Poor Choices of your ASD teen

Hi. I am the mother of a soon to be 19 year old ASD adult who came home for the weekend from his residential school. By day two, he had picked up and played his father's very good and expensive guitar, and then, when caught, he scrambled up to his room and proceeded to climb out his second floor bedroom window. His 11 year old sister caught him hanging out the sill. Why would he do this? Because he knew he never should have touched the guitar, and he knew he had made a poor choice so he decided he would run. In trying to escape, he dropped himself on top of the outside air handler literally breaking two exterior wood window sills on his way down and tumbling the outside air unit over off it's stand. His further reaction to this damage was to try and stab himself with two sticks. It took his 14 year old brother in tears to hold him down to prevent him from harming himself while his mouth spewed in blood from biting his lip. It was complete hysteria until I could get home to methodically examine him in front of his two siblings to assure them he would live as he claimed his knees, arms and ribs were broken. They were truly afraid he would die. He was afraid of his poor choices as he knew he had made them. The upheaval was incredible and all very sad. It's a wonder our family has survived these kind of behaviors for years. What is most incredible is that after about an hour of my cleaning up the situation, Matthew was acting as though nothing had happened.

So, what have we decided as a family as a result of this recent incident? Matt cannot be trusted to be in any part of the house unsupervised at any time. His impulse is greater than his conscience of knowing right and wrong. He is being made to pay money for the damage slowly from the dollars he earns in a work program. We know he is afraid of who will take care of him when we dies. He expressed he wanted his brother and sister to always love each other so they could care for him. And I made him promise them he would never flee through the window again or try to kill himself. We also cannot now send him to his room as a consequence when we feel he will flee as it is at the second level of the house.

This will not be the first time we have had to repair expensive damage to our home created by his poor choices. What is my lesson to parents? Everything is fixable. Repairs can be made to structures. Do not be overwhelmed by these simple yet catastrophic things. Watch out only for the hearts and strengths of your children. Support them through the incredibly stressful times. Stay together and never give up. Put one foot before the other every day and always have a half full cup, not a half emty one... and there is no reason to split up as a couple. If you stick together, you will survive this. With a 19 year old, we have been through this hundreds of times, just never quite as large in damage or jumping out second floor windows. And tonight, 24 hours later, he danced and sang outside to a beatles song in his beatles wig and full tux. You gotta love him even though he can cause so much pain.

This is why I do architecture for special needs...I am committeed to the journey and opportunity to improve these situations. Architectural lesson - place your ASD child on a first floor level room! The fall will be much easier!