Charter School

Today my son had his social group with the psychologist and the other autistic children. The parents (besides myself) meet in the lobby and share things, offering support. I am trying to be in the lobby but really watching my two youngest children in another room. So I go back and forth and try to keep up.
Today the psychologist asked us to consider starting a charter school for autistic children, and dropped a flyer in our laps. She said all of us have pulled our kids out of public school (as I just did, starting them at another charter next fall) and if we don’t, we just fight with the schools until graduation.
Another parent, who happens to work in education, has a contact at Lionsgate, a school that we would model after.
I want to do this.
I don’t know how I can help. I have little children and I work full time. I have no family to fall back on. I don’t know if I can commit the time.
But I want it so badly.

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A Little Girl and Her First Real Haircut, First Secret Shared With Her Mother

My daughter just came up to me and told me she wanted to tell me a secret. She bent down to my ear and whispered ¨Don’t tell anyone that I am watching Diego! Don’t tell my brothers!¨ She has been watching either Dora or Diego for a month, when she does watch anything. I know I shouldn’t tell you, but I am hoping she will forgive the technicality of writing versus speaking.

Most of the time this week she pretends to be a poisonous humpback whale and lays on the floor making whale noises so that I can pretend to put on gloves and ¨rescue΅ her.

I took my middle son to get a haircut today, he had refused last week when his brother got his, because he had a sore bump on his head from a hide and seek closet accident. The stylists have been after my daughter for nearly a year, to let them cut her hair, since I gave her an inverted bob when she twisted soap and syrup into her hair and nothing got it out. The stylists said I did a good job, but that sort of thing needs shaping assistance as it grows out. So the stylist tried again. She had cropped pink hair and a lip ring, dark eyeliner, a lovely girl, and she leaned down and asked my daughter nicely if she could trim her hair. My daughter refused. The stylist pulled out some little flower plastic barrettes and told her she would get some if she got a haircut. My daughter said okay. The stylist did not believe it and asked again, and Daughter started walking to the chair. The stylist was so excited, she never thought it would happen, and she hadn’t even readied her chair. Far more excited than my little girl, who waited patiently for the chair to be readied and lowered and chose a cape. She sat quietly the entire trim, looking in the mirror. Like she had been doing it all her life. She got three barrettes. One on top and one on each side above the ear. White and blue and yellow.

So I have one child who screams through their haircut and two who sit quietly.

She informs me that her Diego movie does not play (she never pushes the discs down properly), and is waiting for me to fix it. She waits by reading me a book, from just behind me, which is a murder mystery novel, held upside down. She is reading aloud about Diego and mud and dinosaurs. Book over, she practices her howler monkey impression.

I love her. I love them all so much. She is always telling stories, or pretending.

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New School For Next Year

Today I filled out all the enrollment forms for the public charter in our district. Singapore math instead of Common Core. Enough said, right?
They talk a lot about mastery on their curriculum page and their mission statement.
I don’t want my special ed child to be ¨passed¨. What is easy for the district is not what is best for my son. I want him to learn. He wants to learn. I hope the new school has a environment that can support him in that. If they are sincere about mastery as their goal, then I have a lot more hope.
I have technology classes, swimming, socialization, skills therapy, psychology sessions, occupational therapy, and my youngest boy is going to have a speech assessment. He needs speech therapy, it’s obvious, because he cannot make an ‘s’ sound. That’s seven activities, sometimes spread out over two weeks. Youngest Boy also wants soccer. Eight. Plus a home visit once a month with the caseworker, and a pending application for equine therapy. Today I coordinated my calendar and made all appointments.
No wonder I am not organized. No wonder I cannot figure out how to attend college. Maybe I ought to take it easier on myself.

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So Many Changes, When We Come Back From The Psychologist

My oldest son has willingly started EMDR. Thank God. My youngest has refused to try it for eighteen months, though I have been doing it to him for over a year without his awareness, through tapping.
There is a new machine out, that emits vibrations into devices held in each hand that is better at EMDR than the old light techniques. It can be done without exposure therapy. I could do that. I failed at exposure.
I can buy this machine. The doctor wants me to buy it, she will train me on it, and she wants me to use it for the boys at home.

She wants them to change schools, to a charter school. So tempting. I might be able to keep my oldest mainstreamed on this curriculum, which is far more sensory. My youngest son would not cry about having to sit and do work any longer, were he to switch. Most of the work actually manifests as an art project at the charter school. I have to find out about transportation, or lose a lot of time at work. I am a product of US public schools, so I am worried that they won’t learn properly- but the Common Core math he is bringing home right now is ridiculous.

I have to reschedule the skills therapist for another day each week, because we lose two days a month with him by attending the social group for my oldest son.

Middle son told me in the car after his psychology session that if I had married someone else, then I could have been married forever and things would not have had to ¨get all crazy, and move and stuff¨. I told him that if his dad had not gotten sick, it would have been different.

I am really lucky to be able to buy my kids the things they need. I got a fabric tunnel for OT, and next are Fuf chairs (OT, pressure) and magnet toys (fine motor, focus). Having a large living room really helps my kids. Living on the bottom floor is a huge relief. I don’t care what my father says about keeping the living room sterile and quiet for reading. I want to live in it. I love my kids. I don’t want them to be sent to their rooms for play. We can play together.

The last thing the doctor wanted them to do is give up a little control. She wants the boys to be able to take orders from her, me, each other, easily. I want them to play waitstaff. That is the easiest way to directly give orders and still make it a game. That and Simon Says, but waitstaff roleplaying involves dessert..

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Boundaries

I shouldn’t have thrown their candy away. Confiscate it, yes. But it’s not mine, as a parent I can control access, but I cannot just steal it away. I have fished it out and I have to apologize tomorrow and have them sort it. That might be punishment enough, all that candy, and cannot eat a one. I will be watching.

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Middle Son, Medication, Kit Kats, and Airheads (the candy, I don’t use that term for people)

I was on pins and needles all day. Waiting for the psychiatric nurse to get back to me and tell me what she wanted me to do about middle son and his patches.
After swimming lessons this evening I got an automated call from the pharmacy telling me that my medication was not yet ready. Medication? I checked my email when I got home and the psychiatric nurse had replied and reinstated his old dosage (before and sans patch), with instructions on how to ease him onto it and when to remove the patch. She had sent it into the pharmacy for me when she left me the email. But the timed release pill she prescribed was one from over a year ago, a medication that no longer works for him and in fact makes him aggressive. Intuniv, if you want to know. Which my oldest just started on.
I sent a reply to her through the pediatrician, again. Letting her know the correct night medication, and that if she could call that into the pharmacy I would pick it up. I am able to start her instructions tomorrow, I have enough of his old medication left.
I went downstairs and found two of my children had selected and eaten their candy and then continued to select and eat candy the entire time I was on the computer straightening this out. Middle son was the instigator. He involved his three year old sister. He had put up a fuss after eating his Twix, crying that he needed more candy and of course I told him no. I was distracted, I did not put the candy away. I also thought they were too old and too trustworthy for policing like this. They know how much they can have. Oldest son left his box on the table when he was done and went to play. I expected the same from all of them.
I asked him what he was doing. He blurted out that he had some gummy bears (which he claimed are not candy), which I accepted could be his mistake, until I saw his hand was hiding the empty wrappers of a Kit Kat and an Airhead. He lied to me. I was livid.
I threw all his candy away. I threw all of his sister’s candy away. I will not tolerate being lied to. I am waiting for an apology. I don’t want to focus on the negative, I hate confronting people, I hate triggering my son, but I absolutely cannot stand lying.
Now I have to either let my oldest son choose his candy when we have candy once a week, and not the other two, or abolish candy in our house completely. My mother did that when I was little, we never had sweets unless it was a holiday. Not even dessert. My brother and I loathed it. We would walk to the gas station and buy a half gallon of ice cream and eat it all. Or if we had not enough money, we would eat a tub of Cool Whip. Or we would make two cakes and eat one of them, unfrosted, with the other left on the counter to cool. Because you cannot hide the smell of freshly baked cake.
Anyway, this is the second time I have had to do this. The first was when he was three. It’s almost his birthday, then we have Easter. Candy is coming, no matter what. I feel what is right is just to let it come in, and see if he can handle it, on the system we have had for years of occasional candy for dessert. I wonder how much this has to do with his very low dose of Clonidine. He would barely finish sweets when he was on his Clonidine pills. He seemed so much more in control. I really want that for him again. I want him to be able to make good choices again.

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Middle Son On A Third Dose

So the patch I slapped onto my son to replace the .3 dose he was on was a .1. I was not sure if I had done the right thing last night, he was active for an hour or so and then he fell asleep for another two. Got up for bedtime things and story and then slept through the night.
I wasn’t sure if he was catching my cold (which made me very fatigued in the first few days) or if it was the patch. I just knew I couldn’t take a risk. I sent an email to the doctor and he forwarded it onto the psychiatric nurse. I felt awful, messing with my kid’s medicine. I am no doctor. What if he had the flu and I was overreacting? The guilt was eating me. I was sure my phone would ring and I would get a call to pick him up, because he had a fever or he fell asleep.
I wasn’t sure until I picked up his brother from daycare for an appointment and found Middle Son on the floor by the door in time out. For being out of control. He never even took a nap. Never even tried.
So the .1 is too small and the .3 makes him sleep and I just increased him from .2 last month on the doctor’s advice. I think it was triggers, not his medication. It is so hard to discern what is ADHD and what is PTSD. I am waiting for the psychiatric nurse to call me back. I want him back on the pills and I am ready to write a check to the pharmacy. I want my son to have some balance in his life again.

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