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Interview with Eva Bowen, February 14, 2017

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:50 - Billy's Early Childhood Development

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Partial Transcript: When was Billy first diagnosed with Asperger's Autism?

Segment Synopsis: Bowen describes the manifestation of Asperger's Syndrome in her son Billy, including irregularities in his infant development and his irritability. She also discusses his difficulties with social interactions and his problems communicating during Pre-K.

Keywords: newborn; panic attack; pediatrician

00:04:04 - Evolution of Billy's Diagnosis

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Partial Transcript: So how did you go about receiving help? Like what were your first steps after you started to realize these things were different about him?

Segment Synopsis: Bowen describes the uncertainty of Billy's condition between kindergarten and the second grade. She also discusses the difficulties of parenting a child with Asperger's syndrome prior to having an official diagnosis. Bowen talks about the decision to put Billy on medication.

Keywords: dysgraphia; dyslexic; extreme anxiety disorder; obsessive compulsive disorder; private school; psychologist

00:10:29 - Escalation of Billy's symptoms

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Partial Transcript: We noticed it that time, anytime we went to a restaurant or any public place, he would get very agitated.

Segment Synopsis: Bowen talks about the escalation of Billy's symptoms including his sensitivity to noise, his difficulties participating in social events, and his OCD tendencies. She describes several instances to showcase the intensification of Billy's symptoms such as his collecting and organizing sticks, his unwillingness to play sports, and him harming his fingers. Bowen also talks about the decision to have Billy tested and later learning of his diagnosis.

Keywords: Turner Field; autism testing; noise sensitivity; social anxiety

00:18:01 - Billy's Medication

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Partial Transcript: Going back to what you said earlier, how did you feel about having to put him on medication? Was that okay with you? Or were you kind of iffy about it?

Segment Synopsis: Bowen talks about her family's perspective of mental health issues, and how these ideas influenced her decision to put Billy on medication. Bowen describes the effects of the medication on Billy's behavior and how it influences Billy's daily routine.

Keywords: ADD; ADHD

00:20:46 - Billy's Daily Routine

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Partial Transcript: So what is your daily routine like with Billy?

Segment Synopsis: Bowen talks about how Billy's morning routine has become less regimented with the introduction of medication. Bowen describes Billy's troubles interacting with other students at school. She also discusses how evenings are more difficult for Billy because of exhaustion from school, and how this can escalate his behavior into self harm or attempts to run away from home.

Keywords: agitated; self-harm

00:30:34 - Assistance for Billy at school

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Partial Transcript: So now after the diagnosis are his therapies and like doctors appointments and all that your insurance covers all of that now? Or the school? How does that work?

Segment Synopsis: Bowen discusses the resources for Billy at his school and how his therapies outside of school were not covered by insurance until recently. Bowen describes Billy's academic success and how teachers and counselors have assisted in his development.

Keywords: insurance; medical coverage; photographic memory

00:40:36 - Billy's relationships

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Partial Transcript: How well does Billy interact with his peers at school?

Segment Synopsis: Bowen describes Billy's relationships with other students and children outside of school including, neighbors and family friends. She also talks about her concerns for Billy's long-term future and his self-awareness of his condition over time.

Keywords: family friends; marriage; self-awareness

00:47:59 - Billy's future plans

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Partial Transcript: So does Billy know what he wants to be when he grows up? Does he talk about that?

Segment Synopsis: Bowen talks about Billy's academic interests including history, science and a focus on infectious disease. She also discusses Billy's potential for college and wonders if he would be capable of one day leaving home.

Keywords: University of Georgia; Western Carolina University; Zika virus

00:55:22 - Bowen's marriage and family

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Partial Transcript: Having to take care of Billy and his needs like that, are you and Bill ever able to do things for yourselves?

Segment Synopsis: Bowen talks about the emotional and physical strain having a child with Asperger's syndrome puts on her marriage. She describes Billy's behavior during family vacations and how being out of his daily routine affects his interactions with others. Bowen discusses Billy's hobbies such as collecting sticks, swimming and video games.

Keywords: travel

01:03:01 - Family move / Raising a child with Asperger's Syndrome

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Partial Transcript: Other than swimming and rapping, does he have any other hobbies he enjoys?

Segment Synopsis: Bowen describes her family's move from Athens to Oconee County to enroll Billy in a better middle school. Bowen also talks about the difficulties of caring for a child with Asperger's syndrome.

Keywords: Athens-Clarke County; Oconee County; middle school; public school

01:12:48 - Advice for other parents

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Partial Transcript: What advice would you give to other parents going through the same thing?

Segment Synopsis: Bowen advises other parents to educate themselves on their child's condition and to encourage their child's self-reliance. She describes the difficulties Billy's grandparents have had dealing with his diagnosis because of the generational difference in how they view his condition.

Keywords: diagnosis; independence; stigma

01:21:06 - Final thoughts

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Partial Transcript: Is there anything we missed that you want to add?

Segment Synopsis: Bowen discusses the education gap between teachers and counselors, and how many are ill- equipped to help students like Billy learn. She also talks about the misconceptions of children with Asperger's syndrome, and small moments she shares with Billy.

Keywords: Empathy; Patience; Rainman