Yesterday, my son–now 22 years old and living nearby in a supportive housing program for people with mental health issues–texted me this: “Mom can I git dentst?”
I texted back, “Yes, call the dentist office on the corner near your house.”
He responded, “K, wel, I thnking I go out for a walkng and jus goin, cus I not good calling.”
“Sounds good, here is your insurance ID # in case you need it.”
“K thky, by, lov ya,” he signs off.
Now this exchange may sound really disturbing to you, but to me it is lovely and I am so proud of him. This is progress for a young man who has functioned at about half his age nearly his whole life due to extreme abuse, neglect, and abandonment before he was two years old.
That abuse is impacting his entire life. He went to a public school for only 1.5 years before he had to be placed in residential care for safety reasons– he stabbed his 1st grade teacher with a sharp pencil and later came at me with a very big butcher knife. He simulated raping his older sister every time he saw her. He was a scary, pint-sized 6-year-old.
My son always attended a special day school. He never worked at grade level, and he never went to a friend’s birthday party. He never attended a school dance, football game, or class trip to anywhere. He didn’t graduate or even get a certificate for High School despite attending until he was 20 years old. He lives on social security now, and will likely never work for a paycheck.
Turns out he is very happy and pleased with himself for living on his own with just a little support. He cooks for his housemates once a week, again with a little help with measuring from an older resident. He is known as one of the smartest guys in his house because he can help everyone a little with their technology woes. Did I mention this? He is happy.
His text is evidence of prefrontal cortex development. First, he recognizes he needs a dentist. Secondly, he reached out for help and accepted my suggestion (a big deal) that he can handle it himself (also a big deal). Lastly, he understands his limitation with phone calls and finds an alternative solution instead of giving up (eventually being in great pain and maybe losing a tooth). The cherry on top–he signs off with love to me (finally feeling connected to his mother which is a super big deal to both of us).
Watching him notice that the pain in his mouth is a toothache, ask for help, have insight about his limitations, and take initiative to find solutions–priceless.
Never give up parents. Hope springs eternal. No matter how deep your own sadness or disappointment about your child’s journey, your child will eventually unfold his/her own personal potential. What else is there?
NOTE: If you are planning to attend The Attach Place Therapeutic Parenting Class on February 2nd, 2019 from (10am to 4pm, be sure to sign up or drop an email (email@example.com) to let us know you are planning to attend. Or register here. CALVCB accepted.
Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held February 2nd, 2019 from 10 am to 4 pm. Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Register on our website!
AUTISM Support Group: Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. NEW DAY: Monday from 5:30 to 7pm. Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE. ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.
UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT: Click Here to join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group, February 13th, 2019. Childcare provided at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.
GIVE A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT. Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing. Buy from Amazon or get a discounted copy here.