A Dad's Journey

Father of Autistic Twins Speaks Out

Browsing Posts published in September, 2016

So Far, So Good

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Both Sean and Michael have gotten off to a good start to high school.  Of course, it’s only been a couple of weeks, but Susan and I really like their teacher, Ms. Amanda.

One thing we’re particularly impressed with is her plan to develop long term measurable goals/metrics for tracking their progress.  Already, Sean is working to be reintroduced to the incredibly chaotic lunch room.  As Ms. Amanda put it, we can’t shield him from life if we expect him to find vocational work when he reaches adulthood.

And Michael is being asked to speak up more and put his hands down from over his ears.  In other words, to let the world in a bit more.

Having a good teacher is inspiring for the parent.  I found myself thinking about ways I could work with the boys over the weekend to help reinforce what Ms. Amanda is working on in school.

It does work both ways.  The boys touch so many folks lives.  it’s not the worst thing to have your “typically developing” life challenged and viewed askew.  It’s actually kind of refreshing.

 

Michael and Sean entered high school yesterday.  Both boys seemed pretty good with the idea of returning to school.  Sean, in particular, seemed rather enthusiastic about having additional structure in his life.  In fact, both boys had “an amazing morning” on their first day.  Not too surprising, as both boys try very hard to please.

But…

Then came lunch time and Sean had to walk past a couple hundred loud happy kids enjoying their first luncheon of the school year.  And that’s when Sean had a meltdown.  I can only imagine how his brain must have short circuited and how his anxiety level increased with every step he took.  From there, it was full out restrain time, including the assistance of his personal aide and one of the high school football coaches.  For a kid who only weighs 128 pounds soaking wet, Sean is amazingly strong.  I guess that’s what adrenaline will do for you.

Anyway, the call came from the nurse around 1:10pm alerting us that there had been “an incident” as Sean was walking past the lunch room.  To the school’s credit, they didn’t try to merely sweep this under the carpet.  Instead, they plan a successive approximation strategy where Sean will slowly but surely be reintroduced to the same lunch time situation.  Susan and I are very much in agreement with this plan as Sean will need to work on his coping skills if he’s going to find a fulfilling vocational work experience when he reaches adulthood.

Being a typical dad, I spent yesterday afternoon searching the Internet trying to fix the problem by looking at anti-anxiety drugs for an autistic teenager.  Of course, there is no panacea.  Drugs like Xanax and Zoloft come complete with multiple side effects and long term addictive consequences.

So today, I wait for the phone to not ring.  It’s only 12:33pm.  The next hour is going to move very slowly.

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