*We are really doing our best to get Kyle into the community and be a familiar face in places he visits frequently. Reality of embracing community integration with an adult son with impulse control that can result in a negative incident. Kyle is usually a calm and pleasant young man. He is very obedient and cooperative. We have come a long way from the days of lashing out and hitting and biting himself to presently using aggressive language such as “do I want to hit the book?!” Still not appropriate, but making statements is better than acting on them. Most times we say, “keep it in your head, one and done, and STOP!” Anger management strategies and replacing words and actions with more acceptable phrases and things.
We have been able to supply Kyle with many activities after school and on the weekends. He attends music therapy, counseling, volunteers at a local library re-shelving items, works-out at the YMCA, attends dances, goes to Ambler YMCA abilities nights, bowling, community cup coffee house, etc. Craig, my husband, takes Kyle to the book stores, target, and pet stores on a regular basis. I am even going to enroll him and me in an adult art class together. We are actively looking into shadow days and adding more volunteer opportunities. We have our eye on the big picture.
Today I received an email from Kyle’s Life Skills teacher. It reads: You may notice when Kyle comes home that his pants are pinned shut. He was aggravated that he ran out of time to get changed and tore them. He grabbed the wrong pants for work and by the time he realized it and found his – I told him to just change into his shirt and that his sweat pants would be fine for today- that I would develop a system so that he could find them more easily. He went into the bathroom to change his shirt and tore his pants. I had him stay back from work and talk- he seemed to understand that his frustration and ripping the pants was an overreaction and he wrote an unprompted apology note to me.
I am sure that the support staff could have done more, but the bottom line is that Kyle acted out and ripped his pants. Life happens! The unexpected happens. Kyle did tell me right away. We will continue to talk about his over-reactions and frustrations. (He did take all his meds today; he does most days.) I am seriously talking to him about how this impacts him going out into the community and holding a job. If I kept track I'd say that he has had 3 "episodes" of physical aggression this month. Throwing a book, banging a homework binder, and today ripping pants and punching a hole in my mudroom wall after I spoke with him about his day. Yes, he punched the wall! There is a hole! He perseverated on the ripping of the pants. We take Kyle's actions very seriously and we will do our best to curb it. We need to give him options to "REPLACE" this behavior. We were glad he apologized. We took away his computer privileges for the night.
I share this because, I am concerned that people creating policies for adult competitive work and independent living needs to, must!, take into account mental health issues that go along with the individual. Anxiety, depression, loneliness, anger, motivation, etc. need to be taken into account. Our adults can have incidents or outbursts in public. “With the right supports”….they can work, go to college, etc. I worry about Kyle being accepted in public, at work, and in the community on his “bad days”. He is just lucky that they are few and far between. Some other adult children are not so lucky. Please continue to support all of our special kids by adding your voice to the conversations with DRN and others. YOUR voice and YOUR child’s voice matters! Thanks. Tomorrow is going to be a better day.