Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Monday, August 25, 2014

Authorized to Work:

Even Dexter thinks Dudes are funny.
  At our annual 'What the Hell is up With Dude?' meeting (It's actually the IEP meeting) I, once again was given the suggestion that David should start his 'Transition' into an adult program. What this will tentatively entail will be a supposedly growing number of hours at a Work Program. Almost immediately I was told, No, that doesn't mean Dickensian Workhouse. I immediately cancelled my order for gruel for Dude's breakfast. What it did mean was that David would have the opportunity to work, part time, and earn some money while he did it.
     This has been talked about several times before over the years, but never acted on. He made it as far as BCRC coming to observe him in the classroom to judge his 'fitness' for their program. After only a little while they decided that 'he should wait' because 'I don't think he's right for our program... yet' Translation: Nuh uh, no way, no how. But this time the school district decided to kick in some extra money for an aide to stay with him while he was 'working', so BCRC said, 'Well.... I suppose he can come. 2 days a week, 3 hours a day to begin with.'
    Ever since the IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting toward the end of the school year David has been convinced that he no longer needs me to further his dreams of Las Vegas Elevator Glory. I mean, he's still trying to get me to bankroll the whole thing, but if the ol' Dude-Dad doesn't come through (which he probably won't), then Dude will still have it covered. Partially.
     I received a letter about mid-June from the BCRC (Beaver County Rehabilitation Center) the agency that I immediately 'filed' (yup, you guessed it. Still haven't found it). I was in the middle of re-flooring and painting the kitchen at the time, so I've got a built in excuse. I dimly remember that someone named.... uh.... Whatshername (Stephanie) wanted a face to face meeting with the Dudes and have them worship with her at the altar of her god, Bureaucracy. A less factitious and flowery version would be that she wanted us to call and make an appointment because there was half a truckload of paperwork to fill out and, oh yeah, while you're here we'll walk you through the place. (if there's time) Due to my advanced filing system this letter (with the accompanying phone number) was immediately and irretrievably lost. Forever. (not kidding)
     Luckily for me, Stephanie is much more on top of things than I am. She called at the end of July to make the appointment that I was going to do once I'd found the paper. Really! I was just about to do it when she called. When Stephanie called she was expecting to meet some disagreeable ass who would continue to cause trouble and drag his feet until everything had to be done with no time left to do it. She was close, but what she got was a forgetful ass who was willing to adhere to any schedule, just unable to come up with one of his own. So, on the next business day the two Dudes where in Brighton, in the rain, and fairly nearly on
He's got a job!
     Dave had been continuously repeating the refrain, 'He has to go to the BCRC to get the money to get the tickets for the Vegas!' all weekend. Now that we were actually at BCRC I just about needed a whip and a chair to keep him contained.  One of their buildings was converted from a single-story multi-office building, so naturally we parked at the opposite end from their office and had to pass 4 or 5 no longer operable glass doors to get to the one that worked. Dave had to try each and every one of them, yelling, 'We're here at the BCRC!' I had to drag him back down the short sidewalk every time until we got to the main entrance.
      When we finally reached the entrance, I was pushed slightly aside and arm-barred from walking toward the actual front doors. I looked at Dude suspiciously, thinking that he was getting me back for denying him the other 4 doors walking down the side of the building. (I didn't actually, but it's still my fault somehow) I was puzzled for a minute when Dave Got out his 3DS (in the light rain!) and held it up in front of him to, I assumed, take video of our (his) entrance into 'the BCRC'. I shrugged it off to his continued excitement about starting his Vegas Trip Savings Program. Then I looked up and saw that these doors weren't ordinary doors. These doors were special doors.These doors opened like elevator doors! As the Dude procession made its way slooooowly into the building the secretary looked up from her desk. And waited. And waited some more. To get the angle he wanted on the shot Dave had his 3DS in both hands in front of him and above eye level. So he looked like he was carrying a bomb with a mercury switch or bearing the Chalice down the aisle for a Catholic Mass. That may actually be fairly close to the way he feels about the thing, anyway.
     So to reassure the lady I told her he was recording her doors. I'm not sure that cleared anything up for her, and I'm pretty sure she wasn't reassured at all. But, being a veteran of many weird people entering her building she just blinked and said softly ('cause that's how you talk to dangerous crazy people), 'Can I help you?' I quickly repressed the urge to tell her she didn't have the appropriate degree, and simply stated, 'Yes. We have an appointment with..... crap!' I'm pretty sure our appointment wasn't actually with Crap. But with me and names I couldn't be absolutely certain her name wasn't Crap. 'Uh.... we really do have an appointment.' I struggled with a name.... any name.'It's at 11:00...' She was momentarily completely unhelpful. Dave, of course, was more like perpetually unhelpful, 'We need to start the BCRC and get the tickets to go to Vegas to see the elevators.' She looked between us, seemingly unable to tell which one of us was the one that qualified for participation in the program. Dude smiled charmingly at her, 'It's only the casinos!'
   She blinked again. Then she seemed to shake it off, turned to me and said calmly ('cause that's the other way to talk to dangerous crazy people), 'Is this an intake tour?' I nodded, 'Then you need to see Stephanie?' My brows drew together as if I were actually considering her statement had an alternative, 'Uhhh.... Yeah. Probably. Could be. Let's try Stephanie?' I was hoping she'd dive in there somewhere and prevent me from drowning. She nodded (thank you!), 'Stephanie takes care of all that.' I smiled. 'Then we definitely need to try Stephanie.' She really couldn't tell which one of the Dudes was the mentally 'challenged' one here to enter the program. And... we're both named Dave so we probably couldn't tell either. (that makes absolutely no sense)
Professional Dude
    I have the feeling Stephanie was quickly and intensely briefed by our confused friend, because it took a bit longer for the both of them to come back to the lobby than the 20 foot trip would imply. At any rate Stephanie seemed happy to see us and she immediately took us on a tour of the two buildings. That is to say, she led us into the building across the street, but Dave seemed to be leading the tour, pointing out the break room, the vending machines, the bathrooms, and the tables and chairs. Dude had his nose in every nook, he was very excited and babbling at warp speed the whole time. Stephanie gamely tried to give her 'tour speech' which quickly became, 'tour notes' and then 'the occasional word in edgewise while Dude was drawing the occasional breath. I give her full points, for a rookie she did pretty good.
     They have two different programs at BCRC, well... three really, because one is chopped in half. There's the 'work' program, which includes the 'school program'. That is where all the employees are doing small, repetitive tasks, mostly for some business that get some kind of incentive to source through the program. The 'school program' basically is an introductory level, and the tasks that they perform may or may not have anything to do with an outside business. Then there's another program in the main building where they're actually running a business, making candy bouquets for sale and distribution. That's the goal, evidently. To work your way up the chain until you either can get an outside job, or can be trusted to work in their business. Dave, of course, spent the whole time in the second (one story) building looking for elevators and babbling about Vegas.
     One thing about having a special needs kid... You'll never forget your name. Even after having your mind wiped by the Evil Genius' mind wiping ray, you'll still be able to sign your name to the innumerable forms that need to be filled out every year. For any of you that haven't seen my signature, it looks like someone did that trick where they pretend to sneeze and then blow Silly String out of the can held next to their nose. I have a friend who's a doctor that actually asked me for signature lessons, it's that screwed up looking. And for the same reason: Because of the hundreds of thousands of times I've had to sign my name over the years.
     One thing about Dave being over 18... He now gets to sign quite a few of the forms. When our tour was over, Stephanie led us into a small conference rooms and a medium sized stack of papers to fill out. Dude's face lit up (rookie) and he said, 'Now he gets authorized to work!' He's got pretty good eyes, because I had to take another step or two before I could read 'Work Authorization Form' on the top paper. 'He has to get Authorized so he can go to the BCRC to get the tickets to go to the Vegas!' Stephanie looked confused and looked to me for translation. (This is not the first time someone has done this) I explained, 'He wants to go to Las Vegas so that he can ride all the elevators.' She nodded as if I'd explained everything, but I could still see the confusion in her eyes. I ignored it. I'd given my shot, and that was all she was going to get. I see myself as more of a Doorman to Dudeworld, not a Tour Guide.
   Once she started the bureaucratic ball rolling she started shuffling the paperwork at us like a blackjack dealer. David was very enthusiastic about signing his name and getting 'authorized' at first, but about halfway through he began to lose steam. Sighing every time another paper was slid his way. I completely understood where he was coming from, but considering he was about 200,000 signatures behind me, I couldn't muster much sympathy. When we were all done (finally) Dude gusted out a sigh and said, 'NOW, he's authorized to work, and get the tickets for Vegas next year!' He looked up at me, and being the party-pooper I am I said, 'I'm not sure a part time job will get you to Vegas in a year.' He was hearing none of it, 'It's only casinos!' He said with a slight pleading note in his voice. My father always called me a 'Hard-headed Dutchman', but even I wasn't completely unmoved by his pleadings, 'We'll see.' The marshmallow said finally. 'YES!!!' As if I'd already shown him the tickets, 'He gets the tickets and goes to the Vegas and records ALL the elevators!' he shouted. I am sooo doomed.
    I happened to glance over at Stephanie and I could see the light showing faintly in her eyes. She was beginning to brush the edges of what it could mean to be sucked into Dudeworld. Here be Dragons. Indeed.
     When we got home Dave immediately wanted to do to apposing things. He wanted to keep the paperwork we brought home, and at the same time, he wanted me to get the physical form and the direct deposit form filled out at once, so he could begin ordering his tickets to Vegas immediately. We compromised... Dad style. He put all the forms on the dining room table and under threat of immediate decapitation or worse left them there and went to play his games.
     So.... 14 days later, the first day of school was upon us and Dave was very excited. Very very excited. The
First day of school
and Dad's got notes!
amount of understatement here cannot be overstated. Dad was excited to. For a very different reason. For Dude, the return to school (already an exciting event) signaled the beginning of his Journey to the Mecca of Elevator Goodness. I, on the other hand, was excited because this was the first time in 10 years where he actually stayed the same size through the summer. So it was the first time in a decade that he didn't need 3 Sherpa to take home all his new clothes from the stores.
   I sometimes don't understand how important Dude can be to other people, until it slaps me in the face. I mean, there was the whole 'Dude's not going to Vegas?' fiasco and now.... the David needs a physical form filled out so he can go to BCRC debacle. If you look at the picture on the left you will see clutched in his hot little hand The Book and several loose pieces of paper. 2 of those pieces and another in The Book that called for the death of the Procrastinating Dude-Dad. Well... that's a bit melodramatic, but he did come home with 3 different notes telling me he needed the physical form filled out before he could start BCRC and there was tugging of the heart strings telling that Dastardly Dad (twirling my mustache as we speak) 'He's really excited about going and it would be a shame if he couldn't go, wouldn't it?' I know... I teared up when I read it.... 3 different times... in 3 different notes... from 3 different people. I didn't even get one note for the 14 bucks I still owe them from lunches last year.
   Well, okay, there probably weren't any tears, but I did immediately call his doctor to see if his last physical was close enough that so we could avoid having to make an appointment and just get the form filled out. By the time I found out (less than 10 minutes) Dave had whipped back through the room 4 different times saying, 'He needs to get a physical, so he can go to the BCRC!!' I finally told him that if he said it one more time he wouldn't have any physical left, so we wouldn't need the form. When the nurse told me that all I had to do was drop off the form, Dude and I jumped on the bike and headed out. For various reasons, Dave is still seeing a pediatrician and the office has a small entryway where the receptionist sits and then a door to the left for 'sick kids' and one to the right for 'well kids'. Dave was either hovering over my shoulder or darting for one of the doors shouting, 'He needs to get the physical!' the whole time I was talking to this nice woman. She promised me, without fail, that the forms would be ready for me to pick up the next afternoon. After I explained that to Dude I looked back at the nurse and said, 'You know, if they're not ready tomorrow, I'm going to bring him back and leave him here.' She laughed and assured me that they would indeed be done. I don't think she took me seriously, but I've already given the address to the bus drivers, 'just in case'.



  1. There is no such thing as "autism". Psychiatry itself is a bogus science. The following articles and essays explain this:

    12 Part essay that exposes psychiatry as a bogus science

    Inventor of ADHD: “ADHD is a fictitious disease”

    Co-Founder of DSM admits there is no way to scientifically prove that mentall illness is real

    One year old babies and younger being put on psychiatric drugs

    Psychiatric Drugs Shorten Life Span by 15 years on average

    Psychiatry is based on lies and falsehoods

    Psychiatry is a fake science

    Every human emotion is now a "mental illness"

    Ten Myths about Psychiatric Drugs

    Studies show psychiatric drugs have no benefits and are dangerous

    Psychiatry is now giving 3 year old children drugs

    Psychiatric drugs make you sicker

    A few free eBooks talking about how psychiatry is a massive hoax

    A list of THOUSANDS of psychiatrists who have committed crimes against their patients

    1. I'll leave this up for a couple of days, just in case you read it. Dave is not on medication. After 20 years of experience I can state unequivocally that Autism is an actual condition. PS: If you want to espouse your crackpot Know-Nothing theories in the future, get your own blog. Thank you