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.