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I am concerned for my autistic brother who I think is in the middle in functioning, and lives with my parents and one other sibling who's normal.

Because of his frustration tolerance he hits my parents, and I knew one time my father hit him back. I remember seeing the recent marks on him when I visited, and I talked to my parents about it, but we didn't resolve anything. My brother last attended special school when he was still a young boy, and is in his mid-20's now. I couldn't convince my parents about sending him back to school. They tried to keep my brother preoccupied with things throughout the day, but it obviously wasn't working. I brought up medication, but they didn't want it for him. The problem is now I learned that it (the hitting and being hit back) is happening more times than I thought.

I am married with one child, unemployed. My husband is struggling to make a living, and we live miles away from my parents. Plus, I am being treated for depression. I thought that maybe if I can get my house cleaned up, in shambles as it is, I can try to convince my parents to have my brother stay even just overnight once in awhile, just to help ease things up. I'm not even sure if my husband will agree to this arrangement. What else can I do?:)

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi OCDmom,

Having your brother stay over a few nights will not be a real solution because, when he returns to his parents, it will start all over again.

There are a few options and they are not pleasant:

1. You can report your parents to the authorities for abusing a handicapped person. I do not know what will happen to them but your brother will probably be removed from the home and placed. The unpleasant part has to do with going to the authorities and all the ugliness afterwards.

2. Another step is to convince your parents to have him placed in a group home. At his age, he qualifies for Disability and that will pay. If they refuse you can "threaten them" with going to the authorities if your father or mother hits him.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not thinking or saying or implying that your parents are "bad or abusive" people. Quite the opposite, I know how frustrating and helpless people are made to feel when trying to cope with a seriously handicapped adult child. It would be better for their physical and mental health if he were placed in a group home and it would be far better for him because he would be taught how to cope.

You know, this is why the famous "Rain Man" was placed in a group home. No one could handle him. In the home he learned a lot and is now independent, in his own apartment.

Your parents are resistant to this because they may feel guilty and may feel comfort from him being around, as hard as it is.

Ask them to see the movie about rain man with Dustin Hoffman. It is a true story.


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I would also strongly advise checking up very carefully on any group home you might be considering if you do end up considering it. Does your brother speak at all? My brother is also autistic. His condition has gone downhill since my mother's passing. My father was unable to care for him and he is now in a group home. Caring for an autistic adult can be extremely challenging. Does your brother have any interests? Swimming? Music? Sometimes this can be helpful. My brother loves these activities. He also had a swing set at home and a trampoline for exercise...we'd go for mall walks... He went to a day program as well until recently when his condition deteriorated. Does your brother self-abuse as well? Sometimes mine would do this if he was in pain. I'm sorry for your painful situation. I can definitely relate...

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Thank you, Allan and IrmaJean, for your replies.

This morning I e-mailed this issue with my brother to my sister, the other one who also lives with my parents. She is probably not completely aware of what's going on, since she is out most of the time because of work. In the e-mail, I urged her to talk to my parents about it. But I know that nothing will change until concrete measures could be done.

I already confronted my parents about this in the past. But now that my parents are shouldering my treatment for depression, I am not sure if I should be the one to confront them again. I am afraid that I might set them against me, and consequently cut off their financial help to me. I know I am selfish for thinking this way.

They are moving to a high rise condominium within a year or two. It has several amenities that my brother will surely love--- swimming pool, jogging path, playground. But I know that this will not be enough if things will continue the way they are now.

IrmaJean, I don't know if he self-abuses right now, although there was a time, just a few years ago, when my parents would hide nail cutters from him because he would injure his fingers with it.

I know that my parents love my brother. I just wish that they would trust us more and let us help with him. I don't know what to do. :)

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Just an update. My sister who lives with my parents and autistic brother e-mailed me and told me not to worry, that the incident only happened twice and she is keeping an eye on our brother.

My mother and father have been quarreling recently (it's not about my brother). I told my sister on the phone about it and how it might be affecting my brother, but she said he doesn't seem to show any reaction toward it, although we both acknowledged that he must be reacting to it somehow. We are trying to convince them to go for counseling, but my mother wouldn't have it.

I am planning on staying over their place again together with my baby girl, and see what I can do to help.

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Good morning OCDMom,

Nearly every state has adult autism services. For example, in PA, we have the Adult Community Autism Program (ACAP), which provides an array of services for the family and person with Autism, in addition sometimes to respite care, out of home placements, out of home activities, family coaching/training, etc. Once they're involved, much of the pressure is off the family.

Also, to follow Allan's advice, you must be very careful in reporting abuse in the home. I'd first report your brother to the authorities for repeated aggression towards the family. This will usually remove him from the environment. There is much more that needs to be said regarding this logic and chain of events, but this will suffice for now. Prior to reporting your brother, discuss this with your parents as a responsible decision on your part-- avoid surprising them at all costs.

With respect to going to counseling, if one won't go, the other one should anyway. A change/growth in one typically results in change/growth in the other.

Good luck.

Edited by David O
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