Sunday, January 1, 2012

E is for Examination

It's a new year. Time to review, reexamine, and reinterpret. Time to dust off the blinders and take a real hard look at your life. Time to see what you refused to see before. Time to open your eyes to the therapies that are not working, the doctors who are inadequate and the support systems that just don't allow your children to thrive.

That is what we have been doing all weekend. It was quite noticeable that there was something missing in our children's support systems we just couldn't' figure out how to go about fixing it. Here is what happened...

Hubby took CM1 to the Motor Vehicle Bureau (an adventure into bureaucratic purgatory to say the least) in order to get a picture ID. No, CM1 does not drive. he has a seizure disorder. At present we did switch neurologists to see if there was something, some new medical cocktail that would work to stop the seizures, but at the moment CM1 is not allowed behind a wheel of a car. No, you won't get me to argue that he should be allowed to drive. I'm not an idiot.

So, hubby took CM1 to get a state picture ID because he is 21 and needs to have ID. He has had an ID since he was 18, but it said UNDER 21, across the front. He needed to have his ID upgraded. By the way, it wasn't hard. If he couldn't drive there are buses that go right to the DMV and all you have to do is bring your social security card, proof of where you live, a birth-certificate and/or a passport. In fact the old ID sufficed as a form of proof of identity too. The ID also only costs $8 here. In some states they are even free. So make sure your child, as they age, gets a picture ID. You need it to open a band account, check out books from the library and get on an airplane or an Amtrak train. Oddly enough you don't need it to vote but that is an issue for a different day for another blog.

When CM1 came up to the counter hubby was doing the talking for him. The person who works at the DMV told hubby that she had to talk to CM1. But the minute CM1 opened his mouth, she turned to hubby, apologized and then continued to talk to hubby as if CM1 was not there. Hubby was besides himself.

He was not upset because the woman had stopped talking to CM1, but becasue it apparently was so obvious to an outsider that CM1 had issues. His speech was halting and his mannerisms were unsure. Interestingly even though we had talked and talked about why he was going to the DMV, when asked what he needed he couldn't explain it to the woman behind the counter. Here is a youngman with a GPA of 3.5 who talks regularly in class, but could not interact in a simple everyday situation in society.

For some reason we had thought we were beyond issues like this. Apparently we were wrong. We understand that CM1 needs some more help. We understand that so far what we have done obviously was not enough for him. He gets flustered and overly anxious in unusual situations. We think he is also getting flustered at work.

He helps build sets for the drama department on campus. But when there are alot of students helping out he gets overwrought. He doesn't like the balagon of student banter and can't keep up with their conversations. He in fact was rather annoyed that they talked about horror movies as if this was something interesting. He just doesn't get the average mentality of his peers.

So what to do, so what to do...

We asked the psychiatrist and he said that CM1 needs some social skills support. Well he has that. The para is even going to go with him to his job now. But we are not sure if CM1 wants to stay at this job as opposed to something else. We are going to see if there is another job out there too. (I thought that set building would be good for him. Something more tactile, more creative and less prone to stress. But obviously there was alot of stress involved for him, just not in the way we thought it would be stressful.) Then I asked an upcoming guest for my radio show, Dr. Sarita Freedman, (by the way she is going to be on Jan. 11) what was missing in his program...the response was not one I expected. SPEECH THERAPY...

Pragmatic Speech Therapy to be exact. I know that CM1 had speech throughout k-12. In fact he refused to go after 10th grade. He said it was a waste of his time. Now I had heard of pragmatic language before. I have even written about it. It was why the boys received speech therapy in school, but I had never really translated it into the real adult world, everyday social situations that they would be put in post college.

I also thought once he had the para and he would go into the world at large (with the paras help of course) he would not even really need speech therapy per se anymore. I figured that CM1 was comfortable in school now, so  abracadabra, he would be comfortable in the real world. Apparently I was wrong. VERY VERY wrong. Each step of the way, your child may need pragmatic speech support. It will help CM1 and CM2, because both obviously are going to need support with peer banter, how to handle unfamiliar interactions, work and school related issues as well. And something Dr. Freedman told me, it will help CM1 especially if he wants to go to law school and save the world. It's all part and parcel of The Theory of Mind issues that our children face.

Now nothing is perfect. So we will see what will happen. But we are now going to find a good speech therapist who specializes in adult pragmatic language. CM1 will apply to law school next year at this time. He will look for an internship this summer which will require interviews. He will need to know how to talk to people and to interact on an appropriate level. I hope speech therapy will help. It will take time, and I will let everyone know.

I suppose it never really ends does it. Each step in their world is a momentous occasion. even the smallest thing can set them off, making them feel overwhelmed and terribly uncomfortable; no matter how adept, no matter how smart and no matter how well they have handled life before.

So on ward and upward. More therapy and some but not alot more everyday support....with a better examination of reality by us, the parents, and an eye for the future without our blinders.

Until next time,



Elise