By Tech. Sgt. Annette Kornasiewicz, Public Affairs
/ Published July 16, 2008
July 2008 -- Unpredictability, defiance, aggressiveness. Most parents can say that they have experienced these behaviors in their own teenagers from time to time. But for Susan Ricard of Findlay, Ohio, they had been exemplified in her 16 year- old son, Scott, to the extreme. So much so, that he was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of autism, about two years ago. Children with Asperger's Syndrome, according to WebMD, mainly have trouble with social situations, avoid eye contact, have delayed motor development, and may become over stimulated by loud noise, lights and the like. For Ricard, the aggressive behavior from Scott escalated over time, until she knew she needed help.
Enter Master Sgt. Catherine M. Bouillon, Unit Training Manager for the Communications
Flight, who works as a family and children's therapist through the Family Resource Center of Findlay as a civilian.
"Social interaction was very difficult for Scott," said Bouillon, "but he did have an intense interest in the military."
Bouillon decided to use that interest to develop a behavior plan Conduct becoming Love of the military brings discipline to troubled teen using the chain of command structure
and rank structure of the military, and compared this to the family unit, she said.
"That helped him understand the rules," said Bouillon.
As a reward for Scott, Bouillon told him that if his conduct improved, she would arrange a tour for him at the 180th Fighter Wing.
"I saw his behavior change dramatically in six months," said Bouillon. "His ability to interact with others evolved nicely."
On May 6, Bouillon came through with her promise to Scott and toured the base, which included a look into an F-16 cockpit and a chance to see what it would be like to be hooked up to a harness.
"The servicemembers were impressed with the questions Scott asked," said Bouillon. "He really did his homework."
Bouillon is still in contact with Scott and his mother, who reports that the visit was so special to the boy, and he still is responding well to the rank structure of the household. His love of the military had helped him understand the importance of discipline.
"His behavior has continued to be consistent," said Bouillon. "It was a good trip for him."