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Executive functioning test

When a doctor told me I had all the markers for FASD, it was a hard one for me to accept. I have always been the type of person that has been determined regardless of circumstances or disability. I know I have one. I really didn’t need anyone to tell me. When i was five years old, my kindergarten teacher told my adopted parents that I had to go to a neurologist. There were already concerns. I had been a failure to thrive baby. I did not really talk. I was, very much, a late talker and I didn’t connect the way a lot of other kids did. I saw things differently. I didnt have a lot of the eye hand coordination and I didn’t have spatial sense. I still dont…lol. When the neurologists said that I had significant brain damage and I would not graduate high school, they did not factor in my determination. Have you ever been the type of person, that everything you do, people look at you in this surprised look like WOW, I never knew you could get a masters. I never saw you as a mom. I never saw you being able to do _______________. Well, most of the time, I surprise people because they only see the disability.

My boss would say, she knew I could do it. She actually is a special ed teacher for kids on the Autism Spectrum. I always knew it was a possibility that I had that, too. I was told by one neurologist as an adult that it was most likely Autism, but he dismissed it to look at other things that were not important. I did not even go back to him to find out what he wanted to do. He was disrespectful and I was not impressed with him.

Safeties need to be in place in order for me to accept someone testing me for disabilities. Now, that was there when I was to a genetics doctor at Akron Children’s who said that the FASD was there.

Now, two years later, I decided to go to another neurologist. Some of our kids, from the school, had gone to him and he is able to diagnose autism. I went and it was pretty much 100%. As my boss and best friend says it, about 110%. When I was there about a month ago, we discussed the more cognitive issues that could be related to FASD…besides just the Autism.

Executive functioning can be in both FASD and Autism. I didnt even know really what Executive functioning was. I didn’t know what it was when I went for more testing last Friday. I sat in his office for three hours. He timed me for just about every task I did and I realized that I am a pretty slow processor and I do not have a very good memory…lol. He started off the tests with tasks like reading 20 words to me and I had to say them back. I could only say like the first three or last three because I was not able to remember the rest. He read them again. I maybe remembered one or two more. We did it again a couple more times. He then put them into categories. I could remember the ones I already remembered. But not any more. then he listed them back to me asking if any of them were on the list I may have forgotten. There were a couple that were a maybe, but for the most part…not so much.

He had me say words that started with the letter A and I had a minute. I have to be able to hear something or look at something in order for me to bring it out of my brain. I cant bring it from nothing. So, these were my words…a, an, am, and, animal,….he said ‘keep going’ i saw a book on his desk with the word administration on it, so I said that word. But that was it. He then said ‘ok now words with the letter ‘f’…go.’   First thing out of my mouth was, ‘can I swear.?’ He said yes. But I couldnt say it. But I said words like…fun, freak, fork. that might be it. He said ‘keep going,’ but nothing.

He told me to say animals and I could do that a little better cuz I love animals and actually love to take pictures of them and it is a passion of mine so I had that more imprinted on my brain. I probably listed at least 10.

He read word problems to me….um….he lost me at the first word. He could repeat it once, but other than that, I had to solve it….I did not do well on this. I was not able to process what he said. Words blended into numbers very quickly and within seconds, all I heard was blah, blah, blah. I just passed on most of those.

He had me do patterns. I realized that I could do the patterns, (I think–dont know results yet) that were on top of each other, like 2 blocks on 2 blocks. easy to see.. but the patterns that were in a long series, i could not retain from beginning to end to get the pattern. it was way too hard and I’m normally good at patterns.

SPELLING. Hey, I’m good at that. I’m a writer. I was a journalist for many years. I think I did great at that! All the writing I have done has imprinted words on my mind that I really am good at spelling.

Patterns on the computer. Not only does it say incorrect on the screen, it makes a noise that lets you know that you really dont get it. i got most of them wrong…lol…So, I heard that noise reminding me that I got it wrong about a hundred times.

I actually looked up executive functioning because I had no idea what it was. I guess you can have a high IQ but still not be able to know how to use it. There are people who have a lot of degrees but dont have a job because their executive functioning is so low. Mine is pretty low, but I have always made sure I had the supports around me in order to watch or figure out what to do. I do the things I do. There are a lot of things I really do not know what to do. If you tell me step by step or if I watch you carefully or you visually show me, I can figure it out.

We will find out the results, next Friday.

I will let you know. Image

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YES!

I know I have not written much in these last months. It’s definitely not because I don’t have anything to write about. Every day seems like a new adventure to me. Life has not been easy living with a disability, lately. There has been absolutely NO normalcy in any of my days. I am a person with routine. I dont just don’t want it. I really do need it. But it is what it is. I am one to wake up every morning and just say “I think I can. I think I can.”…lol…

To me, life really is fun. I really don’t ever know what it going to come next. I have the best job in the world. I couldnt ask for a better boss and co-workers. I work at a school with kids who have Autism. They are just like me so I can connect with them. I really do understand them. I wake up every morning thankful that I get to go to work every day to a place that feels like my second home. People who have FASD or Autism have a joy about them in their eyes and in the way they live that just is a breath of fresh air. There is always something to look forward to and always hope.

Today, I see a lot of hope…and thankfulness. Those of us on any kind of spectrum have to find ways of communicating. Mine has always been writing or photography. I have been blessed with an eye for lines. I can see the beauty in just about everything…on the side of the road, in a field…even in a swampy area. The broken down buildings, the ones that should be condemned have the most personality. I love the personalities of trees. Each one has their own story. The ones that are dying and or bare…have so much to tell. Every leaf, every branch, every line of their wrinkly bark shows their history.

I love to take my camera and capture life in nature. I call it God’s Thumbprints.Image I have been doing this for awhile, now. It is my way of showing what I see. My way of communicating when the mouth simply doesn’t work. I may not be able to tell you eloquently what I see, but I can sure show you in a photograph. I was given a true blessing. A gallery in a mall wants to house my work. They really want to sell it. I am so thankful!

You see, those of use who live with FASD or Autism really think sometimes…or we are given the message that there is not much out there for us. There is a lot of negative. But we are some of the hardest workers, most passionate, highly creative individuals on this planet. I have had an Etsy Gallery for awhile now. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to display my art…to talk to others and share life with them.

Someone with FASD guys!! I have a full time job at a school and I have a photography business…and I write a little…lol…

We can do it!!

We can be a part of the human race with optimism and postivity! We can make a difference! We can make a living! We can show people our talents, hopes, and dreams and that we are normal people…

I hope you enjoy my gallery...God’s Thumbprints…

Dear Teacher

Dear Teacher,
I have FASD. I have a hard time hearing everything you say. I try, but sometimes I just don’t understand. It’s hard for me to understand the directions you say. Lot’s of times I forget as soon as you say what I’m supposed to do. I look at others, not cuz I want to cheat, but cuz I want to know what I’m supposed to do next. I know it seems like I’m not paying attention, but I just don’t understand.

I’m not lazy. It seems like I dont want to do my work, but I do. I’m just not sure how to do it. If you tell me exactly what I’m supposed to do a couple of times, I might understand better. You might have to explain it to me with no one else around.

My senses are really sensitive. Sometimes I need breaks from the classroom. Sometimes, I need my own time out from the chaos in the room. It’s hard for me to process all that goes on.

FASD is fetal alcohol syndrome. It just means that my mom drank when I was in her belly. It doesnt mean I’m less than the other kids in the class. I am still very creative and very fun. I love to learn and I love to work. I will always give you my best. I promise and I keep my promises.

FASD means that my brain is not like the other kids. It is wired a little differently and I have to find my way of learning. I have to learn how to learn. Work with me cuz I’m trying to figure out what works for me. If you do it with me and stay patient with me I won’t get as frustrated. Let me know how proud you are of me that I’m working so hard even if I don’t understand and constantly focus on what I’m doing right. Oh, you can tell me what I’m doing wrong or what I’m not understanding, but remind me that I’m still a great kid even if I did something wrong.

See, I’m extra sensitive. My brain just has a hard time understanding so I get so confused with what you are saying or what you are expecting that the harder I try, sometimes my brain just shuts off. And if you get frustrated with me, I think I’m doing something wrong when I’m really trying to give you my best. Do you know what it feels like when people are upset with you and you don’t understand why? You are doing everything you think they want you to do but you are still doing it wrong?

I cry a lot inside. I want to be my best for you and for my parents. I want everyone to be proud of me.

It’s okay to make me an IEP. Call FAS what it is. It only hurts me if you don’t. If I get the right diagnosis, then I get the right helps.

It’s okay that I have this thing called FASD. I can’t change it. It is what it is. Just please don’t make me feel different. Don’t make me feel like what my mom did was so wrong that I feel bad about who I am. Don’t make her actions be who I am.

Thank you,

Your student