Serendipitously, H wanted to stop by for mail and to write me a check for S16's car tires, and we had an IC appointment for S14 scheduled, so I invited him to attend if he wanted to. It was very interesting. I tried not to try to control the conversation so the IC could get a read on how S14's dad interacts with us.
The goal is to figure out what will help S14 motivate himself to succeed in life, beginning with getting out of bed. We had a very optimistic schedule to attempt from last week, which we both did not implement very well, and we both thought was extreme for summer, and which I thought would require more sitting on S14 that I was able to do or should do. The talk turned to how much of this might be wired and how much is willful, and H took over and kind of went on a rampage. He believes it's willful and believes S14 just needs to have empathy for how much he's inconveniencing everyone else and then the good feeling of not being an inconvenience for his mother will be what motivates him. He asked S14 if he feels bad for not helping me, and he continued rephrasing the question and clarifying it and answering it himself, for maybe five entire minutes so S could not get a word in edgewise. S14 basically clammed up, leaned back, picked at his lip and said monosyllabic answers only after long pauses. And looked like he might cry.
H also talked about what "we" do and family dinners and things as if he hasn't lived elsewhere for the past year and a half. About how "we" have consequences and "we" have chores in the house. If you didn't know, which IC did know, you would have thought we all lived together. I was very quiet and tried to let everyone else be how they were, but all the loud talking in my ear was upsetting and I found myself scrutinizing the letters in the titles of the psych books on IC's shelves so that I would not cry. Not because I felt emotional about the not living together, but because the loud talking and H acting like he knows everything made me feel very uncomfortable. I also feel uncomfortable when S14 acts weird, because I know he's able to not do that, and his clamming up tends to make people uncomfortable which is embarassing to me. So I tried to just not get in the way during the uncomfortable parts.
IC suggested some testing to determine what areas might be holding S14 back, and H said he didn't think it was needed now that we had a new solution. H's new solution was he told S14 that we're all going to thank him when S14 does things like get up and feed the dogs so he can know we appreciate it and so he can develop empathy for how we feel. With this NEW appreciativeness (which is not new, because I always thank the kids for doing things I appreciate...it was H who didn't believe in praising them for just doing what they're supposed to, and he's not there to say thanks now...), with this new tool, H felt we'll see S14 do better and if he does better we don't need any expensive testing.
IC excused S14 and got a lot more serious and suggested to H that it will be helpful to determine how much is willful and how much is not. His observations suggested to him that we might be dealing with something along the autistic spectrum, where all the yelling in the world isn't going to have the intended effect. I've thought that since S was little, when he got scolded for not making eye contact and not being more engaging with people, so this is not surprising to me but I have always thought S14 was doing pretty well and needed to be more understood. I think it's time to recognize that's not good enough, because the depressive signs have me really worried.
So I was really glad H was in the room for this discussion coming from IC. I think it helped get H possibly thinking in terms of what S needs rather than how inconvenient S is. I also think it gave IC a good picture of the impact H has when he's talking to S.
Later in the car I asked S how he thought it went, good, bad, medium? Got a grunt. I said, I think it went really well because it gave IC a chance to see what dad's like. S opened up and said he would have answered the question but dad wouldn't stop talking so there was nowhere to get in. So we went and got lollipops and went home.
S is willing to go for testing, so we'll see where that leads.
Adinva 51, S20, S18 M24 total 6/15/11-12/1/12 From IDLY to H moving out 9/15/15-3/7/17 From negotiating SA to final D at age 50 5/8/17-now: New relationship with an old friend __ Happiness is a warm puppy.