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Asking young adults to contribute to household

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Thank you Anne. It really is difficult. I feel physically beat up and my anxiety is sky high just thinking about all of this. I did get some great information and I can see where people think I am making excuses left and right but I'm doing the best I can. I know my son. I think we've been pretty good at pushing him past his comfort zone in the past. Not all of the time but in some circumstances. This is just going to have to be another of those situations. In my mind, I can hear the tone of his voice, see the slump in his shoulders, see the anguish on his face, and see him walking back to his room to think and maybe even cry. It's heart breaking. I can't even take an anxiety pill because I'm on the max dosage already. After dinner, I'm going to lay down with my weighted blanket and hot rice pack and see if I can calm myself down enough to have the talk with him. And then I don't know how I'll calm myself after that because I know I'll be in an even more agitated state. Maybe I'll ask DH to go get ice cream. This may be a night for a treat.

 

Oh, Beth, I just want to hug you.  I have a ds with anxiety and his ratches mine up. It is so hard to be a non-anxious presence.  He's the one who said to me, in counseling, Mom, sometimes people are sad.  It's okay.  And it is okay that this makes him sad.  (It makes me sad that life is full of things I don't want to do,too). Don't own his problem and the emotions attached if you can help it.

 

I think TechMom is a great resource you can use.  I love her 4 year plan with scaffolding. 

 

You will, as a family, be able to figure this out.

 

I can't remember if you are in counseling right now.  A good counselor, preferably with family systems background and experience with helping families with kids with ASD, would be invaluable.  It never ceases to amaze me how counseling the mother has ripple effects through the family.  Primarily I see this would benefit you in being calm and non-reactive to his anxiety/sadness (and I say this as a fellow mom on this journey).

 

And, good job figuring out ways to calm yourself before you talk to him.  I can tell what a loving good mom you are and how much you want his to be happy and successful.  

 

 

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I don't think it's ideal to control an adult's internet access unless you have set up an adult reason to do so. If you want internet, you pay for it. If you don't pay for it, you don't get access to it. Like I said, you can charge whatever you want to for it - not necessarily what you are charged for it. You can add a "service fee" or an "equipment fee" or an "access fee" or whatever, or you could just choose to mark the bill up 400%. 

 

The idea I have is really the "scaffolding" of adult responsibilities in this situation. I have an adult son w/ASD and we are taking the "scaffolding" approach to having him take financial responsibility. We don't know that he will ever be independent, so we have a four year plan, and then we will either have a "holding pattern" or we will add onto it if he has grown to the point where he may be able to live independently. The degree to which we are able to add on to the plan will be determined, in part, by his earning potential. Right now, it's not very high and he would never be able to live independently, but we will see if he matures. For those of you who think a "four year plan" for an adult is ridiculous, I'll just reiterate that my son has Asperger/Autism and he is on a different developmental schedule than an NT person. That is the nature of the disorder, not a result of parenting choices or low expectations. 

 

But is your son working yet? My ds is 21 and will be 22 this summer. He's shown us he can work so we believe he should be working. He just doesn't want to really. And he has so much money saved up that I'm sure he would have no problem paying what we ask if he could continue to stay home and do what he wants to do. How do you work a job into that 4-year scaffolding? Remember, my son does pay for some things. He has spent less than $400 in the 4 months he's been without a job. 

 

I'd love to know more about how you came up with the scaffolding plan if you can point me to specific resources. Or take it to PM if you like. I want to help my son but it's so hard to know when his difficulties are due to his Aspergers or when they're due to laziness. And for the person who said don't say lazy it's executive function disorder, I have seen no evidence of that. None of his mental health professionals have ever mentioned it either. He needed some hand-holding when he started high school classes because he hadn't been exposed to due dates and projects. He picked it all up quickly and had few problems with papers or projects. He knew how to set small goals for himself and to attain them. He also managed his college classes the same way with no help from me or DH. He was an excellent student. Doesn't that mean he doesn't have problems with executive functions?

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I wouldn't approach it as punishment at all. I'd approach it as "it isn't mentally healthy to sit around playing games all day. For anyone. Even if you were independently wealthy, that wouldn't be healthy for you physically, mentally, or emotionally. Plus, it is a waste of your talents and resources. The world needs you and you need the world." Use your own example of volunteering to show you put this into practice in your own life. Then discuss and brainstorm ways he can be productive with his time, versus just consuming. He can work for pay, gain a skill, or volunteer. 

 

I love this way of framing it, Katie!

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The VR site says "To qualify for vocational rehabilitation services, your disability must be permanent and affect your ability to work in at least two ways. Each person's situation is considered individually." 

 

I honestly cannot think of two ways that his ability to work is affected. What do they mean by this?

 

Think through what struggles he had at his last work place. And the issues that limit his opportunities for employment in other areas (you mentioned several in some of your posts). And you can look back at his diagnostic paperwork; even if it is dated, you can sort out things that may still apply to him currently.

 

I think you will probably come up with a list of more than two ways that he is affected. I think communication is probably one area, from what you have posted so far, and it is a common concern with ASD.

 

You don't have to have all of the answers and know what categories they need to check off. But you can make a list and let the people who work at vocational rehabilitation help you figure it out.

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I love this way of framing it, Katie!

 

Well, we messed up in how we handled things for a long time before landing on this, lol. I had to REALLY think on WHY I wanted my son to change how he was "doing life". And that was why, because sitting around playing games all day isn't healthy. If I sat around reading romance novels all day, it wouldn't be healthy, long term. (short term it would be great, lol). So he's volunteering, and honestly it has been LIFE CHANGING for him. He's SEEING first hand how he makes a difference in the world, and that is so important. He's a different person now, and it's that volunteer job that did it. 

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Well, we messed up in how we handled things for a long time before landing on this, lol. I had to REALLY think on WHY I wanted my son to change how he was "doing life". And that was why, because sitting around playing games all day isn't healthy. If I sat around reading romance novels all day, it wouldn't be healthy, long term. (short term it would be great, lol). So he's volunteering, and honestly it has been LIFE CHANGING for him. He's SEEING first hand how he makes a difference in the world, and that is so important. He's a different person now, and it's that volunteer job that did it. 

 

(I don't think your publisher would like you telling us that sitting around all day reading romance novels isn't healthy. LOL)

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One of my older adult Aspie friends,in his late 30’s, is on disability. He spent most of his adult life so far trying to work various jobs and ultimately quitting or being fired (varies). His personal Aspie challenges made working not viable. He could do it for short periods but not over the long haul. He’s smart, educated, but lacks other necessary abilities.

 

Now he lives with his Grandmother. He helps her with errands, chores, and other things and she lets him live there free. He spends a lot of time online, playing video games. But he gets offline to help around the house, help Grandma, and spend time with her.

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Exactly. He'd have no problem paying for it. He has a lot of money saved up. I'm not kidding when I say he can stay home and pay all these bills y'all are suggesting for at least a year, probably more depending on what he is actually paying.

 

This is why I suggested in a previous post that he put that savings into a retirement account. It would mean a lot, financially, for him to have that saved, since he may have employment issues later in life, as well.

 

Unless he can't understand money (which could be part of his disability, but you haven't mentioned it), showing him how much it costs to pay for housing, insurance, food, etc., all on his own for years might help him develop the long term view that he lacks. Also, help him understand what it takes to retire.

 

I know that having this perspective may be part of his disability and understanding may not come easily to him. Which is why he needs intensive and ongoing instruction on finances.

 

If you think he would listen more to someone else, you could require him to spend some of his savings on counseling from a financial advisor.

 

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But is your son working yet? My ds is 21 and will be 22 this summer. He's shown us he can work so we believe he should be working. He just doesn't want to really. And he has so much money saved up that I'm sure he would have no problem paying what we ask if he could continue to stay home and do what he wants to do. How do you work a job into that 4-year scaffolding? Remember, my son does pay for some things. He has spent less than $400 in the 4 months he's been without a job. 

 

I'd love to know more about how you came up with the scaffolding plan if you can point me to specific resources. Or take it to PM if you like. I want to help my son but it's so hard to know when his difficulties are due to his Aspergers or when they're due to laziness. And for the person who said don't say lazy it's executive function disorder, I have seen no evidence of that. None of his mental health professionals have ever mentioned it either. He needed some hand-holding when he started high school classes because he hadn't been exposed to due dates and projects. He picked it all up quickly and had few problems with papers or projects. He knew how to set small goals for himself and to attain them. He also managed his college classes the same way with no help from me or DH. He was an excellent student. Doesn't that mean he doesn't have problems with executive functions?

 

I'll send you a pm sometime soon, probably over the next day. It's just going to get a bit of time to type out my thoughts & our plan. 

 

My son is working part time at Lowe's Home Improvement. He is bringing carts in from the parking lot and helping people load their cars. Before that, he delivered pizzas for a few weeks. There was a break of several months between the two jobs. The Lowe's job is a temp job for the busy season. They said they hire some people permanent at the end of summer and he will have an opportunity to interview if he does a good job for them. He has just turned 21. 

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Thank you Anne. It really is difficult. I feel physically beat up and my anxiety is sky high just thinking about all of this. I did get some great information and I can see where people think I am making excuses left and right but I'm doing the best I can. I know my son. I think we've been pretty good at pushing him past his comfort zone in the past. Not all of the time but in some circumstances. This is just going to have to be another of those situations. In my mind, I can hear the tone of his voice, see the slump in his shoulders, see the anguish on his face, and see him walking back to his room to think and maybe even cry. It's heart breaking. I can't even take an anxiety pill because I'm on the max dosage already. After dinner, I'm going to lay down with my weighted blanket and hot rice pack and see if I can calm myself down enough to have the talk with him. And then I don't know how I'll calm myself after that because I know I'll be in an even more agitated state. Maybe I'll ask DH to go get ice cream. This may be a night for a treat.

 

I'm sorry this is so hard. I really sympathize with you, because I fear my own son will struggle with employment. Because I know the statistics for his disability. And I know how stressed I would be if I were in your shoes right now.

 

You deserve a treat!!

 

Can I suggest printing out these responses (as well as those from your other threads about this issue over the past few months) and putting them in a folder, so that you can read them over again later? It's hard to process everything at once, and some good advice has been offered that you might benefit from over time.

 

:grouphug:

 

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Do you have any small tv stations, where he could work as a camera man? My dad worked as a broadcast engineer for years at a tv station. It's behind the scenes, very little people interaction, and 2nd shift work is available.

 

I know bigger stations usually want someone with a degree, but I recently saw an ad for our station here that wanted a cameraman for the 5 and 10 o'clock news and they were willing to train.

 

My dad worked 2 pm to 11 pm most of his career, mornings were not his thing. Ds is also a night owl and will probably end up with similar hours.

 

My dad also loved working behind the scenes, he really didn't want to deal with strangers at his job. The people at work, ones he could get to know over time were fine.

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To compare: Back in the late 1980’s (so about 30 years ago), my folks gave a 6 month grace period after college and then charged $300/month. It included utilities and any food I might eat, though I often bought my own at work or went out at night. I had my own car, car insurance and health insurance.

 

It seemed fair to me. I was an adult. I could be spending more at an apartment; it helped them out; and I guessed it showed me I could afford it. I moved out within the year. My rent share of an apt was around $340 plus 1/2 utilities etc. so they charged close to market rate, but not quite.

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I would scheduled two doctor appointments before any deadlines.

 

1.. sleep specialist

 

2. Regular doc to discuss anxiety meds for your son.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

And 5-6 sessions minimum with a real therapist who specializes in ASD who can help understand exactly what HIS particular issues might be and some workable solutions, for him and for the parents.

 

Our therapist was INVALUABLE.  He gave US insight and helped us parent, which I think would help so much more than asking people on a message board who haven't met him and don't fully know his particular needs.  Many of us know "general Aspie stuff" since we have either studied it, have an Aspie child, or whatever, but individual help is so much better.

 

And I went to a parent group therapy that helped me better understand him and better understand my relationship to him.

Edited by DawnM
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But is your son working yet? My ds is 21 and will be 22 this summer. He's shown us he can work so we believe he should be working. He just doesn't want to really. And he has so much money saved up that I'm sure he would have no problem paying what we ask if he could continue to stay home and do what he wants to do. How do you work a job into that 4-year scaffolding? Remember, my son does pay for some things. He has spent less than $400 in the 4 months he's been without a job. 

Have you thoroughly looked at what he is or is not spending?  You say that he is buying all of his food out except for deli meat, cereal, gatorade, and sodas.  If he has spent less than $100 a month eating out, that would be approximately $3 per day on food.  I would be concerned that there is no way that he could be eating a nutritious diet spending $3 per day on food outside of the home.  That would also leave nothing for transportation or basic care items--like toothpaste, deodorant, haircuts, razorblades, etc.  

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Thank you Anne. It really is difficult. I feel physically beat up and my anxiety is sky high just thinking about all of this. I did get some great information and I can see where people think I am making excuses left and right but I'm doing the best I can. I know my son. I think we've been pretty good at pushing him past his comfort zone in the past. Not all of the time but in some circumstances. This is just going to have to be another of those situations. In my mind, I can hear the tone of his voice, see the slump in his shoulders, see the anguish on his face, and see him walking back to his room to think and maybe even cry. It's heart breaking. I can't even take an anxiety pill because I'm on the max dosage already. After dinner, I'm going to lay down with my weighted blanket and hot rice pack and see if I can calm myself down enough to have the talk with him. And then I don't know how I'll calm myself after that because I know I'll be in an even more agitated state. Maybe I'll ask DH to go get ice cream. This may be a night for a treat.

Beth, after reading this post, I’m worried about you.

 

Forget about having the conversation with your son for a while. You have waited this long, so a little while longer isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

 

I keep thinking about this, and I think you should prioritize your own health right now and worry about this stuff with your son once you’ve met with the stroke specialist and found out exactly what’s going on and what kind of treatment you may need.

 

I don’t think it’s healthy for you to be so upset and anxious right now, so if you can talk to your son in a positive way without either of you getting upset, that’s fine, but otherwise I think you should let it go for now.

 

Seriously, none of this is worth risking another stroke. :grouphug:

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I wouldn't approach it as punishment at all. I'd approach it as "it isn't mentally healthy to sit around playing games all day. For anyone. Even if you were independently wealthy, that wouldn't be healthy for you physically, mentally, or emotionally. Plus, it is a waste of your talents and resources. The world needs you and you need the world." Use your own example of volunteering to show you put this into practice in your own life. Then discuss and brainstorm ways he can be productive with his time, versus just consuming. He can work for pay, gain a skill, or volunteer. 

:iagree:  I agree it is NOT emotionally healthy to be living like this for any time at all.   It doesn't sound healthy for any of you to be indulging it.  My 17 year old has some asynchronous stuff through the teen years, though things are going well for him now, your son sounds like my kid at about 14/15.  Where he just didn't quite have the follow through or the long term vision to make things happen.   I also work with groups of kids with a number of 2E teen to young adult males.  I like whoever mentioned scaffolding plans above.  I think you need to think on this yourself like you are still homeschooling and keep things moving forward in a linear way.  Check in with him.  Give him a series of choices and tell him he has to chose one.

 

week 1 - this week we're scanning want ads and shifting sleep schedule.   

week 2 - typing up a resume and touching base with a possible reference.  Continue shifting sleep schedule

etc

 

 

I think removing wifi is a perfectly fine thing to do.  I'd warn him and if it made him mad so be it.  It's his choice.  That is the EXACT currency my 17 year old will still react to.   I think kids like this still need to be micromanaged.  And of course he won't like it.  

 

Gently, I think you're making some positive changes for you in your life.  But if just having these discussions with him is this overwhelming for you even on anxiety meds PLEASE consider finding a good therapist/counselor for you. And I say this as someone who was very successfully treated for anxiety at one time with both drugs and therapy.  This kind of thing is no longer a problem for me.   I definitely think he needs one too and possibly even a family therapist could be healthy at some point.  

 

I really think that if he's not consistently employed or schooling 6-9 months from now, you should look at specialty programs for young adults like this.  You may even want to research getting him on  disability so if you need those resources you will be ready.  I know several families who've had great success with sending their young adult to a program that basically do life skills boot camp.   I know another family who had a great experience with a young adult like this in Job Corp.  The people who work at those places have no problem pushing young people to be productive.

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Beth, after reading this post, I’m worried about you.

 

Forget about having the conversation with your son for a while. You have waited this long, so a little while longer isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

 

I keep thinking about this, and I think you should prioritize your own health right now and worry about this stuff with your son once you’ve met with the stroke specialist and found out exactly what’s going on and what kind of treatment you may need.

 

I don’t think it’s healthy for you to be so upset and anxious right now, so if you can talk to your son in a positive way without either of you getting upset, that’s fine, but otherwise I think you should let it go for now.

 

Seriously, none of this is worth risking another stroke. :grouphug:

 

 

I think you have excellent advice here, Cat! 

SaveSave

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:grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

It's very hard parenting young adults, much less those with complicating factors like ASD. 

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Beth, after reading this post, I’m worried about you.

 

Forget about having the conversation with your son for a while. You have waited this long, so a little while longer isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

 

I keep thinking about this, and I think you should prioritize your own health right now and worry about this stuff with your son once you’ve met with the stroke specialist and found out exactly what’s going on and what kind of treatment you may need.

 

I don’t think it’s healthy for you to be so upset and anxious right now, so if you can talk to your son in a positive way without either of you getting upset, that’s fine, but otherwise I think you should let it go for now.

 

Seriously, none of this is worth risking another stroke. :grouphug:

 

I'm doing okay. Remember I am also bipolar in addition to having general anxiety disorder. These things will never subside so I can't wait for the "just right" day. My neurologist appointment is April 6th and I'm not worried. I really think the episode was a fluke thing because none of the tests showed any damage at all. Unless there are additional tests I don't know about, I'm not sure what will happen at this appointment. I was also told to follow up with my regular doctor and when she found out why I was there, she said "what am I supposed to do that they haven't done"? She said they always tell you to follow up with your regular doctor and a specialist but she suspects they'll dismiss me as having no problems.

 

We didn't talk to ds last night. I'm waiting for Techwife's information about scaffolding. If it will help our situation, it's worth looking into.

 

And to the person who said $400 wasn't enough, I may be off. I was looking at his savings account and trying to guage how much he's spent but I forgot he got his tax refunds back so he's probably spent more. I'd say he spends $150 a month on average. He hasn't needed to go to a doctor but has gotten prescription refills, but they're usually less than $20. That's in addition to the money he already gives for his cell phone. I didn't count that and I guess I should have. That's $65/mo. No, he doesn't have the healthiest diet but he is buying it and that's one area DH and I don't think we need to be involved in. Our ds sees how we eat so he's not ignorant. He just doesn't like the types of food we like.

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BTW does he take any vitamins? Both my twins have quirky self-imposed diets, and NEED certain extra vitamins (esp. those D and B ones) - doctor recommended, not just Mom :-) Just a thought after you mentioned he doesn't have the healthiest diet. Would he read any articles on nutrition etc to support taking vitamins?

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BTW does he take any vitamins? Both my twins have quirky self-imposed diets, and NEED certain extra vitamins (esp. those D and B ones) - doctor recommended, not just Mom :-) Just a thought after you mentioned he doesn't have the healthiest diet. Would he read any articles on nutrition etc to support taking vitamins?

 

He takes a multi vitamin. I didn't think of adding in others.

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There are technician jobs that will work very well with his wants...but they all require an education - 2 yr or 4 yr.  A 2 yr may not be available at your closest CC, but possibly closer to a city or industrial area.  Perhaps a job counselor or someone in your husband's network could sit down with him and tell him what's available in the area, and that would motivate the schooling.  Look at something like failure analysis or quality control tech for a car or airplane parts factory or a research center -- it requires people who have good 3D ability, the patience to manipulate joysticks, the ability to focus, science education etc.  and really not much people interaction.  Managers are used to quirky people in these areas...the two I know usually put social people on one night shift, and people who don't want to interact on another on the other night shift..everyone's happy that way. These jobs have enough intellectual that your son won't be bored, as he would in a hospital tech or service job that's fairly routine day to day. And many of them are with employers who encourage the disabled to apply and can work around their communication disability.

 

as far as motivating a job search, many teens and young people are afraid they'll never get what they want if they start elsewhere, and that means action paralysis.  Parents and employers are really helpful moving them past it.  Also, being a student while working is helpful -- managers like to see people who are striving.  One has to help the student see what they'll gain from the employment. My son for ex, worked at the print shop for his college...after 2 years he had a whole different understanding of his role, and it piqued his interest to becoming very good at dealing with equipment communicating with other eqiupment...something he'd never been interested in but its essential in his field, albiet with different equipment.  So, nudging them by insisting they find something is good as they will grow personally and each time they will reflect and decide what they want to see in the next possibility.

 

I too would encourage you to get a full medical workup on your son...sooner the better as you want to know what assistance he qualifies for, and if he has the genetics that means he would benefit from supplements in vitamin D or B12.  And use your good insurance before he ages out to get him counseling..yes, it will take time to sort thru counselors, but that's how its done.

 

 

 

Edited by Heigh Ho

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I'm concerned about the sleep schedule as well. Humans are not naturally nocturnal, our bodies need to be not only awake but outside in daylight hours.

 

Sleeping through the day and staying up all night is associated with many negative heath outcomes, including depression.

 

Maybe you need to get him to a sleep specialist.

 

My husband found sleep issues were contributing to his depression.

 

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The idea I have is really the "scaffolding" of adult responsibilities in this situation. I have an adult son w/ASD and we are taking the "scaffolding" approach to having him take financial responsibility. We don't know that he will ever be independent, so we have a four year plan, and then we will either have a "holding pattern" or we will add onto it if he has grown to the point where he may be able to live independently. The degree to which we are able to add on to the plan will be determined, in part, by his earning potential. Right now, it's not very high and he would never be able to live independently, but we will see if he matures. For those of you who think a "four year plan" for an adult is ridiculous, I'll just reiterate that my son has Asperger/Autism and he is on a different developmental schedule than an NT person. That is the nature of the disorder, not a result of parenting choices or low expectations. 

 

 

I love your idea of a 4-year plan! And it's very reasonable when you are working with an adult with ASD. I just might discuss this concept with my dh and then with my son.

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My husband found sleep issues were contributing to his depression.

 

Is there anything you can share about how he found that and what he could do about it?

 

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