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.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What a Picture is Worth to Weston

Like most teenagers his age, Weston is all about the music.

But it is no longer just the catchy beat that captures his attention, he has found a powerful ally in the words and images of certain songs.

"Mom," he told me yesterday. "I would like to get a new t-shirt."

"OK," I replied, "we can go shopping tomorrow."

No Mom, you don't understand!" he said in his I can't believe I have such a annoying mother tone.

"I want to get a t-shirt with the Quiet Riot guy!" he said emphatically.

"Quiet Riot?" I asked "The guys that were popular when I was growing up?" I asked in disbelief.

"I don't know, but this is the picture on their album cover," he said and showed me this.

"Weston," I said, "that's kind of a disturbing image."

"No, it's not Mom." he said seriously.

True to my absolutely clueless mother colors. I did not understand. But I decided to probe my son further.

"What do you mean Weston?"

"Well, do you see how he's wearing a straight jacket?"

"Yes," I answered.

"That is how I feel."

"I'm not following Weston, can you fill me in?" I asked tentatively, careful not to close the door on my enlightenment process and the secret thinkings of my teenage son.

"Well, sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I can't control my body. Like in the morning, when I tease Nicholas, my hands seem to fly out on their own. If I had one of these cool-looking straight jackets, I wouldn't be doing that all the time. I wouldn't have to try so hard to control myself all the time."

I froze for a second while my heart dropped into my stomach.

Suddenly, I realized, what it was like to be diagnosed with ADHD. Weston's impulsive nature has caused him to be reprimanded both at home and at school for most of his entire life.

That this straight jacket should be like a Godsend to my son, made me incredibly sad.

I held it together though and continued to probe him.

"How about the metal mask? That looks kind of scary."

"No Mom, that's the most important part," he said, "that would help me to stop blurting and saying things I don't mean."

That was it, I had to leave the room.

I thought back to when Weston was in kindergarten where he collected more "blurt cards" than baseball cards. He was humiliated and constantly identified by the teacher, as the "bad" student who couldn't raise his hand.

"Weston, I said, Let's see if we can find a Quiet Riot t-shirt on-line."

I headed to the computer and performed more research into the band, Quiet Riot.

I discovered their biggest hit:

"Come on Feel the Noise" (not how the band spells it)

I was not surprised that my sensory sensitive son should be attracted to a song that talks about "physically feeling" music. And how to Weston, "loud noise" also helps him to be quiet.

Another of their hits is:

"Metal Health".........not "mental" but "metal" as in "heavy metal"

Some of the lyrics to this song........

"Well I'm an axe grinder Pile driver
Mother says that I never never mind her
Got no brains I'm insane
Teacher says that I'm one big pain
I'm like a laser, 6-string razor
I got a mouth like an alligator
I want it louder
More power
I'm gonna rock ya till it strikes the hour"

It is now crystal clear to this clueless mother exactly why this band and their music and album covers, resonate so vividly with my continually reprimanded child.

Weston no longer feels like he is all alone.

A while back, I wrote a post called; "Heavy Metal, an Antidote to ADHD" Click here to read it.

I am now convinced of the many therapeutic qualities this type of music has for a child diagnosed with ADHD.

Now, if I could only get ADHD experts like Ed Hallowell or Russell Barkley, to agree.