My child can be anything they desire?

Posted: February 7, 2013 in 2013, My child can be anything they desire?, Raising Hearts



I missed a phone call today that I didn’t recognize. I got an email with the caller ID and called back.

It was Desi’s marketing teacher from high school. She was doing documentation on her students and where they were at after graduation. She asked me where Desi was working and if she was in college.

Ok, I knew right away that I was in for some explaining, as this teacher fully expects that Desi can do college. So I told her no that she wasn’t and that we had some tests done, psychological etc. that have qualified her for some help services, if she decides to go to college, but right now she can’t handle it. I told her that she is a cashier at a thrift store part time.

To that she responded, “Well not everyone has to go to college and Desi has the skills to work her way up to management in a store”. I was tongue tied at that point and we hung up.

I wanted to beat my head against the desk and I sat there in a bit of shock really. I mean you could have just told me someone died. It was that kind of feeling.

I ran to call my friend and vented. ARE YOU SERIOUS TEACHER? Did you not get my daughter at all, in the two years that she spent in your class?

Desi lives at home still. She is 18. She works part time because when she had a full time plate, school and a very small part time job, she was falling apart every day. She had severe anxiety that built often in to rages and our house and furniture suffered quite a bit during this time. We have decided that keeping her in a very small, simple job and working part time is about all she can handle in this life for now. She no longer has the severe outbursts and panic attacks as regular. She still gets upset pretty easily, as this is a hallmark of FASD, so easily frustrated and angered.

She can handle a cash register because it tells her how much change to give back but if I ask her to add simple numbers in her head, she cannot do it. Since Desi lives at home, she has simple jobs to do in the home that she would have if she had her own apartment, and was living on her own. We decided that since she isn’t very organized (FASD related), nor remembers to pick up after herself ever (FASD related and memory damage), etc. that it would be more simple if she washed the dishes and I cover house pick up. She is also responsible for her two bathrooms and her room.

That sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? Ok, so there are steps in doing dishes. One has to wash some of them and put the rest in the dishwasher. The washed ones have to be dried and put away. The sink needs cleaned out and the counter washed up. Do you know that my daughter has been doing this chore for years really and still can’t remember to put the pans away, clean out the sink strainer or wash off the counter?? Daily I remind her that she needs to do these parts too. She does dishes after midnight, as that is when she seems to have the most energy, so I am not there to coax her through and when I wake up, these things still remain. Sigh………… Often dishes are also put away dirty and the dishwasher can’t always wash the way she loads.

I mean this is a TOUGH job for a young adult with FASD and I am NOT joking when I say that. It has so many sequences in it that she cannot put them all together. Her room is always a tornado, and yes that is common with teens but with kids that have FASD it includes dirty and clean clothes that are mixed together. Nothing is in drawers and trash is finely mixed in to the group.

Can we say HOARDER? Ya, and we watch TV shows where people live like that and get into huge trouble when they can’t walk in their houses, and we think, “what is wrong with THEM?” Let me inform you. They can’t organize their lives and it might actually be connected to the brain and not just be their weakness.

Desi has felt chilly in her room lately so I gave her a little electric stove to use. I can’t count how many times I have gone down there and found the stove operating amongst the clothes lying on the floor. Are you thinking what I am thinking? FIRE HAZARD! One day it was operating ON HER BED. So I go down and check and I repeat. “You cannot have anything in front of the heater Desi. It is a fire hazard. You cannot run it on the bed.

She will get upset because I have told her something once again, even though I am trying so hard to speak as kindly as I possibly can. But then I go down again and voila! That heater needs to be freed from the clothes again. Do you think this person is safe to live on their own without someone looking over their shoulder now and then to help? That is what an exterior brain does.

I think Desi could be a manager if she had a manager that went with her. Just sayin’. No the teacher doesn’t understand this. She didn’t understand Desi’s IEP at school either and never realized how important it was to stay in contact with me. After all Desi is articulate and can present so professional. She can dress so nicely. She is such a model looking girl, beautiful. Why couldn’t she be a manager? Why can’t she go to college and be anything she wants to be?

I know that I am the one that takes the brunt of this often. I am looked at, as the very over protective mom who is trying to hold my daughter back. At least I have the “Get out of jail free card” that I can use. I didn’t give her FASD. She is adopted.

That is so why there is a huge stigma attached to FASD. People don’t want to talk about this. Someone is going to be shamed and feel blamed for their child’s inabilities. It is so wrong because if we were talking about this, a lot of those someone’s might get the message before they drank and damaged their child.

So I am going to talk about it. No you can’t shut me up. At least, last I checked, we still had freedom of speech in our country. Lol. Our kids need advocates. Our kids need exterior brains. Our kids need to be understood and accepted for what they can do and not for what they cannot. They are still awesome people with so many positive abilities. Can we grow the positives but not ignore where they lack? Can we please not set them up for failure?

Terry Quinn

  1. Betty says:

    The can be successful! My FASD, RAD and PSSD granddaughter struggles with a ton of things yet she is on the honor roll at college….with enough support and love these FAS kids can do anything!

  2. Terri Nagel says:

    Exactly. Jess’ grandparents and my ex give me and her so much grief. She looks the part but she’s apt to burn down my house! Thank you for speaking out/blogging about this!


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