Return to Website

dr. robert forum

Welcome to dr. robert forum.

This Forum community is growing fast. Tell your friends.


Visit "ask dr. robert" to read replies to the latest questions.

Thanks to the help of a very kind Cajun amigo, the Dr. Robert Forum is back, better than ever, at:

I look forward to seeing you all there.

Be well,

robert's Forum
This Forum is Locked
View Entire Thread
Re: My Daughter

what you want is obviously not what she wants.

But all she wants is for things to stay the same! That's not realistic - it won't happen. But she doesn't want to learn anything in preparation for any kind of change at all. She can't talk to people, she can't drive, she can't make herself any food more complicated than a sandwich (and she always needs to be reminded before she'll realize that she's hungry), she can't get a job, can't make friends - and she's *satisfied* with that! I understand that she's happy spending all day in her room with her harp or wandering around the house with a book, but she can't live like that forever.

We live in the US... there are no charities or community programs. It's just us, and I don't know what to do. Is it okay to let her continue like this? Can I really do that? I don't know what to do. I don't have a list of steps to help her be more independent, but I'm doing my best to come up with them. I'm not trying to make her sociable... just socially able. How will she manage in the world if she can't so much as smile at people and say hi? If she could just master a few basic social skills, she'd be perceived as 'quirky' rather than 'freaky'. Aside from feeding herself, she's fairly capable. (I say 'fairly' because she does everything according to a set of rules that only she understands, and I don't know what would happen if she had to do something differently. But she handles day to day life very well in a strict, regimented kind of way.)

dr. robert
I imagine you are the same about aspects of your life and your space--you want and need a certain level of order and predictability according to your own definitions and desires, not someone else's. Please try to understand your daughter from that point of view. Yes, her autism makes her different in certain ways, but not in this one, which should and must be respected.

I don't understand... are you saying that I should stop inviting friends over because it upsets her? Or just that I shouldn't ask her to say hello to them? Both these things mess up her preferred level of order and predictability....

dr. robert
I do understand that you hope to teach this young woman to be different from the way she is, and that you imagine that changing her approach to life would be for her own good, but go slow please. Force is not the way.

I don't mean to force her, but I don't know how to teach her when she doesn't want to learn. Surely it's not okay to leave her like this when she could learn and improve?

Re: My Daughter

The problems presented by autism are many and varied, and I certainly do not have a solution or quick fix for any of them. I did not say that you should refrain from trying to help your daughter to find ways of being more integrated into the larger cultural surround, but that you should go slow and minimize the amount of pressure and coercion. Although your daughter's emotional needs may seem bizarre and quirky, most of them really are no different in kind from the needs of any of us--just their expression is different, and if this is understood you may find more effective and gentler ways of trying to help her meet them while becoming more integrated socially. I know this is a challenge, but what else can you do?

To answer your specific question: I do think you should have guests in your home whenever you like, but you should not, in my opinion, ever coerce your daughter into interaction with them. It is her right to avoid such contact is that is what she wants or needs.

I sympathize with your situation which certainly is difficult and seems to have no real resolution. I simply suggest that you go slow with any changes of routine while trying to see things through her eyes when possible. If you think I am wrong about this, I suggest getting other opinions from autism experts (which I am not).

Be well.

Re: My Daughter

You put that very well. Thank you... both of you.