"How do your illnesses, injuries or conditions limit your ability to work?"
Honestly, I couldn't blame her. This is not an easy question on the best of days, especially for someone who has limited understanding of her diagnoses, let alone acceptance. After talking about it in therapy, Hubby was extremely frustrated by the time we got through the session (she was very triggered and dysregulated, causing her to be disrespectful and verbally abusive) and wanted to let her deal with the natural consequences - having her fill it out herself. The therapist strongly suggested that I fill out the form for her. I proposed that someone else go over the results with her in the hopes that she would accept it better.
So here's the answer I wrote:
How do your illnesses, injuries or conditions limit your ability to work?Extreme issues with executive functioning, memory, hearing, understanding language, organization, sequencing, planning, task completion, focusing, impulse control, reasoning, prioritizing, follow through, cause and effect, understanding directions, inability to make quick decisions, problem solving, emotional instability…
Being in large noisy groups is stressful and anxiety provoking, and easily causes feeling overwhelmed and drained. The ability to handle stressful and/or new situations is low, particularly when aggravated by loud, chaotic environment. Low frustration tolerance causes shut down, great upset, and/or the feeling of being overwhelmed. Recovery time can be considerable before emotional regulation and composure returns. There is a strong tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears when under stress or feeling anxious. History of suicidal ideation and multiple psychiatric hospitalizations and residential inpatient psychiatric treatment.
During academic career, required a sheltered, highly structured academic program offering maximum support (particularly emotional support) to complete a special education program. Needs constant reassurance and frequent prompting when working, along with frequent and immediate feedback. All information must be presented shortly (in small chunks), simply, orally and concretely in a calm, quiet, environment to have maximum comprehension (processing speed is in the lower extreme range – 1st percentile - 65). There is great difficulty multi-tasking and following multiple step directions (working memory is well below average – 3rd percentile – 71).
When presented with an emergency situation or the need to choose between multiple options and/or make quick decisions, is easily flustered, often freezes, is prone to making impulsive decisions. Recurrently sees obstacles as insurmountable and often unable to make well-thought out, rational choices. Often preoccupied by emotional difficulties which inhibits learning and completing tasks. A highly structured, supervised environment with established routine, minimal distractions, and emotional support and regulation is needed for optimal success.
Exhibits great difficulty staying on task and completing tasks quickly. Requires periodic review of already mastered concepts and active involvement (versus passive activities or unstructured downtime) is needed. Assistance with maintaining attention and alertness during group interactions is required, as well as frequent prompts to redirect attention back to a task or speaker.
Significant social and emotional delays lead to great difficulty in making appropriate decisions and exhibition of recurrent displays of inappropriate emotions and feelings during interpersonal interactions. Misperceptions and overreactions to the behavior of or interactions with others are common. A concrete, black and white sense of right and wrong cause frequent upsets. Great difficulties regarding: accepting personal responsibility for actions; accepting correction; lack of self-confidence; limited empathy and understanding of others; judging other’s motivation, capabilities, and social interactions; poor social skills; trouble judging appropriate interactions and other’s motivations; communication issues…
Chronic insomnia and non-restful sleep cause excessive absences (due to difficulty with getting up in the morning) and issues with focus and multi-tasking. Being tired often triggers frequent headaches and esophoria (which causes double vision, nausea, and dizziness). Possesses limited physical stamina and strength.
Numerous medications and changes in said medications often cause side effects including lethargy, confusion, trouble concentrating, memory problems, feeling unsteady/ dizziness, suicidal ideation, self-harming, headaches, fainting, insomnia, drowsiness, blurred vision...
An inability to drive, due to not meeting many of the criteria, medications, and esophoria -- combined with living in an area with no public transportation, greatly limits ability to get to and from a workplace.
Learning disabilities cause issues with basic math (including understanding money, budgets, paychecks, value of property, insurance, benefits, deductions, making change, working a cash register, calculating discounts and percentages…), learning new processes and computer programs… Language disabilities cause great difficulty filling out forms and applications, basic reading, spelling, decoding multi-syllable words, limited vocabulary, written expression including composing anything beyond simple sentences….
The rest of the 8! pages of questions, which had a tiny little line on which to answer were things like:
6. Describe what you do from the time you wake up until going to bed.
It repeatedly asked questions like:
What changes in ____________ have you experienced since the illnesses, injuries, or conditions began?
Of course the standard answer was, "Disabilities began in early childhood."
14 a. List household chores, both indoors and outdoors, that you are able to do.
b. How much time does it take you, and how often do you do each of these things.
c. Do you need help or encouragement doing these things?
If "YES," what help is needed?
d. If you don't do house or yard work, explain why not.
20 d. For how long can you pay attention?
e. Do you finish what you start?
f. How well do you follow written instructions?
g. How well do you follow spoken instructions?
h. How well do you get along with authority figures?