Toad’s Weekly Assessment #53

So I’ve been spending all day trying to figure out what I want to say. All because yet again I failed to bother filling out the mood tracker chart again and I feel obligated to report in for the week. If nothing else just to touch base with myself.

I did write a very angry rant sort of vent this morning that I ended up posting privately. I want to preserve my thoughts somewhere but in the same token I fear getting backlash from anyone I know if they happen to read it. I really need to let go of the habit of bottling shit up until I blow. It’s not healthy and then I say shit that probably shouldn’t be said. At least this time it was written first.

Later today after writing that I ended up venting to Mom about how I feel that I never do anything right. That the closest thing to praise I get from Dad – ever – is not getting bitched at. She gave me “the look” and I begged her to name one time that he has said he was proud of me. And my heart broke when she couldn’t. When she said, “I don’t know.” I was really I hoping that my mind was lying to me and I had remembered that part wrong. I guess not.

So since I had her undivided attention that afternoon for some freak reason I said to her that I had so many questions about my childhood now that I have special needs children that have undergone screenings. There were things that I remembered as a child that I wanted clarified.

So yes, my hearing was in fact tested exactly the same way Tuxedo Cat’s had been for the exact same reason. I wasn’t responding to my name just like he wasn’t at the same age. I was being pulled out of class for one on one time when we lived in Alaska. Yes, I had extreme sensory avoidance issues as a child – particularly foods and fabrics. My hand-eye coordination was so severe the doctors were at a loss as to what to do so they suggested video games (this was back when arcades were still a thing) to help develop that. I had an extreme academic development gap: high language skills but low math skills. And she told me that we were all tested for our IQs and that we were all in the same range – but that my baby brother was the highest. Which I knew.

So now I understand why Mom has been apologizing to me ever since Tuxedo Cat has diagnosed and why Dad has started saying that maybe both Scholar Owl and I have it too. But like I told Mom, I’ve done my research and back when I was a kid they thought Autism was mostly a boy thing so girls frequently got overlooked unless it was severe. Hell, girls are still getting diagnosed much later than boys even now.

So Mom asked me if it was not too late to get Scholar Owl screened because she feels that he is socially underdeveloped for his age – even when he was still in public school. The school staff expressed similar concerns. I dismissed it at the time we first brought him to the hospital because he was verbal, but now I’m not so certain. Mom said growing up I had problems socially also but more along the lines of failing to understand personal boundaries. Meanwhile, Scholar Owl is 16 but socially behaves much younger than he is (according to my mother mind you).

And me, not knowing what normal is, I never noticed this in him. The one time I’ve seen him with his peers was the time his friends came over for his birthday. And it seemed like to me they spent most of their time taking care of him. Like the moment some food feel on the floor and he started to freak out and they swooped in to smooth things over and make it all better. At the time it made me happy to see them care about him so much, but now I wonder what exactly does that mean. Clearly it’s not the first time they’ve seen him lose his shit. Like he hadn’t even gotten started before they started taking action. They were already moving as my “mom mode” was just activating. This was how fast these guys were. So it really brings to light the severity of whatever this is if these guys have become pros at watching for and handling it.

So naturally my parents asked me if the government would disable me if I were to go through the full scale evaluation it were to turn out that I do have Autism. Seriously? I already have two diagnoses that are legally recognized as disabilities. It’s just that there is a catch in there determination process and it’s that you have had to have worked at least 5 years out of the last 10. I stopped working full time when I started college in 2004 and then I worked for one year before Little Bear was born and I haven’t worked since. I was diagnosed after he was born. So even if my severity were to qualify me, I can bet you that my lack of work will disqualify me for benefits.

So then they asked me about SSI. That’s when I remind them they count the income of ALL members of the household. Which means that as long as we are members of their household, their income will be counted. Not sure why, but Dad didn’t look thrilled about that. I don’t know what the income limit is per household member. And God forbid if we actually draft a lease with kitchen and bathroom privileges that would essentially separate us as households.

But the thing that threw me for a loop was when Mom left the house to go to the garden, Dad said to me that maybe the best to do for Scholar Owl is to just make him take the GED exam if he isn’t willing to do the school work. Of course he added make him get a job. But it made me wonder if he overheard me venting to Mom about it.

Because I was bitching to her about him accusing me of giving up on my son when the law says at 15 my son has the legal right to tell me to fuck off and drop out of school and there is not a damn thing I can do about it. Just like at 14 he has the legal right to tell me to fuck off and not go to his med appointments or therapy appointments or take his meds. I can’t even legally force this kid to take a shower. So I consider myself incredibly lucky that my son is still willing to sit down with me to at least read the fucking book, half ass the assignment, take his meds, go to his appointments, and take a shower at least once a week. Is it perfect? Nope. Not by a long shot. But it’s SOMETHING and way the fuck better than NOTHING.

And today I was talking at the dinner table about how I discovered that RPG Maker updated their program. It’s now compatible with JavaScript. AND you can make mobile games and browser games along with PC/mac games now. Best part? It’s only $80. So you have the base engine to tinker with to build your own RPG. If you know JavaScript you can customize with your code. If you’re the artistic type you can buy their nifty new sprite design program for like $15 which is compatible with several versions of their program by the way. So hello… for like $95 I could easily have computer proficiency and art covered (that’s TWO subjects in one homeschool project) and in fun way and Scholar Owl could find out if the gaming industry is something he really is interested in or not without going into ridiculous debt.

I say this because making a game requires more than just knowing a computer programming language. There is a ton of other stuff that goes into it and RPG Maker takes care of a HUGE piece for you by providing the base game engine. You still need a story. You still need maps. You need to plan and organize it all. The list goes on.

And what does Scholar Owl say? “Oh, it’s costs $80? Maybe we shouldn’t get that.” So… does this mean you don’t want to learn how to make games and you’re just being polite or are you honestly worried about the money? Because this really is worth every penny for what we’re trying to do here. I mean when you compare the $600 course in introduction to JavaScript and you don’t even get to tap into making a game yet…? Granted RPG Maker is basically “these are the steps of making an RPG” but at least from there you can decide if you want to learn more and go deeper into it.

I admit I have an old version of this on the computer that Little Bear uses, and a part of me wants this for myself. I won’t lie. But seriously my selfish whims aside… what the fuck is this kid going to learn for computer proficiency? How to use a spreadsheet? That can be covered in 5 minutes. How to use the internet? He does that already. This is a mandatory class I have to provide. By law. Can we please make it cool and NOT BORING? Can it please be something that I want to talk about and geek over? Just please? Just this once?

Part of me just wants to buy the damn thing and say “This is what we’re doing.” But that’s what I did last year and the med clinic just lectured me about setting the bar too high and pushing him too hard with college level material when he doesn’t even want to go to college. And they’re right. What the fuck am I doing that for with a FRESHMAN IN HIGH SCHOOL who is struggling with stability? It doesn’t matter what his IQ is, there is no justification for that. At all. That’s just me being a bad parent. Yes, there I said it. The hospital told me once they found out what I’ve been teaching him that I need to back off, dial it down, and focus more on what he needs – not on what I think he should be capable of. And they’re right. If I want him to stabilize, I need to fucking lay off. Or he WILL tell me to fuck off and I’ll lose him.

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