Hi, my name is Bipsy! my 18 year old autistic son wont leave the house. What can I do?

Bipsy Community member Posts: 2 Listener

Hello, I’m at my wits end with my 18 year old son diagnosed at age 2 with autism. He had the usual meltdowns etc., very outgoing, lots of friends, played sports, social butterfly. Since Covid he won’t leave the house unless I beg or bribe. Which, I stopped doing. We moved 2 years ago out of a bad area in Ohio back to Florida. Since then, I was diagnosed with cancer, severe identity theft, house hit ruined our inground pool and property, and his 39 year old Dad passed suicide 4 months ago. He dropped out of school last year, won’t do chores unless I’m lucky, won’t get a job or drivers license. Now, I need to pay someone or do everything my self. On top of that he wanted kittens and too many cats I need to rehome. We lost 3 of his favorite cats. He has a 42 year old brother that wants to see him. How do I get him out of the house? He also has medical problems and he won’t go to the doctor. I hated himself and doesn’t care about anything. Sits in his room on his computer all day or night. He tries now and then. If taking his medicine. He cooks, does projects, we don’t have a movie theater within an hours drive. But his hygiene is horrendous. I’m worried about fungus in the house from socks he wears for weeks, shower was a month ago, never brushes his teeth. This all started at Covid entrapment. I read from others and got a few ideas. But nothing is here to go out that he will do. He use to do taekwondo and it’s here. He won’t now because of his ingrown toenail. He wants disability but I’m afraid he won’t follow through with appointments. What do other parents do about appointments? Should I forget his responsibilities? Let him sit in his room? He’s really good with building computers and gaming. Knows about news, social online and talks to people on gaming apps. If someone comes over he will talk to them. A family moved in across the street with a 17 year old. He’ll never go over there. He will go outside the house but only in our area. Should I stop bugging him about showers? Am I making him feel bad about himself? He is causing his own pain and sadness by not caring. Any tips are appreciated.


  • Albus_Scope
    Albus_Scope Posts: 5,756 Online Community Coordinator

    Heya @Bipsy that doesnt sound easy for you at all and I'm sorry to hear about his fathers passing and your cancer diagnosis, I'm so sorry. As a UK based charity, I could only signpost to UK services unfortunately. But I'm autistic myself and have some knowledge of how the ND brain works, so hopefully I can at least offer a bit of support?

    Have you heard of the trait "Pathological Demand Avoidance"? If you tell us to do something, even if it's in our best interests, we may see it as a threat and refuse to do it, it's quite common in autistic people. So it's best to try to offer things to them and let them do those things in their own time, but make sure you show that it's a good thing they've done. If you can make things fun, it's even better! If he's really into games, could you set these things up (taking meds, showering etc) into a game, with each task being a quest, with a prize if he does all of them each day? After a while, it can turn those things into regular habits and if there's something we love, it's routine. 😁 Maybe offer a trip to a local arcade or games store if he completes all tasks in a week? That could possibly get him used to being outside again too?

    I hope some of this helps and I'm not just repeating stuff you already know.