Sunday, 08 November 2009
I have often struggled with raising a daughter on the spectrum, as a man I cannot really understand how the female mind works and that feeling of confusion is 10 fold in a case where both father and daughter live with Asperger’s. Her stepmother and I often find ourselves at our wits end. Our daughter is 19 and when she gets something in her mind she becomes so convinced that it is true that no one will convince her that it is not. She will be rude, or mean to someone whether through the tone in her voice or body language yet will deny it to the very end, I am half convinced that she may not even know that she is doing it, but it is still a huge problem. She was doing job training with her vocational rehab people last year and we would get phone calls at least once a week if not daily about some job she refused to do, or person she had argued with over something. Her favorite thing to say is “oh I know that” no matter what you ask her. Another favorite thing of hers when asked things is “my friend’s taught me”. She has lived with me since she was 15 and she knows how to drive, cook, babysit, etc…. because her friends taught her, yet she hasn’t been out of my sight in 4 years. I sometimes want to cry because my heart breaks and I somehow feel like it is my fault that she has Asperger’s, and yet I am grateful that my family did not throw me out because I was just as difficult as her when I was a young person.
When she first came to live with us we had to constantly remind her to shower daily and groom herself, brush her teeth, and dry her hair. We still have to tell her nightly “honey go dry your hair” and ask “did you shower today”? She has a very set routine and has to shower at exactly the same time every night if she is not able to then she does not take one at all, and her entire schedule is based on things happening at a certain time. She is very interested in anime and reads or watches it pretty much all day. She will sit on the couch with her laptop looking at anime, while there is a book laying open next to her that she is reading and the TV is on, normally with some type of anime show or cartoon network or something. She will watch TV till a commercial then read or look at her laptop. Sometimes she will find two shows on that she likes and flip between the two every few minutes and she does it even if other people are in the room trying to watch TV.
I love my daughter and I pray for her every night, she is my miracle (she was born 3 months early and weight 1pound 12ounces) and she will remain at home with us forever if need be. My greatest hope for her though is to one day drive, have a job, live on her own, and maybe even get married and have a family of her own . For now though she is not interested in boys, and has never been a girly girl. I just do not know how to motivate her to do things, getting her to go anywhere is like pulling teeth, she just does not like to leave the house. We are working with her everyday and have bought her a bike which she will ride around for an hour in the afternoon. She is also looking for a job with the help of a job coach, but she needs a lot of help with her interview skills.