Helping Your Adult Child with Aspergers or HFA to Live Independently

If you are in a situation where your adult child with Aspergers (HFA) is living with you and it is mutually beneficial (or at least mutually respectful), then this article may not be for you. However, if he or she is overly-dependent and lives at home in a situation that has become uncomfortable or intolerable, then read this now!

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==> Launching Adult Children With Aspergers and HFA: How To Promote Self-Reliance


Anonymous said...

My significant other's son is 32
and unable to meet his bills each month and seemingly ok with this.
His parents are afraid if they did not help
him financially that he would be content to be homeless. He has a low paying
job without benefits....parents bought his cars.....help with his
in crisis.....roomies skip and leave the mess.... Quite frankly we are all at our
wits ends....
and it is so difficult because you don't want to see your loved one suffer and
yet he doesn't seem to want to do anything for himself??

Anonymous said...

We have a 26 year old son living in our basement who was diagnosed with asperger syndrome about 14 years ago. We have tried setting him up numerous times for work, college etc. We have even gone as far as to buy a condo and a car for him to get him launched into the adult world. All our efforts have been to no avail it seems. He is again living in our basement and his only real desire is to play video games. Recently, we were able to get him enrolled into a government assisted training program, 4 weeks of classroom training, which is followed up by 8 weeks of guaranteed work at a local business (fitness facility for him). He completed the 4 weeks of training and was overly enthusiastic about getting started. He has been at the job now for 4 weeks and we are seeing the typical pattern for him. He is getting ready, in the morning, with less and less time to make it for work on time. He is also circumventing their system at the gym. He tells them that he is checking security tapes from the day before and is, we suspect, spending time on the internet, playing video games. If this turns out like every other job, they will find out and warn him. He then, typically, starts giving them poorer and poorer work to the point of where they get so angry at him, that they fire him and never want to see him again. Previously, employers have become so frustrated with him that it seem that they actually hate him. We are suspecting that he sabotages his job so that there will be no possible chance of reconciliation. He then can come home and play the video games, unhindered. It seems that he is just completely addicted to the internet. We have tried to employ him on our own farm but it's just too frustrating, trying to get him out of the house in the morning to actually do some work. Unbelievably frustrating!
We read some of the testimonials on your website and were hopeful and yet skeptical that there might be any hope for him. My wife is thinking that the book would be a good idea and I just wanted to have one question answered.

We don't need another disappointment to add to frustration in our home. I'd certainly appreciate an honest answer from you. I'll be waiting for a reply from you.

Anonymous said...

My son is 20 yrs. old has borderline asperger's (diagnosed at 18), ADHD (diagnosed at 7), and although I was never told except through reading his medical files ODD at the age of 18. I can see some anger, but nothing that couldn't be contributed to the other two diagnoses. He is not agressive if anything he's more passive. Can't seem to be without a girlfriend. If he breaks up with one, he has another (online mostly) before the end of the day. I homeschooled him during high school because he is a follower (starting following the goths). I got him involved with the Catholic homeschool group and although we had our typical mom -teacher-son-student disagreements. He did find and graduated. He has had 4 or 5 car scraps and two expensive accidents. He does not take any medication. He had wanted to go into the Coast Guard but because he is an Aspie, we were told he couldn't join. We never filed out any papers. He is not motivated and went to the tech school here, but didn't finish the semester as he wouldn't study and was failing. That was one year ago. He got mad at me and moved out to live with his girlfriend and her mom. (A big mistake as he calls it. ) He moved back home 2 months later. He has works at our wine part-time for pocket money as that is all we could afford to have him work. By the end of last summer I told him he had three choices: go back to school, get a full-time job, or go to Job Corps. He has unrealistic goals that he can make it big in the music industry although he doesn't play an instrument and can barely sing. His friends think the same thing. They've never had a gig. I told him I wouldn't discourage him, but that he had to have a backup occupation while trying to pursue his dream of being on stage and touring. We are now waiting for an opening at Job Corps and he plans to be trained as an electrian. By concern is the transitioning into a very strict atmosphere which I believe he needs. He keeps his room messy and his personal hygenine isn't the best. The administration knows he has these diagnoses and are willing to help him. It is a self-paced program which I think is the best for him and then again maybe not. He does have a girlfriend he met through a Job Corps meeting and she is very motivated (almost OCD) about it. She is very neat and tries to be perfect in everything.

After rereading this it sounds like it's not bad at all. I guess I'm trying to find way of helping him transition into a place where kids who have had many problems live. He is not street smart, he's had unprotected sex (contrary to my Catholic belief), and is definitely not very motivated. He sleeps late and does few chores around the house. His decision-making skills definitely need help!! We need help him become more independent. I have seem some change for the better in the passed few months. I guess he's just a late bloomer 20 going on 18.

Anonymous said...

My son is now 25 and has aspergers. Diagnosed at 5 with what they thought as ADHD enrolled in all the EBD classes until middle school. He then decided he didn't want to go anymore. Social worker from the school tried to get him out of the house but couldn't. Then finally he wanted to go back they then diagnosed him with Aspergers and the proper classes. He then said no again to school he stayed home played video games and tried working. Got fired from grocery stores ( He thought he could leave and get a haircut in the middle of working) I did tell him to get one but after work! I can laugh now. He wanted contacts to go back to school Sure I said. So he finally graduated from high school at age 20. Vocational rehab school for 1 year he loved it. He did get suspended for stealing money at his new job there at the store. Came home with an attitude he graduated from college. He was able to move to my parents basement nice apt to live alone. He is trying to figure this out. Didn't want to do dishes and wanted to play video games all day. We gave him 2 plates 2 cups and silver ware 3 pans to cook with. He has to do dishes now to eat. He now decided to go to college to learn computers his favorite. I was afraid he would fail but said ok you give it a try. He is now in his second semester learning PC repair. Finally he is learning to manage his anger. He is finally learning to love life. He was depressed and sometimes thinking no one liked him. He has 3 friends that are just like him. I think these kids are just wanting to be reassured they are just like everyone else. He did finally learn to drive got his license. Still we try to make him drive but he is fearful. One day he will outgrow that. Please encourage your child to do the best he can. Take him places and include him in things to broaden their view. He may not want to go but try and keep asking. God is good These guys are just late bloomers! But they bloom little by little everyday.

Anonymous said...

I write you from Italy. I am the mother of a 22 years old boy with Asperger Syndrome.
I write you for your help.
During the adolescence we had big problems with our son. He began to have obsessive behaviours, violent rages, aggressive and destructive behaviours. We were forced to seek a structure to move him away from the family. When he was seventeen, we found a structure far from our town (1000 km). He has spent the last five years in this residential centre. In the first two years the situation improved but after the situation began again to deteriorate. He began again to have aggressive and destructive behaviours. Our son that has always asked a lot of questions, often repetitive questions, began not to speak anymore and to spend all the day in his room and accept other people in the room just for very short time. If they stayed longer he began to attack them.
In the last year he started again to speak, he began again to make a lot of questions, often repetitive. He began to come back home more often.
It seems he is really afraid about his aggressive and destructive behaviours. Often when he is at home he repeat “I do not have to be aggressive”. He speak often about aggressive behaviours “When I attack people, they try to block me” and he wants that we answer that “They did well. You cannot beat anybody”. It seem to us that his capacity to control himself has improved compared to when he was sixteen, but there are moment when he gives slaps or he break something.
He is also obsessed about death, he speak always about his grandfather and great grandmother that are dead, but also about all the people that he know that are dead, also historical figures. If he listen the music of Morzart, he ask “Is he dead? (he know that he is dead) Why? I am sad that all people have to die”.
Often he speaks about past, saying “I would like to came back when……”.
We are trying to find a residential centre near where we live, but there are not a lot of structures and often they prefer not to have people with behaviour problems.
Can you give me suggestions about how I can help my son?

Anonymous said...

My son was originally diagnosed with PDD at the age of 5, and then to Autism Spectrum Disorder at 18. He is now 23, and our home is a battle zone, my marriage in tatters, and I feel like a failure as a parent. He is taking Zoloft and Xanax for depression, anxiety, and severe OCD. His new specialist wants to start him on Abilify (I have heard and read both good and bad reviews for this medication). We have had a professional behavior specialist coming into our home to help us the past three months, have implemented a behavior plan that is giving him rewards for just not verbally abusing me and taking a shower once a week (which takes up to 6 hours most of the time). I have come to the end of my rope. I love my son, but his controlling, aggressive, moody and disrespectful behavior is destroying our home. He will not communicate with me. I have had to modify MY behavior to keep from triggering his. This is not life, it is survival at it's lowest form. My health is deteriorating and the stress has gotten to the point where I am now on medication for anxiety.

A better future for all said...

As an Aspergers person I need to state a few things. Remember, we take things very literally. Therefore, I misunderstood what certain things meant. I have been doing extensive research to try to understand why I receive certain responses when I ask questions and ask for help.

For a long time, I did not have an understanding of the concept of what a sense of entitlement was and what American values were. Due to ignorance, I did not know that asking certain questions or asking for help and aid could imply feelings of entitlement.

I did not know that past a certain age that all of a sudden the rules changed. I did not know that past a certain age that one was supposed to figure things out on their own. I will not say this about all aspies but with myself I will say this. Unless something is blatently obvious to me or explictly told to me I do not know it. I am unaware and ignorant to it.

Mr. Hutten, I am assuming you believe in the values of hard work, indepenence and self-reliance am I correct? I will have to state that you have inconsistencies to your beliefs. Here are my questions.

1. When I went to Voc Rehab it was stated that appearance is number one when it comes to obtaining a job. This is 100% true. You state this aspergers young person can live without a haircut. If this person does not maintain their hair how does this person obtain a job at all? I assume this implies they don't need other things which would help maintain their appearance and hygeine? How do they obtain work at all? How is this not a no win situation?

2. If this young aspie adult goes on food stamps and rental assistance because he is unable to work then I have to ask how is this independence, Mr. Hutten? Now this aspie is dependent upon the state and the taxpayers. How did you ultimately solve the problem of this aspie's over-dependence? Now he will be overly-dependent on the state. Is this really about gaining this aspie independence or is it really about getting this aspie out of the parent's hair?

3. You state that this aspie can eat things such macroni and cheese, raman noodles, etc. What is the nutritional content of these things? Wouldn't this aspie be at risk for malnutrition and diseases like scurvy? Is this what you really did as a child yourself Mr Hutten?

4. If dependence is just being transfered and this aspie is a ward of the state by being on food stamps and other goverment entitlements then how is he taking care of himself at all? You acknowledge there are some who truthfully can't obtain work. If this is so and they are wards of the state, then how are they capable of independence at all? What is your rationale Mr Hutton? What are your premises that lead to this conclusion?

5. How does your advice help in any kind of way? Why isn't it the parents job to show their kids how to be independent and show their kids how to survive? Why shouldn't kids be taught how to fish? Isn't this the parent's responsibility or are parents irresponsible and have a sense of entitlement themselves? Mr. Hutten, I have to call into question your ethics, logical reasoning, your morality, and your professional conduct.

Tiffany said...

Mine is a senior in high school. He treats our family like crap, but is pretty nice to others. I agree with every word in this article and totally empathize with every comment. It's helpful to see others going through the same thing and that it's not my fault he's a liar and irresponsible and has no interest in accomplishing anything at all. When he graduates, he has to move out. He is cruel to everyone in our house, and we shouldn't have to put up with it, especially his siblings who are miserable when he's around. But my spouse has given up and thinks it's hopeless and that the boy can never be on his own... yet I'm to the point of saying that after he graduates, either he goes, or the other kids and I go. I can't take this anymore.

Unknown said...

Abilify will help. It'll take several weeks to get into his system. Try to gain respite care and set boundaries. Examplevthis roller coaster isn't working and try to stay calm. Take a time out to reflect prior to speaking

Warrior said...

After reading through the comments I see several patterns... but the most disturbing are the use of the term kid or boy.... and the mention that parents are treated like crap and abused in their own homes.

My son will be 20 in a few days and has yet to graduate high school. I absolutley refuse to entertain parent/teacher meetings or bail him out of situations (last was asking teachers on his behalf to allow extra time to complete projects - which he made no effort to complete anyway)

I agree with the insights of the author above. Our sons and daughters are capable of venturing into adulthood if only we would just let them. If they want to be homeless, live below their means, not shower etc... then so be it. Stop making your adult children an extension of you... Stop trying to fix them and troubles in their lives because you believe you failed... because you have guilt that overrides your own sense of worth.

Have I had days where I cried for my son? Yes! However we are given the tools to survive! The best thing we can do for our sons and daughters is give them a foundation and trust that all we have instilled in them will guide them and keep them.

My son is currently out of the house and basically said F you to me and his stepfather before he left to live with my father to bond and learn IT. Well guess what? It's been 3 weeks and he has already shown his true colors to my father. My father "checked" him on an issue and my son said that he would "let that slide". My father was dumbfounded, but assured me that he wouldn't let his smart remarks go again. I agreed. If he wants to be disrespectful and buck up against his grandfather... then he deserves whatever comes from the other side. The world is harsh and we have a tendency to shelter and baby aspies.... Especially mothers... I know I have! But to what good? To what gain?

I also see a theme of video game playing, depression, anger and escapism. I will NO longer excuse ANY of the above. I also won't be afraid in my own home. Do you know I found myself hiding every knife and sharp object in the house? No way to live! It is nothing for my son to cost me hundreds and hundreds of dollars in cell phone bills because he chooses NOT to control his data usage. No more phone... no more video games. Not on my hard earned dime. Especially when he takes no initiative to pull weight around the house or get a job.

He barely showers... doesn't get haircuts and his teeth are deteriorating. I definitely believe autism/aspergers is a perfect storm of genetics and environment (food, chemicals, toxins). My son's father has Aspergers as well. I didn't know it at the time, but his obsession with music with no plan to make it work for him, his unwillingness to work, his deteriorating teeth, his nomadic ways, sense of entitlement and uncanny nack for trying to live off of women... led me to Aspergers. At 22 I was going through my own depressive state after the divorce of my parents and have always tried to fix people. I have learned so much about myself through hard knocks, failed relationships and my children.

It has been a journey.. but it's been my journey. I have to define it.... not my adult children.

Unknown said...

Have you ever thought about removing the video games from your house? Maybe if it wasn't so fun to be at home he would try to keep a job and move on with life.

Anonymous said...

I sympathize with your pain here. My son is only going into 8th grade, and we have dealt with his hateful, disrespectful ways toward us for years. I am hoping when he is 18, we can be free from his abuse. I know this post was a couple years old. But since Im seeking support... if you can let me know how things turned out for you?

Ajm said...

My step daughter of 21 is still at home with her mother and her partner ..
Met apserges dad my partner 8 years ago when she was 14 difficult age I no as all teenagers are a challenge at that age . But before me and her farther got together her parents had been split for 2 years .. so wounds of desperation not so roar when I came on board ...
Step daughter got taken of the aspergs list at 13 as said thinking she was over it and that had to have no medication as all was well .
Cutting this short really.. it's 8 years down the road and between me and her farther she has been so challenging very visit very nasty rude intolerant. Expects things very highly ignores me in my home walks away if I enter a room . Asks her dad for everything ignores myself to ask me a question.. doesn't want to work will take take take money and presents . But all we get in return is grief and I hate to say I just want to turn away from her but I try to help my partner to guide him with her as there has to be limits now she's of age .. he is aware of her condition obviously but will brush it under the carpet this so makes me angry as even though she may be an adult in the public eye mentally she isn't capable of making a adult decision in life .( I me saying she as I don't want to mention names sorry)
I need help to help my partner to help me to take his head out of the sand and do this together so we can help sort her out .. but we only see her once a month as we both feel that now she is older she shouldn't be leaning on her dad very weekend .. He's there for her yes but she expects to treat pur home like a holiday and try to get what she wants by bleeding us dry and draining us mentally and physically..
She has a younger brother whom is 14 now and making good life choices we see him very other week and he makes his choices of either being up at our house or being with friends hence normal choices ..
I just need help as I have not liked this girl for a few years now as i see he progressively worsen and as a supposed adult now she can seek help but will not ... and me as a step parent feels i me the only one trying to get her help 😭😭😭😭😦😦

Unknown said...

I went to Job Corps. It was a great learning experience. I wanted my son to go too (He's 22 now, and HFA) but he couldn't with the medication he was on. He's taken himself off of his medication, so I'm hoping we can get him in now. Good luck to you and your son. I hope he finds his way. :)

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for that detailed testimonial. I feel like now there's hope my son will learn to drive and eventually venture out on his own.

Anonymous said...

We have had great results with anger issues with Risperdal

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