Hi, my name is Lynned7415! I want to prove that my son might harm himself or others. Any advice? — Scope | Disability forum
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Hi, my name is Lynned7415! I want to prove that my son might harm himself or others. Any advice?

Lynned7415 Member Posts: 1 Listener
I am a single mother of an 18 year old son. I divorced his father when he was a baby because of a domestic violence situation. He has not been around and has not paid child support according to the court order. We have been better off without him in our lives. However, I have dealt with every state agency I possibly could in the last seven years to get him benefits. In addition, I have tried homeschooling, a private academy with one on one instruction, and now a home study program for adults. He will not leave the house....he sits in his room and plays on his computer all the time in his own world. Right now we are living with my elderly father. I am going back to graduate college next month, and I also have to work at least part time. He is autistic, and also has ADHD, as well as anxiety disorder......Says he hates people. I am at the end of my wit....he is highly functioning and extremely smart.....but he is very lazy and also very messy. I have PTSD myself, and have had to work my ass off to get to this point in my life. I have tried to set boundaries and let him know that things aren't just given to you....you have to earn them. I feel that he is taking advantage of the situation and it is affecting my mental health. Now that he is 18, my options are even more limited.....I may be moving next year and he won't be able to go with me.....My father will not allow him to live in this house with him if I move out....in fact, he said he would sell the house if I found my own place. My son has threatened to kill himself in the past and has also cut himself before. I don't want to do this, but I may have to get a recorded conversation of the things he says, should I need to prove that he is a danger to himself and others......Any support/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Member, Community Co-Production Group Posts: 12,478 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Lynned7415 - I'm so sorry to read about the difficult situation you're in. May I ask if you're in USA?
    Do you have any support for your PTSD, & does your son have any for his self-harming & suicidal thoughts?
    I hope you don't mind the questions, but they may help the Scope team if they are able to advise. You will find everyone here most supportive. Apologies for not having any advice.
  • ckolade
    ckolade Member Posts: 5 Listener

    Most teenagers go through difficult times and having additional needs on top of that, make that journey even more challenging.

    Coupled with you having to care for him as a single mother, homeschooling and going through your own challenges sounds overwhelming. But you are definitely not alone. Being on the autistic spectrum can make the outside world a bit of a challenge for your son, as the experience could be a bit of a sensory overload that could be difficult to handle. All that we take for granted, like traffic noise, people talking, police and ambulances sirens could be an overwhelming experience for young people on the spectrum. 

    Also, the way he processes information may not be as straightforward as you expect. So alternative ways to show him that he needs to work towards what he wants could be about experiencing rewards and consequences, learning that every action leads into reactions. Positive actions and steps taking result in rewards and negative actions and steps result in consequences. 

    Also, teenagers' extreme expression of circumstances doesn’t help too. It is hard to separate strong suicidal emotions from strong emotions to a selfie that goes wrong, but we cannot afford to take chances, so seek help and get support.

    I have a set of twins in their 20s. One is highly functioning, ‘A’ star, plays multiple instruments and the other is on the spectrum with global delay. It really does feels like a different world most of the time for my girls. It is interesting though to experience their different and approaches to life.

    I have limited knowledge about the benefits system or other support out there as I am still learning myself, but making parenting a joyful experience in the face of all the challenges that come with that role, is an area I am conversant in. 

    You seem to have a lot going on for you, and I wonder if you often squeeze in for yourself a ‘’Me time”.

    This is, in addition to accessing support for your PTSD, especially if you are going back into education soon, which will come with its own additional pressure and challenges.

    You do not have control over what your 18-year-old son does or how your son would react to certain circumstances, but you have control over how you respond or react to his behaviours. As you said, he is highly functioning …and extremely smart. These are two good qualities to celebrate. So you have to find ways these would put a smile on your face from time to time, even if it is to help with your sanity.

    Being lazy and messy happens to be part of most teenagers’ job description. In my view, parents have to have skilful ways to deal with these without having to pull their hair out but might need to accept that the phase will eventually pass. I am not suggesting that you ignore these fully, but I am saying, pick your battle, be clear about expectations and give choices that reinforce boundaries and discipline.

    It is heart-breaking when we hear those scary negative words from our children, you will need to assist him to figure out what he wants to do now that he is 18. It might help to research into options available in the areas he enjoys.

    You may need to do more of asking a series of questions and doing more of listening with him. It is important to note that this will take patience and a level of change in your mindset too.

    He may be taking advantage of the situation but acknowledging that most of his actions are learned experience, could help you to do some reflections on how you got to where you are.

    You may need to spare some time to think about where you want to be and where you would like him to be, based on his wishes and feelings, and acknowledging that, actions and behaviour that got you where you are, cannot get you to where you want to be.

    If his refusal to going out is around social anxiety, you may need professional help that could help him to explore the underlying factors contributing to whatever feelings servicing as a blockage to wanting to go out. These could be as simple as being anxious about self-consciousness, how others see him, how he sees himself, the way he thinks other people think about how he looks, how he speaks and how he presents in general.

    Having this talk with him and jointly planning your next steps as a family, seeking his input may help. Also, knowing that what works for some autistic children may not necessarily work for your son. As you know your son better than anyone else, thinking about what he really enjoys and making your plans around this may help.

    You will need to be in a good frame of mind to accommodate your studies without constantly having to think of what your son is up to.

    Despite all you had gone through and still going through, I think you need to celebrate yourself and pat yourself on the back. You have managed to bring up your child to the point where he is now. I am sure, this journey has not been without challenges along the way, but you have pulled through to where you are with or without the support of your father.

    As you may be moving soon, and knowing that your options are limited, it is important to maximise the opportunities you have now with your son in order to get him refocused. The primary steps are what you can do with him first, as suggested above. 

    If you are in the UK, the next step could be getting professional support from your Doctor who can make an appropriate referral or other recommendations.

    Sorry, this is long, but I hope it helps. 



  • Cher_Inactive
    Cher_Inactive Posts: 4,400 Scope online community team
    Hello @Lynned7415

    In addition to the wonderful replies you have already received, I've sent you an email.  If you could check this and get back to us, that would be great.   :)
    Online Community Co-ordinator

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