Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Senior Stress and ADD

The other day we were talking about graduation approaching and what an exciting time it is.  S is registered for the homeschool convention’s commencement ceremony.  We are having his graduation party in Minnesota and have been discussing plans for that (food, decorations, invitations).

S’s response to us was, “I think you are more excited about me graduating than I am.”  J’s response was, “Yes!”

J pegged the problem a couple of weeks ago.  He told us, “S is scared.”  He’s right.  S is scared. Life is scary, but we are here to help him through it.

As a senior, S has decisions to make about his future.  He’s not alone in making these decisions, but he does have to decide some things.  He has some things that are known, and he has some things he needs to decide.

How does his ADD figure into this?
We are firm believers in arming yourself with knowledge.  Gather information, ask questions, use various tools/resources to help make decisions.  For S, the more information he has, the more information he has to try to filter through; it gives him more paths to jump down which provides more information which leads to more paths….you get the picture.

He is also stressed because he doesn’t know what job he will be doing when he is done with school.  He doesn’t like our answer, “You don’t need to know that right now.  You just need to focus on the first step, starting college.”  

We tell him our stories.  I started college as an Accounting major.  I have a degree in Teaching Deaf/Hard of Hearing students.  My husband started college without really knowing what he wanted.  He joined the Army one year later and finished his degree in Liberal Studies while on active duty.  He also went on to get his MBA while in the Army.  

For someone who doesn’t forward plan most of what he does, this is one area S wants written in stone.  The fact that he doesn’t know or that his path could change from what he plans is stressful. That stress causes his mind to come up with many different scenarios to try to filter through also.

How do we help?
As parents, we have tried to limit and focus the decision making.  We helped create a transition plan for him.  

  1. For starters, we told him that we felt our local community college would be a good starting point for him.  
  2. Since he is starting at the community college, he didn’t have to take the ACT or SAT. We had spent a lot of time working on the accommodation process, and we felt that all of our time and energy could be better spent on other things.
  3. He doesn’t have to move.  He will live at home.  That eliminates the stress of him trying to figure out a lot of independent living skills in conjunction with college classes.  He has the skills to live independently, but it is a balancing act.  Everything he does takes longer because of his CP.  In addition, we are working on improving his  Executive Function skills.
  4. It eliminated the stress of trying to decide which 4 year school would be the best one for him right now, especially given the fact he doesn't know for sure what he wants for his major.  He has looked at a couple of schools in Minnesota and one in Virginia. He didn’t like the one he looked at here, but he has a few more he wants to visit. There is no rush. He can take his time.
  5. We have taken him to the community college and met with the Disabled Student Services Office already.  He knows he has a support system there. That made it more real to him which calmed some of his anxiety about that.
  6. We made sure he has support services from the state in place.  He is a registered client of DARS and DBVI.
  7. He has a transportation option available to him here.  He isn’t excited about it, but we have told him he needs to use it.   
  8. By staying local, S can practice independence while still having a safety net.
  9. He doesn’t have to worry about changing medical providers.  He has a good relationship with all of his doctors.
  10. Pray!  A lot!

What next?
We have talked to S about the need to visit more colleges in Virginia.  He has had recommendations from therapists and other trusted adults.  The problem is he doesn’t want to say yes or no to visiting them.  “I can. I guess that would be okay.  If you want me to….”

We have a short list from him, for the time being, of colleges he is willing to visit.  If he doesn’t like any of them, we will throw the net out further.

Ultimately, we tell him that God has a plan for him, and it will all work out.  I will be on the couch with chocolate and the knowledge that there is a great plan in place for S.  

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