After the insurance lawsuit, we applied for SSI for Samuel. He was turned down on the first application, but with the help of our attorney and the resolution of the lawsuit, he was approved for SSI/Medicaid. Samuel continued to receive ongoing services with Cardinal Glennon’s speech/language therapy department as well as the occupational therapy department for fine motor skill problems. In addition, he was seen by a child psychologist and a psychiatrist to help with emerging problems with impulsivity and anger management issues. Because we lived in the city of St. Louis, the special education services being offered to Samuel were unsatisfactory. After much investigation, we decided to send Samuel to a specialty school “The Miriam School”. The school, designed exclusively for children with special needs, was very expensive. After receiving a partial scholarship from the Miriam Foundation and applying a part of Samuel’s “trust fund” money, Samuel became a student at the school. He attended the Miriam School for 6 years. [At the time, the school only worked with kids through age 12.] The learning that he experienced there was awesome. He participated in not only academic learning, but received occupational therapy for his fine motor skill issues as well as other therapies such as “brushing” and additional language/speech therapy services. Even to this day, we still remain in contact with some of his teachers.
That turned out to be prophetic advice… Samuel is struggling so much right now. He has always used humor to “wow” people, but when folks see beneath it, things quickly fall apart. Between the ages of 12-18, Paul and I homeschooled Sam. This was not a new venture for us, as we had actually homeschooled all of our other children through high school. Samuel was cooperative for the most part for a little while, but things began to fall apart at age 16. He got his first job as a “cart boy” at a local grocery store – but was fired due to inappropriate behavior – in social situations he couldn’t seem to understand how to handle [“impaired social judgement”]. He was also employed at the local YMCA – but was fired because he acted out too impulsively regarding a particular situation.
May 4, 2014
A little example of how Samuel’s executive function is limited…Samuel wanted his OWN pet to take care of. His girlfriend bought him a bunny <sigh>… Well, anyway, I came downstairs and smelled a horrible smell – bunny urine! I questioned Samuel about the need to change out the bedding daily. He immediately shot back and told me “I do, Mom!!” I checked the bunny cage and sure enough, it was clean. I stood baffled at where the smell was coming from. I quickly looked over in the corner of his room and realized that the trash bag that he was dumping all the urine soaked bedding in was sitting in his room! I had to explain to him that although it was awesome he was taking responsibility for the rabbit, he had to take the stinky bedding outside to the trash can EVERY time he changed it. He seemed enlightened by the idea – like he never thought of that!!! LOL! Things are smelling a bit better now!
May 5, 2104
Just this morning, Samuel had a “special educator” work with him on how to use public transportation – using Metrolink and buses to get to vocational rehab services. Things started off less than wonderful. Sam gets VERY frustrated when confused, and sometimes acts out. Inference is another confusing thing – He was suppose to meet the special services educator on the Metrolink platform, but got frustrated because the sign said that only riders with tickets could be on the platform. I tried to explain to him that although that was true, the real meaning behind the sign is that you must have a ticket/pass to board the train. We had a small scene this morning, but he quickly calmed down. <sigh>
Thank you for reading. If you are another parent of a lead-poisoned child, please consider sharing even just a glimpse into your life here on leadsafeamerica.org. These shared stories are being read by (and helping) more people than you know. Your experiences are touching the lives of other parents and they are feeling supported and validated by so many “aha” moments… (Like when we saw the film in St. Louis in March and realized how much Tamara’s son, Avi and his behavior reminded us of Samuel when he was that age.)