The Answers Just Aren’t Enough

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

And the Word 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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Lyndi Alexander
My day job is a family law attorney, my night job is parent to three children with special needs, and writing when I can.
Lyndi Alexander

Lyndi Alexander

My day job is a family law attorney, my night job is parent to three children with special needs, and writing when I can.

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