For those of you who are unfamiliar with Chef's day-to-day challenges, some of the diagnoses he carries are PDD-NOS(Autism), ADHD, Attachment Disorder, Developmental Coordination Disorder, and brain damage from birthmom's drug use. One doctor had also put Hypotonia on his chart; my son has problems digesting some foods. He is also extremely drawn to almost any food and is capable of ingesting huge amounts of food very quickly - he's been both hospitalized and had his stomach pumped due to food choices. He often makes choices that cause problems for him and then becomes frustrated when those choices don't work or cause other problems for him, then misdirects that frustration. Without constant and consistent support, he will usually make many bad choices and his resulting frustration escalates. He has difficulty with controlling impulses, consistently remembering and/or putting into action what he needs to do each day, learning from consquences, learning new routines, coping with crowds/noise, controlling anger/managing stress, etc., etc. For more information, please see http://www.minddisorders.com/Del-Fi/Executive-function.html.
Chef presents very well. He's a handsome young man with gorgeous eyes. He has a very sweet, gentle, pleasant nature about him when he isn't living in the storm of his challenges. He now knows enough kids at school well enough to feel comfortable enough to participate well in class and joke around with other students and teachers. He also has started to greet people independently without verbal prompts, and knows that it doesn't work to wear pyjamas to school or to be naked outside. He has learned that it doesn't work to try to make friends by jumping onto older students' backs or latching himself onto their leg and refusing to let go. He still seems to believe that giving stuff to people is the best (read "quickest") road to friendship, and that no one should ever talk with him about anything that he might have taken or suspect him of lying. He often displays creativity in doing whatever he thinks might work to get out of doing any, but my son is capable of doing quite a few household chores. Yes, it took (and still takes) a LOT of brain-training! And he does a great job of doing his laundry independently when he is in good space. He is great with computers, and he's a fantastic cook! (More to follow...)http://findthesimplethings.blogspot.com/2010/09/finding-balance.html
This blog was initially set up as a means of communicating with my son's team. Since then, I've heard from other parents with similar stories. If you are living with challenges or journeying alongside someone who is, you are not alone. There are many of us. I'm a single adoptive Mom (http://richesofsimplicity.blogspot.com/) of a young man who lives with many abilities and many diagnoses. We have journeyed together through many challenges and a few adventures over the years as my son has tried to find space in this world that makes him feel more comfortable, an attempt made especially difficult when living with Attachment Disorder, PDD-NOS (Autism), Developmental Coordination Disorder, ADHD, prenatal substance exposure, etc. Some of the strongest elements used in this journey have been music, visual arts, therapeutic parenting, team-connection, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, communication skills, community-building, continual lifeskills training, and elements of Theraplay. (Click here for some written resources.) On this journey, there is laughter and tears and growth and hope. The greatest of these is hope.