Thursday, September 8, 2011

Paperwork and Xanax

You know, there are days that I think the biggest PITA about autism is the paperwork.  There is too dang much paperwork when you have a Special Needs child.  This week, it was filling out one of those monster forms, again, that want to know everything from how many pregnancies I had (thanks, just what I want to think about with every major stack of paper for him.  That question just seems mean), all the minutiae from my pregnancy with him, to when he rolled over, said his first words, his first sentences (and does echolalia count?), all the way up to the current time.  I don't remember that stuff. That was a DECADE ago.  I have problems remembering things that happened last week.  Do you know how I fill out paperwork?  I dig out the old paperwork that had me fill out all that annoying stuff already and start copying.  I figure that when I filled that out, it was at least closer to the time they are referencing. Or I just semi-randomly guess.  For me, that means asking "Ok, where did we live when X happened?" and taking a stab at it from there.

I also get really tempted to put in goofy answers.  Especially on really long forms that ask the same questions 15 different ways.  One of the forms I just filled out asked about my child's friends, and if any of them drink, smoke, have sex, do drugs, ect.  Particularly funny when it followed questions like "does your child have friends" (no, not really), and "how well does your child interact with friends".  Dude, if he had actual, close friends, maybe the questions about the quality of the friends wouldn't be funny, but as it stands, I am imagining his (7-11yo) autistic therapy mates drunk & high, and it is pretty dang amusing, especially after pages of this junk.

I have to tell you the single most annoying/amusing part of filling out forms like that is that they assume a certain level of being able to infer meaning.  Considering that the likelihood of an autistic kid having at least one parent that brushes the spectrum (a really high occurrence of engineers, computer nerds, accountants, and other sciency things), why, oh WHY would you not take the time and effort to make the questions more precise.  Seriously.  You are going to drive the parents insane.  This should not be a test for the parents (either the nerdy one, or the one having to explain each. and. every. question. fifteen. gazillion. ways. to get the other parent to understand why it should be answered *this way*).  I see a questionnaire like that and I just want to cry in anticipation.  You should get an automatic bottle of xanax with every questionnaire.  (I have never had xanax, but I am aiming for "drug that makes you not give a hoot/shuts down panic attacks" here...feel free to correct my assumption).

I would take a whopper of a meltdown over a stack of paperwork any day.  Truly.  At least the meltdown ends.  The paperwork only seems to spawn more paperwork.  And, at this point, experience tells me that only about 5-10% of it gets read, and only by 5-10% of people who are supposed to read it.

Can a person have PTSD from paperwork?  I think they can.  I need to write to the DSM-IV people, STAT.

1 comment:

  1. I had a high school friend who is half Kiowa Indian and used to fill out form after form for federal benefits, scholarships, etc. He got to the point where he was putting in joke answers. I think my favorite was when, under "Medical Problems" he ticked 'Other' and filled in "I HAVE NO HEAD."

    For some reason that just cracked us up like you wouldn't believe. Or, well, you probably would.