Our Journey Raising Two Children with Special Needs

This blog chronicles our life raising two children, Nicholas 14, diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Weston 17, diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's/ADHD. It's the ups, the downs, the joys, the sorrows and most importantly, the beauty of living a life less perfect, a life more meaningful.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Incredible Hulk, the Interviewer

I waited in the car as Weston exited the middle school. I studied his gait hoping to gain a clue in determining the results of his first ever interview. But as he saw my vehicle he sprinted to it.

"Hi," he said and jumped in.  

"Well? How'd it go?" I asked.

"I dunno," he answered in his typical cryptic Weston language.

"Well do you think you did well?"

"I guess so," he answered, sounding defeated.

His short word sentences have alerted my mothering instinct. He is not pleased with his performance.

I guess I should not be surprised since interviewing requires an ability to interpret a person's words, thoughts and actions. It is this same social skill that makes it difficult for Weston to develop friendships. Suddenly I realize, Weston has no clue how he did on his interview.

It now becomes necessary for me to ask my son a series of short questions. This will help us to determine how the meeting progressed. I must tread very lightly here. Too many in-depth questions will send his brain into sensory overload and he will shut down altogether. I am curious so I proceed cautiously.

"What did the interviewer look like?" I asked brightly.

"It was a guy," he answered.

"Was he tall, short, bald....?"

"He was big!" Weston answered emphatically.

Inside I cringe, as my image of the big burly interviewer may be unsettlingly accurate.

Oh brother!  I think to myself.

"What did he say when you sat down?"

"He asked me what I like to do."

"What did you say?" I asked lightly.

"I told him I liked to work with my hands."

"Well that was a good answer," I say, trying to pull him out of his discouraged mood.

"He asked me if I played sports." Weston offered.

"What did you tell him?" I asked

"I told him I ran track last year."

"Well that sounds good too," I said.

"He asked me what I wanted to do at his school. I told him HVAC,"

In my mind I am thinking all sounds good so far.

"He asked me what my favorite subject was."

"And what did you say?"

I told him it was social studies. He asked me what that had to do with HVAC?

Oh no, maybe this did not go so well, I think to myself. Hulk, the Interviewer was certainly not holding back on his sarcasm. Was he being tough to observe Weston's response or was he just being a smart ass? I wondered.

"Then he told me there were 1,000 technical schools in the US." Weston said, "Why did he tell me that?" he asked curiously.

"I don't know. Did he say anything else?" I asked, looking at Weston's glazed-over eyes and realizing my question-asking limit is quickly drawing to a close.

"No, that was pretty much it."

It is clear Weston was paired with the hard-core-interviewer-from-hell. But I am somewhat relieved to know that it was not Weston's disability interfering with his attempt to know how he did, this guy was just enjoying his position as ball breaker.

"Well Weston, you did your best and now we will just need to wait and see. Interviews are supposed to be difficult. All you can do is your best."

"He said they will send a letter home by April 1, letting me know if I am accepted."

"OK, so we will know in a month."

As I am thinking, I asked Weston,

"Did he mention anything about how you were dressed?"

"Oh yeah," Weston said and perked up just a little, "Just as I was leaving, he told me I was the only student in the entire group who wore a tie!"

"Well that's something!" I said, "That is definitely something."