Thursday, January 08, 2009

Behavior Mod . . .

I had a talk with an acquaintance, for lack of a better word, who just got a job in her field. She works at a place for special needs kids and adolescents, kids with organic brain issues and similar diagnoses. I think her degree is in psychology or something of that nature. Anyway, I was just talking to her about her job and we got on the subject of behavior modification. She said something about changing their behavior to resemble "normal" behaviors.

I had a long talk about behavior modification and how it would not work for kids like my Dustin. (who would be eligible for this program she works in, but we have opted not to deal with yet another placement - especially one with violent kids exhibiting their outbursts for him to model) I just could not make her understand that kids who have "broken brains" cannot always be MODIFIED to make good choices.

Sigh.

Cindy made a great comment today. One of her children would love to play soccer for his school. It would be a wonderful outlet for him and something he could be successful at. His grades are not good enough so that probably won't happen. She said, "A carrot on a stick just doesn't work with kids whose wiring has been physically damaged either in utero or in their early childhood that was so severely lacking in either structure, safety, nutrition or nurturing." Far more eloquent than I, but exactly what I was trying to say.

This person also said something that raised my ire and at that point I had to walk away. She said, "During that ice storm a mom called as soon as we opened to see if we were taking kids. She wanted to dump her kid off so she wouldn't have to deal with them all day. We told her to keep him home and learn to deal with him there, since he IS hers." OH MY GOSH! Before I walked away I made the comment that NO ONE should be allowed to work in a field such as this if they have not lived with a child with special needs. "You" have no idea what it's like to parent them 24-7. Or even how their brain works unless you see it function in a family and on an hour to hour basis. And maybe that kid needed routine, or maybe mom needed a break which is what the center is paid for! Zoinks.

I must say this is a good person. She is young, naive and recently graduated with all these clinical ideas. I hope she sees the real world soon. I would LOVE to have her babysit, and I would conveniently forget to give Dustin his meds that day. Tee Hee!

9 comments:

Lisa said...

Great idea! I would so love to hear her opinion after sitting a while!

FAScinated said...

Textbook ideas and theories are wonderful. I want to live in that world, too.

Maturity and experience will teach her what she was not yet ready to learn from you. Or she'll find another career.

Accidental Mommy said...

About three weeks ago I reconnected with an old high school friend who is in his master's program to become a psychologist and specialize in family and marriage counseling. He said he would be working with autistic children and children with ODD, etc...

I asked him to basically educate himself on RAD. Have an idea about it because he went on and on about all these books that have wonderful ideas and support groups, training etc... Totally idealized.

I read those kids books, they don't pertain to my kids, support groups? I know there are people in my area with RAD because the two books at the library are always checked out. Training...from who? As far as I know CYFD where I live don't even know that RAD exists.

I have always been blunt and to the point. I told him I wasn't trying to offend him, and that I am in no way anywhere near as qualfied or have been to any classes like him, but he is naive. I explained to him that I sounded just.like.him. when this started with the kids and I can look back on myself and think boy was I an idiot.

He said he's not upset with me but I know he is. Whatever. I feel like I have given him what could have been the best advice of his career, you know? lol

Jo said...

I want to volunteer Little Man for a reality check. Tell her if she wants one, he is right here for her! It does get frustrating when people say, if you would only... yeah, yeah, yeah. They have NO idea!

Torina said...

Hmm...you must be channelling me, Sheri, because I was thinking about writing something very similar to your post. I had a mom, who had parented two bio kids with no special needs, tell me the other day that kids were all the same special needs or not and that parents didn't get a break until they died because I mentioned how exhausted I was.

I think that many people with kids who don't have brain damage or severe behaviors do not truly understand what emotional exhaustion is. There are days when I feel like my brain is rolling over and over inside my head because I just don't know what to do next. This isn't like dealing with your kid who got caught smoking or having sex as a teen. It is like dealing with a kid who will burn down your house (either unintentionally or intentionally), hurt your dog or your other kids, strip off all their clothes and run down the road, or simply scream for 3 hours straight without ceasing like bloody murder...and there is no pleading no consequences no rewards no modifications in the WORLD that will change what they want to do when they decide to do it. I may just copy some of this and write that post anyway...cause I could rattle on forever about this.

Torina said...

I wrote about worker bootcamp. Let me know what you think. http://busyintersection.blogspot.com/2009/01/worker-bootcamp.html

Patty said...

That is why I love you so much Sheri. Even when you want to strangle someone you take the time to point out something good about them. Bless you for seeing that this person is young and naive about things, and as you said full of text book solutions. Her comments were inappropriate and sad, but maybe she will grow into the job and end up understanding in the process.

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

tempting to knock her across the head with a nice fat textbook. Just kidding. Really. Kidding.

Linus said...

bravo....i couldnt agree more. yes, sometimes us parents need a break!!!! Im sure some of the staff there say "wow, thank God the day is over and all the kids are gone". You would think they could understand better.