estradling75

Missionary Son

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Before I get to my question I feel the need to share a bit of background.

My youngest son has Autism, I say this so that it can be understood that his siblings have a better understanding of the Autism spectrum of disorders then most because we have lived with it.  But this is not about my youngest son, it is about my oldest.

Growing up he had some issues socializing and with behavior.  But he is verbal and intelligent and we (his parents and leaders) were always able to talk and reason him through it, even if he did not grasp the problems like other people would.  It wasn't until we dealt with his younger brother that, in retrospect, we thought that maybe the oldest might also be on the spectrum but in a lesser form. But at that time the oldest was doing fine so we thought it best to just let it be.

He is now old enough to be prepping in earnest for a mission.  He wants to go. He wants to put his best foot forward as a representative of the church.  He is aware of his issues and is worried about the impact they will have on his ability to serve. In discussing this concern with various leaders that are helping him prepare, the suggestion was given that he should get a professional evaluation. This evaluation could then be submitted with his missionary medical paperwork.. so that the leaders and missionary department can evaluate his abilities and call him accordingly.

As his father I am very well pleased with his desire and how he is trying to figure out answers to his concerns so that it can happen.  I also fully approve of his reasoning and plan.  I personally feel that he will do fine on a mission if he chooses to do fine. I have even told him that the church has done very well for itself sending out young men, like him, that don't always act in the most mature matter.  Still I know missions are hard and knowing that you are were you are suppose to be,  doing what you are suppose to do, while facing that hardship can be a great strength.  And I don't want him to have doubt about that, which might happen if we don't get an evaluation for him, because we failed to provide church leaders with all the relevant information. (I can so see that thought coming to him when he faces trials and preempting it seems prudent)

So it seems getting him a profession evaluation is wise (no matter what it turns up). The problem is we recently moved changed states, changed doctors, changed everything.  Our prior experience with our younger son is no longer relevant in finding a person to do such an evaluation.  We are still rebuilding our family medical providers.  So I thought I would reach out to the members of this forum to see if anyone has had experience with getting a professional evaluation for the Autism related spectrum and if they have someone they can recommend?  We are in the Sandy/Draper area of Utah.

 

 

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@estradling75 My friend said that it will be required to have this evaluation for anything resembling mental health. And as such, the bishop or stake president should have recommendations of where to go to have one done. Although she didn't give any specific recommendations, she said that there are lots of professionals in Utah that do these type of evaluations specifically for missions.

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Guest LiterateParakeet

Sorry, no suggestions, I just wanted to say that my son's best friend is on the spectrum.  He got an evaluation before his mission.  He's been out over a year now and judging by his emails, he couldn't be happier.  He's grown spiritually as good missionaries do.  I just thought that might be encouraging to your family while you get the other details sorted out.  

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Thanks @beefche  I still have to wrap my head around this statement you made

4 hours ago, beefche said:

she said that there are lots of professionals in Utah that do these type of evaluations specifically for missions.

I am not used to living in a place that could support that.

And @LiterateParakeet what you describe in the goal we (and I am sure every pre-mission parent) wish to achieve

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I thought I'd give an update.

I talked to my Bishop and asked if it could give us the contact information for someone at LDS Family Services that we could work with.  Apparently it doesn't quiet work that way.  Our bishop reached out to Family Services and asked that it be done and Family Services reached out to us.  (This took a couple weeks)

They started with an survey for him and one of his parents.  After they had time to look that over, they setup appointment for an in person interview.  We have finished that

The next step is for LDS Family Services to document their findings and report to the Church (Bishop, Stake President, Mission Department) and us their recommendation.

We are waiting on that. 

We were told the recommendation can go one of 4 ways.

1 He is recommended as Good to Go.

2 He is recommended for further counseling

3 He is recommend for a service mission rather then a full time mission

4 He is recommend as not able to serve

The recommendation with have the supporting documentation for that action.

It will then be in the hands of the Church leadership, and of course the Potential Missionary, how they respond to the recommendation.

 

This is what we wanted to have happen

Thanks for you help in figuring this out.

 

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@estradling75 In the past, the Church used to send missionaries with autism to full time missions, particularly those with high-functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome. I don't think it is that common anymore, I can only assume the Church has modified some of the requirements due to the challenges associated with autism in the mission field. Even though there is a lot of routine involved, the constant changes in areas and different types of companions, etc can make things quite challenging for someone on the spectrum.  I know a couple of young men with autism who did serve a mission but they did not disclose their medical condition to Church leaders.  Not sure if the Church evaluates case by case. Serving a mission is indeed a blessing and I am sure your son will do great regardless where he serves or the type of mission. All the best. :)

Edited by Suzie

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One of my son's companions interrupted his mission twice to go home because of depression. Both times he went home he later returned to the same mission and eventually he finished his mission and was honourably released. My son visited him a few weeks ago and he is doing great.

My older brother has a history of mental illness that began in his mid teens. His first application to serve a mission was turned down. the second time he applied, he was sent on a three month "mini-mission" during which he baptised several people, one of whom was in the same MTC as myself a few years later. It was only on his third application that he received a full time mission call.

When my bishop's daughter sent in her mission papers, she had to wait months for a reply. The reply was that she should wait for a while and apply again, which she did. When she tried again, she received a mission call to the neighbouring mission. I think she served for about 10 months and came home early with anxiety issues. This was about 18 months ago. She was sealed in the temple about two weeks ago.

I mention these examples just to illustrate a very small sample of the variety of outcomes and experiences.

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I know its been a bit but I figure if you are still following this thread you might be interested in an update.

 

This evening he was received his call and was set apart as a Youth Church Service Missionary,  (See here for details of that if you are interested https://www.lds.org/callings/missionary/church-service-missionary/ycsm/?lang=eng)  His field of labor will be in the Church Office Building where he will support the efforts of the church publishing department. This department handles the creation of church video (including temple videos) and flyers, pamphlets, handout cards, etc.  Including special request from General Authorities. 

At least that is what I am told.  This is all kinds of new and different territory for me.  When we started I didn't even know something like this was an option.

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2 hours ago, estradling75 said:

I know its been a bit but I figure if you are still following this thread you might be interested in an update.

 

This evening he was received his call and was set apart as a Youth Church Service Missionary,  (See here for details of that if you are interested https://www.lds.org/callings/missionary/church-service-missionary/ycsm/?lang=eng)  His field of labor will be in the Church Office Building where he will support the efforts of the church publishing department. This department handles the creation of church video (including temple videos) and flyers, pamphlets, handout cards, etc.  Including special request from General Authorities. 

At least that is what I am told.  This is all kinds of new and different territory for me.  When we started I didn't even know something like this was an option.

It's amazing the variety of mission there are.  Like my brother in law who's had chronic health problems (including several rounds of cancer) still could serve a mission- he's one of the online chat missionaries.  My friends at the SLC Family History love their full-time missionaries (who are actually computer savvy, unlike the retiree's who comprise most of the volunteers).

Edited by Jane_Doe

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19 hours ago, estradling75 said:

I know its been a bit but I figure if you are still following this thread you might be interested in an update.

 

This evening he was received his call and was set apart as a Youth Church Service Missionary,  (See here for details of that if you are interested https://www.lds.org/callings/missionary/church-service-missionary/ycsm/?lang=eng)  His field of labor will be in the Church Office Building where he will support the efforts of the church publishing department. This department handles the creation of church video (including temple videos) and flyers, pamphlets, handout cards, etc.  Including special request from General Authorities. 

At least that is what I am told.  This is all kinds of new and different territory for me.  When we started I didn't even know something like this was an option.

Thanks for the update, I had been wondering about this last week.

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