Hi. I'm Robert Bowler. I am Herbert Bowler's father and along with my wife brother and the state of Wisconsin Appel his legal guardian. I am emailing a response to my son's allegations that we are abusing him and mistreating him by not letting him live on his own outside the state of Wisconsin and because he is a ward of the state.
Herbert's behavioral and mental problems are the result of Asperger's and in addition to fidgeting, rocking his head, talking and mumbling to himself and making funny faces for no reason he is egotistic, greedy, a glutton, and irresponsible. Whenever Herbert does something wrong he makes excuses or blames someone else.
Well, I went to a PTC to talk to the art teacher told him the situation and they told us they'd let herbert opt out of the class since people bullied him too much and he wasn't doing good to being with. Herbert was suspended for a day after the incident. We thought about sending Herbert to the hospital but we didn't thinking that this would pass by. That it was just a childhood phase. Well a year later in Junior high Herbert had another tantrum.
His teacher gave him an F on a report he did because his had writing was very bad. He began to argue with the teacher over it and the teacher threatened to send him to detention if he didn't drop it. when he walked back to his desk another student laughed at him and called him a dweeb and a nitwit. He demanded that the teacher do something and when she said no, Herbert hit the student in the face real hard giving him a shiner.
He was ordered to go to principal's office for detention he then threw the desk across the room and screamed that everyone would die if it happened again and that he would "rape the fuck out of everyone if they didn't stop hurting him and if the teachers did nothing." He then stormed out of the office and then thretned another student in the hall as he walked saying he was looking at him funny. at the office he threw a screaming tantrum that everyone including the teachers hated him. They almost had to call the police.
So we had another conference, Herbert was given one week worth of detention and was grounded. No Nintendo or play station. (we lifted the sanctions after 3 days.) We also had to come up with a behavioral plan for Herbert. He was required to see the guidance counselor twice weekly for the remainder of the school year and the principal wanted us to get him a therapist. We couldn't get one at the time because my health plan wouldn't let me and when we did it lasted only for a year. We couldn't send him anymore.
Herbert's next recorded tantrum was when he was 15. He was shoved into the lockers in the hallway and demanded that the principal suspend the student who did it. He didn't and Herbert began to throw a screaming tantrum and jump up and down and the police were called. Eventually the principal gave in and gave him a detention. Herbert was sent home and suspended for a day for being disruptive. The police gave Herbert and I a warning citation for disorderly conduct in which Herbert immediately accused the officers of supporting bullying and even brought up Rodney King. I almost thought he would get us all in trouble.
At 17 the biggest outburst of all was when Herbert locked himself in an empty class and threatned to burn the room down if he did not get treated right. This was because his homework was thrown away allegedly by bullies. He called it a non-violent protest. The police came tore through the barricade and arrested herbert who was then taken to a psychiatric ward for evaluation and treatment. He also called the media as well. Fortunately they didn't cover the incident we told them the issue was resolved and Herbert was getting a much needed rest.
The only good that came out of this is that experts were on hand to help us get Herbert enrolled in a health plan that allowed him to go to a psychiatrist and get medication until he turned 18. The staff were good enough to help us keep him on the plant till he turned 20.
The next tantrum occured when he was 18. He was teased and harrassed by another student and kicked his desk. When Herbert was told to leave he threw a screamer and demanded that the other person be punished. He kicked the desk again then slapped the other student. Herbert was taken to the principal's office then sent home. He had another tantrum when we announced he would be limited as to how often he could eat out and play video games. He reacted horribly and said we hated him and didn't want him to succeed. He then hit the walls ran around and screamed. We called the police and Herbert went back to the hospital for another 72 hours.
at 19 herbert had a tantrum in the Voc Rehab office when the counsellors told him that he was very awkward and could not envision Herbert being a worker. He was told he should apply for SSI. Herbert wanted instead to get money from his Grandma like his brothers and sisters were and live on his own and prove them wrong. When we told him no and that we would be conservators and guardians he threw a fit tore up papers and yelled it up!
He had another tantrum again at the psychiatrists office accusing the staff of patient abuse. They sent him home. Luckily for them our health plan ran out.
He had yet another Tantrum at the group home he stayed at. They were having a nice bbq cook out at the beach in Lake Michigan when he began wondering around telling people that he was being abused by staff and parents that we wrongfully diagnosed him as mentally ill all because we don't love him and said that he was miserable. He asked them to call his lawyer and us and ask us to give him his money and let him move out of Wisconsin. When they were going home in the car back to the group home he had a screaming fit yelling that he was not disabled and that everyone hated him for no good reason. He yelled so loud the driver had to stop call the police and have Herbert taken to the hospital since he could not focus driving.
The last recorded tantrum we know of was when Herbert was 22. He argued about his situation and accused us of hurting him. When we told him he had to stay at the residential care apartment and accept the way things were he had yet another grand fit. Screaming yelling throwing tables and saying that his whole future is lost just because of the word of a doctor.
I think there were other times he had tantrums or at least light tantrums but He is very childish.
In addition he is grossly obese because he eats too damn much. Herbert constantly eats more than everyone he never moderates his portion sizes even before he was on medication. He especially eats at buffet restaurants. We have a rule. He is forbidden to eat at those places unless we accompany him. Gordon and I have something called Herbert patrol. In our free time drive or walk by the buffets making sure Herbert isn't there pigging out.
This brings me to another situation. His table manners are repulsive. Herbert shovels food into his mouth without so much as stopping to breath. At the chinese buffet for instance with his Grandpa, he ate 5-7 plates. Most everyone including my big brother Gordon only had 2 or 3 plates. When he sat down to eat them he ate real fast making chomping and munching sounds and then going back up to get another plate before everyone was done with their first plate. At olive Garden 2 years ago, Herbert had chicken alfredo, dribbling it on himself and making loud chewing noises and not taking his time.
One memorable moment was when Herbert was with the family eating at Golden Corral. We had to do are darndest to keep his portions in proportion. When Herbert got a plate it was loaded with mountains of food enough to feed 2 people I would speculate. He immediately began shoveling it into his mouth very very fast! We had to restrain him and grab his arm. "HERBERT! HERBERT! Slow down... Chew your food... this isn't a race. He would slow down for awhile then start to pick back up and we had to grab his wrist, "wait Herbert... one at a time." He ate his plate before we were all done. He was not allowed back up for seconds until we all finished our firsts. I then had to accompany Herbert to the buffet to make sure he didn't overload again. (Ditto for his uncle Gordon) after 3 smaller portions later he was allowed to have a little desert which he woofed down in one or two bites. I was embarrassed. He is like this all the time and like a child I have to restrain him.
Herbert has run away twice. The first time was back in I think it was 2012 when he wanted to go to Tulsa. He didn't know he was a ward of Wisconsin and his parents. We found out then that he had become a libertarian. His reasoning behind it was because the government programs he was on couldn't find him work because they were lazy and useless. He also believed he was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome to punish him for why the school failed to stop the bullying. There are times when I wonder if we should've let him go to Tulsa and times where I wonder if we should see how well he does on his own.
Herbert ran away a second time this year after arguing over removing his guardianship. He was told that he could travel out of state to get it removed. He traveled to New York then Portland Oregon where he was found and brought back after Thanksgiving. He was gone for half a year and had us all worried.
Herbert's condition is hard to fathom. But let me tell you. He needs to be reminded to clean up after himself, he needs to be reminded to take a shower, he needs to take care of himself. No grown man should have to be reminded of that.
Oh! before I forget, I have seen a couple of Herbert's job interviews. One at McDonalds where he blew it by making a screwed up funny face and another one in Green Bay where he talked too loud and the interviewer asked him to lower his voice. This is not a responsible adult.
Herbert's only job history is Labor Ready in Appleton, Green Bay New York and Portland Oregon.
I realize that some people on your blog Brian have no issues or were dealt a bad hand or had just a few issues and shouldn't have had their money taken but people like Herbert are their own worst enemy and it is the state's job to take care of these people along with parents. We need to get Herbert help so he is accepted and allowed to thrive like he's supposed to.
Herbert can be independent and go leave Wisconsin if the State and his doctors agree. I spoke to him and told him if his doctors agree, well let him leave but not far. We prefer herbert live close by either in Chicago or St Paul or Des Moines or some place else where he can get services. But Herbert can't live in Tulsa Im sorry but I don't see how a place like Oklahoma or Texas could be better than Wisconsin.
Anyway that's all for now. I wont be posting the videos of Herbert's tantrums because they are all on VHS and Audio cassette and I don't want to damage them. Well show them off if his hearing next month falls through and if he continues to be resistant to the help were trying to give him.
I love my son, I know I can be hard on him sometimes but I need to be. It was like that for me when I grew up. I have to show him the error of his ways even if he doesn't want to see.
That was Robert Bowler, Father of Herbert Bowler his legal guardian. The response was given on New Years Eve. A copy of this and Herbert's letter was shown to Tina Johnson, a mental health worker and case worker in Sacramento California. Who had these remarks,
My name is Tina Johnson I am a case worker and mental health professional who works in the Sacramento area. for 15 years I have worked with dozens of clients from children to adults many of whom with severe mental illness disability or mentally challenged. I looked at Herbert's letter and his father's response and there seems to be a lot going on that isn't being addressed.
First of all a few words on Asperger's syndrome. Asperger's syndrome is a form of Autism it is a cognitive disorder that is very mysterious and that people in my profession have baffled over for many years.
I wish to point out for Herbert's benefit it is NOT! NOT a mental illness. In fact people with Asperger's syndrome are very intelligent and very capable people who live normal lives like we do. Some need a little more help, some of them do have mental disorders accompanying Asperger's such as ADHD, Anxiety and major depression others have a few other issues. But at the worst they simply need structures and supports to help them get by.
Looking at Herbert's situation is seems that there are some unresolved conflicts and problems going on in Herbert's life that need to be resolved. Herbert's got some issues and the parents it seem are behind much of it. This being hard on him, saying he's a nut job that he's crazy and laughing at him is probably one of the main reasons.
What I find is that when people with disabilities like Herbert are willing to run away and go places like Tulsa it tells me that he is unhappy with his situation. He is very stressed there are problems he doesn't want to be there anymore. He also has a strong desire to get out into the work force and live on his own. When I work with people like that they usually want to do so because often they are told by loved ones they can't and they feel stupid and left out. They want to to show people they aren't stupid and that there is nothing wrong with them.
Also I see that Robert admits being hard on him, the problem with people with Asperger's is that they tend to be hypersensitive to criticisms and condemnations. Herbert believes that he is stupid and that getting a job being independent is a way out of his problems. This unfortunately also tends to enforce denial of having Asperger's syndrome. The denial usually comes with the fear of loss of freedom or assets and loss of family support. I find that clients I work with who deny their condition do so because of the stigma attached to it. Sadly societies view of the weak and the mentally ill and the disabled enforces the problem.
I also see Robert is trying too claim that Herbert has it nice that materially he is better off but sadly that doesn't cut it. Its nice you buy him things and provide for him but its only part of the thing. You need to also support him emotionally and lovingly! I know plenty of people who pamper their loved ones but cuss them out chew them out and make their lives unbearable. That's not good enough!
What I would suggest is that Herbert be allowed to move someplace where his family can keep an eye on him and support him just in case he winds up in another homeless situation. Herbert can perhaps stay close to relatives? I recommend places like Massachusetts or Oregon or Washington specifically around the Seattle area. St Paul or Rochester in Minnesota seems to be a nice choice too because of the services they offer.
As for symptoms like tics and fidgeting or Herbert's overeating, I recommend finding different medications for Herbert to try that wont have so many bad side effects like drowsiness or hunger and some that will also reduce his appetite so he can moderate his eating. Some people with Asperger's are believed to have a condition related to a missing enzyme that might propel much of his bad eating. If Herbert craves foods like grain or dairy or sweets he may have it. So new meds and a change of diet can lessen the symptoms.
Also the family needs to get together and show him love and support! Not this derision or ridicule! That just worsens his behavioral issues.
Finally I wish to recommend the following for herbert. First, instead of buying him 5 new video games buy him something like sneakers to walk around get around and look for jobs in Appleton or Green Bay. Or buy him bus tickets to a close by metropolitan area that can support him and where he can find work! Second, Herbert would benefit greatly if he had a therapist. The therapist could help him grow some skin and also could help him with issues he has and could work with you and the family.
Another good idea is peer counseling. Mental health professionals with Asperger's syndrome can understand what Herbert is going through and work not only with Herbert but you and the family! If Herbert can't get a job anywhere else he could be trained and employed himself as a peer counselor!
These are a few suggestions I have. As for Herbert's belief that the government is the problem I should point out that the economy is not so good and that government isn't going to do anything about that. Herbert's political views are motivated by distrust and feeling let down by the government. Also people with Asperger's tend to be credulous. I would recommend exposing Herbert to different view points, maybe let him visit Tulsa and see what its like and what they have to offer as opposed to more enlightened and progressive areas of the country.
One other thing, the government is not a substitute for caring for Herbert. The family has to pull itself together on this one. We are low on funds and low on staff and the economy has shrunk our funding base so while we can help you best we can its best not to rely too much on us.