You are not alone, I deal with all these same issues with my 14 year old son every day. His shower only takes about 45 seconds rather then 45 mins. I have to remind him to brush his teeth, deoterant, etc... He has chores to do weekly and every week I have to go through all the steps on how to do it. I will try the charts myself and see if that makes a difference. This is my first time doing any kind of forum and I should have done this a long time ago as I did not know this was part of aspergers I just thought my son was trying to get out of the chores. I mean it is like the simple things like put water in the refrig, take out the garbage, pick up the dog poop in the yard and he has to be told over and over and over to do them. I do not have answers but I sure am learning things to help me too.
The first thing I would like to say is hang in there. Parenting children with special needs can be frustrating, heartbreaking, and overwhelming. But, as I am sure you can tell me more than I can tell you- it can be incredibly rewarding as well.
There are individuals known as behavioral specialists (in the states) who can help with those tasks of daily living. If you can afford to hire one I strongly recommend it. It is not a fault of yours that your child is struggling to learn these tasks: children do not come with instruction manuals! There absolutely are ways of teaching children these tasks, including some of the ideas mentioned (e.g., visual cues, charts, reward/contingency plans), all of which a well trained behavioral specialist will know how to create and help you implement.
Lastly, please seek some additional support for yourself. Parenting a child with special needs is often a very selfless task and based on the distress you have described I would really advise finding ways to increase YOUR support system (e.g., talk with friends, join support groups, take up new hobbies, counseling).
Best of luck!
I am new to the form but your dilemnia is all to familiar. My name is Helen Hipp and my son who will be 25 in a couple of weeks has aspergers. For many years is was non verbal so much so that I started to use sign language and visual cues. He know is very verbal and expressive and looking back it the progress is miraculous. My point is that don't give up on your child's potential it's beyond frustrating I know but your efforts are not in vain. The advice I am about to share may seem simple but here it goes. During those early tears when I took my son to some well known doctors the said "he (my son) was functiong beyond his capabilities" translated meant that his level of functioning was beyond what THEY THOUGHT POSSIBLE! They asked me what was I doing and I said " I never have thought that he could not learn it's only that he speaks a diffrent language and I had to learn that language. Today he believes in his potential. Good luck and God Bless, Helen Hipp
Rettiuq, too funny, my 22 year old aspie daughter LOVES Dr. Who too.
everyone else...my daughter still has trouble doing simple things. BUT don't give up. It takes much more time for her to learn to do things, and then still needs to be reminded...and then reminded again. I find that when I make lists for her...like on post-it notes next to her bed, or in the bathroom, she can read it and most of the time remember to get things done...basic health care stuff. (but still needs some reminders)
Here's an example of what we are doing lately:
We have been working on washing clothes lately...about a year, I have notes (much bigger than post-it notes here) posted on the wall behind the washer and dryer. items on the steps include how many pieces of clothes = size of wash load and how much soap, separating colors and explain what those colors are. What temperature the different colors should be washed at, and what items to take out and hang up and not put in the dryer. She still askes me questions about things...what to separate from what etc. but she can now do the laundry all by herself. This is HUGE! It still takes work...but she can do it. (we haven't worked on folding clothes yet...one step at a time) Also, I started out having her watch me do the laundry as I explained what I was doing. Then I would have her do just one of the steps...and we added more until she could do the whole thing. Everything is like this, you have to make the steps very simple and write them down, and draw pictures if they need that too. Lately my daughter has been having a cup of coffee in the morning, so we are now working on making coffee. I find one of the biggest things that hold her back are that she is very much a perfectionist and she is terrified to do something wrong. Her counselor told me it would be good for her to learn to deal with the mistakes and not giving up. We can't give up on our kids....
My goal is for her to live the kind of life she wants to live. If she wants to live independant she needs to learn skills to do that. I will not always be here for her. Because it takes our kids much longer to learn things it will take years longer than most kids. If most kids go to college and move out at 18-20 years old...maybe my daughter will have that option for herself by the time she is 30. Our kids don't learn things by watching very well, they must be taught so much more than other kids. BUT, my daughter feels proud of herself when she can do something all by herself.
YES, Occupational Therapy is a wonderful help. And Life Skills Training in the schools is wonderful too. Good luck to you all.
My 13 year old daughter is a aspie and I completely understand your dilemna. Emily will take a shower by herself, but it never lasts less than 45 minutes. She tells me this is because the shampoo and conditioner are in seperate bottles. LOL. She will not shave, even if I offer to help her. I have to tell her to brush her hair, brush her teeth, use deoderant, etc. and we have to turn her shirt or pants around at least twice a week. I've pretty much given up on teaching her common sense daily chores. I know that even if she could do them, without someone to tell her to, she wouldn't. OT is a good start. Also, some schools have "life skills" classes for special needs kids. These classes are specifically for getting on in the real world. I know it is hard, but please try to have patience. Autistic kids aren't doing these things to aggravate us.
Sounds like my son who is 12. We take a deep breath and keep on trying. I really do not know what I would do without my husband because whenever I feel like it is insurmountable he steps in and reminds me that whatever we are feeling - these children are having a tougher time. They are quite aware that they are somehow not getting it.
Most people with Asperger's suffer from executive dysfunction. The more I read about it...the more I can wrap my head around what he is going through. I have really bad ADHD..worse than he does...so I understand why he is not doing some things properly. I still have to watch over him to make sure he brushes his teeth, gets his clothes on right, takes a bath...though he has a really high IQ. When he is involved in whatever has his attention...the other stuff just does not matter or is not important.
Does she get OT---it is not all about handwriting Sometimes it helps if you set up a visual chart as people with Aspergers are more visually inclined. Teach her how to pick out her clothes and get them ready the night before..that helps. My son has simple chores..like setting the table. He has learned how to make simple meals. I know he can now cook an egg..he won't starve. According to his neuropsychologist...following recipes is excellent practice.
I can offer you a hug. I cry too..but also remember to laugh. My son, at 12, has decided his latest obsession is Dr. Who. I guess in Britain he might be able to go around in wild outfits brandishing a sonic screwdriver...but it is weird in America. I just look at him and laugh. He is sort of an alien trying to figure us out.