Daughter with AS behavior

My daughter is 17 and was always good at anything he tried. Musical instruments reading good grades in school. She should have emotional outbursts in elementary school when she got frustrated with homework assignments. In high school she got frustrated not knowing the kids in the lunchroom and td me she was eating in the bathroom. She found an art teacher who allowed her I eat in her classroom over lunch and she took to this teacher and felt comfortable. She stopped doing homework in highschool but got good grades on her tests. Teachers didn't like this so my daughter wanted to drop out of high school. She told Counselors she hated school and did t feel like it was relevant She purposely started not turning in assignments in her advance placement classes so she could be in the alternative program. She was very focused on a strategy to get out of high school fast. I had been having problems getting her to go to school and even had the truant officer come to the house to pick her up. It didn't bother her and she stayed focused on telling Counselors she didn't like school because she didn't like being around people. I thought she was being a manipulative teenager. She apies for jobs and did well in any position whe worked but doesn't stay long in any position. He is quick to apply for new jobs. At seventeen she has worked four jobs. I felt she enjoyed the rules and proving she was good at following rules. She became obsessed with her diet. First a vegetarian now a vegan and reading every food label to find out if it's organic. She gets frustrated at restaurants especially if they put a vegetarian item on a vegan Menue. She is quick to lecture food servers about dairy items and butter should not be on the vegan Menue. She becomes upset when these violations occur. She is happy when she finds vegan foods that are correct. It becomes a very controlling Situation with foods. Although she is extremely messy in the kitchen, doesn't clean up and spills on counters on floors. It's stressful just seeing her start to cook meal. She allows garbage to overflow rather than take out the trash and keeps her room and bathroom a mess by never putting a thin away including her clean clothes which are in baskets in her room. Sounds like a typical teenager? I thought so except she has violent outbursts if you ask er to clean up or if I put her things away. I believe it actually stresses her out to have clothes out I drawers where she can't see them She currently just completed high school through the alternative program and seems to be happy. She works two part time jobs and says she wants to attend junior college since she blew it in high school. I'm hoping that she will seek out the social situations that are within her comfort zone. I've learned to adjust my own expectations by not providing her too many clothes or things as it stresses her out. She seems happier having few clothes and few demands She is awkward choosing clothes and her hair is usually messy. She asks me if she looks okay because she does not feel confident. I understand she prefers low maintenance so I adjust my expectations so that my daughter feels comfortable. As long as she is safe I have learned to let her determine her comfort zone. I have to learn to think a little differently and try and see things the way my daughter does. I think she is different but she is going to be ok.

39 Replies

  • Hi,

    Your daughter presents blatant signs of Asbergers.

    There is also a rare form of Autism called Pathological Demand Avoidance . You can have a combination of Asbergers, ADHD , ADD, SPD or PDA on its own.

    If you read my previous posts it explains what to look for .

    My youngest son is Musical , he is nearly a copy cat case of your daughter. Late diagnosis at 17 and it's still ongoing .

    With the correct Stratagies in place there is no reason if it's Asbergers why she can't live a normal happy life. PDA will need 24/7 support and the Stratagies are different.

    Good luck xx



  • Thank you for your reply. I hope your son appreciates your understanding. It's somewhat comforting that I'm not the only parent baffled by this behavior. I do wonder if the demand avoidance may come from my parenting, not being strict enough, or spoiling my daughter. I also thought that perhaps getting divorced caused insecurity. We went to a family counselor and got a diagnosis of depression and a prescription. My daughter tried it then went off it. I did notice she was more compliant or sedated. She moved into an apartment and is very focused on being on her own. I worry she will face rejection or ridicule. I do believe she knows I have her best interest at heart. I am her patent and her best advocate.

  • Hi,

    You are not the only parent , a lot of us have similar problems, struggling with our kids because of a lack of awareness and understanding of ASD.

    It does sound a lot like Pathological Demand Avoidance. A lack of motivation to do the ordinary demands of life.

    It is really good that your daughter finds new jobs and actually goes to work, does not avoid it. Probably she gets bored easily and quickly and often needs a new challenge.

    You are absolutely right when you say you have to think a little differently to understand her. Accepting that she is different is and supporting her and she will be ok. Please don't blame yourself and your parenting skills because the traditional parenting methods do not work for PDA children. You give her your love and kindness and of course she knows you are her best advocate.

    I have a 14 year old daughter who has been refusing to go to school in the last few months. Nobody can convince her to go back. Over the past two years she had been truanting a lot and not doing the homework at all. There is absolutely nothing anybody can do about it. She refuses help from anyone. She sees help as a demand. I think she has PDA. She has been masking it for a long time. The different professionals that have been involved in her case: social workers, psychologists, family counselors, teachers etc failed to spot it or recognize it. I begged them to believe me that my daughter has PDA, with lots of evidence to support my claim and they eventually agreed to have her assessed.

    We live in England where waiting lists are long and it takes ages to get assessed for ASD. In the mean time my daughter gets even more socially anxious and isolated. She does not go out, has no friends and does not enjoy life. I cannot wait for the diagnoses, so we can all finally help her. In that case it would be possible to get her a place in a suitable school. She might do well in the right school, who knows.

    Good luck!

  • Hi , I am from Lithuanian. I live in London. I feel my son has similal problams. Hi is 23. But for me very big problem my languages. Can you know any help for people without good English?

  • Hi, where in London do you live? A GP is a starting point but obviously you will need a translator. I am Croatian and can't help you with the language but can help talking about it if you have a friend who could translate.

    Best wishes

  • Hi! Thank you very much for you answer. I am really don't know how I canhe had problems from childhood. He grow up just with me. After my son was born

    i had deep depression after it I didn't return to good standing us I was before. Son grew up and his problems grew up . He started to drink alcohol and I am not sure or only this.

    He unsociable, angry and unhappy. He worked builder work. But during 4 years he have left his work 4 times. Currently he without work too.

    He want nothing and I live in awe of all the time


    Probably no one can help if a person does not want himself.

    I can to find a translator, but the problem is not that...

  • What you think about my situacion?

  • Your son might have PDA. You could explain to him that you suspect that he has ASD and that testing would benefit him. If diagnosed he could get help. He is an adult and you can only try helping him but ultimately he has to decide whether he wants to get assessed.

    Also I think that PDA people see help as an extra demand. It is very tricky.

    Good luck!

  • Thank you very much,my friend. Good luck you too. I will try all what i can.

  • You are right about seeing help as an extra demand.I have started supporting my daughtermore by telling her I'm here to support you when you need my help. She seems calmer with that approach and I've let her figure out things on her own rather than be hovering and worrying she always has an open door to come home but she is focused on being on her own with minimum resources and support.

  • Good approach. i am on the same page as I could not achieve much by hovering. Today for the first time my daughter acknowledged or shared with me that she has a problems with organisational skills, social skills and general every day life skills. She blamed me for 'not teaching her', which I thought was a good start. She was very tired and it came out. I tried to explain but realized there is no point because of tiredness. So instead I have written her a letter trying to explain that she has always had PDA traits and she always refused being taught anything by saying 'I know' or 'next time' or 'later'. So my attempts didn't work and I didn't want to force her.

    I do blame myself a lot for being ignorant for 13 years. I should have spotted it ages ago as ASD/PDA because I had many signs and failed to recognize them. I did some research at the time but obviously not enough. My husband has PDA as well so it should have been easier to recognize but that made it more difficult. My husband and I were never on the same page regarding bringing up until the social services got involved. We are on the same page now but still cannot achieve getting her back to school and we are not trying at all.

    She mentioned cleaning jobs for people like herself with no education. I used a strategy of pretending to agree and offered help finding cleaning jobs. As soon as I agreed she was no longer interested in jobs.

    OMG it is a tough ride.

    Sorry it is an essay. A bit of a relief sharing it with you.

    Thank you

  • I too heard the words I know don't talk to me when I tried to show her how to be organized. I could see that her halos was causing her a lot of anxiety. I thought he was pushing my buttons But she does not understand why she is overwhelmed my normal demands. Thanks for sharing on this blog

  • Hi,

    My situation so bad. When was little boy I can't

    take care of them well. After his was born me have started a depression. I often was in hospitals

    . Son was a difficult kid from childhood.

    He did not say poems in kindergarten, when was pupil did not answer

    verbal lessons,did not attend in the physical lessons. and etc.

    Now is 23. We are live seperate. He cannot to preserve his work for long time

    . Currently he already lost the 4th job. He drink alcohol and maybe he using something worse... He

    he refuses to seek help.

    Please , say anyone, what i need to do ??! :((

  • Sorry for my English...

  • I think your son has to want to get help. You can encourage him to talk to a mental health counselor. They are better at recommending solutionsto behavior problems because they understand what we may not I look for information online and it has helped me find better ways to communicate with my daughte.Drugs and alcohol is A serious issue that can make everything worse. He may be trying to self medicatehis anxiety. Please seek out a counselor Start with a medical doctor who can refer your son

  • Whatisee, many thanks for your support. I try to do everything I can.

  • Good luck you! Good luck to both of you.

  • As parents we need to support eachother since this is a very stressful situation.We love our grown kids all our lives and they will need us to be there for them. Live and love❤️

  • Thank you. Strengths for you xx

  • Last weekend when my son opened his room door, I saw, he is wrong. He drinks a lot of alcohol. However, he does not want to go to the doctor. He doen't want enithing. He told me, " 'better i will die than I will go somewhere".

    I am very afraid that will happen something wrong


  • Last weekend when my son opened his room door, I saw, he is wrong. He drinks a lot of alcohol. However, he does not want to go to the doctor. He doen't want enithing. He told me, " 'better i will die than I will go somewhere".

    I am very afraid that will happen something wrong


  • Sorry to hear that. He thinks he does not want help and even the word 'help' irritates him. But that does not mean he doesn't want help or needs help. I don't know if I am making any sense. When you mentioned the word 'help' after he had been drinking, he did not like it. It caused a panic attack and fear of losing control (unaware). If he has PDA as I suspect, (I am not an expert) you really have to choose how and when you talk to him about it. It has to be when he is sober and in a good mood. You have to say exactly what you think his condition is and support it with the evidence and examples of his behaviour. Do not use the word 'help'. Remember help is another demand.

    Good luck

  • Hello. Can you explain to me please ,what you mean PDA . One time I was talking with psychiatrist from my country. I told about my son since his birth. The doctor said me that it's can be autism (eg., Asperger's syndrome)


    But I know that to identify this diagnosis is very difficult. Especially for an adult (my son 23).

    How do I help to my son??..

    I think he also has addiction to alcohol ..:( (

  • Many people from my environment are thinking that my son is an alcoholic, and they advised me to leave him. They think that it is the best thing I can do for son.

    What do you think my friend?

  • The psychiatrist is probably right but it could also be Pathological demand avoidance PDA, it is is on the autistic spectrum. What kind of doctor and where told you it can't be autism? Some doctors haven't got a clue. As I already told you could try telling your son that you think he is autistic and it might be beneficial to try and get tested. It has to be his decision to go to a doctor but you can be there for him and support him. Don't tell him off or nag him about the job or drinking. He knows he is drinking and he is delaying stopping it because it is easier that way than admitting he has a problem and dealing with it.

    I will give you an example of what happened in my family yesterday. About 2 weeks ago I booked an appointment for my husband who I think has PDA to see a doctor. He told me he would go if I book it. He was meant to use that appointment to tell the GP he needs a referral to get tested for autism. He asked me if I could go with him because he will have difficulties explaining. I arranged everything at work to get out and support him. When I arrived he was at the bus stop smiling. He said please don't be mad, they called me early when I registered at the reception and I got a cream for my skin condition, you said I could only talk about one problem to the doctor. I wanted to kill him. I screamed at him. I sacrifice myself running here and there and back to work. He could not understand why I was so upset. When I got home I needed some answers. How could he screw up? He forgot our problems with our daughter and how we cried together the night before. It was a simple PDA in action example: he replaced a big demand by doing a small one, not taking into account the consequences and other people's feelings and expectations. Very frustrating.

  • Thank you,dear. Be strong.. xx

  • Thanks for you help. Merry Christmas for you and for you family!

  • Last weekend when my son opened his room door, I saw, he is wrong. He drinks a lot of alcohol. However, he does not want to go to the doctor. He doen't want enithing. He told me, " 'better i will die than I will go somewhere".

    I am very afraid that will happen something wrong


    Reply Like (0)

  • Alcohiol may be how your son is medicating his feelings of anxiety. Wanting to kill himself is major depression and he needs your help to get treatment from a psychiatrist. PDA is a form of autism that stands for pathological demand avoidance. .They avoid everydaydemandsthat cause them anxiety. Getting dressed or going to work may bring on stress so they avoid. He needs your help but sees it as a demand.

  • You described my daughter exactly when you reveal your 14 year old . It got so bad skipping school I found myself physically restraining her and throwing her in the car to go to school. That did not go over well and she threatened to turn me in for abuse. Wow. Was I going over the edge and reachin my breaking point. Sometimes just agreeing with them when they are at their worst breaks the tension even when you know it's ridiculous and makes no sense. I just started imaging myself being her out of control How awful she must feel to get frustrated over life's every day demands like showering eating breakfast. Getting dressed. Going to school....she was not faking her stress

    And lashing out at me was a cry for help.

  • parliament.scot/GettingInvo...

    I would be delighted if you could sign this Petition and spread awareness of PDA.

    Anyone in the World can sign and if we can get the Scottish Ministers to accept the information presented to them and formally recognise PDA it sets the precedent for the rest of the World.

    The lack of understanding of both Autism Spectrum and PDA is shocking .

    Thank you xx

  • Thanks. I did sign the petition online. I will also bring this to the attemtion of our alternative high school and every school official who will listen A better understanding of AS behavior is needed in out schools

  • Your parentening skills are not at fault.

    The issue is the appaling lack of understanding of the Autism Spectrum . By my experience there is so little early intervention . Stratagies and Policies do not work.

    You are still her mum. She will come to you for help and advise, give her time to try independent living .

    It just takes the right person to help, that person will come along I promise.


    There are so many excellent videos explains the issues by young people.

    It gives them an understanding of their issues and how there are people who understand and can help with Stratagies.

    Good luck xx

  • Thank you for signing the Petition. It's getting the awareness out there. Although the U.K. Is a World Leader in knowledge it's very much dependand on the local Doctors knowledge and generally the CAMHS, Children's and adolescent mental health centres are

    poor. We need to put these at the top of the list.

    Delighted you are spreading awareness. That's exactly what we need.


    You might find this helpful.

    So pleased that music has been a part of your child's life . It's made a massive difference to my sons .

    You are doing an amazing job. Make sure the schools pass the awareness about PDA, normal Stratagies do not work..

    May be if your daughter was willing an article in the local newspaper .

    It's fantastic she is working , well done her .

    Good luck , keep in touch . There is a. USA awareness group now to help with support. The PDA Society has just had someone from Africa asking for advice . The word is spreading.

    Your daughter might relate to some of the blogs. They are very good .

  • pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/ne...




    You could always Enquire if sessions could be done by Skype if enough schools were interested. You would have to check with the USA group if they offer such a thing .


    Specific for teachers.

    Hope this helps

  • Currently I live with my boyfriend who does not understand my problems. He thinks that my son is alcoholic and lazy. I myselft isn't too strong because I suffer from depression since that time when was born my son. My boyfriend is a big help for me at this time. But I have to help to my son..

  • It's good that you have understanding. Once you recognize the problem you are dealing with with your 23 year old son you should surround yourself with other people who understand what you are dealing with and are willing to support you both. Avoid any relationships that cause you additional stress. I believe stress leads to depression. When you achieve a sense of understanding you feel more in control and it really helps Be positive. I understand it's hard but a positive attitude helps to be more mindful of your situation and your sons behavior so that you can figure out solutions to make your lives better. Love one another. That's the best advice I can offer.

  • It is very bad that I began to understand the son's problem so late. When he is 23. I did not know and I still do not know everything is now also.

    I do not know where to start that way? How to persuade my son to go to GP? He wants never to talk about his problems!

    What kind of support can I expect for my son?

    Many thanks, darling,

  • My son recently told that he would like electrician's specialties. Maybe you know could he to learn for this specialties for free? Could you know college, where is this specialty


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