Adult children

I some times feel that having an adult child can be really hard. While he has all the ages for anything from marriage to the vote (UK laws) He is not able to do so many day to day things. I get such mixed emotions of where and how to get him to gain skills. Where is the line between his choice and my wish for him to gain in life skills and independence?
WOW! I think that it can be harder now than when he was a child.
What’s your views? How do you feel an adult should progress? I would love to hear from you.
My son always seems keen at first and then after a few weeks we go down hill, not back to the beginning but not far off.
To gain a balance is hard work. How do you cope? Drop me a line I would love to know your views.

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How to help someone else have self-motivation ?

I would love to hear from others on how to self motivate. Where do you start? You see the thing I am thinking is that my son lacks this really important area of self-development. If I nag or talk him into it, things get done, but the minute I stop he goes back to the same old same old!
He is 19 now, and I am not getting any younger! I worry about what the future holds for him. He just can’t stay the same for ever. I am his only support, and this is the disadvantage of living in a country where there is no help at all for him. To even find a therapist we are talking about a drive of an hour each way, which I would do but something he will not do.
I know that I could be over worrying but as a Mum, I do. I just can’t get him to see that some things have to change. I always believed that for true change to happen, it has to be by their own thought process, not just a supported change but one that holds value and enables you to go forward has to be from within. I do think we have to support that change to happen, even with a lot of help, but for real change it should be taken on and continued by them.
What do you think? Drop a comment and let me know.
I do get so worried about this!

Temper tantrums or meltdowns?

The news has been full of sad stories around autism and how we should feel sorry for that poor parent or carrier. I just want to try to add my thoughts on this, you may not agree but here is something you may need to know.
Meltdowns are not temper tantrums!
Many people included parents of children with ASD do not understand the difference.

A temper tantrum is mostly when a child hears the word ‘No’ or when they do not get their own way.
The child often checks to see that you are watching.
They want attention; be it negative or positive.
They will try to get what they want from the explosion.
They do not (as a rule) hurt themselves.
The upset can end as quickly as it starts.
They are always around a goal/ self-agenda. An example here can be the temper over not having that bag of sweets. If that bag of sweets is given to the child then the temper/ tears and screaming stops quickly. My daughter could scream really well, and it was a battle of wills. She would look to check if the temper tantrum had worked, and if not, she would throw herself to the floor. I can still shudder at the thought!

Meltdowns are different, and this is really important to understand.

The child with ASD does not look for or care if you are watching. They can and do hurt themselves and others. The end of a meltdown comes when it has blown out, usually the child has hit exhaustion, there is no easy stop switch. Sweets just don’t cut it! They can happen due to sensory overload that you may not see. Our child in a meltdown has lost understanding and awareness. This is ten times harder than a normal temper tantrum, please bear in mind just how scary this is for the child, and I add here, for you. I hope you can begin to understand the total terror for the child.
Hold that thought, and try to follow me as I place in an analogy here.

Tetris the game sends blocks of colour down the screen for you to ‘build a wall of colour’ now they can come quicker and quicker and leaving gaps between them until the screen is full….. game over. If you can think of this as we all have screens that have to deal with incoming information, we each have our own size screen, and each has the blocks falling at different rates. Some people will fill their screen fast, others slowly, but the end or in our case is a meltdown if too much has filled the screen. If, as the child, your understanding, tactile, spatial awareness, sensory overload and just keeping up with the daily overload of understanding what is going on can fill their screen fast! It may be that the school day has been more than enough of ‘holding it all together’ the blocks just keep on falling faster and quicker and often as the parent, we only see the last ‘block’,’ but it is in the whole; we need to see those blocks from last week still may be having an effect on what can be copied with today for the child.
Now I am not saying give the child everything they want, when they want, but start to see past the meltdown, to think what happened last week that could have added to this meltdown? We as parents do have the ability to stay in control.
1. Think about their sensory visual needs
2. Think about their sensory hearing needs.
3. Think about their lack of emotional control or their being over whelmed with emotions. Most ASD children have a huge amount of empathy far from the believed perception. Often this leads to taking on everyone else’s ‘feelings’ and having no where to place this.

How we can help:

You can’t avoid all meltdowns so start by accepting this fact. Do not take it personally.
You can begin by seeing if there is a pattern, what happened days before and on the day? This is time-consuming but, the payback can really be worth any work you may do.
Have a safe place for any meltdowns where there are minimal things around that can hurt the child or you. A soft play area in their bedroom can work well. Try to allow the child to help decide where this place is, and what can help them after all they do know what is best for them, or at least what can help. I am not talking about a ‘punishment area’ but a space to gain a rest from all that input.
While in a meltdown talking doesn’t work well, so stay calm and quiet. By all means turn your back if the child is hitting out.
Do not join in. While this can seem obvious such extreme emotion can become a chain reaction.
Intervention can help early on with sensory support, visual support and helping the child manage emotional overload. All this takes time, but great things can be achieved with small steps in the right direction. My son found that if things where just at exploding point he couldn’t say but he could hold a red card, that means I need space and peace now! A weighted blanket could really work. A calming room with the right lighting can work for your child. A walk can help.
Tell someone else who may be able to help. Set yourself up a small group of people you can share with, other parents going through the same thing can help. Just having someone at the end of the phone can be enough. Setting up a sitting circle can allow you to get a break as well as breaks for others in the circle, not for money but for equal timed breaks. Ask for help from professionals. Seek help before you feel you can’t cope. Proactive is always better than reactive.
As both you and your child learn to understand when these meltdowns are coming you both with time, can reduces the impact they have. My son is now 19 and yes he can still have meltdowns but now he is not violent, something I thought would never happen BUT we have worked on the triggers and as he has grown older and gained in his understanding of what the hell is happening, the violence’s to self and others has gone, most the time.
In the black moments when my son was little and very violent I would wonder if it would ever end, I was covered in bites/ bruises and just so tired of it all. You need to be active at being proactive and not just constantly dealing with the meltdowns but starting to see why and what can be done before the meltdowns. It took a long time to understand meltdowns are not temper tantrums. I hope this helps someone to understand the BİG difference and start being proactive not reactive.

I hope this helps someone out there and if that happens I will be happy. There are lots of information out there and this is just my thoughts.

‘I have been looking into risk assessment for my son. I don’t mean professional help, but something that can be useable for him. Something to help him to stop catastrophizing every area, and building them into unworkable thoughts and actions.
No easy task for either of us and something new that we didn’t know about, but are well aware of the end result’.

While I wrote this post last week things have changed. Not with my son, but I met someone new who by complete chance who has a level of understanding and has done workshops on how to help young men who have Asperger’s and how they think. He has kindly lent me all his work and the course materials for me to read and if any of it can help to use. I am flabbergasted! How this can happen with such a small group of expats and how this has happened when I really needed it. The chances of this happening in the UK is huge but here is mind blowing!
I just am in shock at the timing and the offer of help. The other thing that happened is a friend was there and had no idea we were in such a place of massive negative thinking and has taken it up her own ideas of how to help. Bless Linda, she has decided to take my son out without me, and just allow him to be him and enjoy their time together. My son who likes to go out with her just loved this and he seems fine. They go off with the dog and have a quite walk around off this site and in the forest, all of which if I said lets go my son would hate.
So a good end to this week and maybe light at the end of the tunnel. My son is going out and I have help. This is great news and something I thought would be hard here but has proved the saying ‘As one door closes another opens’. My weekend will be filled with reading and my son will at least get out of the house in a way he likes.

Books

A book or e-book I have newly found and are going to get is a book called ‘Launching Adult Children’ a guide for parents who want to promote self-reliance. By Mark Hutten, M.A.
As the title says; ‘A guide for parents who want to promote self-reliance for older teens and adult children’. The book claims tips and strategies to help us/ our Asperger’s child to go from unprepared to having the skills to move on and gain independence. This book seems to be striking the balance from the parents need/ wish to protect the person with Apies to enabling the letting go process to happen.
So with such claims I think I will read this and see what I can get from this book. I have felt for a long time the lack of help for this jump for our children/ adults. Schools and collages have to base on education needs, and we are held responsible for the great leap to employment and independent living. Our kids at this moment do not come up high on the help available tables of the social services or health care, both of which can only help the person who really needs help or has extra needs; such as mental health needs or are homeless as well as having Asperger’s. So for me there is only me and my ability to help my son step through the door to adult life. I will share what I found out and how beneficial this has been after I have read the book and tried some of what it says. If you have read this book tell me what you though, has it been helpful?