8. Graduate Student in Behavioral Research & Ben–Age 6
By: Carole Norman Scott
Feb. 7, l969 (Ben-6 1/2 years old, Maureen-8, Johnny-18 months)– I am going to try to keep track of my sessions with Ben and our dealings with Mr. X. We entered into an agreement (which included payment) with him in January, of 1969, and I have tried to fulfill my/our part of the bargain, and I hope against all hope that he will live up to his. So far, he has only come to the house several times, and once suggested we swat Ben everytime he didn’t answer us. We will NOT do that, as it has already been proven that a swat does NOT accomplish ANYTHING! In fact, it sometimes makes matters worse. He has spent about one hour actually working with Ben himself. Today, (Feb.7), he finally had an idea to have me bring Ben over to his office (could it be he watched the play on TV about the retarded boy and the teacher?) He informed me when he picked Ben up that, “What you find so difficult is really my cup of tea!” I sure am glad, because I’ll sure let him “have at it.”
Maureen & Ben–A big sister that helped with her little brother.
I told him in a telephone conversation this morning exactly how I felt — that there are other children who don’t have problems to consider and I am not going to make Ben the center of attention at all times. The “corker” was that I didn’t like the way he went about working with Maureen (supposedly showing her how to deal with Ben). She is only eight years old, and he said…right in front of her that, “She could undo all you’ve done!” She has been SUCH a good big sister to Ben, and worked so diligently with him throughout her lifetime, that to me…his approach was inexcusable. It could leave a “lasting” impression on her psyche. It made me VERY angry!
I frankly don’t agree with him on many issues, and I feel I know Ben quite a bit better than he does. I told him that I felt like…so far…he had the money and that he had better start doing something to earn it. I don’t know how this is ever going to turn out. Right now, it sure seems like we are up against the wall once again. Lord, help us!
May 10, 1969
So much has happened since I wrote last that I don’t know where to start. First of all, we got Ben started to school at the Child-World Preschool. His teacher was very concerned about his groaning and hyper-activity, and suggested we see a Neurologist, and see if there wasn’t some kind of medication Ben could take that would help quiet him down. We had to wait two months to get in to see him, but we did get the medication. He prescribed 50mg. Dilantin and 25mg. Atarax, a mild, pure tranquilizer. He has been taking it now since April 30, (Wed.). So far, it has not affected him adversely like the other medications did, and we can see “little” things that are “great” improvements. He is more aware. His attention span is a little longer, and getting better. He follows directions more accurately, and the first time you tell him. He is in a co-operative mood most of the time, and there is much less whining.
A funny “aside” to meeting the teacher at the pre-school. She had a British accent, and spoke very “knowingly!” She took us out into her back-yard to show us her koi fish-pond. She said, “Look at the fish, Ben!” Immediately, he knelt down and put his face under the water. We got him up quickly (because he had never done that before), and she said, “Ben, that was not too sensible!” That has become a family joke ever since. If Ben had been prone to doing “sensible” things…he wouldn’t have been going to her school…now would he? In Ben’s way of thinking though, it was logical! She had told him to look at the fish, so he got where his eyes could see them the best–like a scuba diver! Good thinking…don’t you agree–Ha!
Some of the things he has done in just the 2nd week period are:
1. Stayed with it and put all the blocks in the box the 1st time I asked him to.
2. Ran to the door and said “Hello Diana” without anyone prompting him. Was very excited about her coming.
3. Went to Zeppy’s Pizza with his aunt and uncle and Maureen. Fought for a horse on the Merry-go-round, and seemed interested in his surroundings.
4. Can zip his own jacket and acts real interested in tying his own shoes. It won’t be long before he can do it!
5. Swings himself, and pumps for 30 minutes or more.
6. When I asked him who that man was he said, “Mr. Swisher” without even hesitating. He was right! (although it was Dr. Swisher).
7. Behaved so nicely when we went to get the kids picture taken. They had to do a three-in-one picture, and he followed instructions and acted like any other kid.
8. When in the Dr.’s office, he got him a book and sat down and stayed seated until we were ready to go. This was a first!!
9. Said “No” instead of whining when I told him it was time to brush his teeth.
June 2, 1969
Ben has been taking the 50mg. of Dilantin and 50mg. of Atarax now for two weeks. The first week he had a cold, so it was hard to tell too much, but it does seem to slow him down some – although we noticed he was saying more sentences that didn’t relate to what was going on.
This week, he seems to understand better our directions and follows them better, but does tend to stay to himself more…more like he did before the hyperactivity started and he first withdrew. He can ride his bike with training wheels on it with no help, and the other day, I said, “What are you doing Ben?”, and he said, “We’re playing in the basement!” (Johnny was with him.) He has learned his address and telephone number.