Month: July 2017
After all the hoopla, all the arguments, all the waiting and all the chaos surrounding Dylan’s ability – or inability – to secure a time to take his Learner’s Permit test, and after he slept through his first one, he finally selected a second time slot. He chose 3:30 p.m. on July 3. He studied for two hours online before he went. It was a 25-question test, but Dylan took several 40-question sample tests in preparation. He even got together his (correct!) pile of materials the day before he went.
We all agreed that July 3 was a good choice, since it was the day before a holiday. We expected that many people would be on vacation that day – and that week – and wouldn’t want to be bogged down with a whole day at the MVA.
We were wrong. In fact, everyone in America thought that July 3 was the perfect day to go to the MVA. I dropped Dylan at the door and unsuccessfully circled the parking lot for ten minutes, finally giving up – only to luck into a prime spot while trying to park across the street. I went inside.
Things were equally crazy inside. Dylan was in a line – the right line, surprisingly – and he was probably 47th in that line. He had an appointment – but it seemed entirely unnecessary. No one asked him about an appointment time. After nine months of procrastination, it was astounding that they didn’t even ask if he had an appointment.
But we followed protocol. We sat together and joked about the insanity of it all. About two hours later, Dylan’s number was called and he was allowed to stand near the door, where he would be called in to take his test. Finally, a man emerged.
“Are you ready to take your test?” the man asked Dylan.
“Yeah,” Dylan said. They went inside.
I looked around the room, which was beginning to clear out. I found a bench, and sat down. I turned on my phone, and looked for a game to play while I was waiting. I only have one game, so it wasn’t tough to decide what to play. I clicked on the WordBrain app.
Just then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something startling.
It was Dylan, stepping slowly out of the testing room.
He got thrown out, I thought. He did something wrong and he got thrown out.
I jumped up. He motioned for me to sit down, but I was too nervous.
“What happened?” I asked.
“I couldn’t finish the test,” he said.
“What do you mean, you couldn’t finish? Did the computer break?”
“No,” he said. “After I got the first 22 questions right, it said, ‘Your test is complete.’ And it wouldn’t let me answer the last three questions.”
It took me a second to process this.
“You’re finished with your test already?” I nearly shrieked. “You were only in there for 35 seconds!”
“More like five minutes,” he said. “But yeah, I’m done.”
Another thought suddenly hit me: “And YOU PASSED!”
“Yep,” he said. “It was so easy!” (It’s amazing how easy something can be when you study for two hours beforehand.)
So my baby has his learner’s permit now.
Since there is nothing we can do about it anyway, I have decided not to worry about alerting teachers to Shane’s possible malady. (It helps that it is summer and there are no teachers nearby.)
But I have also decided that we can tackle some of the issues that Shane presents, using a simple summer program. I’ve purchased a copy of The Executive Functioning Workbook for Teens. It should help us identify his problem areas and work on them.
So we read through Chapter 1, and Shane determined that his troublesome areas are primarily in organization.
The book is wonderful – specifically oriented to the tasks that teens need to do on a regular basis, and how to make them happen, especially if it’s been tough to make them happen prior to reading the book. It’s easy reading, and the activities are very do-able for anyone who takes the time to work through the book.
Best of all, the first chapter outlines the various problems – which you peruse and then circle – and one only needs to do the activities related to those problems. So you don’t spend a lifetime going through the workbook. The activities are concentrated toward whatever issues the reader might have. So Shane is working through the activities this summer, which will hopefully help him to stay on task and more organized during the school year.
However, as happens periodically in this family, I have identified a different child who is more in need of this workbook. And, on the heels of this realization, I am realizing that Dylan’s issues are so extreme that he wouldn’t be able to use the workbook. He simply doesn’t have the focus needed to get through it.
Still, I have decided to give Dylan a chance. Since he is morally and ethically on the right path, he only needs to tweak a few things to become a full-fledged, responsible adult. Maybe this workbook would help him!
And maybe he’ll throw it in the corner with all the other books I’ve given him over the years.
So I will let Shane use it first, and we’ll move forward with Dylan after that.
As Dylan gets ready for his second attempt to take his learner’s permit test, I have realized that I’m still angry at his dad about Dylan’s the first attempt.
Nearly a year after it was legal to do so, Dylan decided he would like to get his learner’s permit.
As I told him – nearly a year ago – he needed to make an appointment to take the test. I wasn’t asking for very much, I thought, since driving a 3,000-pound vehicle requires substantially more focus, concentration and ability than is required to make an appointment.
But Dylan couldn’t do it. For ten months, I told him to Google it. And for ten months, he told me that he needed help knowing what to Google.
I did not help him. I didn’t want him to be incapable of hopping onto the computer, typing in “learner’s permit” and figuring out how and when to take the test in Maryland. But one night, when Bill was in the midst of his drug-induced haze after surgery, Dylan brought up the subject again.
“Here,” Bill said, frustrated that Dylan seemed to have no clue – even though I’d told Bill and Dylan both – numerous times – that Dylan needed to do this one thing on his own.
Dylan didn’t do it on his own. Bill leapt up with his walker, followed Dylan to the computer, and said, “Look, click here.” Then, “Now click here.”
Soon, Dylan was in the exact right place on the World Wide Web to fill out an application and make an appointment. What a surprise! Bill knew exactly how to do it! So now Bill can take the learner’s permit test!
But no… Dylan filled out the paperwork, thanks to Bill’s guidance, so now Dylan believes he is thoroughly responsible enough to get behind the wheel of a car.
And our one chance – our only chance – to teach Dylan how to do something by himself is simply gone.