New here. Hi! It's starting to hit me how permanent this is ...

Hi. I'm so glad to be here. My autistic son is nine, but mentally I'd say he's about six. He's delayed, but he goes to an autism charter school and up to now he's been able to keep up with his grade level. But in the last three months especially, I've noticed that he seems to be plateauing in everything, mentally and physically.

He's fairly high functioning, can take care of his own needs except for bathroom and baths. The other day I was helping him shower and I noticed he's starting to get hair under his arms.

I think that, more than anything else, made me realize how his brain is not keeping up with his body and it really hit me hard. For all these years, I've operated under the hope that, okay, he's delayed, but he'll get there. He might not have a totally "normal" adult life, but eventually, he'll be able to take care of himself, have a job, live away from home ... Now I'm not so sure and I'm really struggling with the idea of having to care for an adult sized six year old for the rest of my life.

I'm sure I don't have to tell this community that yes, I love him very much and he brings us a lot of joy. But, dang, that's a hard thing to face. 

Similar experiences anyone?

  • I know how you are feeling. My son has High functioning autism. He can do everything for himself but like yourself I'm worried about his future. Will he be able to hold down a job, will he be lonely? I love my son but he's so nasty to me some times. Everyday is hard and combined with the worry about his future, I'm finding myself very down. I'm single too so nobody to back me up in the house. I'm not going to beat myself up for feeling disappointed or feeling regret. The CAMHS nurse says that they greatly improve as the get older...I hope he's right.
  • Hi Your story echoes sentiments. However, there is hope. Your first approach to me is acceptance. You are determine. You care a great deal. Together these are the tools needed for moving forward,. Its called LOVE. There is no greater gift than love. You both are going make it to the various levels. It takes, lots, and lots of perseverance. Falling-down, tears etc. Your main objective, is you will raise-up to all challenges. We or I have been where you are, many times, felt hopeless, you're have our community to support you. You are going to make it.

  • Hi there. I'll echo the sentiments of the other contributors here. Keep the faith! I had exactly the same fears for my high-functioning son when he was that age. I still do, but to a far lesser degree now that he is 20 and is following his passions to build his own path in life. It really does get better as they get older.

    For me, the very act of accepting that he had limitations was an emotionally gut-wrenching thing. And it came in waves over the years instead of all at once. In the end - I simply chose to throw the word "normal" completely out of my vocabulary and instead focus on what was right for my son. Here's the thing. I know you're going to keep loving him and keep supporting him, and that is exactly what he needs. The only goal that matters is that he find "his" adult life. There's no one better on this earth to help him with that than YOU!
  • I could have written all of this and the replies myself. My son is also 9, and everything everyone said here is so true. Everything. I don't even know how to respond right now other than you are not alone and this is exactly why I joined this forum. Please feel free to contact me at any time.
  • In reply to alcoolg:

    It's been a while since I was on here, but thank you so much everyone for your replies! It helps to know that some of you have experienced things getting easier as they get older. You've given me some hope, and that's exactly what I needed.
  • my son is the same. He is 12 years old. Highly functioning. He had a plateau period too. He did t speak till he was 3. We held him back in preschool, and he is now in 6th grade at age 12. That means he will turn 19 in high shool. That scares me, but he is better off emotionally with younger kids. He does what he wants. Which is video games. He is also very smart if he concentrates. He now gets all A's and B's with little effort. Mentally he is about 10 but physicaly he has signs of a mustache and pubic hair. He still acts much younger. However this year he is growing in maturity by being able to express himself at s new school. My friends w aspire kids tell me that they can learn to be self sufficient. Some got to college. There are colleges for aspires. Others get jobs. Others do nothing. At this age help him find his passion. Book? Money? With my son he would not take a shower on his own and only in my bath. He loves $$. Won't spend it. I offered him $5 for every shower he took in his bathroom. After 3 nights, I didn't have to pay. It took me 11 1/2 years to get him to take a bath in his bathroom and it felt damn good to win that argument finally.