When The Answer isn’t enough

So we go Tuesday to Watson, half holding our breaths, waiting for the experts to tell us The Answer.

And the Answer is: Sorry your kid’s broken, sucks to be you. You shouldn’t hold him to such a high standard because he’ll never reach it. Make it easy on yourselves.

What a crock.

Not that they didn’t try. Maybe if the Captain was still five and this was a first visit, a first diagnosis of Asperger’s, ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and we hadn’t already tried just about everything we and the other therapists could think of, it wouldn’t be so disappointing.

The funny thing, looking back on the hour meeting, was how upset the doctors seemed to be that we weren’t ecstatic that we had the Answers in our hands.

I mean, to be fair, there were Answers. Some 30-plus recommendations of things to try. But so many of them were like, “Hey, teach the Captain about the ‘Stop,Think, Do’ protocol.” Really?  You think if it didn’t work in first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, sixth grade, seventh grade and now eighth grade, that next year it will magically work?

The tests revealed that the Captain has good executive functioning and understands theory of mind well. I shared that with the school psychologist who has dealt with him for seven years, and her comment was, “He has NEVER been able to do those things. Ever.” The recommendations are for him to be in a social skills group. As the psychologist said, he was in them for five years and never internalized a crumb. So…what does this mean???

We had to laugh when the doctoral candidate who did the screening shared how she had just said, in a conversational interlude with the Captain, that one of her pet peeves was people cracking their knuckles and THE NEXT THING he did was start cracking his knuckles for the rest of the session. Oy. Welcome to our world.

And the fact that he tapped “Axel F” through the day. On the table. All. Day.

So we will share copies of the 30 page report with the school, the counselor, the wraparound agency and see who thinks they can help. Good luck, folk.

Another thought that’s crossed my mind is to sit down with the Captain and find out what he wants us to do. Since we seem to be much more invested in making him live up to his potential than he is, maybe we’re just ruining our own lives. If he really doesn’t intend to make any effort over the next four years, then should we really beat ourselves up and spend hours at medical offices trying to make him better?

When is a young person able to make these decisions? According to Pennsylvania law, “Minors ages 14 and older may consent to outpatient mental health examination and treatment without parental consent or notice.” So he can opt out any time, I guess. (Not that I’ve told him about this provision, of course. But someone will at some point. Then he’ll club us to death with it.)

And someone call Fox Mulder. Because the truth–and the Answer, apparently–is still out there.

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5 thoughts on “When The Answer isn’t enough

  1. Oh, I know how this feels.. I had (not the same) issues with my daughter for so many years… not knowing what to do or where to go to find the right answers. I don’t have any wise answers… but one step in front of the other until something clicks, a different school, even??

  2. WOW… tapping Axel F on the table all day takes some serious skill… LOL. Really! My brother used to do that when he was a teenager too! Oh my.
    I do believe that children with these diagnosis are highly intelligent but do not know how to put it all together when it is socially necessary. Our experience with ours (ADHD / ODD) is that for years, he was never made to take responsibility for his actions. He played into this a lot between home in PA and school etc.. We always made him own up, just in ways that was not working for us / him. I think your idea of asking him what he wants out of this is a good one. Maybe if he knows that he is not going to get so much attention for the negative actions … he may start relating positive with positive… but, isn’t that what the school program has been trying for years? Ugh. I feel for you.
    Ours does not have the Aspergers diagnosis BUT, with him, we have noticed that when he is rewarded immediately (within that day) of acting positive and following the rules, it clicks with him (when he is here at least). He is made responsible for his actions with responsibility charts (although we have been using these since he was five and before he had a ” formal” diagnosis.). Now, the chart is used for earning priveledges on the daily basis, no matter how small they are. TV is only allowed if he has completed certain expectations for that day. Wii is extra for all the positive etc… So far, so good but we are always ready to modify plans at any time as we have been told by his therapist here that ADHD children with ODD tendancies LOVE to switch things up on authority figures. LOL Who would have thought? I’ll say an extra prayer for you!

  3. Now I can’t get the darn Axel F music out of my head! LMAO. I think I’ll go home and watch Beverly HIlls Cop tonight! Love that movie.

  4. My experience of having a son with Aspergers is that although he knows what he doesn’t want, doesn’t know what he does want. With his lack of being able to visualise something/somewhere that he hasn’t experienced, he cannot imagine what it would be like to be in a new environment/have new people around him/be in a new situation. Mostly it’s been a “suck it and see” strategy. I try lots of things, and he lets me know when we come across something which he likes. He’s still quite a lot of work, but truthfully – I don’t really mind. But it all biuls down to guesswork. Perhaps it’ll be eassier for you…..

    best wishes

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