I desperately need some advice about ways of dealing with my AS. He has food hoarding issues, so will take all types of food upstairs into his room. Additionally, he will not eat in front of anyone (autism), so all of dinners etc also go upstairs. He won't clean his room and he will not let me in. The mess is unimaginable. I do ask him to bring dishes etc down but he says that he will not do it when I ask, because I have asked, and will only do it in his own time. It's almost funny, but I have got to the point where there are no clean plates in the house. I am at my wits end, it has been going on for the last few years.
Filthy teenage room
Teenage boys rooms are pretty disgusting generally - mind, so’s my 21 year old son’s!
A few years ago during an AUK training course we covered NVR in brief and one of the things we covered was the baskets, in other words picking your battles. Small, medium, big baskets - in the small baskets goes stuff like CPV which can’t and won’t be tolerated; in the medium basket goes stuff that’s tricky but doesn’t have to be dealt with immediately; in the large basket goes the rest - stuff that irritates you but can be overlooked for now. Where would you put the bedroom? I wanted to put my son’s room in the small basket because it so annoyed me but the trainer helped me to see that in reality this was my issue. He wasn’t bothered, I was, so I had two options - close the door and walk away or sort it myself. I know you’ve said he doesn’t want you in there, but too bad! Give him the option. Either he does it or you will. You’re putting that boundary in. He has a choice
I’ve trained as a practitioner now and I use NVR strategies often with all of mine. Anyway, not sure how much you know about NVR but stuff like this is covered and I’ve found it really helpful. Google Haim Omer on YouTube for more info.
My son has just graduated and returned home and I still go in there daily and pick up his detritus. I don’t ask, I just do! He’s working now and the whole full time thing is frying his brain!
Given your son’s demand avoidance (PDA?) you’re giving him two choices so he retains control. Either way, health and safety comes first and you won’t allow rotting food to fester in his room.
Overlook what you can and focus on the key issue?
Maybe agreeing a time / day when you can clear it? Or that he leaves his used dishes outside the room (like in a hotel)? Maybe having his own set of 3/4 plates, cups etc that are distinguishable so only these are used for him - which means you don’t run out of plates you can use for anyone else and if he runs out there will be none he can use until they are brought down and washed. Remind him when he’s on the last one that they need to be brought down / handed over for washing so there’s one for his next meal. Is it’s food / snacks lying around that are a big issue - maybe something he could keep them in - tin / sandwich box. Give him a mouse trap to remind him that food lying around attracts mice and maybe if it does that evidence will convince him?
Also try to remember that sort of inability to organise and tendency towards chaos is related to both learning difficulties and trauma
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