Wednesday, January 4, 2012

F is for Foreseeable

Foreseeable. The legal obligation to identify as any reasonable person would, the projected outcomes of a situation. In other words...

Foreseeable is a concept used in tort law to limit the liability of a party to those acts which carry a risk of foreseeable harm, meaning that a reasonable person would be able to predict or expect the ultimately harmful result of their actions. Under negligence law, the duty to act reasonably to avoid foreseeable risks of physical injury extends to any person. In contract law, the concept of foreseeability is used to limit the award of special or consequential damages to those that are the predictable consequence of the breach of contract. (hat tip US Legal)

Foreseeable adjective anticipatable, anticipated, contemplated, counted upon, expected, foreknowable, foreseen, foretellable, known in advance, looked for, perceived, planned, praesciens, predictable, probable, reasonably anticipated, to be expected, vaticinal
Associated concepts: duty to anticipate, foreseeability in considering proximate cause, foreseeable dangers, foreseeable injury, foreseeable risk, last clear chance. (hat tip Free Dictionary)

Foreseeable in autism-warrior-parenting terms, means trying to figure out every unthought of, and every unmentioned  avenue, which could cause meltdowns, anxiety, trauma, disruption, disturbance, curve ball inducing overwhelming attacks of major, or minor,  proportions. (hat tip  ME)

I know you are asking yourself, what gives? As I wrote in the last post we are continually obligated to examine our children's supports, therapies and meds in order to make sure that they are developing, learning and progressing. Now comes a real challenge. The next step you have to accomplish is to identify the foreseeable issues that your child may face. You need to sit down and go through every eventuality of a situtaion that your child may encounter, in order to prepare them for any uncertainty. You need to be on your toes. You need to be proactive. You need to be prepared to overcome flash floods, wildfires, hail storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and tornadoes. You need to take to heart that scouting motto "Be Prepared."

Unfortunately to always be prepared for the worst, is a daunting task. It leaves you, as the parent living in sadness and stress. Being always  prepared for the worst, takes so much of the joy out of everthing that you and your child do. Thinking, discussing and cataloging everything that could go wrong, prevents you at times from seeing all the good, all the progress.

I am not sure if this is a female issue or a "me" issue. I know that many mothers I talk to deal with every uncertainty this way. They plan, plot and extrapolate and even create scenarios in their head and how they would help their child. I remember even right before every IEP meeting, I would go over each and every approach that the school could take, thought out the legal implications of any issue and even who I would call in the event that I needed a lawyer. The irony here is that I had not had any issues in an IEP meeting for well over a decade by the time the boys left the school district.

Hubby on the other hand, and it seems these other husbands as well, think a reactive approach is the best. Wait to see what happens they say. Why bog yourself down with problems that may never arise, they ask? Why cause yourself more anxiety than is necessary? Don't we have enough with what is really happening why do we need to make up things to worry about?

But I can't work like that. I can't be caught  unawares and unprepared. I have had times, especially in the beginning of our autism adventure, when I wasn't ready. I went in unprepared and did not do the best by my child. Perhaps its that feeling of failing my children that haunts me. I know that I still think about the times that I did not yell at the right person, that I walked away and just took the boys out of a school, program or camp. As I have always said, if I could change anything that I have done over these last decades when it came to the boys, is that I would have been alot braver alot sooner. So I work hard to try to foresee what will be and what might happen in any given situation.

My problem now though is that I am not sure about what will happen as the boys go out into the adult world. Hubby has an idea and it is not pleasant to think about it. It is not really that people are mean, but they do not have patience for anyone who ruins their bottom line. I am not sure I can blame them. When you ruin the bottom line, that is food and clothing and shelter out of someone else's mouth and the mouths of their children.

People are not really ready to make excuses for certain types of disabilities and I am not sure that they ever will be. And no I am not one that thinks its OK for someone because they have an invisible disability to not play by the rules. I am also not talking about the physical changes to buldings or design that need to take place to make a job accessible. I am talking about the social and interactive part of work. The approrpiate way to act in an office and how to handle the curve balls that get thrown at everyone on a daily basis. We try to tell the boys that it doesn't matter how smart you are, if you embarrass, insult or otherwise lack any etiquette and social IQ then you are not even going to get even through the front door.

Listen, there is school and there is the real world. There is school where they allow  accommodations and then there is the real world that does not give extra time, alternate locations and doesn't take kindly to a "worker" yelling at a client. These realities are why we are starting on a new and different path to therapy. We are looking for that pragmatic speech/social skills therapist (as I mention the "E" post), working on adult self-advocacy and independence, including cooking, banking, using public transportation and trying to get them out of their comfort zone, including putting them in more social situations. It is the only way they are going to learn.

So here I am thinking through everything that the boys need to know in order to be productive independent adults. I have made lists, researched programs, talked to experts, read books and tried to figure out when to begin what  and who to hire to help. I am beginning to try to organize for Plan A, while knowing that along the way we still need to have Plan B, C, and even D. Now after this latest realization was I feeling that I suddenly had a handle on life (at least a little bit) and a view to the future? Yeah I got a little cocky.... then it happened. It always does. It came in the mail....

CM1 just got called to jury duty...I frakin' kid you not. This we needed now like a hole in the head. We couldn't win the damn lottery, no he got called for jury duty. Now don't get me wrong, I have done my duty, so has hubby and so has every member of my family. (Being lawyers you bet we do our duty). But this is a stressor that noone needed right now. And yes, CM1 is back to thinking about law school to defend people's civil liberties, rights and to defend those that have been forgotten, especially victims of war crimes. Yes, this will be an interesting experience for him. But he needs to know how to handle the different aspects of the experience without getting overwhelmed, anxious and melting down. (By the way, law school has very little to do with the practice of, and reality of, the law.) Honestly any defendant would be glad to have CM1 on their jury. He is fair, honest, brilliant and objective. He would definitely follow the rule...innocent until proven guilty.

Luckily, however, we can put it off for six months, which we did. So now we have something else to prepare for and need to figure out how we get it done. Truthfully, my first thought when seeing the jury summons was that he was going to yell at the judge or one of the attorneys, try to ask questions (as a juror you can't), get confused by the courtroom rules and end up in jail for contempt. Need to figure out how someone could go with him to help him through the situation...SHIT. Going to need to call the court to talk to someone there at some time. Not tomorrow. Need to figure out how to approach the issue without CM1 coming off as incompetent and a problem, but with enough understanding that there are some issues here that need to be prepared for (such as having someone keep him company, aka a para, in the jury room and during voir dire. Also having someone in the courtroom if he gets picked for a case.). But believe you me, the last thing he needs is a piece of paper in some court saying CM1 is mentally incompetent. Wouldn't that look great when he applied to be a member of the Bar? How fast do you think that would  end those legal dreams? For this one, hubby is certainly going to have to have a hand in the resolution. I definitely can't make a decision about this situation on my own.

Should I have foreseen this...with everything to think about, who would have thought about this one? Jury duty foreseeable? Foreseeable my tuchas.

Until next time,