our holiday was a hell! My two kids are upset often - this hurts me to see. Grandparents don't often babysit as they cannot cope. The thought of the rest of my life like this scares me and upsets me.
Have you ever applied for respite care? It varys from council to council but in my county (Cheshire) you can get direct payments that you can manage to hire someone to do activites with your additional needs child enabling you to do activites with your others. You can save it up so do longer sessions in holidays. Families information service will be able to direct you but if you google direct payments and your local autbority you may hit on a web link for applying.
Is you DSS getting DLA? The payments can belp with the extra costs and provisions you need to make. It can help slightly reduce the pressure on the family.
Pass him back onto his mother. She escaped her responsibilities by shoving her child onto someone else's shoulder. She has some cheek. You are not obliged in any way to raise him. Why carry someone else's burden? You are not a saint, stop pretending you are. I mean it with the best possible intention. And I don't care if I'll be berated or deleted for what I wrote.
never took him to see santa, never did a birthday party for him
To be fair, we've only done the former once and never done the latter - our autistic son simply doesn't understand the symbolism. Instead we try to make memories around his birthday by doing something fun, something that makes him laugh, something that suits him.
Who is the main parent here, I'm unclear as to whether it's his Mum or his Dad (your husband). And who attends the EHCP meetings?
The cynical part of me says "at least he has two homes, so each family gets a break". Many un-split, un-blended families don't get that option.
Pass him back onto his mother. She escaped her responsibilities by shoving her child onto someone else's shoulder. She has some cheek
So his father has no say in that? Or the child himself? Fuck you, step child, this isn't for me?
And the child was left with his father, an equal parent. In fact she has done nothing that hundreds (probably thousands) of fathers haven't done. Do they have some cheek or is it just mums?
She escaped her responsibilities by shoving her child onto someone else's shoulder.
Yes, his father
I'm not offended you are only saying what lots of people have said to me. We have him 50% of the time, but it's so much more. Full time in holidays too. His mum gets all the money but we don't pay Maintenance. His mum will not allow restbite or babysitters she hasn't met etc but she isn't helping in getting a break. She has him 3 ish school nights a week but passes him about amongst her family etc. I've had her on holidays with us previously to help my step son as he needs his mum but now she has taken the funnies with me asking for her to have him the odd weekend so i can have a break. My husband didn't have his dad about growing up so wants my step son as much as possible - but I'm losing the plot 😩
Not sure what to say really, my son has ASD I'm on medication and it's beyond exhausting but children need looking after so I suck it up and plough on,
He should be living full time with his mum and you and your husband should have him at the weekends and some of the holidays only. With all due respect you guys have two other kids who are probably affected by his behaviour and your exasperation.
If she has him 3 nights a week then that's more respite than any council will offer...
Why are you having him full time in the holidays?
And why are things so difficult? I mean, what is specifically challenging?
guilty why should he live full time with his mum? Because looking after disabled children is automatically a mother's job? His father is in this too.
I'd take 50/50 gladly, she will not though. She drops him off randomly when it's her day as she cannot cope and pretends not to be in so we cannot drop him off too. His quirks, mannerisms, general negativity, everything is the end of the world, everything has to be his way etc (I could go on!) and all the meltdowns has taken its toll on me. I'm a broken woman.
What sort of a role does your husband play? Sounds like he needs to step up
DH is very good, just realised I've not mentioned him much above. He has no backbone with regard to his ex though and is happy for step son to be here 24/7. We both work full time (I've recently increased my hours to get out of the house more). I've asked for one weekend a month that step son not here but it seems I'm asking too much 😞
It doesn't sound fair to ask for step son not to be there as he is with his father, he has just as much right to be there as your other kids. If you both work full time you only actually see step son evenings and weekends, are you both together? Does he pull his weight? You say he's very good but it sounds as though you do most of childcare which is why you're so sick of it all understandably
You all need to talk. You need to coordinate respite and maybe if SS can get some respite funding this can be used for all. If SS mum is dropping him iff and pretending to be out she sounds pretty exhausted too.
I too have an Autistic 13 year old, an NT 11 year old and DD 6 who has complex needs (current diagnosis social communication disorder) DS1 and DS2's dad left when they were 1 and 3. XH has them 1 day this summer hols. I feel the pain of meltdowns the disruption and frustration settling into holiday routine and understand the complexity of what should be simple activities.
The harsh reality is this isn't a SS hits 16 and problem goes away. 16 and it amplifys because without thought soon, where will he extend his education, how will he access training for employment, is he potentially employable? Support for adults can be much, much, harder to access and getting him into the system now will help with any transition to adult services that may exist.
Start with his Dad. He needs to get on board and accept as three involved adults you need to find a way forwards because the current chaos must exaserbate the anxiety around SS ASD and be adding to stress for all involved.
What support do you have? Have you been in touch with NAS / Bernardo's / community paediatrics? All of them should be able to help you to help him. If his behaviour is so bad that he is causing this much anxiety then he presumably needs more support for himself too.
Yes we see him evenings and weekends where as his mum just has a few evenings, no actual quality time such as weekends. She laughs as she gets every weekend off to go as she pleases. It's ok fot her not to cope and put on us but I'm not aloud to not be able to cope. My DC obviously find it hard at times and don't always understand why. My husband wants step son here as much as possible but the bulk of the child care for all the kids was on me - this is why I've gone full time at work as I need a break!
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