Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Another Crash Test Dummy Family
When I read Melody's post at 5 Minutes For Special Needs yesterday morning, I felt as if she had been reading my mind. In her post, The Crash Test Dummy Family, Melody shared her pain at being verbally and physically attacked by her 13 year old son who is diagnosed with FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome). Although my 17 year old daughter, Jessica, is not diagnosed with FAS but rather RAD (reactive attachment disorder), the scene Melody described is all too familiar to me. And I had spent my night and morning worrying about Jessica.
Jessica still has frequent outbursts of rage and aggression. She still hurts people. Even after 8 years of a stable home, a loving family, and many many hours of therapy, Jessica still is scarred by her early life in foster care. While school systems and after school care facilities must learn to help her and find ways to help others in Jessica's world of aggression, I worry what will happen when Jessica enters the job market.
Employers will have no obligation to help Jessica control her aggressive tendencies. They will not have to offer therapy or train other co-workers on how to get out of her way should she begin to rage. They will simply refuse to let her work. So in my worries, I was seeing Jessica move from job to job, always being asked to leave when the aggression surfaced, and her depression growing deeper with each rejection.
Melody's words which really hit home for me were "You spend the life of your child trying to encourage his brain to re-wire itself to function with a smidgen of impulse control. Nothing changes. It only escalates. You keep praying. You keep loving him."
I felt Melody's despair yesterday because it is my despair. And like Melody, I will love and support Jessica no matter what. But the thought of what most likely will come in her future, does indeed deepen my despair.