Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The world around us...

I've been doing a lot of reading lately... anything I can come across in regards to autism. I'm not new to parenting an autistic child. I am new, however, to parenting two children with global delays.

So anyways, I'm cruising the great world wide web and finding blogs written by mothers of autistic children. I find myself getting lost easily in their stories and tearing up at the challenging moments. I understand their words, their situations, and their emotions... and I absolutely envy the way they can tell their stories. These women all see to have a gift of words that I could never possess. They write with such eloquence and feeling. I almost feel like my writing is choppy and awful in comparison.

Okay with that out of my system...

I emailed Beth's teacher today.  I formally requested a meeting between her, myself, and my husband. As of this morning Beth could only name 2 children in her class of 22 and said they aren't always nice to her. She says she plays by herself at recess unless the other kids ask her to play... and sometimes she plays with the kindergartners. I learned all of this by simply asking if she enjoys recess. I try really hard not to put ideas in her head. I do my best to ask questions in a way that doesn't imply an answer. I really want to make sure that whatever is decided is what's best for her.

Last Wednesday my baby informed me that she wants to shoot herself in the face. I have no doubt that she knows exactly what that means, but no idea where she got the idea. We don't have guns in the house. She doesn't associate with anyone who does. We don't watch violent programs on TV and we definitely don't expose her to violence.  She hasn't said it since and really couldn't answer why she would want to do such a thing. I didn't push it. Maybe I should have... but she was so frustrated and hurting so badly already that I couldn't make myself push it.

Hopefully I will have this all down pat in time for Jolie and Peter....

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quick Rambling

1) Someone viewed my blog from Alaska... how cool is that? lol!

2) At some point today or tomorrow the books I ordered from Amazon... From Emotions to Advocacy and Wrightslaw about IEPs.... will be here. I fully intend to devour those books and write as much as I can here.

3) Peter turned 2! And is waving and seems to be interacting more! Awesomeness.... also going to blog about that in fully this week.

4) The school system is going to screen Jolie on 10/8! From there we find out what evals they are going to do and get that ball rolling.

Okay thats it for right now... working another 10 hours today..   =)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Peter and Beth

I've taken to just titling the posts with the kids' names I'm writing about. Lazy? Probably....lol.



Last night I came home from work and Peter was launched into fit throwing mode. His daddy was in the process of changing a very messy diaper, which has been happening a lot more lately. I can't tell if it's his teeth, or whether it's something else, but its causing destruction to the poor child's diaper area. I talked to him and snuggled him while his daddy finished the diaper change... and then I snatched up my baby and rocked him close. He laid his head against my chest for the longest time just watching me with those big brown eyes. JD went downstairs to grab us something to eat and I snuggled my son. It was much needed time for both of us. I think Peter and I both had a rough day, and the snuggles were perfect.

 He fell asleep with his head against my chest, listening to my heartbeat. I wasn't ready to put him in his bed.... so I laid him down next to me on my bed.

You absolutely can't beat great snuggles....


I never actually finished my Beth story. I know it seems done, or long at least...lol.... but its not done. I just got off of the phone with the Special Education coordinator and she said she mailed out a new copy of the IEP 3 days ago to have signed but that the school should absolutely be using her current (apparently unsigned) IEP and not her kindergarten IEP. Hopefully this will be resolved real soon. The current IEP calls for speech pull outs which is supposed to help her learn how to interact and express herself, especially her feelings. This is imperative to her success in school because all of the disasters that happened last week happened because she couldn't express herself and couldn't understand how to interact in the situations she was placed in.

Last night while I was at work Beth and her daddy tackled her homework. Since I wasn't there I didn't see it happen personally but from what I hear it was quite the experience. She had to make a hat out of things around the house. Since JD does a lot of leather work it was really simple for him to work out a basic hat design out of leather. Getting her to sit still and cooperate to put it together was another story. It took them about 2 hours.

She's going to start having spelling tests soon and I'm completely worried about her anxiety level. Beth is very focused on being the best academically. She has a real issue with this and becomes entirely unwound when she feels others are performing better than she is. I haven't seen this happen at karate at all, but this behavior was present all last year and her teachers fed into it despite me practically begging them to help her learn that "Beth's best" is all we are after, not "overall best".

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Beth started school on 9/7. Ever since then the world has crashed every day at 3:50 pm. She's angry, frustrated, emotional, and mean. I know that what we are seeing is a window to how she feels inside, and it breaks my heart. Literally.

The first day of school was awful for her. I knew it would be. We gave her the social story they created for her and she had already visited the school. Her new teacher even mailed her a letter before school started. I was hoping this would be enough. It wasn't.

Somewhere along the lines communication failed. I had no idea I was supposed to send her with a snack. I don't have any kids older than her and I swear the school never sent anything. It would have been nice if they did because then we could have avoided the complete melt-down she had when she got home because everyone had a snack but her. We made it through that and she now has her choice of snacks and juice boxes to choose from every morning.

I was hoping that was it.

We really weren't that lucky. Day 2 was a Wednesday. I took Jolene to karate... my sister waited for Beth at the bus stop and brought Beth to karate after she had changed. When Beth got there she was very upset. She said someone in the lunchroom made her sit in another spot away from her class. She was getting increasingly upset as she told me that she got lost and a girl had to bring her back to her class because her teacher couldn't find her. Once I got the story out of her and calmed her down it was time for her karate class, so I sent her in and hoped for the best. Her karate instructors are fantastic with the kids, so I knew she was in good hands and I watched her closely. She did wonderfully.... until the very end. The class went outside and started a "stranger danger" drill. Beth has done this drill before, so I decided instead of waiting with her for her turn I would go to the other side of the car they had staged and was going to try and get pictures with my cell phone. And that's when it happened.

She hadn't really been paying attention. I think her emotional resources were spent for the day and she was just going through the movements. All of the sudden she decided it was her turn. A few of the other kids showed her where the line was and this was her undoing. She started crying and yelling about not wanting to do it any more. In a matter of seconds one of her fantastic teachers was right beside her talking her through it. By the time I got back around everyone and to her she was calm and just wanted to go home. The kids came to apologize and we went home.

I did everything I could not cry on the way home. I was overwhelmed entirely and had no idea how to deal with the school situation. When we got home I wrote a letter to her teacher.... which returned to me unread the next afternoon. I think this is about the time where I realized that we may not be dealing with people who understand special needs as well as I had hoped they would. I admit to being really lost. JD and I went to the IEP meeting, we saw the evals, we heard the discussions.... we got a copy in the mail and read it over and over again. Signed and sent back the acceptance slip... and then had no idea what happened next. I had, wrongly, assumed that we would get some kind of communication. Like maybe a chance to meet her teacher ahead of time... something. So I sent her to school on blind faith without fully knowing what to expect.
That was my fault. I should have made someone explain this to me in layman's terms. It was my fault, but my little one is paying for it.

So the following morning I made sure Beth understood that there was a note for her teacher in her folder. My cell phone rang right around lunch time and it was her teacher. She expressed complete confusion over the story I had written her in my note. She had no idea that Beth had been moved in the lunchroom, or that Beth had gotten lost. She said she investigated a little bit and found that Beth had been moved from her normal table because she got up to throw something away without permission. That placed Beth in a different line to go back to the classroom than she was used to. She said all of the 1st grade classrooms are in the same hall so Beth was never truly lost.  I know the teacher heard my sigh in response. I don't know what made me ask, but I asked the teacher to explain exactly what makes up Beth's classroom environment. She told me that it is a general education classroom (I had a feeling, but the IEP was vague), that she has a handbook on PDD,and that if she didn't have paperwork on Beth she never would have guessed that she is on the autism spectrum.

I know the teacher didn't see this as a big deal. I know, from the way our conversation went, that she can't figure out why this simple incident was enough to cause me to write in about. She probably already has me on a list of problem parents, but in all honesty this is a problem. A real problem. Elizabeth had no idea what was happening or why. None of the events that seemed so simple to the teacher and the lunch aids made any sense to her. She was purposely removed from a place she felt safe and placed somewhere else for reasons she was unable to explain.

The teacher praised Beth's coping skills because Beth didn't seem upset about it and didn't tell the teacher what had happened. This, to me, is not coping. This was her bottling it up and letting it fester all day until she was safe with her family, her comfort zone.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Small Update

Peter is cuddled up on my bed against the wall and its so freaking cute. Sometimes I'm really irritated that I started him co-sleeping... and other times I'm insanely selfish and thankful that he's snuggling against me when he's sleeping. His eval is next month... finally.

His night terrors are awful. We've had a calm few nights but they kill me. I'd give anything to stop them. His frustration level is so high at this point that he's all out violent. He bites, hits, pushes, screams, slams his head repeatedly into doors, hardwood floors, tables... anything really. Watching it is so insanely hard. I won't discipline him for his tantrums or violence. Not now anyways. He needs an outlet for his frustration and he doesn't seem to understand pain, feel pain, or care. I don't care if it makes me a bad parent... he can beat me up all he needs to, for the time being.

Once his eval is done next month hopefully he can start getting ABA therapy through EI. The only part of this that really bothers me is that the woman in charge of ABA is the supervisor, Jill. She's the one that we believe had DSS called on us in the first place back when Beth was getting services.

Tomorrow I need to call the school system about my Joelene. I need to see if I can get her evaluated through the schools to see if she can get services. I have a 7 page document here done by a psychologist a few months ago basically stating that she needs help ASAP. Its too long to go into now but I'm going to so I can at least have it all documented in one place.