Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Answers.....or More Questions......

Things with Music Man have been falling apart since the start of the year.  Well, it started earlier than that, but it's come to a head since the return from Winter Break.  I had discussed with his developmental pediatrician back in October about the possibility of introducing Strattera and beginning the process of medicating him, but I was opposed to the idea.  The reason she suggested this particular medication was because of how it helped children cope with Anxieties in addition to attention issues.  But nothing was severe enough to justify medication.

Now they are.

Every day when Music Man's teacher would walk him to the car, there would be another story.  He had a serious breakdown because of this.  He's obsessing over the elevators.  Things were so bad walking past the elevator in the school to get to Music special (he also has to walk past it to get to Media [aka Library] and Computer Lab) that they had to take him out of the school because he was just so bothered.  He screamed to the point where he was emptying the school office and teachers were coming out to find out who was so upset and why.  And all because he had to walk past an elevator.  And now, earlier this week there was a fire drill and he's starting to obsess about that.  Elevators are getting under control.....he's found his new obsession.  He won't remain in his seat and attend to any of his teachers (regardless of the motivation).  He has his rote skills but is having a hard time growing further because he can't attend.  Elopement into the other kindergarten classrooms is a problem.  He's showing no interest in interacting with his peers.  We have taken so many positive steps forward.  Now it feels like every day we're taking steps backwards.

This needs to stop.

This resulted in me calling for an IEP Meeting (which took place today).  This is the first time I felt I needed to call for a meeting because of a problem for more than a few minutes (there have been times where I considered it, but never to the point where I actually sat down and wrote the email).  When the packet of information came home with what had been going on, it was simply HUGE!  There was a new (proposed) behavior plan.  I realized my suspicions were right....his teacher by telling me all of the problems in the classroom, was hinting that we needed to get together.

I'm happy to report that it wasn't all bad news.  Some of the strategies that they've been implementing have been successful.  But it looks like he needs more than just strategies to cope......there's something not right biochemically (I believe).  Autism does not necessarily require medication, but when the consequences of Autism (such as ADHD, OCD and Anxiety) come into play, you need to consider your options.  I never told our doctor that I WOULDN'T medicate him.....I just didn't feel it was right when we were there in October.  Now that it's late February, I realize that the time has come.

We see her next week.  We'll find out what she has to say.  But now, I have some more information to share with her.  I have the behavior reports and the progress reports from his IEP and his teachers.  It's time to discuss what we need to do to help my son.  Medication has helped Ballerina to succeed.  Now we need to consider what we need to do to help Music Man succeed as well.

There's too much potential there to allow his anxieties to cause it to all go to waste.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Repost: It's The Little Things

This is a post I wrote for my monthly posting on Hopeful Parents.  However, since it's my own work, I thought I'd post it here because (1) I haven't posted in a while and (2) it just seems like it belongs here as well.  And it sums up a lot that I've been going through these past few days.


On Friday afternoon, I stepped outside to take Big Brother to his gymnastics class.  There was a very pleasant smell someone had lit a bonfire or just simply a wood fire in their fireplace.  Being a bit of a flame-o-phile, I took in a deep breath before starting to pile my children into the car.

Then I heard the siren.  And it was close.  And I suddenly realized that the smell of this fire that I was enjoying smelled like it was right on top of me.  If it was a bonfire or a fire in a fireplace, it would have to be a distance away....but this one wasn't. I saw a neighbor outside and said that that it sounded close. He pointed behind me and I saw the smoke pouring out behind another neighbor's house.

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Later that night, I read on Facebook a comment that the house was burning again.  I responded to the post and sent the writer a private message and learned that the house was for a fellow parent of a few children who attend the school my children attend down the street.  I know this Mom for she is a fellow volunteer at the school.  She lives in this house with her family, including 5 children.  My heart simply broke.

Fortunately, no one was hurt.  The mother was out when the first blaze occurred with the two younger children and the 3 older kids were able to get out of the house without injury of any kind.  But by the time the second blaze was out, all of their possessions had been destroyed or damaged beyond repair.

What if this had been MY family and MY house?  It was a regular fire, believed to be started by a clothes dryer.  Our dryer is running almost daily.  Two of my children are Autistic.  If we were in this situation, would they panic?  Would I be able to make sure they got out of the house safely?  What about my dog?  And what would I do if, assuming we all did get out without injury, if I were to lose all of the items that mean so much to me?

Some of the parents from our school and neighborhood have been doing all that we can to help this family get through this difficult time.  We are setting up some home cooked meals to be delivered to them at the hotel where their insurance is providing to them.  We are also donating food, clothing, and toys for the children as well as gift cards to some local stores so they can get through these next couple of months until their home is ready for them to move back in.  I'm one of the organizers.  People keep thanking me for doing this.

But I am not doing this just to help a neighbor or a friend.  I'm doing this because I'm a human being.  I'm doing this because, G-d forbid, if I was in this situation, I would want someone to do this for me.  I would want someone to help me figure out how to shoulder some of the burden.  I would want someone to help make my life seem a much happier thing than what I'm sure I'd be facing in my own mind.

I'm not an altruistic person.  I'm a selfish individual.  But sometimes, when the situation arises, they are one and the same thing.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Brief Summary

It's been a week or so shy of 2 months since I've posted anything here.  It's not because I've been avoiding this blog.  In fact, I've probably written about 3 posts that just never made it to the Publish stage because they just never felt right.  It was a combination of writers block and just having too much to say plus several other things.  And now, I find myself feeling so rusty, I just don't know where to start.

So, I'm going to just jump right in.  I'm going to list out some of the things that have happened since my last post here.  Some of these may be expanded into full-blown posts in the near future.  But at least I'll have gotten something written and can hopefully get back to my regularly scheduled postings.

So, here we go......

(1) Ballerina's IEP Meeting.  This was simply a follow-up from our meeting in October.  We need to determine if the adjustments to her placement plan were in fact working and what (if anything) needed to change.  All together, this meeting went really well.  She is progressing very nicely and we decided that we were going to leave everything alone and meet again in May for her annual review.

(2)  Holiday Break.  This, unfortunately, didn't go as well as we would have liked.  Starting the week before the break, some unwelcome viral bug decided to pay my household a visit.  It started with Ballerina and Big Brother.  Then it spread to Music Man and Dad.  Then, back to Big Brother and Ballerina.  Eventually, some version of it attacked me.  Finally, after 6 weeks, I think we're all doing much better.  For the record, none of us were really SICK.....just grossly under the weather.  The kids and Dad all suffered from mild fevers and we all had colds.  Big Brother was eventually diagnosed with strep, Music Man with his first (and the first for ANY of my kids) ear infection, but otherwise, all was reasonably normal.  But being sick during vacation is never fun, especially since it involved some travel to visit grandparents.  The trip went well, but no one was able to enjoy it as much as they should have because of the way they were feeling.

(3)  Return to School.  This was really quite uneventful.  It took a day or two for everyone to get back into the routine, but it happened reasonably seamlessly.

(4)  Rachel is officially a Daisy Scout!  On January 10, Rachel was officially sworn in as a Daisy Scout.  She had to recite the Girl Scout Oath and Promise and she received her official pin and the start of her Daisy emblem.  She will be working for the remainder of this year and next to earn all of her pedals.  This is the first of the many levels of Girl Scouts of America.  I don't know how long she will remain active with the organization, but for now, she's there and she really seems to be enjoying spending time with a group that is ALL GIRLS!

(5)  The Twins' Birthday (and Party).  This will likely be an upcoming post.  On January 12, Ballerina and Music Man turned 6 years old.  We celebrated with a small party at school the Friday before their birthday and then a party at The Little Gym, where Ballerina takes gymnastics classes.  Overall, 18 kids attended the party and they all seemed to have a great time.

The rest of the time has been just plain normal stuff.  And just not being able to sit down and write.  The cold (or whatever that bug was) has definitely played a HUGE part in my silence.  Often when I sit down to write, I try to put a positive spin on things, while still being 100% honest and accurate.  My mood and attitude has been so poor these last few weeks, I just haven't really WANTED to be positive, but just wallowing in my own misery.

But now I'm back!