Thursday, January 03, 2008

The School Thinks I am the Crazy One

I talked to the school about Ava's plan to tell them I hurt her and am mean so they will call the police and put me in jail and she can go live with the teacher that loves her. It did not go well. Our AT seemed pretty concerned that there will be more things like this to follow after talking to Ava. He felt strongly enough that he offered to take the time to visit the school with his partner (our other AT) if this meeting didn't go well.

They were polite at first and listened to me tell them how we have discovered she is stealing, lying, and destroying so many things in our home. I told them that those things make her plan scary for us and the AT does not feel she has any bond with us at all. The school counselor spoke up and dismissed everything I said as normal childhood behaviors. I immediately became defensive and a little snotty back. I agreed that it would be normal to want to live with a nice teacher but not to make a plan to get rid of your parent to do so. She was quiet and stayed busy filling out the forms. The teacher and the parapro did not want to hurt Ava by telling her they did not love her and she couldn't live with them. I had to say it and then they half heartedly repeated it.

The counselor piped up at the end and asked what I wanted them to do instead of hugging her b/c she is going to feel so left out w/o their praise. I told her not to make such a big deal about it b/c it is against THEIR rules to hug a child and I just needed them to enforce that rule. Give the kid verbal praise or a high five. What is so darn hard about this?

When it was over I felt they really didn't want to believe me and I was escorted out of the room while they were motioned to stay in there. I was in the office getting Ava ready to leave for at least 5 minutes and they were still in there talking about us. I am disappointed. I feel this is not the end of this b/c these are the same folks that have informally been asking our kids alot of questions about us and our family life.

Carmine, the kids came without meds at all. After a year we decided to try some and now I have 2 on Prozac, Ruthie and Patches. It helped Ruthie stop the crying and Patches began to control her anger so she could become more social. It has worked beautifully for both of them. Ava began on Prozac but her weird behaviors increased and she was switched to Zoloft. She had been crying for hours a day about nothing significant and that was decreased drastically. Michael takes Risperdal and it has saved his sanity and mine. He is no where near as violent as he was. He had been trying to fling himself from second story windows and attacking me like a windmill. The AT thinks Ava will benefit from Risperdal as well and at our next appointment I have a letter from him to encourage her to prescribe it. I have several on Melatonin, Emma, Cyr, Patches, Michael, and Shyanne.

No one will ever convince me their SW didn't know what we were in for b/c they asked us repeatedly if we would commit to them no matter what and the kids couldn't take another loss. That is a big DUH, no kid could take another loss easily. The FP and therapist that we talked to all felt they had attachment issues. They were all aware of sexual acting out amongst the siblings and no one warned us until we reported that we were seeing it. The SW down played every question we had and any issue that came up.


Innocent Observer said...

Well I believe everything you are saying.

It makes me seriously sick the way people are deceived into taking children with issues. The children might not have to deal with so many losses if the people agreeing to parent them did so with full disclosure! Geesh!

Keep up the good mothering!

Mongoose said...

I don't know how it is where you are, but in my jurisdiction, teachers receive absolutely no training on learning disabilities or emotional/behavioural issues. Which sure makes me wonder what they spend four years learning if they don't even have that knowledge... What's even weirder is that most parents I know who have kids with LD/ED issues, is that teachers never seem to understand any of these concepts when one explains it to them. I don't know why they go into teaching if they have no empathy or at least curiosity in children's MOs.

As my therapist would say: you're a very skilled person. And I think that's a very rare thing. Anyone can love their kids but few people have parenting skills like yours. :)

NJmom said...

I'm really enjoying your blog. You're a great mom (and don't you forget it!)

RAD is so far outside of what most teachers (and even school counselors) deal with or can imagine that you probably should take the AT up on his offer. Perhaps if he mentions that much of Ava's behavior is sociopathic that will give them a way to wrap their minds around around what they should/should not be doing with her.

Anonymous said...

Tudu...I am sorry that you live in a district that is so uneducated to these many more children suffer because of their lack of education...get your AT in there and give them a good learnin'...

Abby goes to Denmark! said...

First of all, as a new teacher I'm so glad that I follow along on your blog. Hearing about your children's struggles is helpful in understanding the realm of emotional, behavioral, and learning issues that I will probably be confronted with sometime in my future. So, thank you very much for being so candid!!!!

In response to Mongoose's's true that most teachers do not receive a whole lot of training in LDs unless they are going for special education degrees. I spent 5.5 years in college (because MA requires double majors) and I had 1 class in teaching children with special needs. That class focused mainly on autism/asperger's, ADHD, and dyslexia, with a little touch of everything else thrown in. However, even this basic information is coming from book s or other people's commentary instead of true firsthand experience. It's like trying to understand blindness or deafness just from reading a story.

While I don't know your exact situation with teachers (as they are all different too and may very well not be trying to help), I get upset when people question why teachers don't know more about certain things. I and many of my friends have worked extremely hard to learn how to plan and teach comprehensive & cumuluative lessons in all subjects to classes of 20+ students (each with their own personalities, learning styles, and family dynamics) while teaching them life skills and keeping them from physically or emotionally hurting each other or themselves. It's not always a question of ability or empathy that teachers can't get it all done in the less than 5 hours a day that aren't taken up by lunch, recess, or specials.

It's exhausting and stressful for very little money or recognition...much like being a parent. However, as teachers we are constantly judged and evaluated by the government (with that lovely NCLB Act that judges our abilities to teach solely on our students' test scores, regardless of extenuating circumstances like a child who only comes to school once a week at best), the media, and everyone else in our society. With all of these negatives, it is no wonder that we are faced with an ever-increasing shortage of teachers in our schools.

I am questioned on a regular basis about why I would go into teaching instead of a more lucrative career that is better respected. My answer to this is simply that I love it. I've learned to accept those little moments of victory when a child understands something for the first time, but it still hurts to sometimes be accused by a parent for not helping their child as much as I wish I could. There just isn't enough of me to go around sometimes.

Sorry for going into such a rant here, but I just had to give a teacher's perspective on problems in schools. =)

~Abby in MA

Carmine Crayon said...

Thank you for going into the details on the meds for me. It sounds like they are really responding to them, and thats pretty awesome. I've had a horrible time finding drugs that work for me [tho in the beginning, I was really not diagnosed properly]. In my teen years, they had tried me on everything out there at the time: Prozac [made my hair fall out], Zoloft [felt zombie like], Paxil [initially for depression - didn't work. years later after they came out w/ CR, worked great for anxiety], Effexor [didn't work], Wellbutrin [didn't work] Remeron [didn't work]. Tried some other things for sleep and anxiety like Trazodone [gave me horrible migrane], Mirtazapine, Lorazepam, Sonata, Ambien and some others w/ no effect. Was on Depakote for several years and took myself off... but then "regressed". Then for years went with a combination of Paxil for anxiety and something for mood but can't remember what that was for the life of me. Now I take Cymbalta [60] and Lamactil [400] as of last year and I FINALLY feel like I'm making progress. No real side effects except being real dizzy when I upped my Lamactil recently.

Originally, I was being treated for dysthymic depression as a teen. But later anxiety too and then when all the drugs weren't working, I was treated for some sort of mood disorder, until I felt that those drugs weren't enough and I noted a cycle [and would take myself off meds b/c I was "feeling better"]. Finally, I was like, hey, I think I might be bipolar [and it runs in my family]. Low and behold, Lamactil works for me and I haven't cycled since taking it.

I take Lunesta when I really need it, but try not to. The only Melatonin that really works for me is this Melatonin Plus concoction my mom found. It has 3mg Melatonin & 25 Theanine [stress relief] and I take 3 when I'm having trouble falling asleep.

So that's my drug history in a nutshell! All this talk about Attachment Therapy has made me think... I have such a problem with men, relationships, even trying to date is hard. Some of this is due to past and current issues with men. Wonder if AT would help me?

Torina said...

Maybe your kids need to get in a good leg hump. That might bring it home :) Only kidding. I am not trying to minimize the frustration you have to deal with. I can relate all too well unfortunately.