The Glories of Home: In the last week, since our daughter arrived home, the laundry load has tripled, as she believes that once worn, wash needed. By the way, she can do her own laundry but who has time to stand by her at the washer and dryer when we are running helter-skelter setting up her future. The kitchen is filled with more crumbs per square inch, many in the sink, (she is good about loading the dish washer, but has directional difficulties) and her rollicking conversations with a new potential beau fill the airways, non-stop. Sounds like your typical college-aged youngster returning to the fold. Yes and no.
The Big Difference: Is there one? At least one. As I write about our daughter, I recall two decades of conversations with other mothers, who would hasten to reassure me that our daughter was not that dissimilar from their child. Late reading, late speaking, social kinks, meltdowns. Of course, everything human can be generalized. I also recall my mixed reaction to those comments. While she was a youngster, hopefulness and gratitude; later, exhaustion. Explaining how our daughter was different seemed both a betrayal to her and an enervating activity that might appear to be fishing for pity or accolades. I received both and still do. I don’t want to sound ungrateful as, in fact, the loving, generous attitudes of friends and complete strangers have often been just the balm needed for the aching wounds.
However, in case someone who stumbles across this blog thinks the designation “special needs” and the subsequent services and funding borders on an unwarranted freebie, let me point out just a couple of the differences.
How Many Minutes Does It Take To Make A Big Bill?: Our daughter’s newfound friendship on the cell leads to a big fat bill. When I raised that concept with her, she freaked, felt blamed but kept on talking to the new potential beau (or NPB). Even after I rectified the problem, making him one of our phone contract’s family friends with unlimited access and attempted to provide an overview of the concept, nothing computed. If I weren’t able to fix this problem, we would have been in big trouble trying to provide both the reasoning and the time concepts to limit their conversations.
Transportation and Social Access: This cell phone issue backs up into the next “difference.” Our daughter does not drive nor travel on her own. For her to have a cell phone buddy means she can socialize even while home. Therefore to limit her conversations, her flirting so to speak, leaves her dependent on Internet socializing. At least, here there are two human voices, wiling away the hours, as if they were hanging out at the mall, something she cannot do either, without supervision.
Pegasus Evaluation: We are back from her evaluation for Pegasus Therapeutic Riding Program in Brewster, New York. Our daughter has waited for almost a year for both the evaluation and the opportunity to return to her beloved riding. There is quite a waiting list but she will be able to enter the summer program. Fall openings are more limited but it is certain that she can attend the “unmounted” program in the winter which involves training in grooming, maintaining the stalls and horse care in general. When asked by Patty Coyle, program director, what were her goals, our daughter answered, “I want to work on keeping on task.” Awesome! For another goal, “Posture,” she replied. This gal really knows what she needs.
Mixed Picture: I suspect the hallmark of special needs is this mixed picture, the upside, the downside, and everything else in between.
©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011