R.C. asks from Alliance, OH on October 17, 2006
Step Mother of Asberger's Syndrome Teen
I recently married into the ready made family. My husband has a daughter from a pervious relationship who has been diagnosed with Asberger's syndrome and ADD. I work with individuals who have multi handicaps but, when your work comes home with you it;s a bit differnt. Being that I am the step parent, my words often go unheard! When our daughter is in our home, he father and I have a hard time getting her to have a routine. She forgets to take medications, she forgets to put on deodrant, brush her teeth, change her underwear, put on a bra ect. I have tried what most people suggust and that is a list with a reward system. That worked for about 2 weeks and she found it childish and quit!
Another added peice to this drama is that at her mother's house there is no order...the house isn't clean, there is no routine all chaos. How do I help my husband, help his daughter. Like I said, it's easy until my work comes home with me.
A.C. answers from Cincinnati on October 18, 2006
Try laying her medicine out for her or putting it in a container and setting an alarm to go off when it is time for her to take her medication. About her clothes and her forgetting to wear her bra and deoderant , if I were you I would sit the deoderant out somewhere where she will see it as she is getting dressed and see if that helps. When I was living with my cousin she has ADD and she would forget to do things and we decided to try putting her things out in order for her so she would remember to put her deoderant on and brush her teeth and things like that. Maybe ask her if she would like you to help her remember to take her medicine that way all the way is not on her and not on you or your husband. This way it can be evened out and you can all help each other. Let me know if any of this helps you out and I hope it does.
T.S. answers from Columbus on October 18, 2006
My name is Denise I have a son who is 20 who has what your step dauther has. He is just not near as severe as your daughter's. I understand the importance of routine with those who are afflicted with this disorder. I think the one thing that might be of assistance to you, and your husband would be a counseling. Sometimes a third party is helpful. Also I am a born again Christian in progress. I do believe in the power of God. If you and your husband are not involved in a church group that has a support group for special needs children, then look for one. A support group for you alone may also be a great help. It will allow you to interact with other mothers with similar problems, and possibly come up with a better solution. The yellow pages under Social Services may be a good place to start. If you live in Columbus, Oh also I know MRDD has support groups. I am hoping your husband is willing to work this it out with you. For as you know when two are joined together in marriage they become one. You certainly have a full plate my dear. My heart goes out to you. Also the problem with her Mom is going to be difficult. It is going to take patience, and persistance. I do not know how receptive your husband is to talking with his ex wife about her home life, and how it affects your daughter. If she does not change her home life then, you must be firm that at your house there is going to be a different agenda. Perhaps the reward system can still work, or also taking away things when she is unable to remember. I personally believe in catching kids being good. I had my own day car for 10 years. I also worked with unwed teen moms in a half way house for two years. I am no expert, but I think rewards work well. The girls in the group home had to do a consequence when they did not listen to us. Perhaps, movie tickets for blockbuster to use when she visits your home, books, a DVD if she has completed it for a longer period of time.
R. please keep in touch if you need a sounding board. My personal email is ____@____.com rest assured you are in my prayers. I have moments here at home with my son, and it is very challenging, but by the grace of God I am enduring. I hope this is helpful to you, and your family.
K.P. answers from Columbus on October 18, 2006
R., I'm the step mother to three, guardian mother to two and biological mother to two more. The situation you are in is not an easy one and my heart goes out to you.
One of my step children has psychological problems and so from experience, I recommend that you read everything you can get your hands on about your step daughter's diagnosis of Asbergers and ADD. Not only will it help you know how best to parent her, it will help you realize you are not alone and that it's perfectly normal to have the feelings you have about having to come home to more work.
As you learn more about Asberger's, you will find that she doesn't recognize the tone of your voice, facial expressions etc and doesn't feel things the same way you and I do. This obviously creates even more of a challenge for you because you'll have to learn the techniques to reaching her.
If she is showing any signs of interest in a particular area, encourage that interest. If she hasn't found something she loves, help her to discover new things to try. Artwork and poetry are two very good ways to help someone with Asberger's recognize what certain facial expressions and tones mean. She will likely never "feel" what you feel, but is able to learn to interpret and react appropriately. And you're encouragement of interests like that will only serve to help her feel bonded to you.
Lastly, remember that regardless of her disabilities, she wants your approval. Anything that comes across as a criticism will only serve to make your job as a step mother harder. If you can reword your expectations into encouragement, she will respond much more effectively than if you critisize.
I hope this helps!
P.B. answers from Dayton on October 18, 2006
sorry to hear you are going though this trouble times.. i too am going though issues with my 6 yr old daughter who has ADHD and ODD i have been looking for support,advice,help etc...
last year she was enroll in a preschool program for children with disablities that was a MRDD program here in kettering oh. did very well; untill now in kindergarten we are having issues again...if can offer some help or reources from MRDD on this am at ____@____.com thanks!
in responds to your issue; does taking privilages (tv,toys,games,etc..) from her work at all? has anyone sat down with her one on one to discuss anything emotional she might be going though..how long have the parents been divorced can this be effect to her behavior...it also sound like the home environment at her bio-mothers home is not a good one or stable one for her...many prays and best of luck... congrats on new baby in sept!!
E.V. answers from Canton on October 17, 2006
Oh my does this sound like our house. My stepson, who has ODD also has ADHD. As far as her forgetting her meds, SHE isn't forgetting. No child should be taking their meds on their own. Every morning should be a routine. When you are getting them ready, they should brush their teeth...try handing out the toothpaste yourself...(you will find it lasts longer too). Then, the deoderant should be next. (If she forgets this, remind her that if she starts to smell and other kids make fun of her, it's her choice) Then, YOU should be giving the meds in the morning before she leaves..also checking to make sure it's swallowed (alot of kids don't like the affects, and try to hide it or spit it out). She should be putting on clean underwear when she takes her shower/bath...which means dirty laundry taken to laundry room. (my kids take showers daily, not all do the same) As for the bra, if you notice it...ask her to go put one on, and explain why. Maybe this is a case of a kid being a kid, and an adult who just might have as much to learn. As stepparents, we too often pass off little things as "not our job", especially in the case of older stepchildren. As for the mothers home invironment...it may potentially be the cause of this "ADD", we recently found that to be the case with our 10 year old. Same situation..no consistency, dirty filthy house, no discipline, etc. Add that to the fact that she just recently aquired a new stepmom, and new baby sibling. After we found that, we tried psychiatric therapy..and in turn took him off the meds. So far, so good! I think too many kids are diagnosed with ADD, and put on meds when the entire kids home situation is actually to blame. Try to remember...alot of problems we have with our kids are not only their problem, but where we need to be taught "how".