Oh can I sympathize with your situation. I am not sure whether to continue my situation in this thread or start my own, but I am dealing with a similar situation here. I am just lost, frustrated, angry and feeling totally helpless.
I recently married into a family knowing there were some special needs. But as the last 6 years came and went, I saw absolutly no changes in the situation at all. In the beginning I dealt with a 9 year old with ADD/ADHD and it was somewhat manageable (my tolerance and frustration) because of the relative age of the child.
But now, she is 15 and has absolutely no improvement in the issues we deal with at all. She has also since been diagnosed with OCD, PDD, Shadow Autism, and a degree of retardation.
She is not a stupid child by any means. (As is the case of most of these children). She is a very loving, compassionate, caring, forgiving child. The problem is, with these disorders combined, she is generally the most obnoxious, annoying, high maintenance child on the face of this earth.
My primary issue is the way to deal with these issues. It is a problem in my marriage. My lack of intolerance for the child and recently her mother for her failure to enforce any guidelines, expecations, or standards has driven us to the brink of a divorce.
The big key I have seen in this forum, many books, and other sources is; expectations. Another focus is the picking and choosing battles. But when every single thing you deal with starts out as a crisis anymore, it is so hard to tell the difference.
If I had to pick one specific battle - it has always been, the high maintenance of this child. Her incessant, continuous, non-stop babbling. There is not a minute of a day where I do not hear her voice. If it is not interupting a conversation between my wife and I, it is a persistent state of crisis that this child creates herself.
I would give anything to have a conversation with my wife - from beginning to end. Not being interupted or this child thinking she needs to be a part of it. From the minute she gets up in the morning, to the hour it takes to get her to bed, it is a non-stop redirection of tasks, reinforcement of social rules, focusing, and dealing with innapropriate social behavior. There is hardly a 5 minute period during the day where I can have time with my wife. My wife has no clue what this is doing to our marriage.
Anyway, I could go on and on. Maybe I should start my own thread. My point here is to offer a little sympathy for your frustration. I feel your pain and helplessness. I hoe we are able to find some answers.
Bless you and your family. They are a gift from G-d. I just hope He has a gift receipt.