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.