One of [Daughter’s] disabilities is Central Auditory Processing Disorder. She covers it well, but her receptive language skills are very low. She is quickly overwhelmed by verbal instructions/information. I learned not to give her multiple instructions at one time. If I asked her to do several things, “Take this to your room and then bring your dirty clothes and put them in the laundry room,” she’d feel overwhelmed. She reached the point where she was comfortable reminding me, “Mom, you’re piling on me. I can’t do it. Write it down.” I could hand her a written list with 5 or 6 larger tasks on it, and she’d be fine, verbally telling her 2 or 3 small tasks would overwhelm her. I also learned when explaining things to ask her if she understood, or have her repeat it back to me. I also found that it was very helpful to her for me to post a schedule. I’d put the weekly schedule on the refrigerator, including meetings, appointments, menu, and chores. That was very helpful for her, and calmed her anxiety. It was easier for her to handle surprises and changes when she knew what the schedule was several days in advance.
She called me last night to ask what had happened in her appointment with [Psychiatrist] (thanks, [Therapist], for encouraging her to do that). Among other things she thought she was getting a new pill and that she wasn’t allowed to go to camp or on vacation. She was afraid major decisions had been made about her that she didn’t know or understand. I explained what had happened, and she said, “Okay, now I can sleep tonight. I was worrying.”
I think it would be helpful for [Daughter] to have a written schedule, and to know what upcoming activities are several days in advance. If you are telling her information or giving her instructions, speak slowly and give her the opportunity to ask questions. Make sure she understands what you are telling her. If you see her getting angry or her mood shifting rapidly, check to see if she understands what is going on. Let’s work on teaching her to ask for clarification when she doesn’t understand. She needs to reach the point where she can speak up for herself in all settings to ask that things be written down when she is feeling overwhelmed. One of the things she complained about is that “No one listens to me.” I don’t think anyone is intentionally not listening to her, but I find myself wondering if when she is seeking clarification because she doesn’t understand something, she is being brushed off. It could be she’s coming across as argumentative when she’s really confused.
I’m thinking this issue might be behind some of her volatility, and if we can address it, her mood may even out. I think it is part of the reason she hates her appointments with [Psychiatrist]; she’s having trouble processing everything that is being said.
I hope this is helpful.
I have had several responses, and so far everyone has thought this information was very helpful. I think there will be written schedules provided at both the house and her program. I have exchanged emails today with the new House Manager. So far, I am very impressed. Daughter went over 12 hours without calling me today. That is a first. When she called this morning, I was on the phone with someone so couldn't talk to her. When she called this evening, she was happy and relaxed. I think this is going to work.