Friday, August 27, 2010

Should I have to have the conversation ? . . .

Last spring Dustin came home from school saying that he was going to college. OK, back up. . . anyone recall when I had a freaking hissy fit that the recruiters were at his high school and actually talking to the MoMH (Moderately mentally handicapped) kids? If you want to read it you can go here, if not let me just tell you it was ugly! They had Dustin convinced he could join the military. Dustin cannot read. He can barely walk across the room without knocking into something, falling down, or kicking someone or something that is in his way. Dustin with a firearm scares me. It took MONTHS to get him to understand he would never be able to go into the military and we were the "bad guys" for squashing his dreams in his eyes. His aide was next to him the whole time and in my opinion she should not have let that continue.

So, in the spring Dustin comes home and asks, "Mom what college should I go to?" My first thought was that there were some college sponsors at school and that he had seen others kids making some choices. I said, "Well Dustin, you will get a job when you get out of high school. Remember when we talked about Vocational Rehab at school? You won't go to college." He says, "But mom, Ms. XYZ says I need to decide which college to go to!" (Ms. XYZ is his one:one paraprofessional) I was pissed. It was very near the end of school so I let it go. I think I may have mentioned it in his IEP meeting briefly, but I also chalked it up to him misunderstanding something she said. It took nearly 8 weeks for him to drop the college thing. Once again, in his eyes, we were the horrible people who would not let him go to college!

Yesterday, the fourth day of school, Dustin comes home and says, "Dad, you know how I want to work at the dog pound when I grow up? Well, Ms. XYZ says most of the people who work there are vets and I should go to college to become a vet! She says I would be good at it!"

Holy hell!


After I stopped sweating and my vision returned when my blood pressure reached normal levels, I called the school and left a message that his teacher-of-record was to call me first thing in the morning.

We talked this morning. I made my case very clear. He was as astounded as I was. It best not happen again.

He is perseverating on going to college and becoming a vet. This is not going to remotely happen. I have goals for my child and I attempt to push him past his limitations, but he has an IQ under 50 people! This is not ever going to happen. And by the way, if you have been reading here for a while you will recall he is awful with animals. He has no boundaries, he tends to hurt them and poor shampoo on them and trap them in objects. He has attempted to strangle animals in the past and kicks our dogs regularly. He has killed chickens in a prior home and several fish with us by popping their heads off. The cat, who loves everyone, HATES him. The African Grey tells him to "Go to timeout" and "Get away!" This is not a good career path!

I swear to goodness last night was AWFUL! He was so pissed. "Ms. XYZ is nice and wants me to be a vet, you are mean!" "I should've picked a different family!"

This is gonna be one heck of a weekend!


Missy said...

WoW! God Bless You! I thought discovering food under the bed again was bad...

Lisa said...

Oh.My.Goodness!! We've had the same exact situations - what in the sam hill are these people doing? I know they are trying to be encouraging, and maybe to them, they just can't be any different, but holy hell!! My sons' IQ is in the low 80's but with FASD, he certainly isn't functioning at that level. He once announced to everyone at an IEP meeting that he was going to be an infantryman in the Army (yes, they'd visited his middle school) - egads - no!! I cannot imagine any yahoo on this planet handing the kid a weapon of any kind. At that same meeting, someone asked him where he planned to live when he grew up. He answered, "In an apt. at first, then in a house". She was so....pleased with that answer I thought she would burst. So I burst her bubble of ignorance by saying, "Ok, that's a plan. One question though - are you willing to get a job and go to work every day so that you can take your paycheck and pay someone to live in that apt. or house?" He shook his head no and glared at me - Bingo!! Sometimes you need to get to the bottom of these things in front of others so they can SEE for themselves. My son thinks all of these wonderful things are going to just be given to him at age 18 and he has absolutely no intention of working for anything. At his last IEP meeting his "college plan" was for him to go into graphic design because he likes computers and likes to draw. Ahem....have you seen his stick figures? Has he screwed up YOUR computer so badly you had to crash it and reload everything (and then forbid him from ever touching a computer in your presence again)? He has a 3rd grade proficiency in math (when he's cooperative and it's a "good" day). Wow - this is exhausting.

My 17 yo FASD affected daughter is the same. Her IQ is around 100 - so average - again not reasoning, thinking, performing at that level. She comes home all giddy from school one day and announces that she's going to cooking school - specifically a very expensive cooking school in Chicago (we live in MI). Yes, a person from that school was in her cooking class that day. Cooking is her favorite thing to do on this planet. Despite many years of effort, she usually cannot follow a recipe and everything she makes turns out wonky - but hey, practice, practice, practice!! So, she's perseverating on this for days and finally I say, "Listen, you told me you have to only have a 2.0 gpa to go there (and $27,000/yr) and you have a 1.3 gpa so that isn't going to work. Plus with that gpa you won't qualify for scholarships, plus don't you think kids with the highest gpa's and money are the ones who will be accepted to this school in the first place?". You would have thought I killed her kitten with the reaction I got from that. I was screamed at and accused of getting angry with her every time she talked about college - of not wanting her to succeed - yeah, sure. Shortly thereafter we started home schooling her because she wasn't passing anything in 9th grade and socially, she was going to be killed (she has a mouth and attitude that make people want to beat her up) and of course, we were HORRIBLE for doing that as well. It's been almost 2 years now and she has yet to completely finish any class she's started, so yeah, the college thing is right on the horizon.

I wish people would just think about WHO they're talking to. You can be encouraging and helpful without setting them up for more disappointment and perceived failure. Helpful would be finding an animal clinic that would be willing to let Dustin clean cages (on a volunteer basis) around the animals to give him a little taste of what working in that environment would be like. That still doesn't sound like a great idea considering what you've written about his behavior around animals, but its a far cry from 7 (or so) years of college to become a vet.

Miz Kizzle said...

Don't these people think before they get all giddy about these kids' futures?
Dustin shouldn't be allowed anywhere near an animal. Not even to clean their cages. The thought of him working at the kennel where my standard poodle stays while we're on vacation scares the living crap out of me.
As for college, I've noticed that some of the technical schools where people learn how to do car repair and stuff like that are called colleges and even universities now. Could D. be enrolled in one of those courses, thinking it was "college?"
I really feel for people with disabilities like D's. Letting them think that they're going to drive cars and live in their own homes and become astronauts or whatever is just wrong. I guess it's not thrilling to be told that you're going to be riding the bus and living in a group home after a hard day mopping the bathroom at A*pplebee's but it's kinder to be realistic, IMHO.

Miz Kizzle said...

Oh, that's horrible! I'm cringing just thinking about it. To suggest that D. become a vet is just not right. First of all, it takes a keen intellect and a tremendous amount of study. Forget about all the animal torture stuff, vets have to have a much higher intellect than D. has.
People just don't think sometimes. I assume his aide thinks vets are these nice people who bandage kittens' paws and give animals shots. Yes, they do those things but they also perform surgery! Complicated surgery on living creatures. The thought of D. being allowed anywhere near a veterinarian's office frightens me, not because I don't think he deserves an opportunity to make something of himself but because I'm a realist who loves animals.
A thought: I've noticed that some of the technical institutions that teach car repair and stuff like that are calling themselves colleges nowadays and even "universities." Could D. be convinced that those places are real colleges and could he train for some sort of job there?