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Motivating an Aspie

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Motivating an Aspie

Postby mairzdotes » Sat Apr 10, 2010 3:08 pm

First of all, thank you for this forum! We all could use help sometimes and it's just nice to know there are people out there who are willing to help. Sorry for the lengthy post, but, the dynamics are pretty interesting.
I have known my step-son since he was 9 years old when he was diagnosed with ADD. He has never had a friend except for his real and step-brother. He has never had a girl friend. Both of his parents have mental issues and may be a contributing factor. My step-son's parents never taught my step-son to persist and struggle through the tough times, instead, they blamed each other for their son's challenges.
At the age of 25 (tx for depression, ADD on anti-depressants, anti-psychotics) I brought my step-son to a behavioral psychologist and he was diagnosed with Aspergers. I never wanted him to use his diagnosis as an excuse, I just wanted him to be able to tap into resources that could help him.
O.K. now fast forward to age 28 yo. He may know a little bit more about struggle and persistence since he just received his bachelors degree in computer gaming from Devry, but, still throws tantrums and gives up when he has to struggle with resumes, failed interview attempts, follow-up calls,..he just gives up. Then, back on the computer for another day of gaming. My husband (a healthcare professional) does not want to push my step-son too much, because, he feels my step-son has autism and is disabled. The behavioral psychologist who diagnosed my step-son, met with me and my husband several times to educate us and even gave us books on Aspergers to read. Even though my husband read the material, he still feels my step-son is disabled, so, why argue, struggle or persist with my step-son. Instead he allows my step-son privileges (gave him a job in his office where my step-son just plays on the computer, free housing, free food, internet gaming, car, insurance,.etc.)
I am working a full time job (also health professional) and going to school to realize my dream. I am hardworking and have a very strong work ethic that is an integral part of me.
I really want to help my step-son, but, I am losing patience and I am getting angry at my husband and my step-son. Sadly, I am not effective when I am angry because I say things that I really don't mean and really want the best for my step-son. I also believe he would be so much happier if he could realize his goals, be more productive and more independent.
My question to you wonderful people who just read through this lengthy post,..I live near Chicago, IL USA and need resources and suggestions (even if you don't live nearby or live in a different country) to help me, my step-son (and husband).
Thank you!
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Re: Motivating an Aspie

Postby Chucky » Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:18 pm

Hi,

I'm not anywhere near Chicago but am instead in the UK; and i'm 27 with Asperger's Syndrome. I view it as a disability but not such that I cannot function in life. So, I think that your partner is wrong to be wrapping your step-son in cotton wool and smacking a 'disabled' tag on him. I am now living alone (moved out - and emigrated (from Ireland) - when I was 26), and as hard as it is sometimes, I'm not in any danger of running aground. Your are understandably angry and you must indeed push your step-son to become attuned to the fact that he cannot sit at home relying on your and your partner forever.

If I had my way, then I'd still be living at home now with my parents, but my mother and father always hinted that I'd have to move out someday. He has to start taking control of his own things. Prior to moving out, for example, I was doing my own washing, cooking, etc while still living with my parents. Perhaps you could make him do some of these things too? Perhaps him moving to some apartment nearby would be a good first step too.

While saying all of this, I think you need your partner on your side. There is no point in your son getting mixed signals from you both. I even implore you to show this forum to your husband. I managed to emigrate and am doing a postgrad course; another guy here with Asperger's moved from England to Australia to Canada, and is now married (he can also pla the piano and has a pilot's licence); while others are doing equally great things. Your son has already achieved a lot - it seems - but you're right: he has to move out eventualy for his own good.

Kevin
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Re: Motivating an Aspie

Postby Mayhem » Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:20 am

Hey there!

I agree with what Chucky said; have your husband come and read some of the posts on the forum, even make a post and ask everyone to introduce themselves, what they're doing and what they've accomplished, so that you can show him that Asperger's is not a disability or something that leaves you completely handicapped in life. There are people with different quirks on this forum, and some are more capable than others, but there are a lot of people with AS out there who have made lives for themselves and are very successful.

I'm married, I have been for two years. I moved to be with my then-fiancee from the UK to Canada when I was in my late teens. I currently hold down a full-time job and, with the help and support of my wife (and my manager) as well as my small circle of friends, I am working on a music career. I have a certain amount of friends who love me for who I am and can put up with my fits of autistic rage (Rumble, Rage and Recovery), my OCD, my need to have schedule, my weird quirks and mannerisms, my social awkwardness and phobias, etc, etc, etc. I am obsessed with certain things and often talk about the same thing over and over, but I am not crippled by the syndrome and I do my best to fight the negative attributes and not let it hold me back in life.

I have a serious problem with motivating myself, especially if it's something I don't want to do. My wife's support enables and encourages me to do things in life, especially when it comes to chasing down opportunities and jobs and suchlike. But just because I don't feel motivated to do something, doesn't mean I can't be helped and encouraged. It might be as simple as having yourself and your husband do the same for your step-son. I don't think your husband is helping him; by treating him as if he is disabled, he may psychologically have an effect on him that is only making his condition worse. If he feels like he's being labelled as disabled and unable to cope, rather than being told "okay, so you have AS, now let's get you into a position where you can cope and fend for yourself", he is probably going to allow the AS attributes such as lack of motivation to overpower him, and he'll probably start to believe that he IS in fact unable to do anything himself.

I hope some of that helps. I've only been aware of my AS for a few months now, but it has answered a lot of questions I had about myself and now I can move on and work on getting better. A lot of us here are very capable and hold down jobs and have relationships and friends, and we manage to get through life without relying on our parents for everything, especially financially.

Good luck to you and your husband and step-son.
Music In Silence | http://music-in-silence.blogspot.com
Please visit my blog, which I will be updating with thoughts
and experiences on my journey as an aspie musician!
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Re: Motivating an Aspie

Postby onlysleep » Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:32 am

I'm a bit younger than your step-son, but I can empathise with both of your situations. Like your husband, my parents have made a point of not pushing me because of my disability, and I'm not sure whether to thank them for that or not. When I've pushed myself, I always end up not being able to cope and going over the edge, so they may be doing the right thing, but I don't really see that I'll be able to go anywhere in life until they're dead, because I'm not going to voluntarily give up the comfortable, responsibility-free, financially secure life I'm guaranteed at the moment.
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Re: Motivating an Aspie

Postby mairzdotes » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:40 am

I appreciate that all the responses so far are from people who actually have Aspergers. I have always had challenges myself and if my parents just allowed me to do as I pleased, then, I would never have realized my potential and reached my goals. I think most people understand this concept.
I agree I need my husband on board! My step-son is probably confused by my prodding versus his father's permissiveness and may even feel I am picking on him.
Thank you also for your permission to share your comments with my husband. Both my husband's and my family will not comment even though they often take me aside and tell me they feel strongly that we need to do something with my step-son. This just adds to my frustration!
I will let you know what the outcome is. Thank you again!
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Re: Motivating an Aspie

Postby mlr3475080 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:55 pm

your an NT lol! Your step son gets overwhelmed very easily. Hes not acting like a child when he throws these fits. His body and mind are reacting to acute stress overload.
Think of it as this...post traumatic stress disorder. Look it up. Except for its immediate, and he needs to find a way to calm himslef immediately. Hence -his computer.
It can be very frustraiting knowing your step son is so smart yet "unmotivated". Hes very motivated- about things he is focusing on and interested in.In fact, he will probably amaze you with some of the things he can do when "he puts his mind to it". I have to say its very sad when a mother starts resenting their child. My mother and father fight about me constantly.. We notice this- he definately knows how you feel about him so please watch what you say. .
Its not that his parents never motivated him so please get that out of your head. You cant teach motivation. He will only be motivated about the things that interest him. You must also remember that he is 28. In aspie years, thats about 18-23 yrs. of age. He WILL eventually be motivated about these things as he gets older.
In your sons case, in my opinion, right now he is disabled. He needs "coping skills training". The training wont be able to turn off his emotions but he can find ways to reduce his stress. His computer is most likely one of them. You need couseling as well. Its not easy not understanding someone you love but please dont ASSUME things like "throwing a fit" or "hes just not motivated". All you think you know, you dont. I hope I didnt come off in a negative way. I sometimes do that. I truly hope that one day you will be able to understand your son.
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Re: Motivating an Aspie

Postby mlr3475080 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:17 pm

Maybe I should share my story with you. I am am 34. I have AS and so does my 12 yr old son. My father was always very supportive. My mother was like you :) She insists my father spoiled me and thats why I cant do anything for myself.My father blames himself for this. I disagree.
My father understood. He gave me my down time when I needed it and always talked to me about my emotions and feelings. My mother was so resentful she would complain about me to her friends and family, and still does.
Your family needs to "back off".It will only make you more frustrated and pressure you to do and say things that are not helpful to your son.
Instead, find your own way. the fact that your son knows your frustrated with him, only increases his stress. He does not intentionally want to do this and is probably disappointed in himself. He needs reassurance from you. He needs time. Making him do something hes not ready for will only deter him from ever trying it again.
Every child needs discipline. I agree. My son can definately be "lazy" and make "excuses" at times, aspies arent immune lol! but most of the time, there are reasons...aspies need alot of downtime! (AANE website) some of us are in a constant state of chaois (spelling?) adding one more thing to our plates...no matter how "simple" can be the straw that broke the camels back.
I own my own home but never have been able to hold a job for any significant amount of time. People think Im lazy or irresponsible, when the reality is, the social pressures at work end up being so stressful I dont even want to get out of bed. I didnt even start understanding this until recently. I would always say "cause I just cant".
Your son may be interested in AS. The more he finds out about himself, the more he will be able to communicate more clearly.
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Re: Motivating an Aspie

Postby mairzdotes » Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:08 pm

I am VERY, VERY, thankful for all of your feedback. Whether negative or positive, this feedback helps me to understand how to help my son. I have read so much on Aspergers and I guess still don't understand the dynamics of this disorder. My son always says me he WANTS to have a job and be independent, but, his actions don't show this. I guess I feel he is lying to me and that is what frustrates me.
I continue to look forward to more feedback,..keep it coming! Thanks.
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Re: Motivating an Aspie

Postby rachmarie » Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:57 am

I have a similar situation.

My future stepson is 28 and has Asperger's and is bi-polar. His dad is also bi-polar and has OCD. His is most of the time well managed with medication (Zoloft and Lithium). The son however refuses to consider medication of any sort. He smokes pot (legally in California with his medical card). He is on SSI so does not make enough money to really live on his own. Living with room mates has also not worked for him.

He is highly intelligent and knows a lot about setting up and managing computer networks (he went to school for this) and massage and natural health practices (also went to school for this). His dad and I work from home and it has been a bit of an issue with him and his dad, since he kind of expects him to be able to play games and just hang out all day long when my fiance is trying to work, which feeds into his conditions of course and so he gets a tad snappy. This upsets my future stepson and makes him think no one loves him, which breaks my heart :(. His dad also gets frustrated because as a person who coaches others in motivation and personal development, he can't seem to help his son move forward out of the rut he is in. Which leads to more friction.

Money is also an issue. My fiance has years of experience with finance and bookkeeping and accounting so he is very careful with money. His son however, has no concept of money which he freely admits to. He has a very small check to live on, and thinks nothing of spending 200 dollars on something in a month, To spend 40 bucks on a new glass pipe then leave it out and have it get ruined the same day he bought it. Stuff like that.


To top it off, my fiance lost his wife many years ago to death which had a profound influence on him and his son. The son has put up a wall and has trouble with letting people close which of course is exacerbated by his condition. Which leads to being more clingy with dad. For a while after the loss of his mom, the boy was in a group home setting. My fiance went into a massive depression after losing his first wife. I will be his second.


Now for my conditions lol. I have unipolar depression (no states of mania), 70% Blind, 80% Deaf, some neuro and ortho conditions which are similar to CP. I raised a son with CP and who was bi-polar. He passed away at 18 1/2 from a heart murmur that they mistakenly thought was benign. I have a lot of training in education of children with special needs as well as a strong background in Psychology from my own college education. I have helped a lot of children with special needs over the years, but I am kinda stumped here.


Any ideas on how to make the transitions smoother, to help him with learning to trust a woman who is not his mother but in a mother like role, and to reduce the friction tween him and his dad, plus of course help him with moving forward with his life to being as independent as possible without being homeless to boot.


Sorry for so long a post but there is a lot here and any help would be much appreciated. I want to do what is best for him because he is going to be my stepson, and I love him and of course love his dad very much.

Thanks
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Re: Motivating an Aspie

Postby alexon » Sun Nov 10, 2013 1:57 am

hi

I find listening to tapes of motivational speakers is very helpful.

they tend to generally motivate me into action, rather than there being a specific outcome stated by the speaker - I find them generally motivating

there are loads on youtube

Les brown is my favourite just now.
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