Monday, December 29, 2008
My daughter, Jessica, is 18 years old, and should be starting to find a job. Jessica is significantly cognitively impaired, but I strongly believe that there is a job that she can do and can do well. She has always said she wanted to be a nurse's aide, and I want to support her in reaching those dreams. And even if she doesn't realize that exact dream, she needs to find her place in the adult world. It's going to be really tough though given her outbursts of rage and aggression.
For years, 11 to be exact, Jessica has struggled with Reactive Attachment Disorder, a condition common in adopted children and which manifests with outbursts of aggression. Because of her significant cognitive challenges, traditional talk therapy has not been an option. All her doctors and I have been able to do in an attempt to control the aggression is to medicate her. I hate it, but she cannot be allowed to hurt herself or other people.
I had hoped that once the surge of puberty hormones subsided, her aggressive behavior would also. But the opposite has happened - she has gotten increasingly more aggressive, and as she has grown, that aggression has the potential to be very dangerous.
When Jessica is not being aggressive, she is the sweetest, kindest person you might ever meet. But when the moments of rage strike, and those moments are not predictable, everyone around her is in danger. So I wonder, how will Jessica be able to maintain a job when she can't maintain control of her anger?
Her school system, her case manager, other support staff and I have been working very hard to make sure she has the skills to do a job she would enjoy doing. But we are all at a loss as to how to help Jessica overcome her rage and aggression to the point that an employer would be comfortable hiring her.
Have any of you faced a similar situation, and if so, do you have any advice to share? I sure could use some...