Major Decisions Here - Need a lot of help!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by nvts, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! Ok, here's the deal. Once again difficult child 1 has landed himself in the psychiatric hospital. This time it was suicidal thoughts and depression.

    Quick History:

    May 2010: psychiatric hospital. first time for aggressive behavior and meltdowns with broken windows and sheetrock. Out in 12 days on seroquel and hydroxyzine for anxiety.

    July 2010: 2nd psychiatric hospital. hitting me, meltdowns, screaming threats, property damage.

    Sept 2010: 3rd trip, suicidal thoughts and depression

    There were countless trips to the er and the police called in between stays.

    The docs at the pediatric er feel that he likes being in the hospital. The one commented on the fact that difficult child was using psychiatric terms to explain his "delusions". The Aspergers in him makes him crave order and routine. This is what the hospital provides. It also provides him 1 to 1 adult attention 24/7. difficult child studies what goes on with the other kids, memorizes what they do/say and then uses that to get to go to the er with hopes that he will be admitted. That's why after they refused to admit him after the 2nd stay he stopped hitting me altogether.

    There are 3 options being presented:

    1. Psychiatric long term voluntary admission to the local hospital on the adolescent ward. He would be observed with his medication and work with a behavioral therapist. My fear: being the youngest one there and him listening to kids with drug/alcohol issues and considering his "copycat" modus operandi, him trying drugs/alcohol to be "cool" or to get admitted once he gets out.

    2. Residential Treatment Facility (RTF). This would be local, so I'd still have access and he'd be going to our local school. My fear: same as above.

    3. Boarding school in Westchester/Yonkers that specializes in Aspergers children. He would be allowed home alternate weekends and on holidays. Not much fear here except that he would think I'd thrown in the towel. Well, I guess that fear belongs with all of the options!

    4. Keep going around in circles and have him come home.

    Any experience with these choices? Any input on better vs. worse? I'm lost and I can't talk to AH about it!


  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I have no experience with any of these options so take what I have to say with a huge grain of salt.

    #3 Treat the underlying problem more effectively. In addition, you want to be sure that he is on approriate medications only at effective doses. Just my $.02.
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Have you visited the boarding school that specializes in Aspergers children? It seems like the best option of those listed, but in your shoes, I'd want to see it before committing to it.
  4. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Does the name of the boarding school start with S? If yes, I know about it. I'm on the island with an Aspie who went to a BOCES HS but he had no psychiatric issues.
  5. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I would check out #3.
  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm don't have personal experience with this type of situation, but I would feel that the third option has the most potential. Why do you feel that a special school will cause him to throw in the towel? A program like that (based on a visit by you and any information you can find out), specializing in aspie kids could really make a difference.

  7. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    nvts - I think psychiatrist hit the nail on the head. Inpatient is safe for some of our kids and I think the more admissions they have, the safer it gets for them. Admission actually became a coping tool for thank you. He had a rare admission for truly out of his control stuff, but the vast majority of his admits (16 by the time he left for Residential Treatment Center (RTC) at age 9) were very calculated on his part. But calculated or not, when you've got a kid threatening suicide (and he always had a plan) or a knife-wielding window-breaking extremely violent kid, you have no choice but to admit. They can really back us into a corner.

    I also would lean towards option #3, assuming there's a heavy therapeutic component and a plan to avoid, if at all possible, future admissions. Staff needs to be prepared to deal with his more over the top behaviors as well as really engage in focused therapy to show him other ways to get the structure he craves.

    I think you're absolutely right to be concerned about the ages of peers. We were lucky enough to find an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) that only went to age 13 that first time around. I had exactly the same concerns - I didn't want my 9-year-old to be exposed to teen issues. We were already dealing with- enough, LOL.

    As far as difficult child thinking you've given up - one thing we did that I have never regretted is when thank you left for his first Residential Treatment Center (RTC) (actually, it probably started earlier than that with all his admissions) we told him that his living situation was 100% up to him. His choices made it impossible for him to live at home safely. We acknowledged that because of his mental illness/disability he had a harder time exerting self-control and making better choices, but at the end of the day it was *his* choice to take the easy way out and rage rather than work through the problem. Until he was able to live safely in the community, it was our unhappy responsibility to give him access to as much help as possible wherever we could find it. His choice to learn and use new tools or not. Placing a difficult child outside of the home has absolutely *nothing* to do with- what the family wants and everything to do with what the difficult child needs, and I let thank you know that on a very frequent basis. *His* choice, most definitely not mine.

    thank you spent a full half of his childhood in various placements. From age 9 to 16, we were a constant presence for him (weekly visits, daily phone calls, etc.). We were there, whether he participated with us or not. It was a hardship for the younger kids, in hindsight, but we did it. At 16, I hit the wall and decided that I'd had about enough of the one-sided relationship - he needed to put forth some effort for a change. It took a couple years, but he finally did figure out that we were not the bad guys. He's still a disaster on paper (drop out, unemployed, untreated, always on the verge of homelessness), but in person he is a loving son who *chooses* to come visit us frequently and *chooses* to abide by our rules consistently. Progress.
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    slsh- your post helped me in terms of how to deal with my son. thank you!

    nvts- I agree with the others about checking out option #3, although I have no personal experience with this either. I wanted to mention though that you might have to talk to AH about this and get him on board with it. I have had profs in the past tell me that they wouldn't treat a minor whose parents were divorced or separated unless both parents signed agreement for the treatment.
  9. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Another vote to check out #3.
  10. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Nvts, having been in a very similar situation, I know my difficult child was so close to being in an institutional environment that it still gives me pause. Puberty(11 to 15) were a nightmare. difficult child was a raging volcano of hormones coupled with his particular challenges and it was an intolerable home life for all of us.
    The p-hospital had done everything they could do in terms of medication. Nothing worked.
    He went to a residential facility. At the time, I did not know of any specific for AS. If I did, I would have gone that route. Still the program was what stopped his never ending downward spiral. It wasn't pretty and I was pretty desparate to save my boy.
    My question was and still is "what does my son need?" It helps me navigate the hodge podge of services and possibilities.
    I never, ever thought of it as throwing in the towel. I made sure he understood that we loved him but his behaviors were unsafe, uncivilized and that his new surroundings were an effort to help him learn better behaviors, self control and come to more internal peace.
    Remind him over and over that this is not punishment. It is a godsend for him and for the family unit.
    All the professionals will give you suggestions and recommendations but look at your son and ask yourself "what does he need".

    There are more choices for kids with AS than when we were going through this phase which is fortunate. Hang in there. What you see today is not necessarily what you will see in 5yrs. No one had walked this path who could tell me that but I want you to know that a delay doesn't mean it isn't going to happen. Pace yourself, contain the fear, toss the guilt and put that warrior mom hat on to do what's best for your child.
  11. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    Count me in as another one who believes #3 is the best choice. Looking back, if I had to do it all over again, I would have looked into a similar type of program for difficult child 1.

    Never feel guilty!!! You are a wonderful warrior mom and doing everything humanly possible to help your son. You're not throwing in the towel - You're giving him the opportunity to provide him with the skills he needs to be a happy and successful person. Many hugs... SFR
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Very interesting observation. Could very well be the main issue.

    I like this: 3. Boarding school in Westchester/Yonkers that specializes in Aspergers children. He would be allowed home alternate weekends and on holidays. Not much fear here except that he would think I'd thrown in the towel.

    If you can afford it, go for it!
    Do not think or feel that you have thrown in the towel. Tell your difficult child that this is a highly qualified place that will help him learn to function in a social setting, a school setting, and a family setting. Tell him you've made a plan to help him out. If he gets snotty and tells you that you've thrown in the towel, just repeat, calmly, that this is a plan that you and the doctors came up with to help him. You are not in any way, shape or form giving up. You are helping him.

    We have whittled away our money on our difficult child on camps and tutors and private school, and then got hit with-major, unexpected home repairs, so we are using college funds for our difficult child, even though he's 13. :( Chances are slim he'll go to college anyway. We have to pay taxes on what we spent, but we couldn't have done it otherwise. Do what you have to do for today. Worry about the future later.
  13. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sorry I missed this yesterday-I also agree with option 3. Gentle hugs to you as you have been through so much lately.
  14. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Beth, I too think #3 is definitely worth checking out.

    My difficult child has been in a long-term Residential Treatment Center (RTC)/Adult Assisted Living facility specializing in "Aspergers +" (in other words, Aspie, or Aspie with co-morbidities or multiple diagnoses). It has been the best thing in the world for him. At first, he looked at it as us "sending him away because he was bad", but the longer he's been there the more he realizes how much they have been able to help him when we weren't able to.

    If you have the chance to do this now before he hits his teens, it may bode very well for him and the rest of your family down the road.