That other shoe I have been fretting? Did drop, but is a relief. Still hurts though

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SuZir, May 11, 2012.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I had been a lurker here long time before registering. Ended up registering because I had this very bad feeling that something was up. That difficult child is hiding something (and those are never good things, if he needs to hide them.) I have tried not to think about, reminded myself he is an adult etc. Still I have been fretting. And making up all kinds of awful scenarios about what it could be.

    He is at home visiting now and finally told me what this is about. Mostly a huge relief compared to everything I have been fretting about. Apparently difficult child has struggled much more in certain matters than he has told us and now his team wants to do something about it. He is having social skills issues and they are worried he is not making friends and getting more comfortable around others. There is some weird learning difficulty issue that makes things more difficult and then there is issues with following team rules (not the big ones but the everyday things.)

    In many sports teams athletes take care of team discipline among themselves by having these mock courts that hand out smallish fines for all kind of rule breaking. Some of the rules may be totally silly to keep it fun, you can get fined because the ugly sunglasses or because of being a goody two shoe and never being fined, but most are for things around punctuality, tidiness and being meticulous. When bigger group of people works and spends time in smallish space and travels a lot with lots of stuff and tight schedules those things are very important. And those are not the things difficult child has ever excelled. We did know he tended to always be a one of those who got fined the most but unfortunately it seems there may be a bigger problem.

    What his coaches are worried about is that he doesn't seem to be learning. He has been fined a lot, they even started to change his fines to community service (made him do all the dirty, yucky, boring or heavy lifting duties there is the team) because the mock court found out he didn't even always have money for food because of the fines. Still their book keeping shows he didn't improve. difficult child is not the first, last or only scatterbrain in the team but not learning is something they are worried about. Only thing he did improved on was making sure he has all his stuff with him. And that had probably more to do with some changes in his packing system and with the person sitting next to him looking after him than learning from consequences. So now his coaches are worried this may be a matter of can't instead of won't.

    The learning difficulty issue seems an really odd one. difficult child seems to have a lot of difficulty when he is shown a tape of his performance and corrected. Somehow he doesn't really connect what he sees to what he did and after they have watched the tape, talked about what should be done differently and they start to practice, it comes clear difficult child often somehow totally misunderstood how his coach wanted him to do it. difficult child says he really has trouble connecting what he sees to how it feels. Unfortunately this tends to be one of the most important teaching methods and difficult to work around. With social issues it is not so much that difficult child would have done something totally unacceptable but more like he is still having trouble to fit in, trouble to make friends, trouble to get along especially with those who are close his age. They are worried he may be lonely and miserable and that showing in his performance. And that he will always have difficulties to fit in, if his social skills don't improve.

    difficult child had his through medicals lately and their doctor did refer him to the neurologist (who also had an access to those neuropsychologist evaluations done to difficult child when he was younger) who agreed with earlier neurologists. Problems with executive function, sensory issues, issues with this and that but nothing that could be diagnosed, he is just functioning too well for that. He did recommend certain interventions and recommend the specialist who could be useful. The team is willing to use that specialist to help find solutions, but they would like difficult child to be willing. He isn't. They say they may coerce difficult child to it anyway but they would rather have someone (and guess who that someone always is...) talk him around to it.

    difficult child is miserable. He feels he tried his very best, gave his all and it's just not enough. That he is never good enough and he is again singled out. That they just don't want him there. And that there is no point in even trying, when it never works out. He even brought up an incident from kindergarten. He had always had difficulties finding friends and before kindergarten begin we practised a lot many social situation, role played how to ask if he could be a part of the play etc. He was very determinate to try, did follow instructions, even felt it went well. Then month to the kindergarten one of the kids had birthday party and invited everyone else but difficult child and even told him, that no one wanted to be with him. difficult child bawled his eyes out because of that (and yeah, I did too, then he wasn't seeing.) It was of course handled by adults but after that difficult child was very wary in even trying for the longest time. And now he feels this is just the same. And what is even the point in trying to fit in and be a good team mate when it doesn't work for him anyway, ever. I know it is an unconstructive pity-party and doesn't help him at all. And I shouldn't buy that at all. But I can't help but feel for him. I was already able to guide him to more constructive way of thinking and I know I can talk him over in the working with that specialist thing and I do know he is a resilient guy, he will get through this. But my heart is breaking!
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Why on earth would all of his focus be on TEAM sports, then?
    Because there's lots of athletic opportunity in more individualized pursuits... swimming, running/track, weights, etc. These provide social opportunities during workouts etc., but the peer pressure is far less, especially on the "stupid" stuff (i.e. we do X just because that's how our team does it...)
  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    You have never said what sport, and I understand not saying so for confidentiality but is there a chance he has had concussions? This is a big issue in our country lately. The brain injury association is putting most of their financial energy (frustrating for me with a child who has an acquired brain injury but I get them jumping on a "hot topic" when there is money to be collected, they do a lot of great work/support/advocacy/research etc... but still....) into this topic.

    We have had cases of people killing themselves, developing major depression, having memory issues, impulse control issues, etc... they are seeing in the brains of people (after they die) who were athletes who had many smaller concussions, that they have this syndrome that develops and their brains show terrible changes.

    may not be related at all to your situation but just thought it was worth mentioning.....

    sorry for the problems, it is really sad.
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Buddy may have nailed it.

    Has difficult child ever had an MRI? Perhaps, whether he's had one in the past or not, it's time for him to have one. AND while he's at it, another neuropsychologist evaluation. Why? Because even a neuropsychologist tends to be somewhat subjective based on who is giving the evaluation opinion of difficult child's responses.

    The picture you're giving me is not one of a kid functioning too's a kid with some possible real issues that have a high probablity of effecting work, home, social, ect.

    Something somewhere is being missed. If the sport difficult child plays gives him chance for head injury, as in repeated concussions......even minor ones........can cause damage depending on where, amt of force ect. He's acting like a person with a brain injury. Trust me I have one myself, as does Travis.......

    Travis can not organize. He simply can not do it due to an area of his brain that was injured. If you give him too much information at once his brain shuts down with overload (mine too for that matter) and just either does not retain what you said or it doesn't make sense. This latter sounds like what your difficult child may be trying to cope with. So maybe if his coaches break down what they want him to do into much smaller steps, have him practice parts of it separate, then once he has that down combine them into the whole thing........he'll be able to manage better.
  5. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Good question. this was one of the sports his dad also played and he had play gear from the early age. When he was two, he saw this sport from TV and was sold. From there on it was always his favourite. One he played in our yard, one he wanted to play with dad, one he begged us to put him to the team when he was old enough. And while he did other sports, both team and individual, this was always his favourite. And the one he clearly had a talent for. So mainly it is, because he simply loves it. And he is playing one of those 'little different' positions there you are kind of an individual athlete inside the team. Like maybe pitcher in baseball, or were you Canadian, bit like a goalie in the ice hockey. And to be honest, it wouldn't make a difference in this level, if it would be an individual sport. In fact he would probably need to be more with the team, if he was for example a swimmer. They tend to clock something like 200 training camp days a year. And that means time spend with the team, in small space, sharing rooms etc. Now difficult child at least gets to sleep in his own bed most of his nights.

    Buddy and Hound dog: concussions on sports are hot topic also here. And while it would be possible for the difficult child to suffer very serious concussions in his sport (in fact one of the local poster boys for athletic concussions did play the same sport and position) it would likely be something that would get noticed. He doesn't get 'bumps to the head' often, but he could get a serious one. But that would probably be noticed. And to my knowledge he has never had a concussion. If he has had one, it has more likely been from some accident or other things when he was a child.

    And this is not something new to him. It has always been difficult for him to take care of his stuff and be tidy and punctual. He was a kid whose gloves (and even jackets) were always missing, back bag lost in the way from school to home, school books always either at home or school, mobile phones lost, keys lost, always late from school etc. And it is still mostly the same, relatively minor (even at times nitpicky if you ask me) stuff he was fined. Being three minutes late from practise, being seven seconds late from the team meeting, not having a pen in the team meeting and having to borrow, forgetting to shut down his phone, leaving his running shoes on the floor under his locker while he should had put the in the locker, forgetting to put his training jersey to laundry basket in the correct day, leaving used towel to his locker instead of laundry, forgetting the roll of sport tape to the bench in front of his locker instead of putting it to the locker, not emptying his water bottle before putting it to shelf, forgetting it was his turn to rent the movies for the bus ride, renting lousy movies no one wants to see, leaving rubbish on the floor or bench, having part of his equipment in the wrong hook, leaving his school book/gloves/hat/mp3-player to the team bus etc. etc. Apparently it is normal for the kids to rack up fines first when they change to men's team, but usually they learn fast and mostly only end up having something like 2-5 fines a month after that (or more if the mock court notices later in the season that they are not gathering enough money in current pace. Money is usually used either for the whole team doing something fun together after a season or to charities or to both.) difficult child was having that many in week and he often ended up having to use all his gas money (and more) to fines and was driving with his bicycle everywhere. And he only got little fewer fines (or community service) late in the season because they were worried that punishing him so often was counterproductive and let the most nitpicky stuff slide.

    And the difficulty with videotaped performances seems even weirder now that I talked more about it with both difficult child and the coach who works most with the difficult child. difficult child says that he bases his performance on how it feels and while he can correct himself if he is doing something and coach asks him to do it differently (for example tells him to change his balance slightly or something) he has a great difficulty to know from watching the tape how it did feel at that moment and that is why it is difficult to correct, because he doesn't know what he was doing in the first place in the situation coach is trying to correct. And because of difficult child's social skills are what they are and because he tends to behave badly and cockily if he is unsure or scared, this has caused many arguments with his coach and is a part of the reason he is considered stubborn and his coachability has often been in the question.
  6. keista

    keista New Member

    Has he ever been evaluated for .....oh......say....... autism spectrum?

    Regardless, there is hope, but it will take the collaborative help of difficult child AND the team (or at least a few willing teammates) the reason he's not "learning" despite being fined is because it's become a habit doing it the "wrong" way. Which happens to be HIS way which in his mind is the right way. The teammates need to retrain him on all these little indiscretions. They have to be with him all day and correct every time he put shoes under the locker instead of in the locker. they have to be kind ion their correction and stand watching as he does it correctly. Can take up to 21 day for him to correct his behaviors. He may not be able to replace all of them at once, either. He may tackle half, and then they'll have to work on the rest. In a nutshell he's got to create the RIGHT habit.

    The fine for renting videos no one likes is just downright stupid. Don't like his choices, don't send him to get videos.
  7. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Yep, twice. More Asperger traits than people usually have. Not enough, nor serious enough for diagnosing Asperger syndrome. Normal speech development, so no classic autism.

    We will see what kind of interventions the specialist they plan to use will come up with. If difficult child is willing to work with him.

    Well, it is still less stupid than being fined because someone thinks your sunglasses are ugly. Or because you are behaving too well and not getting fines. Or you kissed your girlfriend with too much gusto in public. Or gave a lame comment to the press. Or the extensive legislation concerning farting. Or... The system is not meant to be taken too seriously. It is in place to keep important things in check (those punctuality, tidiness etc. that are important in that situation) and to collect money. difficult child even got very few 'stupid' fines. Most likely because he was getting so many real ones and also because they didn't count on in his sense of humour with it.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Yes but...
    Just keep in mind that these dxes are just "lines in the sand". In reality, there is a whole spectrum... from one extreme to the other, with "normal" being... wherever it happens to be.
    What this means is that a person with Aspie traits, may be "closer" in thinking and behaviour etc. to an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kid, then they are to "normal". They just don't meet the criteria for that "line in the sand".

    Lots of us have had to treat almost-Aspie traits as though the kid had the diagnosis. And it works.
  9. keista

    keista New Member

    Even if he doesn't have enough for the diagnosis, he's got enough for ppl to treat him as if he is. He may not qualify for insurance coverage or public services, but that can't stop other interventions.
  10. keista

    keista New Member

    LOL Insane, we did it again!
  11. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    InsaneCdn and keista, you are right. And especially at the time those evaluations were done, that knowledge was important. And while no diagnosis it did give us some help for school (one aid to the class. She was an class aid, not personal aid for the difficult child but worked a lot with the difficult child.) And yes, it also gave many good ideas how to handle him.

    difficult child is a complex and conflicting kid and it also really depends from the day and his mood how well he can handle things. Many approaches that tend to work for ADHD (he has also traits of that) or Asperger people work with him. Some don't work at all. Big part of the problem is, that he really doesn't want to be special needs person and can get very offended if you are using those 'special needs' approaches and he catches it.

    This specialists they are planning bringing in has experience also working with neurologically untypical people, both kids and adults. The idea is for him to evaluate the current situation in team and sport context and try to come up with appropriate interventions. Now I just have to sell the idea to difficult child.
  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Travis is neither aspergers, nor full blown autistic. He's in the middle, hence the diagnosis Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). And I know there are kids that fall in between those 3 and adults that carry enough traits that makes functioning difficult yet it is a bit cloudy as to whether or not they have it. Again, depends on who is doing the evaluation......they're level of experience and knowledge.

    You just described a typical day in the life of Travis at school......He couldn't get homework home or if on the rare occasion he got it home, it never made it back to school. Somehow it always got lost along the way. Not because he didn't want to do the work either. The boy would spend up to 5 hrs doing one assignment (homework was hell for the kid, took him 3 Xs longer than anyone else to do), what reason after spending all that time would he have for NOT returning it to school. This happened with all sorts of things.

    Ok, so that you know of no injuries to the head that would send up a red flag. So how was your labor and delivery with him? Any heart decelerations during labor? Any chance of oxygen deprivation? I'm asking because you said he's always been this way. Travis' Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occurred at birth from severe oxygen deprivation......and no you really don't want me going into that long story. But it doesn't have to be severe deprivation to cause significant damage or even damage enough to impair functioning in certain areas. Travis has the diagnosis of static encephalopathy (fancy name for cerebral palsy that isn't diagnosed under 2 yrs of age) due to it. Nichole has the same diagnosis, believe it or not. She also had oxygen deprivation during delivery (decreased heart tones means less O2 to baby's brain). Fortunately for her, docs were more on the ball and she was delivered quickly via c hers wasn't over as long a period or quite as bad as her brothers. But then he also coded during birth. So far as we can tell the only issues Nichole has from it is severe dyslexia, and since there is not a single case of dyslexia on either family tree.......well it wasn't hard to figure out.
  13. Suz - You need to look into Executive Function Disorder - sounds like your son - can't find things, forever misplacing things, disorganized - that type of thing. And not because he doesn't care because he just can't.

    Also - look up Visual-Motor Impairment - this is when your brain has a hard time translating what you see into what you want your body to do.

    My daughter has both of these conditions.

    I wish you well and hope you find something that will help your son.
  14. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Pregnancy and delivery were normal and his vitals were always good also the oxygen saturation during and after birth. He did have some serious health concerns later in the babyhood that those didn't involve going low with oxygen.

    difficult child forgetting things has at times been about not caring and not paying attention. If he tried he mostly got it right. But not always. And it seems that the situation he is now in is very demanding in this sector. There are lots and lots of those little things he should remember, constant packing and putting things back, lots of stuff that should always be in the right places, strict and constantly changing timetables etc. And even with trying hard he doesn't get it always right. And gets fined because of it. To me it seems that this has always been the difficulty to him but in normal life he does manage. He is not the most organized person but he does manage. But the life he is living does put him more demands for organization that is common and that is there it starts to get painful for him. I sincerely hope they are able to come up with some strategies for him to cope with it. They did well with helping him organize his packing better but it seems that to make it absolutely sure one of his team mates has had to play 'babysitter' and check he has not left anything vital behind. But at least that seems to be working now. Even without that babysitting.

    Visual-motor impairment doesn't sound likely. difficult child's motor skills have always been excellent and there has never been a ball game he wouldn't have been good at. His sport has lot to do how well he sees and understands space and movements in it and how well his eye-hand-coordination works. He is excellent in those areas.
  15. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I had a long talk with the coach difficult child works most with. Apparently their main concern is the social side of this. Basically they are worried that if difficult child doesn't fit in and make some friends he will be unhappy and lonely and that will show in his performance. His lack of social skills and coming off arrogant annoys others, especially those closer to his age. And him having trouble following rules doesn't help. And things they wouldn't mind from others (really none of his team mates is really interested if someone's shoes are on the floor, but having everyone's shoes on the floor would make a lot of extra work for the janitor, hence the rule) they do mind from the difficult child because they don't like him in the first place. And of course any transgression that would for example make everyone have to wait or something like that really annoys everyone. And it works against him that he is in the absolute bottom of the team's pecking order, but some of the others think he is favoured over them. And some of the guys who really don't like him are very popular in the team.

    So it is an unfortunate situation. Coaches and team captains can tell others to suck it up, but it could end up so that it would be revenged to difficult child behind their backs, and he would feel himself even more miserable and unwanted. Coaches can intervene only so much without making it look like favouritism and it backfiring, and older, high in the pecking order, team mates can ease the situations with using humour, making sure difficult child is not left totally alone etc. but still in the end it comes down to that somehow difficult child's relationships with his peer group in the team should improve. And they feel that only way to really accomplish that is to make difficult child's behaviour at least a bit less annoying to others. After that they may be able to work to make it better through some of the more socially talented and mature guys in his peer group.
  16. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Update: difficult child has promised to work with this recommended specialist and do his best. He is still sulking but made a commitment and they will certainly not let him forget it was his own choice. Though difficult child will likely still blame me, because I did talk him to this more or less. This guy will evaluate difficult child's situation both in personal level and in the team and team dynamics point of view. At least life management skills, social skills and easing the situation inside the team will be on the agenda. It seems team was able to schedule them start the work quite soon.

    I still wonder why it always has to be a mommy they turn to, when they want to make an adult pro they are dealing with to do something? And no, I'm not the only one. It seems to be a common strategy. They are supposed to be adult pro athletes, but when something is not working, their coaches and agents call their moms and dads for them to 'talk some sense to him.' Fair?!?
  17. buddy

    buddy New Member

    It is such a unique situation. He is a difficult child but in a position that really requires one to be extra responsible at a very young age. (or it seems so to me)....darn those talented kids anyway!

    I think you handled it beautifully, and I can see their side but my bleeding heart wants them to really find some mentors for him who can be told of his unique issues and maybe help him out.....Honestly it is almost easier if there is a diagnosis! At least you could say to people it i s because of X. He sounds like someone who should always be thinking of a plan B just in case??? Not to be negative but in terms of a life plan. I talk to a lot of my students about this kind of thing. I HATE when teachers say they have to be realistic and not dream of this or many truly talented people have heard those things??? But I do talk to them about how none of us knows what might happen in life. (athletes even more so with injuries and such)... it is always good to keep up hobbies and other ideas for future plans. My son still only says he wants to be a NASCAR driver. He will never even drive a car but he thinks he can still do this and I wont kill the dream. But little by little he is now saying and IF I can't then I will do X. Different situation, I know, but same process.

    Just can't help really wanting people to see that he is struggling. Do you think the arrogance is really who he is or is it over compensating for all of the issues he struggles with?
  18. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    We have always been very adamant with plan B. And luckily have also his coaches etc. always been. The injuries are the real risk. The development is always a question. When they are 13 and first big cuts in teams are made, everyone in the competitive teams are dreaming of becoming pro. Not even one kid per team succeeds. Plan B is important. And luckily academics have always come easy to difficult child (to get him to go to school and do even the minimum amount of school work is a different matter, but he is really quick to learn and has special knack especially everything math and other STEM subjects.) He is also a good writer. We have had a silent agreement a long time that we don't nag about school if his grades are high enough (and they really are very high) and both we and the school even turned a blind eye to truancy because of the grades (he was having lot of social and bullying issues at school while he was younger.) Now he is doing his school mostly distance learning anyway, so that is not so much of the issue. And if his assignments are late, his teachers knock points and to me it seems he calculates it quite well how much he can afford to have these deductions and still make it up with acing exams. Most of the kids his age will graduate in few weeks. He is taking some extra time to finish school because of the sport but that is something totally common here, system is meant to be flexible like that. So his plan B is currently going well. In fact I kind of like the idea that he will take few gap years to pursue his sport and be little more mature when he will start Uni. That of course if the sport career will not turn out for him. If it does, there will be many more gap years and what he decides to do after his sport career in that point will be a different matter (because that could be as far as 20 years from now.) His plan B has been to become a pathologist since he was little and visited his aunt's workplace and saw all the cool equipment she was using. Plan C, last time I asked, was engineering. But those things he has time to think yet, just graduating with the kind of grades he is having is enough for now to keep all the doors open. I hope that time and experiences he is now having in his sport will help him to mature, whatever happens.

    His arrogance is 50/50, I would say. Part of it is compensating and trying to protect himself (he is really scared of showing vulnerability probably partly because of that bullying history he has.) Other half is real him, at least now. He does very well know he is talented. He knows he is smart. He doesn't feel like being humble about it. That of course can be partly immaturity and it could still evolved to acceptable self-confidence when he matures. I should also probably point out that we live in the culture that is very intolerant to arrogance. And what we think as arrogance many other cultures consider absolutely normal self-confidence. And what we consider normal behaviour most would consider putting yourself down. But this is the culture difficult child has grown up in and to which he needs to adapt. And here the kind of arrogance he shows is strongly frowned at and causes annoyance and resentment in others.
  19. buddy

    buddy New Member

    That is interesting, the cultural ideas of self confidence vs. arrogance. I think here it is really affected by age/generations. Even between the years I grew up and the years my sister grew up (she is 13 years younger) music and media influenced a way of communicating that was very much bolder and "Dont dis me" (from back then) all about how people went off on others for "disrespect" of course, leaving out the idea that one needs to SHOW respect too. And much louder and more bold about demanding what they want for themselves.

    It does take a certain level of maturity as you beautifully put develop that sometimes subtle difference between self confidence and coming off as arrogant. Maybe he needs to go to one of those Tony Robbins (Is that his name??) winner series.... I used to laugh about this guy then he did this reality series where he helped people like war vets or others who had HUGE life/death issues and I really started to admire him and realize how judgmental I had been because I thought of him as just a celebrity making money off of down and out people.

    Your son really does sound amazing and so full of potential. If he makes is going to be a well earned win (for you too!) because though he has the natural talent and is so smart, getting along, navigating the politics is such a big deal and much harder to "teach" .

    I know he can be a real PITA but I have to admire how he does come back and try.... I am sure that is because he knows you back him up and he is smart enough to see there are options. Bless his heart.
  20. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Socially acceptable way of conveying yourself is so very much a cultural thing. A good example would be, that if I now needed to make a job application there I would list my foreign language skills and I would need to tell the level of my English skills with the grade from 0 to 4 there 0 would be none and 4 excellent/fluent. I would have very hard time on deciding between 2 and 3 because while I do understand both spoken and written English well (that would be 3 in that scale), I do have an accent (maybe 2,5) and my written English is not that good (2.) Someone from the different culture with the same level of skill would give themselves a different grade. It is not a problem when you are operating inside that one culture. Everyone understand what is being implied. The problem comes then you cross the cultural lines. Of course if you are aware of cultural differences you can make a correct assessment, but if not, in the worst case scenario you can end up with hiring a worker whom you thought would speak some foreign language like a native and who in fact speaks just enough to order a dinner in the restaurant. And no one has lied, just had a different cultural concept when it comes to things like these.

    But back to topic. I also think the greatest strength in my difficult child is his resilience. That is also the thing I'm putting my hope into. While his stubbornness can be infuriating it also works for his favour when he really wants something. He does not give up easily. And luckily not all hate him. For example the coach he works one on one a lot does seem to like him. difficult child makes him want to strangle him at times but the coach is also able to see much good in difficult child and not only his talent. I did found out what I could about this specialist they are going to use and he sounds very qualified. So let's hope the best that he can come up with ideas to make situation better for everyone and help difficult child to handle all the expectations.