This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Co-conspirator Dreamkiller

Kitty had an intake interview with DARS (Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services - now called Texas Workforce Commission), a vocational rehab program which helps people with disabilities get what they need to be able to work.  This might be as simple as finding funding for hearing aides or other technology, getting them set up with a job coach or job training program, even going with the person to job interviews and helping them fill out forms. We used this program with Bear, and they got him involved in the job training program and helped him Kitty will be eligible when she turns 18.

For some reason the DARS person answered in the body of my letter, even though she knew I wanted to use her letter as outside confirmation of what I'd already sent.  I took what she wrote, separated it, and sent it to Kitty's school case worker to be included in the vocational information.  Anyway, here's "our" letter.  I only forwarded the first highlighted section to the school.

Hi {DARS intake person},
I enjoyed meeting you the other day.  The following is a letter I recently sent to Kitty’s school caseworker regarding transition plans.  Your comment regarding medications (she pointed out TO KITTY that Kitty takes a LOT of serious medications and has been hospitalized very recently, and therefore should focus on other vocational options) was a very valid point that I did not include in this letter, but I will be from now on!  Thank you. 
I truly believe if she were to reveal her disability or the medications that{she} is taking to a childcare provider, they would not hire her. Although this could be considered discriminatory, employers do it all the time. Also, they would send her for a drug screen and the combination of these medications would be detected in that screen and she might have to disclose to the employer if there were questions. Also, DARS would not be able to support placing her in a childcare situation based on the vast amount of psychological information and medical evaluations received showing she has a history of poor anger management, aggression, and some violent history. She has also had numerous hospitalizations, despite medication intervention, and is having to participate in a sheltered academic program where she receives maximum supports to help alleviate anxiety. I do not believe that childcare nor preschool worker (and/or training) is realistic for her at this time. I highly disagree with the school’s goal on her IEP, and I would be happy to discuss this with them once I come back from maternity leave.  I believe placing Kitty in a childcare situation would pose a safety risk to HER, first and foremost. There are very stringent rules and ramifications to working in a childcare facility, as well as legal ramifications if she were to become overwhelmed, vacate her position, accidently forget a child in a vehicle or outside, etc. etc. I am thinking about the welfare of Kitty, and I believe there are other employment positions and training programs better suited to her strengths and NEEDS :)
I don’t suppose you know if she would have the same issues with medication and driving? Yes, I do, as discussed on the phone.  
I checked out the driver’s license application, and she certainly doesn’t meet the criteria now without a doctor’s note.  I don’t think she should be driving, but the people who did her latest neuropsych refused to state unequivocally that she should or should not be driving.  All they would commit to was that at the least, she should go through the driver’s ed offered by Texas Neurorehab, but to start that program we’d have to help her get her learner’s permit. I  think she MAY be be capable of driving once her processing difficulties and reasoning abilities improve. This is something DARS may consider down the road. Right now she is in extended evaluation and DARS could not support this goal.

I gave Kitty a copy of the Driver's License Application (which is also used for Identification cards), and told her she needed to fill it out.  Will be interesting to see if she notices (and understands) that she doesn't meet this qualification, but for once I'M not going to be the one to tell her.  I've done enough Dreamkilling this week.

Answers to 1 through 7 below are for the confidential use of the Department.
1. Do you currently have or have you ever been diagnosed with or treated for any medical condition that may affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle?
EXAMPLES, including but not limited to: Diagnosis or treatment for heart trouble, stroke, hemorrhage or clots, high blood pressure, emphysema (within past two years) • progressive eye disorder or injury (i.e., glaucoma, macular degeneration, etc.) • loss of normal use of hand, arm, foot or leg • blackouts, seizures, loss of consciousness or body control (within the past two years) • difficulty turning head from side to side • loss of muscular control • stiff joints or neck • inadequate hand/eye coordination • medical condition that affects your judgment • dizziness or balance problems • missing limbs
{This is the one Bear was told very clearly at his last neuropsych evaluation he had serious issues with - if he gets upset/angry it seriously impairs his judgement and abilities to the point he should not drive.  Our biggest concern of course is that when he's upset he tends to make poor, impulsive decisions, and he's MORE likely to drive.}
Please explain and identify medical condition:
2. Within the past two years, have you been diagnosed with, been hospitalized for or are you now receiving treatment for a psychiatric disorder? 
{This is the one that Kitty would NEVER pass.  She would need a doctor's note and I don't think her doctor would sign.  In reading this, I realized Bear would NOT have to answer "yes" to this one!  He was diagnosed more than 2 years ago, has not been hospitalized in 4 years, and was/is not currently receiving treatment for a psychiatric disorder (although he SHOULD be).}
3. Have you ever had an epileptic seizure, convulsion, loss of consciousness, or other seizure?
4. Do you have diabetes requiring treatment by insulin?
5. Do you have any alcohol or drug dependencies that may affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle or have you had any episodes of alcohol or drug abuse within the past two years?  
{I explained to my kids that the massive doses of medications they take would be included in this - as they are dependent on them. Most of them warn against operating heavy machinery, dizziness... that effect the child's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.}
6. Within the past two years have you been treated for any other serious medical conditions? Please explain:
{Do I even need to comment here?! lol} 
7. Have you EVER been referred to the Texas Medical Advisory Board for Driver Licensing?
NOTICE: The information on this application is required by the Texas Driver License Act, Texas Transportation Code Chapter 521.
Failure to provide the information is cause for refusal to issue a driver license or identification card, and in some cases, cancellation or withdrawal of driving privileges. False information could also lead to criminal charges with penalties of a fine up to $4,000.00 and/or jail.

Other posts about our kids and driving:
What We Expect Before You Begin Driving 
Driving Rules and Contract


emma said...

Good god so much highlighting, I am blinded!

marythemom said...

Sorry Emma,

I didn't look at the finished post. I removed the biggest portion of the highlighting. It's hard to work with this weird coloring. Maybe I should switch to a black and white template. I've had this one for several years anyway.