A mother’s anguish. Part 1

This is the start of a series of blog posts about my adult son, who has Autism & ADHD, and his behaviors recently, that have his father and I teetering on…whether to consider looking at group homes, or just plugging on, and trying to find a balance and get him back on the straight and narrow.

He’s always been quirky, he has his little ritualistic, and sometimes “irritating as hell” things that he does and has always done, and we’ve accepted them, deal with them, and move on. They’ve become a “normalcy” in our world, and he’s kind of bended us to HIS way of doing things.  Lately though, he’s been way out of whack, and or sense of “normalcy” has gone down the toilet.  He is on two medications, and I think I am going to look into the “ingredients” in these medications. One of them is suiting him just fine, the other, is supposed to ease the anxieties, or lessen his extreme OCD that accompanies his ADHD, but that seems to be the culprit for his extremely aggressive and intrusive behavior lately.

One of his quirks that he’s had for a really long time, and we’ve dealt with, and have been able to redirect him was the fact that if he sees one thing out of place on someone, whether it’s the hood strings on someone’s hoodie that are un-even, he has to go fix them til they’re even. Now the people he’s done this too (straightening their strings) have been the staff at the workshop where he attends each day, and they are ok, and they know if they let him fix them, he does so, and moves on. Well, lately, it’s been more than just hoodie strings, fuzz, threads, pet hair, little minute things that the rest of us either don’t see, or just don’t care about, he gets obsessed about, and a lot of the times they’ll be on parts of the body where it’s inappropriate to touch someone else.  When he does this to people who either don’t know him, or they know him but don’t want to be touched, and they try to stop him, that sets him off, and he becomes even more determined to get that thing he’s after.

The other problem with this is he is minimally verbal. He can speak, but not in conversation. He’s what they call “ECHOLALIC”, which simply means he repeats what he hears, EXACTLY the way he hears it, tone, pitch, even accent. Sometimes he will appropriately answer someone’s question, but when he does, it’s usually from a movie line he’s memorized. One of his past teachers once commented, and several others have agreed (myself included) that he speaks in movie lines.  One of his passions is watching YouTube, and he watches his videos over and over again, and memorizes some of his favorite lines, most of what he watches is Disney movies (ones with music mostly) and the old Christmas classics like Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, Frosty, etc. He’ll watch those over and over again, and he’s got them in his brain, and he can repeat them all, VERBATUM, but mostly when someone’s asked him a question, his mind will instantly pull out an appropriate answer in the form of one of those lines. It’s quite comical really, and very entertaining.  At any rate, that’s the form of his speech, so he has not ever said to anyone,  you’ve got a piece of fuzz, or hair on you, let me get that, or can you take it off, it bugs me. I’m sure if he could do that, he would, and problem solved. That’s not all though. Lately, he’s been destroying stuff of other people’s (at home and the workshop) and it’s not just little things on a wall, or a table, it’s stuff that’s  structural, wall themselves, partitions, and if he doesn’t want it there, he’ll stop at NOTHING to get rid of it. This kid (I call him a kid even though he’s 21 yrs old, is 6′ tall and weighs 219lbs, he’s strong as an ox to begin with, but if he gets agitated,  it takes several people, MEN, BIG STRONG MEN, to stop him.  We all think it may be one of his meds causing him to do this, cause it’s only been lately that it’s been really extreme. He’s running amok, and wreaking havoc. I have all I can do to keep from tearing out my hair.  It’s come to the point where I cannot take him out in public, for fear he’ll see something on someone, and I can’t bear to think what would happen, or he may see something across the street,  and he’s so hyper-focused on something, he’ll be walking with blinders on, and he’ll most likely get hit. In fact, I’m surprised he hasn’t yet, he’s walked across the street like that where we live, and he’s avoided getting hit. I believe in Guardian Angels by the way.  I fear for his life. I fear for others. Hidden under all this chaotic behavior, is a handsome, fun loving and very gentle natured young man, who doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. It would kill me to put him in a group home, and I will stop at nothing to avoid that, in the mean time, the stress is enough to drive me off the deep end, in finding the cause of all this anxiety and bad behavior, to bring him back to a state of stability, and tranquility.   So this is the end of today’s post.  Everyday, I will post an update, probably not as long as this one, but on the other hand, depending on the day’s events, maybe longer. We shall see.  That’s all for now,  I shall return.


2 thoughts on “A mother’s anguish. Part 1

  1. My son is 14 & has ADHD, Autism, Anxiety & has a history of very aggressive behaviour. I would definitely look at the second medication. You know him best. Trust your instincts. My son has had severe reactions to different medications & always seems to come down with all the rare side effects. For example, I put him on Concerta for ADHD & it actually increased his tics; & made him fixate on the little things that noone else noticed. It was supposed to help him focus, but instead it made him more anxious, which in turn made him more aggressive. Intuniv increased his aggression, & Risperidol made him gain 30 lbs! Every person is different, & will react in different ways to the same medications. Take a look at the rare side effects of this medication; you’d be surprised at some of the things meds can do. If YOU think it’s the medication that has lead to this change, talk to his doctor. Don’t back down. Insist that he take him off the medication to see if things improve.
    Take care & stay in touch cousin!

    1. Hello dear cousin, 🙂
      How’s it goin’? Thank you for the insight. We have since talked to his doctor, and he agreed too that what we’ve told him about his antics, and behaviors have increased since being on that. There were also other factors that led to his behaviors as well. One of which was the chaos of the household. At the time of him being on one of his medications, which was Adderall, my daughter, her husband, and their daughter were still living here at the time, and my son, (AJ) and son in law, (John) were not getting along, AJ would sneak down to the basement where John had stored his things, and he would either hide them, or simply throw the stuff in the trash, then they’d get into it. Mind you, AJ is younger than John, but bigger, (height and weight wise) and if you ask me, stronger than John if provoked, but John didn’t care, and he’d provoke AJ into a wrestling match, that only made AJ more upset. Needless to say this got everyone upset. I couldn’t say anything any longer, because John had a right to be angry, it was just the way he went about things. Well, to make a long story short, the 3 of them, (John, Sarah & their daughter, Izzy) have found a place of their own to live, and all involved are happy, and our respective households have been pretty much chaos free. AJ still gets into stuff and feels he should throw stuff away, but we very much know what sets him off, and we just let him throw it away, wait til he gets on the bus to go to the workshop (where he goes everyday) and we take the item out of the trash and hide it in one of our cars. No muss, no fuss. The last thing we want is to get him worked up. So that leaves us scratching our heads. Was it the living situation or was it the meds? I guess it doesn’t matter, he’s no longer on the Adderall, and things have quieted down here at home, and he so far has been good as gold at the work shop. He got a week off from there, because they were putting up a new wall, and they didn’t want him to undo all they were doing, and with something new like that, he would be over there by the workers, trying to take down or undo things, and simply get “underfoot” and in the way. So we kept him home, and he’s been back for 3 days, and we’ve gotten reports that they’re glad to see AJ back to his “old, jovial, happy go lucky” self again. I wrote a note telling them of the current home situation and how it’s down to just the 3 of us, and we don’t have a hissy fit if he does some of his quirky things, we just try to out smart him rather than stir him up, and get him into a “tizzy” as we like to call it. I can only imagine that your son has things that set him off, and you probably like to avoid these things as much as possible. It’s especially true with AJ. When he was 15 like your son, he was more easily controllable for me, he was just a smidgeon shorter than me at that age, but after hitting puberty…ahem, let’s just say he’s now a hair taller than his dad, who’s not quite 6’tall. AJ is a hair over 6′, and he weighs about 220lbs. Get that weight behind him, when he’s in a rage, I simply don’t mess with him. I’m no match, and he knows it. He’d kill me, or at least injure me enough to put me in a wheelchair. He’s strong enough when he’s calm. The LAST thing I want is to get him all fired up. I like to say…I don’t like to get his Irish up. lol So it’s been quiet around here, and I’m happy to say that the most noise I hear him make is belly laughs when he watches his you tube videos, or when I’m tickling him with a knobby football dog toy he likes to play with. Oh, and I apologize, I stated the wrong age in my post, I said 15, and you said your son was 14. Sorry. :).. my bad. Anyway. that’s about the gist of it. I appreciate your input, and it was good hearing from you. I talk to your mom, Mary on facebook every now and again. I’ll talk to you again soon. Take care.
      Vanessa

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