ADHD, PTSD, and Trying To Fake It

So my son’s doctor told me I have to bite the bullet and call the school district next week for a 504 so that he gets accommodations for his ADHD, at least.
If I get something in place for him, where the school has official notice of special needs, then he is less likely to be facing serious consequences for bad behaviour, and will instead get HELP. Help is better than being expelled or suspended.
His medicine barely works at all. I have to call the doctor on Monday. I don’t want him to be a zombie, but I don’t like his fits, either. So the dose goes up or he tries something else. It works only enough to enable him to get mostly good reports at daycare. So I was biting the bullet about his behaviour at home. But Friday he had another bad day, and school will be much more demanding.
I was hoping he could take his meds and just be like all the other kids. Too much wishful thinking, time to get practical.

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Dear Children, Sorry About Story Time

Dear children,
I am sorry that I was so Tired. I worked and ran errands, made lists of more things to do and more things to buy. Then we had dinner and dessert and I am Tired. Capital T tired. My brain is tired, today.
This is why I told you not to cry and whine for what you want. I cannot help you self regulate, when I am Tired. Crying and whining makes me More Tired. As I told you. Being Tired at me while I am Tired makes us all Too Tired.
You were Tired, too. That is why you all went to bed early. Because one of you fell asleep a half hour prior, and two of you could not stop whining. That is proof of being Tired.
You were Tired yesterday, too. You seem to never have recovered from your outing with daycare to the splash park, which I understand was so terribly exciting yesterday that you actually crashed while there and fell asleep on your towel.
I do realize that this is the fifth time in the past year that we have missed bedtime stories. I know that is only three hundred and sixty days of stories. If I recall correctly, half of the missed days were from Tired, and half from Mommy being Sick With Flu.
I love you. I do feel bad for being Tired. Sometimes Mommies are Tired, and I hope you can understand that Tired does not mean there is less love. Only less activities.
Tomorrow we will be sure to take our vitamins and put our life jackets on at the beach, so there will be less worries and therefore less Tired.
Tomorrow we will, of course, read extra books. Because reading is as important as playing tag or swimming at the beach. Tomorrow also we will learn how to count money. So you can buy your own things at the fair on Sunday. All by yourself. So I can see you need me less and less, and so I will Worry less and less, and be Tired less and less.
Love you always with hugs and kisses,
Mommy

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New Behavior Therapist

Right around the time that my old behavior therapist had to stop seeing my kids because her entire organization shut down, my oldest kids regressed a bit. It might be coincidence, but I am having to teach them again how to be alone in other rooms (even with the door open), and to go to the bathroom by themselves. Today I managed to get my oldest to go to the bathroom in a strange place by himself, by tapping on the door the entire time that I remained outside of it.

This was at the new behavioral therapist’s office, which coincidentally, is at the same office complex as their previous therapist. So that is a handy bit of continuity.

The last time we were there it was mostly an introduction. I discovered that despite the appearance of the therapist (sporty) and his slang (buddy, dude), it was apparent that he knew his stuff and what was up with my kids.
Through deduction and observation. I think he is approaching this in a team style, and that makes me happy. I want to work with others to help my children.

They each had their own session alone with him today, and he said they did quite well. The younger of the two would not talk about his father, became disturbed at mention of him, and I cannot blame him. Both of them do understand that their father is ill, and that is a blessing, because confusion or negativity over a parent is tough. The older did not mind talking of his father, and I think sometimes that it is his innate cheerfulness, and at other times I think it is his lack of empathy that aids him in this. He still has inappropriate cheerful reactions to sad or alarming incidents. Such is autism. It’s not a bad thing, unless you are the one who fell down and he is giggling at you.

I think this will work out well. I hope we can maintain this long term. Two to four sessions a month with this therapist, and the same with the psychologist, and there is no way I can feel as if I am not doing enough. Add in OT, and we are fully engaged in helping these children grow. Sometimes it takes a village. For me it takes two therapists, a psychologist, a daycare staff, two teachers, a social worker, and I suppose I need to make some friends to be good influences or positive role models. I just haven’t got time. I am taking off of work to make this happen each week.

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My Saturday at the beach, via letter

The following is most of a letter I sent this evening about my day. I figured it was decent enough to post, a sort of day in the life of. I like to do seasonal full cleanings, but this one is for the management company, who is inspecting this week. Living in small spaces means frequent sorting and shifting, and I will seize onto any excuse for it.
:

Good morning!
My furniture is sorted out. The house looks, I would say, a hundred times better. All I have to do now is get rid of this giant tube television and get a flatscreen, throwing out the stand this monstrosity is on, and I am living in tolerable conditions. Oh, and a bed. Must buy a bedframe.

So the organization and the moving part is done. Now I have to clean. I found a million stray toys. I am not exaggerating, I counted them. One of them was lodged in a closet track, even, and dislodged the closet door. It was Magneto, a teeny tiny Magneto, which I think is an appropriate character for the effect caused.

I also have a lot of laundry to do. So my Sunday is Complete Clean Sunday, and I still need to take the kids out twice. They want to go to the beach again. Middle Child would not come out of the water at the appropriate time.

I pulled out my bag of tricks, which I had on me at the water’s edge, called Emergency Snack Bag, and I sat the listening children (who had come out of the water when told) down on a blanket in full view of the offender and gave them juices and that coveted snack: processed single serving junk food.

It did not work, not for a long while. I ignored him yelling to me to “Watch this!”, because it meant that he was trying to set his own terms for exiting the water. I was not going to budge on this, it is a safety issue. I cannot walk away from children in the water, he was trapping me, and I was mad. Finally after a half hour, he comes up to the blanket as we are packing up (again, as we had done so before I got crafty and made spontaneous snack time), and cried about missing snack time. I had just been advising the other children what to do while I went into the water and pulled their brother out by force, but he didn’t know that. I think he learned. I figured he had punishment enough, natural consequences are my friend. I was sympathetic “Oh, sorry honey, snack time is over. You weren’t there.”

So we are going back to the beach, tomorrow, to try this again. Practice makes perfect.

I don’t even know how it got to be my bedtime. WTH.

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Autism Spectrum, Where We Sit – and Faces

I had my evaluation done yesterday on my oldest, by a professional he had seen before, which was much appreciated.

Many of his symptoms have abated since last year. His behaviours have improved, while his academic performance has suffered.

He is now nearly off the spectrum, barely autistic. If Asperger’s were still in the DSM, he would be diagnosed with that, as he is off the charts with those symptoms.

So he is an Aspie, and a much improved Autie.

If I had been able to get him assessed in infancy, he would have scored more autistic. I had nurses heavily involved in his development who said it was a phase, and doctors who literally pretended not to hear me back then.

Many questions today I answered with ¨not anymore¨. I attribute these improvements to his OT, definitely, and perhaps to my emphasis on facial recognition of emotion and conscious instruction in empathy.

I have noticed something else recently. He does not recognize people. He cannot seem to discern between one face and another on his friends, or mine. If some of the basic features are the same (fat, thin, large eyes, thin eyes), he is confident it is whoever he sees the most often. He has always mistaken his friends in crowds, or thought he saw someone he knew, but after two mistaken identities in two days on people he sees weekly, I am paying closer attention. I better bring it up to the doctor.

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Massacred Families In The News

I always get a survivor’s guilt when disgruntled fathers and husbands kill children. I should not read the news.
I have the same paperwork that most women in this situation do, mine is issued from criminal rather than family courts, is the only difference.
How am I supposed to feel that we are safe, when so many don’t make it?

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Special Needs Kickball

Today we had special needs kickball. Before I signed up the boys for it, I spoke with the community education coordinator, to explain that my kids had very different needs. So far every kid there has been able to kick, but today a child came who needs someone to kick his foot for him, and then run on his behalf. He seems a friendly boy, he gave my boys high fives and was introduced. All differently abled children.

The other children listen better than my boys do. The therapists are very patient with my children, even when they are pushing limits and intentionally giving them a hard time. It is so nice to see people work with them, rather than throw up their hands or insist that I beat them. So far the people who are the best with my kids are the professionals, or very young daycare workers with oodles of patience and smiles.

Somehow I still haven’t met anyone here for my kids to play with, though I have invited a few families over. I don’t know if we don’t know anyone else because I am wary, if we don’t know anyone because they are wary, if we don’t know anyone because I am too busy with my kids and don’t socialize, I don’t know if it is because I don’t get the culture (surely I must, by now)… and it all seems a Catch 22. Yesterday we ran into a family I like from our daycare at the park, and the mother offered to get me the card for her church. I am sure she meant well. But it felt suspiciously as if she could not socialize outside of her church. It’s a very Christian area, that I live in. They couldn’t possibly know how I felt about religion, and if they did, they would probably fail to see how my experiences could apply to theirs.

I thought this kickball would be a nice way to get to know some of the other parents who understand children who are a bit different, but unlike other community sports, the parents drop the children off and leave. Last year we did T-ball, and the parents brought chairs and hung out until all their kids were done. I was trying to do the same, but I had kids on the playground and kids on the field and I could hardly sit still. 

Sometimes I get tired. Today I was relieved. People were helping my kids learn how to behave appropriately, with patience. Not judging them or myself.

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