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Autism.....Do you appologize to people/providers for thier lack of social skills?


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DD14 is autisic. She can be very direct and rude sometimes. I am at a loss on whether or not I should go around appologizing for her all the time. WDYD? and if you do appologize....who do you appologize to? The grocery store clerk, the doctor, the parents of other kids, the coach? What do you say? How/when do you say it? Most of the time, providers see her extensive mental health med list and I figure they understand. But with parents, it is harder, to know what to say and when. The kids she grew up with, understand. But what about the other parents on a sports team? When she was little, I just let it go, figureing that kids will be kids and the parents will just assume she is immature/cranky/etc. But at 14yo, she should know better. 

She can be direct, past the point of being rude. She will also purposefully be rude to push people away or to get me to take her home faster. Her view of the world is skewed in her direction and often the things she says are wrong or made up lies. I will correct her errors, but that often set off a few unkind words back at me, which gets distracting. For instance, the other day, she was telling the doctor who was asking about her recent quarentine/COVID exposure, that her grandfather got COVID standing 30 feet away from someone. When I said that isn't accurate and started to move on in the story. She kept insisting it was 30 feet saying "your wrong, it was 30 feet" over and over.   

I am getting to the point that I am wanting to just give up taking her anywhere. She refuses any kind of therapy, social skills practice or program that will help her communicate (even online, she just flat out refuses to participate).  She needs to get out of the house, but I hate taking her anywhere.  

 

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Is she getting ABA? You have a bunch of issues there, but I think there's the question of what would make a difference. I don't think CBT based strategies like social thinking are considered the best path when there is ID. I don't remember how much, but there's a bit, right? So ABA, something more relational, more gentle, might be the ticket. 

I don't know. My ds has this new thing where he "whacks" and it's getting really old and I haven't figured out how to "fix" it. I know I can look at function and my brain is so tired I just can't get it done. So I get it's not always going to turn out well. On the flip side, I decided having my ds *liveable* as in someone you could live with, was also important. Like more important than academics. And school isn't necessarily the way to get that done, which means time at home or time with someone doing ABA to get the kid livable in a home environment.

My ds does that kind of insisting too. Sometimes it means his brain is in a really bad place. You could keep pushing the mental health thing and chemistry. I'm all over the genetics and supplements based on that. Not that it makes it go away, but you can't even make headway through chemistry problems.

I think this maybe an answer where I'm throwing spaghetti at your wall to see what sticks. I agree it's a pain in the butt and it won't change unless someone changes it for her (via chemistry, via aba). But I'm talking magical relational naturalistic aba, not manipulative control to work through a list or something.

Does she ever have any contact with an adult who has their head on straight who has autism? Sometimes NT parents are at such a disadvantage. Like for me, I give so little a fig about you, your ideas, your comments, whatever, that if you want to say it's 30' then fine I don't care, kwim? Like your argument has no power in my world. 

Have you tried doing some reading on autism to get fresh ideas and strategies? I REALLY like the book Stuck Strategies, and I like anything Christine Reeve. I like the book on how do do your own (brain melting here). So that might be another thing. Sometimes you just need one thing and it helps. Maybe a couple things in this case, lol.

Good luck. Better you than me. I'd spend more time with her, not less, and do the ABA yourself going back to basics. (preteach, clear expectations, short duration, high rewards, high frequency, and interaction with you being the biggest reward) Also look at RDI to see if anything joint attentionish got missed.

Edited by PeterPan
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As far as the actual answer to your question, I would take her into a session having practiced, pretaught the expectations (the ONE THING you're working on) and having a very clear duration. If she has been told the plan (if you do this, this is the plan), then work the plan. If she has behaviors that are consistent with whatyou're working on, praise. So you want to set it up so that there's something to PRAISE every time you go out. Then you COMPLETELY IGNORE anything beyond what you worked on. So you only praise, nothing negative, and you preteach and pre practice so you have something to praise. It flips the dynamic.

So personally, I would ignore behaviors beyond what you're targeting because adults around her should be able to tell she's on the spectrum and get over themselves. You could also say something simple. Or just excuse yourself and say the truth. (We need to go take a break till she's more ready to work, we'll be back in 5 minutes, etc.). 

I think it's such a good point that the community needs to work on autism ACCEPTANCE, not just awareness. Awareness doesn't help you but acceptance would. The challenge with going out is what your role is. If you're there to support her, then that's your job, not to manage other people's feelings. But that doesn't give you time off in social settings. ABA let's someone else do that so you get a break.

Edited by PeterPan
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Do whatever seems most convenient, but I'd blame "stuff" (said in a significant tone.)  It's harder for people to think they know better when there's a significant tone but a vague word. Autism is only amplifying bigger problems.

I wouldn't bother contradicting her unless something really matters. It doesn't matter whether Grandpa was 30 feet away or whatever.

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I will confess that I did apologize and tell the nice man in church who tried to pass the peace to my youngest that she was autistic after she growled and hissed at him.  

Which, may not have been best practice on my part, but it wasn't typical behavior for her, and I was just so taken aback and he looked so startled and horrified that I just didn't think it through.  That was a number of years ago, though.  She was 12, so old enough that it wasn't little kid cute/ funny anymore, though?  

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5 minutes ago, Terabith said:

I will confess that I did apologize and tell the nice man in church who tried to pass the peace to my youngest that she was autistic after she growled and hissed at him.  

At that point I'm usually attempting to redirect ds so I simply say "We're working on it." 

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6 minutes ago, Terabith said:

I will confess that I did apologize and tell the nice man in church who tried to pass the peace to my youngest that she was autistic after she growled and hissed at him.  

Which, may not have been best practice on my part, but it wasn't typical behavior for her, and I was just so taken aback and he looked so startled and horrified that I just didn't think it through.  That was a number of years ago, though.  She was 12, so old enough that it wasn't little kid cute/ funny anymore, though?  

LOL DD14 hisses at people all the time. It is really embarassing to have a 5'11 300lb person hissing at people, but I hope they understand it isn't how I raised her. HAHA  It is effective at getting people to go away pretty quick tho!

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I don’t apologize for my sons being autistic but I do apologize for the impact/hurt when they hurt someone and aren’t able to apologize themselves.  I’m a direct person myself and as a teen I definitely more than bordered on rude at times.  Being autistic or otherwise neurodiverse is an explanation but it’s not an excuse.  Autism is not a blank check for being rude.  

What, if any, help has she had with theory of mind/perspective taking?  I know you say she won’t participate in therapy and I know it can be very hard to access services (both of my sons are autistic) but if you can get her into programs specifically for girls on the spectrum, perhaps things that are centered around a preferred activity, that would be worth exploring.   What, if any experience does she have with working on a team or in a group setting?  Can you access services via the school district?  Kids in general need explicit instruction on some things and those in the spectrum often benefit from explicit instruction in things other people take for granted.  

There are also some really good YouTube videos with a young woman with ADHD that have helped my sons a lot,  I will find the name and post a link later. 
 

i will also add that sometimes non-engagement during therapy like speech (for social communication) or behavioral health says more about the provider than anything else.  More than once I have had to let go of a provider and find new ones who could engage or engage better with my sons.  
 

 

 

Edited by LucyStoner
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4 minutes ago, Tap said:

LOL DD14 hisses at people all the time. It is really embarassing to have a 5'11 300lb person hissing at people, but I hope they understand it isn't how I raised her. HAHA  It is effective at getting people to go away pretty quick tho!

Right???  It really, really is!  She actually has rather good social skills now, although she is acutely aware of the power of eye contact and has been known to use aggressive eye contact and physical proximity to intimidate bullies into leaving her friends alone.  

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Thanks for the ideas. We didn't do ABA because her 2 Autism BTs were well versed in ABA and used some of the program with her. The BT also said that she didn't feel that ABA was right for dd. She also had BT and OT in her therapeutic day school. I am kinda at my own mental end of being able to do anything else with her. IT takes about 20 times, for any skill to work its way into her brain. And then she has to be in a mental place to use those skills because most of the time, she refuses to do anything that looks/feels like therapy. (refuses to take a breath, tapping, etc) So, a skill we quietly worked on for a year, will only be effective a handful of times and then if someone points out her use of the skill as positive reinforcement, she will refuse to use it again. DD has had 2 psychiatrists that are top in their fields in our area. They have both said that she is top 5-10 of thier most challenging patients. She is super complicated and has cyclic behaviors so there is very little consistency. Any positive reward only works max about 3 times. So with therapists, they finally figure out a way to praise her, and then it stops working the next visit. She is absolutely autistic, but craves people. What regulates her the most, is people. She just can't figure out how to interact with them in a positive way. For example, if she wants to get attention, and someone is wanting space from her, she will follow them and pick a fight (often with lies or false allegations). This effectively forces the person to interact with her. Or she makes up fantasies, and tells those stories as the truth. For instance, she made up this story about a neighbor boy she has a crush on .... She told the other neighborhood kids, that this boy asked her on a date (and she details the plans), but said he is shy and will deny it if anyone asks about it. Which of course the neighbor kids knows is not true and so they tell him about the story (this kid barely tolerates her) so then he gets mad and gives her the attention she craves by calling her out on the lie.  On the other hand, she is the most forgiving person you have ever met. She can go from being absolutely belligerent to candy apple sweet, funny and charming. She has a light switch, and she is either on or off, no much in between.  If she gets mad, she gets violent, but she knows to come home and not get physical with the neighborhood kids. So, she comes home and screams/yells and gets mad at me instead. She has been discharged from multiple therapists offices, for violence/screaming/uncooperative behavior. 

 

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13 minutes ago, LucyStoner said:

I don’t apologize for my sons being autistic but I do apologize for the impact/hurt when they hurt someone and aren’t able to apologize themselves.  I’m a direct person myself and as a teen I definitely more than bordered on rude at times.  Being autistic or otherwise neurodiverse is an explanation but it’s not an excuse.  Autism is not a blank check for being rude.  

What, if any, help has she had with theory of mind/perspective taking?  I know you say she won’t participate in therapy and I know it can be very hard to access services (both of my sons are autistic) but if you can get her into programs specifically for girls on the spectrum, perhaps things that are centered around a preferred activity, that would be worth exploring.   What, if any experience does she have with working on a team or in a group setting?  Can you access services via the school district?  Kids in general need explicit instruction on some things and those in the spectrum often benefit from explicit instruction in things other people take for granted.  

There are also some really good YouTube videos with a young woman with ADHD that have helped my sons a lot,  I will find the name and post a link later. 
 

i will also add that sometimes non-engagement during therapy like speech (for social communication) or behavioral health says more about the provider than anything else.  More than once I have had to let go of a provider and find new ones who could engage or engage better with my sons.  
 

 

 

She has had over 500 sessions of private BT and/or OT with Autism specialists from 2yo to 12yo. She has gone to a therapeutic day school since 3rd grade where she gets extensive social skills and school based therapy services. I have discharged more therapists than we have had good luck with. LOL She has to have providers with extensive skills, who are willing to make quiet, tiny steps of progress. 

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8 minutes ago, Tap said:

She has had over 500 sessions of private BT and/or OT with Autism specialists from 2yo to 12yo. She has gone to a therapeutic day school since 3rd grade where she gets extensive social skills and school based therapy services. I have discharged more therapists than we have had good luck with. LOL She has to have providers with extensive skills, who are willing to make quiet, tiny steps of progress. 

Hugs to you.  It’s hard to take a kid out and about only to have it go sideways and it’s exhausting to the bone to navigate all the services. You have put in a lot of work. 

Sometimes I see skills that abruptly went away resurface as my sons get a bit older.  In the last 6 or so months it seems like things that were really challenging for my older son have gotten easier.  Ages 12-16 were the absolute hardest for my older son.  

I understand that it often feels like 2 steps forward, 3 steps back. 

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, LucyStoner said:

Hugs to you.  It’s hard to take a kid out and about only to have it go sideways and it’s exhausting to the bone to navigate all the services. You have put in a lot of work. 

Sometimes I see skills that abruptly went away resurface as my sons get a bit older.  In the last 6 or so months it seems like things that were really challenging for my older son have gotten easier.  Ages 12-16 were the absolute hardest for my older son.  

I understand that it often feels like 2 steps forward, 3 steps back. 

Every year, her therapists and I create a new plan for going forward on what skills we want to work on and what areas are challenging. It is often only in reading the past reports that we can see the progress she has made. Often, not because she can use a strategy to overcome a challenge, but because a challenge becomes less life-stopping. Tiny steps forward, but hidden by the new overwhelming challenging behavior. Reading the reports, sometimes remind us, of what we were working on last year and that reminds us to reevaluate how she is doing on that behavior now.

Edited by Tap
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3 minutes ago, Tap said:

Every year, her therapists and I create a new plan for going forward on what skills we want to work on and what areas are challenging. It is often only in reading the past reports that we can see the progress she has made. Often, not because she can use a strategy to overcome a challenge, but because a challenge becomes less life-stopping. Tiny steps forward, but often hidden by the new overwhelming challenging behavior. Reading the reports, sometimes remind us, of what we were working on last year and reminds us to reevaluate how she is doing on that behavior now.

When I homeschooled, I wrote monthly progress reports which amused some homeschoolers that I knew at the time.  I was like, I don’t write this up to prove anything to anyone else, I write them up so I can see over time that we are making any iota of progress (I had sections for academic areas but also social and mental health stuff.) I relate to needing those to see the progress over time because it can be subtle.  

Edited by LucyStoner
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Hugs, Tap! The early teen years were the hardest with my oldest. His violence escalated to the point that he was unsafe at home when he was 16. We were lucky that a stay in a mental hospital broke that cycle and he hasn't been violent since then. It may seem harsh but you need to establish that you are not a "safe" person to hurt when she's frustrated. I wish that I had acted sooner rather than wait to be injured and fearing for my safety before we took him to the emergency room. 

I haven't apologized for either son's behavior. GW is obviously disabled even to a casual observer and Geezle is super polite in public. He can be a pain at home but he isn't violent so we've never had to do the mental health emergency route with him.

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3 minutes ago, chiguirre said:

Hugs, Tap! The early teen years were the hardest with my oldest. His violence escalated to the point that he was unsafe at home when he was 16. We were lucky that a stay in a mental hospital broke that cycle and he hasn't been violent since then. It may seem harsh but you need to establish that you are not a "safe" person to hurt when she's frustrated. I wish that I had acted sooner rather than wait to be injured and fearing for my safety before we took him to the emergency room. 

I haven't apologized for either son's behavior. GW is obviously disabled even to a casual observer and Geezle is super polite in public. He can be a pain at home but he isn't violent so we've never had to do the mental health emergency route with him.

I have looked for inpatient care before, but it is complicated in our case. She is the ward of the state of Oregon (I am her aunt), but we live in Washington. So, we have legal/insurance issues where each state says "not our responsibility". I am a single parent, so I can't afford to private-pay for her care. 

I am starting to look at a group home setting, but again, we run into the two state issues. 

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1 minute ago, Tap said:

I have looked for inpatient care before, but it is complicated in our case. She is the ward of the state of Oregon (I am her aunt), but we live in Washington. So, we have legal/insurance issues where each state says "not our responsibility". I am a single parent, so I can't afford to private-pay for her care. 

I am starting to look at a group home setting, but again, we run into the two state issues. 

Washington is also just a really hard state to navigate the inpatient care in even without that complication.   Washington gets little to no love from me on services and supports for teens.  

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I don’t think I would apologize.  
 

I think she is responsible for her own behavior.  
 

It can reflect on you because you are with her, but I think you are responsible for your own behavior.  I think that means for you, trying to manage her behavior is appropriate.  
 

But in some brief interaction, I am not sure it can be communicated that — you have tried so much, it’s not like you don’t care or haven’t worked and worked.

 

I think that there are people who have some insight even without any explanation, because of some personal experience in their own life.  
 

And then other people who would not understand even if you could talk to them for an hour.  
 

I think this is something where you have to know you are doing the best you can, even if it will not show up to a lot of people.  

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This sounds like Pathological Demand Avoidance may be part of the picture (which is more common in autistic people than neurotypicals), and that is hard.  I'd be inclined to apologise (or not) as you see fit, on a case-by-case basis - and give yourself as much grace as possible. Looking after yourself is something you will definitely need to do, especially since a lot of people with autism pick up on stress in people around them (potentially resulting in cascades in their behaviours) without necessarily identifying that it's come from someone else (let alone that they might be able to do anything about it).

If Pathological Demand Avoidance gives you any further sources of support (especially ones not needing to engage with the "two states" problem), investigating that angle may be wise. Here is a guide for parents/carers, a guide aimed at autistic adults (which you might want to read yourself before deciding whether to share it with DD14) and an account from an autistic adult with PDA. The PDA Society may also have some helpful information, though if there's an American equivalent, that would likely be more helpful.

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7 hours ago, Tap said:

It is effective at getting people to go away pretty quick tho!

LOL well that's why she's doing it. Communication is one of the functions of behavior. You might try teaching a replacement behavior and praising if she or anyone uses it. Or give her a fog horn.

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7 hours ago, LucyStoner said:

i will also add that sometimes non-engagement during therapy like speech (for social communication) or behavioral health says more about the provider than anything else.  More than once I have had to let go of a provider and find new ones who could engage or engage better with my sons.  

This. And if she's hissing to communicate, she has communication deficits. People do this with my ds, trying TALK THERAPY with someone who has LANGUAGE DEFICITS. I mean, it sounds stupid obvious when you put it that way but I've had phd psychs be hit by him because they were trying to TALK TALK TALK and his language isn't there to do that. And he's so verbal you don't expect that. 

6 hours ago, Tap said:

So, we have legal/insurance issues where each state says "not our responsibility".

So is there a way to solve this? What has to happen? I hear you, but it doesn't help you if we skirt it, kwim? Because you've got to think what this looks like when she's 18 or 20 and you're wanting her employed or able to live in a group home or share and apartment or something. The skill deficits and issues will still be there, and the system is mainly set up to help till she maxes out IEP age. Once she graduates, it's way harder. 

6 hours ago, chiguirre said:

It may seem harsh but you need to establish that you are not a "safe" person to hurt when she's frustrated.

Back up, I missed this in the thread. Op's dc has hurt her? I agree. I just did 58 HBOT sessions to clear up the damage from my head injuries that started with two concussions from ds. It is NOT a joke. 

Every decision has to be filtered through the prism of how it works out long term. People are like aren't you worried about your ds' math and multiplication? I'm like I want him OUT OF JAIL. To me that's everything, his ability to function with people, to communicate his needs/wants safely. And I'm very sorry it's hard because it sounds really hard. 

6 hours ago, Tap said:

It is often only in reading the past reports that we can see the progress she has made.

Sigh, I think sometimes it cuts both ways. Sometimes it's that it's going to be slow, and sometimes it's that they need better tools or you need new team members who bring in fresh training and fresh skills. Like interoception, you're hard pressed to find someone trained in it. They're out there increasingly, but most kids aren't getting that.

We have a generous disability system in our state, so I've been through quite a few providers. Sometimes, even though it's hard, what ds really needs when the progress is slow is a shake up in the team. It's just something to question or look into. Sometimes team becomes personal, about supporting me, but reality is the data should show it's working. If someone is relying heavily on Social Thinking training, that may not be adequate or appropriate for this. She may not get there cognitively to do these cognitive based approaches. She probably doesn't have the interoception/self awareness to do anything based on social thinking even if she tried. 

When they do ABA very naturalistically, they're using relationship to help the dc see cause/effect. It's about building relationships. Communication deficits are hard. I do lots of language work with my ds, but fr things like using behaviors to communicate, usually his most effective path is to use *relationship* to drive instruction in *alternatives* which we then *praise*.

So if the alternative is a scripted phrase ("Excuse me", whatever), then you preteach it with a social story, use your relationship to make powerful why she wants to do it, practice, and then do faded prompts. And your data will show it's working if you fade the prompts over 1-2 years. So for instance "thank you" is something we did that with and it did take years. Now he even says it spontaneously, which is mind blowing. But that was years of work and faded prompts, not just a cognitive decision to be polite. 

I *think* that my ds is whacking because he doesn't hug. I think he's experiencing emotions he doesn't realize. He's having his teen spurt, but he has also been sort of affectionate lately (for him, haha). Like he'll let you walk up and put your arms around him and squeeze. So I think it's just that convergence of not completely realizing your feelings AND having communication deficits that alter how you express what you are feeling. 

We tossed/lost a person from our team who had been really great, and at the time I was like oh no, this is disaster, the world has ended. It actually worked out and we are way better than we were before. Sometimes with autism you get in a therapy team rut and it can be good to bring in fresh skills, fresh training, whatever. If you can find them. Sigh. Teleservices help. 

That just seems completely unfathomable to leave her the ward of one state and live in another and deny services in both. They need to fix that. 

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26 minutes ago, ieta_cassiopeia said:

a lot of people with autism pick up on stress in people around them (potentially resulting in cascades in their behaviours) without necessarily identifying that it's come from someone else (let alone that they might be able to do anything about it).

This. Our behaviorist was always about reducing stress with ds. We see this over and over. Not only the co-regulating and empath thing where he's picking up on our stress and having behaviors, but also the inverse where reducing stress allows him to be calm/stable and do things. 

I guess it's all talk till you figure out how to make it happen in your home. We sorta stumbled on it. School is stressful, I will say that. It makes it hard to figure out what life is like and how to get to a peaceful rhythm. 

https://www.kelly-mahler.com/what-is-interoception/  

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7 hours ago, Tap said:

She has had over 500 sessions of private BT and/or OT with Autism specialists from 2yo to 12yo. She has gone to a therapeutic day school since 3rd grade where she gets extensive social skills and school based therapy services. I have discharged more therapists than we have had good luck with. LOL She has to have providers with extensive skills, who are willing to make quiet, tiny steps of progress. 

Sorry, I was reading the thread backward and didn't see this! That's AMAZING what you've been able to provide!! So the information I linked about interoception is new, not stuff she would have had because the materials are literally one year old. Kelly wrote her base book maybe 3 years ago. 

My ds has an IEP, so I know what you mean about a team working together and how they all have goals. Sometimes you're looking for what is lynch pin, what could help open things up. Like ideas or you on how to interact with her (which surely they gave? I'll bet you're STELLAR). Or the interoception piece. 

So if where she is is where she can get to, what do you do? Like say I shut up about the whole if you this or that then the world would magically get better. If she is where she is, your question is do you apologize. I liked the answer about apologizing not so much about the autism but about if she actually hurts/offends someone. That's really smart. 

It sounds like you're doing amazing things with her. I hope you can get things worked out with the two state issue. That's a mess. What happens when she needs transition services, etc.? 

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6 hours ago, chiguirre said:

The early teen years were the hardest with my oldest.

Locally in groups I hear that a lot. They're saying 14 is the age to get through. Ds is a few months shy of 13 and we just keep hoping.

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Thanks for all the advice and support😀😀 I only have a minute before heading to work this morning so I answer one part and the come back tonight. The two states issue…

She is a ward of Oregon because her guardianship is there. If I move her guardianship to Washington, they can rewrite the visitation rules. Right now, her bio parents have zero right to visitation. They can request it, but I have 100% of the control over if it happens, location, length etc. She doesn’t get along with her bio dad so this is very important. If she is at his house and raging, I can pick her up and he can’t stop me. I can refuse visits when she doesn’t want to go etc. Washington’s guardianship also isn’t as binding as Oregon. The parents can contest it and drag me thru court. They can’t do this in Oregon. Oregon’s permanent guardianship is just as binding as an adoption. He would have sue Oregon state to change the guardianship. 

The alternative is to move to Oregon. It is too expensive for me to do that. It would also change my commute from 15 min to 45 to 90 min. I would loose her therapeutic school and take her from the neighborhood where has friends/she is tolerated. Taxes are higher in Oregon and I would pay more to commute. 
 

I battled with the two state issues multiple times. She is not Title IV-E eligible which in layman’s terms means she isn’t eligible for a lot of federal funding. Oregon says “she has Washington Medicaid and resides there so you need to access Washington services”. Washington programs won’t accept her because while I am her guardian, she is a ward of the state. Part of the funding for these programs is State funded. Washington programs say she isn’t their financial responsibility, she is Oregon’s. One program that maybe would have taken her, is 3 plus hours away (one way) on roads that are snowy 3 months of the year. When I looked before, they had an extensive waiting list. 
 

I have decent private insurance but that doesn’t cover everything and the out of pocket estimate is more than I can afford. 

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Ok- I am totally out of my depth commenting on anything autism related at all. Compassion for you and kudos for how hard you are working.

On apologizing for a kid’s behavior- one of my own grown boys was hell on wheels from about age 5-12 yo. Really rude and obnoxious and while I was using all my parenting skills and attention to his behaviors he still embarrassed me nearly every time we ventured in public. Initially I was so mortified I fell all over myself apologizing and saying I would address it, etc. What I learned over time was that my openness to criticism and apologizing made me a target for people complaining to me about every single thing my kid might do. It got to where people would report the teeniest misbehaviors to me and it was just ridiculous. Out of self preservation I stopped effusively apologizing and when someone would report a misbehavior or comment on his behavior I would just say “thanks for the info” and keep walking. I know people thought I just didn’t care but the truth was I just couldn’t take other people’s running commentary on my kid’s behavior. I was trying and things were hard enough and discussing it with others wasn’t helping.

So that may apply or it may not! Take it for what it is worth which might be nothing. But you are doing your best and opening yourself up for discussion with random people might just make things worse. It made things worse for me. 

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That's a tough question.  At 14yo, it is more the child's business than yours to decide who gets to know her diagnosis.  But on the other hand, it's not fair those on the receiving end who don't understand your daughter's limitations.

I will say that I generally assume a mental health issue if someone acts erratic around or toward me.  So it may not need to be said.  But I am not sure how others take these things.

If your 14yo is unable to do this herself, and unable to adjust her behavior out of consideration for others, it may be best to privately inform her teachers, coaches, friends' moms, etc., that she has autism and the two of you are working on many challenges.  I wouldn't say it in front of your dd unless it was absolutely necessary (such as a healthcare or police encounter).

My 14yo does not have an autism diagnosis, but she has had many public moments that were out of our control.  (Normally it's just excess sass, but it's not socially acceptable.)  When she was much younger, "we're working on it" seemed sufficient in the moment.  But now that she can't pass for a young child, that really doesn't fly.  So people just assume she is either a nasty person or has a mystery problem.  Thankfully, this doesn't happen much any more.

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