We didn’t know what to expect when we first met Dr. Kendricks. I mean, you don’t picture your life going this way. You’re supposed to get married, get a dog, buy a house, and start having kids. You imagine soccer games, and peanut butter sandwiches, and amusement parks. Sure, you know you’ll need to “man-up” and be the adult. You’ll need to save for college, maybe buy a mini van. But, you don’t expect that something could go wrong, that your son could be… what’s the word…?
Bobby seemed normal enough at first. But, by the time he was 2 we started to see the “behavior patterns”. Bobby would line up his blocks to form precise rectangles. He would push his saltine crackers to the edge of the table until they just slightly cantilevered over the edge.
He would stare out the window at the tree at the left side of our yard, then point at the center of the yard, look up at me, and say “da?” Eventually, I would say “no” and he would slowly pull the curtains closed. Somehow, the curtains seemed to bother him as much as the tree.
Bobby would remove things from our shelves, one item at a time. It would take us days to notice it. My wife would look at me and ask “did you clean up a bit”. Eventually we would find a stash of knicknacks stuffed in the back corner of Bobby’s closet.
Bobby seems to want us to call him “Robert”
One day, “Robert” managed to remove the drawer knobs from the lower kitchen cabinets. The doors were child-proofed so he couldn’t open them more than a few inches. But, somehow he managed to unscrew the decorative knobs. We still haven’t found where he hid them. When we confronted him, he said “burr-ASS” and then made a face as if he smelled rotting flesh.
When “Robert” managed to drag all our oriental rugs out to the back porch, we knew we had to get some help.
So we contacted Dr. Kendricks, and after a few tests he was able to diagnose Bobby with ABD (Architectural Behavior Disorder).
I guess It’s a small comfort to have a label. At least we can learn more about Bobby’s condition, and meet other families who are going through the same struggle. Dr. Kendricks told us there is no cure, but there are treatments that have been known to help. With treatment and medication, you can manage to live with the disability and even thrive. Dr. Kendricks likes to point out that only 68.2% of patitents with ABD will develop acute symptoms, and even those patients manage to lead full and productive lives – typically in the design industry. Dr. Kendricks once treated Tadao Ando, and that seems to have worked out well.
So, Bobby is on week 2 of his therapy, and we’re already seeing marked improvement. He’s even starting to allow us to dress him in plaid.
well…, at least when he’s wearing the restraints.
aarhus town hall, aarhus, denmark, 1937-1942.
architects: arne jacobsen, 1902-1971 with erik møller, 1909-2002
all photos from seier + seier ‘s photostream on Flickr and have been used under the creative commons license