Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Dogs of War

Julius Cesar through Shakespeare had nothing on my boys. “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war,” a line from Shakespeare’s Julius Cesar is heard throughout our house as the boys go into battle against all unknown and unseen gamer foes. It is their equivalent of the rebel yell, the war cry of the Apache, and the call of themarines. Happily for me, their battles are in an imaginary world where they do not risk coming home without life or limb.

Actually this line has now become the mantra in our home ever since Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory went after a hacker who stole all his accomplishments on World ofWarcraft.  CM2 doesn’t really identify with that game but CM1 most certainly does. He like Sheldon is a level 85 warrior, what ever that means, and he has worked very hard to get there. I am not being obtuse, but I don’t understand how you become the highest-level warrior and still have more game to play. He tries to explain to me that that just means how much power you have and the different quests you can now go on, but to me if you get to the top you have won. He just shakes his head and I can see the look in his eyes trying to figure out how God allowed him to be born of such a clueless woman.

The story on TBBT evolves that some unseen individual with larceny in their heart found a way to hack into Sheldon’s account and steal everything that he had worked so hard to accomplish. Now this is something with which CM1 could readily identify. He also identified with neighbor Penny coming to Sheldon’s rescue and kicking the miscreant thief in the "balls" in order to retrieve the stolen goods. I am not quite sure if CM1 likes that part merely because there was some sort of justice, as justice is his watchword, but the picture of a beautiful blond coming to nerdy Sheldon’s rescue seemed to also have resonated with him. I think it’s the damsel in distress paradigm in reverse. Perhaps he likes the idea that there may be a lovely young woman out there willing to defend him. Guess what, so do I.

I think that in many ways, we as parents of special needs children can identify with Sheldon’s quest and the need for a Penny in our children’s lives. In all honesty I think we live that life on a daily basis. Oh it is not so actual that we go and kick some strange individual in their  “youknowwhatsis,” however, I remember on several occasions that is exactly what I would have liked to do. Of course, social convention and the fear of a police record have kept me from doing just that, as I am sure it has with most of you. Yet, in the alternative, what we parents do when we have to is the metaphoric kick in the area that the sun doesn’t shine. But we also hope that in the end there will be someone out there in the world at large that cares for our children in much the same way we do and we hope that they have good aim if necessary.

As I have written before in, Embracing Your Inner Bitch, it basically becomes a way of life for us, to prepare for battle at every stage of our child’s development. It doesn’t matter whether you are dealing with the special education committee at school, the psychiatrist and psychologists, the insurance company, social workers or classroom teachers and support. You need to stay on top of what is happening with your child and figure out the best way to approach the situation. I think some of the most frustrating elements that I have ever dealt with in raising the boys are those in the “professional” class who still think that my children can’t because of their autism. I also find it beyond aggravating those that think they are more qualified to decide your child’s future and those that think you are superfluous to the procedure.

This is something we are facing now with the boys. It is the part of college that I hate. I have no problem with my sons learning how to advocate for themselves. I have no problem with the boys growing up, becoming independent, that in fact is the goal, but their stages of development are so very different than their peers. They just go slower and that quite frankly is just fine with me.  I think the frustrating issue is when so called professionals decide when these milestones should happen, how they should happen and ignore the reality of the situation. Basically they think they not you, should decide your child’s future for them.

I love how these social workers, or "disability" professionals, after taking one class or two think they know and understand everything about your child and you, for that fact. The reality is that understanding autism is a lifelong endeavor but these professionals seem to think they know everything about “autistic everything” and heck if there are some programs out there you MUST take advantage of them. They think that they understand the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the circular existence and the right way to accomplish a goal when dealing with an aspergean in a relatively short period of time. This to me shows just how ignorant, uneducated, unrealistic and unknowing they happen to be.

Needless to say, I stopped that right away when talking to one social worker at the college. We have a plan outlined, which I will call Plan A for CM1. For the next few years, while he finishes up college, he will be going part-time now, because his credits did get messed up a little bit. Meanwhile as he works on his degree we are also going to emphasize some social/job and interactive skills. At least that is the plan for now. As with everything about the boys, tweaking and revamping and reconstructing are a big part of the process. She thought he should go away to a social program or to one of the schools where he could live on campus and they have an asperger support program. Right, I should hand over my child to those who know better after all I am only a parent, ignorant, stupid and useless. The professionals are god's gift to our children and we should extol their god-like qualities and bow down to their immenseness.

By the way, explain to me the fascination with the United States and the adult's need to throw their children out of the nest at 18. While sociologists constantly tell us that adolescence is lasting longer and longer, that children are making more and more poor choices and that culture is degrading, and we as parents need to be aware and afraid, somehow that doesn't apply to your aspergean. You should just wash your hands of your child when they hit their legal majority. There is something terribly wrong with what this society emphasizes. I know maybe I should let MTV artists be my child's guide or Lindsay Lohan and the actors from Twilight. Then the social workers, psychologists, and professionals can say, they were right your child doesn't belong in a particular profession because they can't handle the freedom. Duh, of course they couldn't, they are aspergean and needed more time at home.

The social worker did backtrack when I discussed our plan and she told me how intelligent I am and that she knows I am capable of thinking outside the box for him. She then came up with some alternative ideas for CM1 where he may get some needed experience, ideas by the way that I appreciated. I don’t think any of these ideas are truly viable but I will look into them. Listen she is not a bad person, in fact she is a really good person, I just don’t think she truly really gets him. She thinks she does, but I don’t. I am not sure she wasn’t placating me a lot too because she probably saw my agitation go skyhigh. Social workers have away of manipulating the situation. They are trained for that after all.

Incidentally as far as CM1’s educational future is concerned, we were able to get almost all the accommodations we requested for the Law School boards and CM1 will be taking that test in the year to come as well. Will he go to law school? If he does will he go full time or part-time? What is the direction he wishes to take and what does he want to do with that degree is the questions we will also be helping him answer over the next few years as well. As an aside, keeping all the boys’ records, organized and categorized and sent to the LSAC in an organized file showing that he was diagnosed at 5, all his subsequent IEPs, testing, all accommodations from school, SAT, ACT and college and plus very recent proper testing, I think went along way in getting what we asked for. It would be hard pressed for the LSAC service to tell us after 15 years of diagnosis and therapy and support that CM1 did not have an identifiable disability that warranted accommodations of some kind. Remember Inner Bitch means a lot more than yelling and screaming. It’s about properly placed energies.

Quite frankly that is a lot better than the know-it-all professionals who tell him he can’t go to law school. That he has too much anxiety to go to law school. I am so tired of the professionals telling my son he should sit in a basement, alone in front of a computer for the rest of his life because of his disability. Maybe I should put him in one of those “professional” programs they taut so much and let these morons decide my son’s future for him. Not on a freakin’ bet.

I do get tired of fighting battles with people who are supposed to be on your side of the aisle. I do get tired of the opinions of those who have never raised an autistic child. In fact some have never raised any children, yet they tell you, you are not important to the process. But they have a degree so they know everything. I know they need to feel important, and I know they need to feel that they are doing their job, but when they do not basically understand how an aspergean can be a straight A student in college yet not be prepared to leave home for years to come, shows just a total lack of comprehension about this disability. Also considering how many kids are coming back home today to live after college how are the boys going to be any different in the longrun?  They didn’t go to parties and take ridiculous risks that many teenagers take with their well being while in college…oh shucks.

So you see when CM1 yells out during his World of Warcraft quests, “Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war,” I can identify so readily. I truly don’t know when it ends. I don’t. I just wish to heaven and to God Almighty that I didn’t have to fight those who are meant to help my children while I have to fight the world at large.

Until next time,