Middle school has been tough on Anthony. He started the school year off well with good grades for him. However, he came to realize that they let things slide more in middle school. There are no daily behavior charts. However, at some point they do tire of a behavior and send a write up home. Anthony had two such write ups for small disrespectful behaviors. We don't like disrespect in our household and it is not very well received.
He was on restriction for the second write up when I received a phone call from his school. Ack, while in computer class he sent an email to one of his teachers. It wasn't a nice email, it involved piles of poo and some mean words. It was sent from his account, it was quite easy to trace. My first thought was who on earth would send such an email!?
I talked with the principal and mentioned that he has a brain injury and FAE and doesn't get the cause and effect very well. He told me that all the kids at this age struggle with that and if it happens again with the computer then he will be expelled.
After I hung up I thought about it for a while. I talked with Anthony and he admits that he sent the email and that no one encouraged him to do so. He even knew that it would be traced to him. So why on earth would he send such an email. Well, because he has a brain injury and FAE and really struggles with cause and effect. This is not just your typical every preteen struggles with cause and effect, this is a FAE and brain injury deeper lack of understanding of cause and effect.
I had talked to his teacher at the end of school last year and the beginning of school this year about his struggles. I obviously need to schedule a meeting with his teacher again to discuss his challenges. I am not liking how Anthony has changed since going to middle school. He has taken to calling the girls names that are not allowed in our house. His attitude has been changing and not for the better.
One thing that concerns me is his lack of understanding of consequences. He was given two days of in-school suspension for his email. Today he did his first day and he will do his second day tomorrow. He came to me today and said that he had suspension today and shouldn't have to do it tomorrow because he didn't do anything wrong. I explained to him that he was doing two days for his email. He thinks it was one email so should only be one day. Hmmm, life isn't that simple. He gets quite mad when he is caught doing the things he does and doesn't accept consequences well. What frustrates me is I am consistent on consequences so why does he continually do the same things over and over. His actions will continue to have the same outcome.
As he has gotten older both my husband and I are really noticing the deficits more each day. My husband came to me today in frustration and said that he is really worried about Anthony's future. He asked him to wash a load of dishes and had to continually redirect him. As soon as he walked out of the room Anthony would just stand there. It literally took him hours to do one load of dishes. He has been doing dishes for years and hasn't gotten any quicker.
I worry that he is not going to be able to function on his own when he gets older because as he does get older I can see more of his impairments. His slower processing speed along with his attitude and quickness to anger all work against him. These will make employment very difficult for him.
Also, he likes the finer things in life. He wants all Nike stuff and talks about cell phone and sports cars. I don't think that he will be able to support his desired lifestyle and I can see lots of frustration in his future.
I think that these middle school years and high school years are going to be a challenge. We are looking at options and trying to figure out how to help Anthony to obtain the best quality of life that he can.
The following is a short article about FAS (which is totally preventable). He also struggles from the effects of shaken baby syndrome (which is also totally preventable)....
By adolescence and adulthood, primary difficulties associated with FASD include memory impairment, poor judgement and abstract reasoning, and low adaptive functioning. These contribute to secondary problems such as being easily victimized, unfocused (attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity are common), having difficulties handling money, problems learning from experience, trouble understanding consequences and perceiving social cues, poor frustration tolerance, inappropriate sexual behaviour, substance abuse and mental health problems. FASD is not restricted to, but often occurs in the context of poverty, family upheaval, neglect and abuse, multiple drug use, and poor health, features that negatively influence the expression of the syndrome from infancy to adulthood. article