difficult child falling apart at school-sorry long

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Wiped Out, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    After such a bad year last year, he is really backsliding.

    The staff is good, it's just our schools are so understaffed when it comes to dealing with a kiddo like my difficult child.

    Here is the email I received just regarding today's issues (figured you could get the whole effect by reading it):

    As you probably know, difficult child didn't have a very good day today. Sharon, I know we called you after the first incident. What follows is a written account of this incident as well as the other two that happened 5th hour and after school. difficult child did sleep for one today.

    1. 3rd Hr gym-beginning of the hour: difficult child shouted across room “Joe (name changed) will you get me a compound bow.” Joe who was already using a different bow responded “No.” difficult child did not know how to use the bow that Joe was using. Time in the gym class passed with no other apparent interaction. At the end of class between the transition in the hallway, difficult child followed Joe up the stairs and started punching him in the shoulder. Joe reported that to me. difficult child conferred. He said was mad at Joe for not getting him the bow. Joe claimed he did not hear them. difficult child became very mad, balled up his fists and said loudly “shut up Joe or I’m going to punch your head out.” Joe left the area at this time and went to class. difficult child alternated between tears and balled up fist/tense body. He took off walking in opposite direction. A few minutes later, staff reported that he had walked outside and was walking across the field. A staff member talked him back into the building. He was again alternating between crying and balled up fist/tense body at this point. He kept saying he wanted to call his dad. Staff said ‘No” as per protocol. He stated he hated this school. He also said for the first time that Joe had called him ADHD and said something about Special Education. He did not bring this up again. He then turned and walked out the door towards the parking. An SEA went after him along with the principal. The principal told him that the school would need to call the police if he chose to run away. difficult child came back into the school. He allowed himself to be escorted to SAR. Once in SAR, he recovered quickly and began demonstrating manic type behaviors. During the entire incident his speech was slurred and he was very difficult to understand.

    2: Math class (5th hour)=No discernable trigger. difficult child came into the room appropriately, sat down and began warm up. He was a bit manic, but nothing extreme. He did the warm up. I handed him the next assignment. He did not look it over. He stated “I’m going to punch Jane (name changed) out if she touches me and Big Mama (respite lady)told me if someone touches me like that I should punch them out.” Jane is a student ½ his size who has significant cognitive challenges and who the entire time had been working quietly with her aide back facing difficult child. difficult child stated talking about being in the “mental math class” and something about how Jane and Becky were both “mental.” I tried to both re-direct his conversation as well as process through it. He became fixated on “punching Jane and Becky out if they touch me.” (they have never touched difficult child intentionally). At this point, I removed both the other students for safety reasons. difficult child tipped over his desk and threw his paper. He proceeded to lay across the chairs and said he was tired. The principal became involved. difficult child got up and went to the 8th grader lockers outside of the classroom. He opened a few up and started touching the other people’s things. He did eventually re-direct. He did ultimately make it down to the nurse’s office where he slept for 1 hour.

    3-End of the day after final bell. Again no discernable trigger-Was walking down the hallway after the bell rang. Stuck out his foot sideways and tripped a 6th grader who was walking down the opposite direction. The 6th grader later reported he did not know difficult child well, but difficult child “bothered” him sometimes in gym class. difficult child kept walking after the incident.

    The consequence for the punching was 1 period of ISS. difficult child ended up missing due to either his behaviors or sleeping 3 classes today.

    Please let me know if you have any advice,

    Honestly, I don't have any advice any more. When I spoke to the principal today I did let her know I didn't think our sd was doing enough for children with mental illness. She was very supportive and even gave me a number of someone I can call.

    Any ideas or suggestions on what I can say to the Special Education director of the district is most welcome.

    by the way, Big Mama (where he goes to respite) did not tell difficult child it was o.k. to hit someone!

    When I tried to talk with difficult child I just get, "shut up, don't talk to me," and husband also tries to talk with him. difficult child says he'll try and then starts obsessing over something at school and can't seem to help himself (that does not mean I'm saying it is o.k. it is just an observation).

    If you made it through all of this, thank you (I think this may be my longest post ever). I'm beyond frustrated and stuck!
  2. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Wow, Sharon. I'm always amazed at how I can relate to your posts. At least your school keeps your difficult child.

    My own experiences recently are clouding my judgement, I'm sure, but I would have to wonder if the "stigma" of Special Education isn't getting to your difficult child, as well? I don't know...just a thought, and likely a biased one.

    Hugs to you both. Poor little guy.
  3. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Oh Sharon! I'm sorry you and he are going through this. If he's going through this only as of late, could he be outgrowing his medication dosages? He's 12 now, that's the 14/15 of our generation - could his hormones be messing with his medications?

    I agree with Shari that he may be becoming aware of the "Sped" label and realizing that he's able to be lumped into the group.

    I wish you were having a better time of things,

  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Sharon, when was the last time your difficult child had a neuropsychologist evaluation? Is it time for updated information? I'm wondering whether some of this behavior is not medication-related but rather related to damage done in utero by drugs or alcholol.

    Hugs. I know how hard you all work on behalf of your difficult child.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I have no advice but wanted to offer support and let you know you're still in my thoughts. I do wonder, as was already mentioned, if he isn't becoming more sensitive and aware of a Special Education label- and maybe some other kids are using that in indiscreet ways that the teachers wouldn't necessarily notice readily. These boys, and I assume girls too, get hypersensitive sometimes at this age. From my perspective, when he was going back in forth between tears and fists, he was trying with all his might but couldn't find a good coping skill available.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
  6. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

  7. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    As always, I'm sending hugs. When everyone is looking to you for answers and you can't think of anything
    more to help, you want to yell "stop" it can be overwhelming.
  8. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Poor guy, he's really struggling. And I can only imagine how you're feeling. I don't know what I'd tell the SpEd director. Except maybe "Help!" Almost sounds like it might be time for a psychiatric hospital stay, but I'm no expert on that. He just sounds like he's really starting to unravel, and obviously the medications he's on now aren't doing enough to help him hold it together.

    He's at an age where boys can do a lot of growing, and I know that can stir up things as far as medications go. The brain is changing again.

    I'm sure you've called your psychiatrist by now, or will be soon to give an update. Hope they can offer something to try.

  9. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Sharon, I've dealt with our Superintendent of Special Education ~ not fun. Saying that I reminded her of FAPE; I also agreed to a contained setting for kt (wm was already there). It was important to get both of them in a day treatment setting to work on not only academics but life skills to function in school.

    Can difficult child transfer to a different district with more resources - it would be something I'd ask the Director. Is there a well hidden day treatment facility (no one knew about kt's til I jumped over several heads)? A paraprofessional to redirect difficult child?

    Good luck lady - as always you & your difficult child are in my prayers. difficult child is certainly giving you a run for your money.
  10. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    (((hugs))) I wish I had words of wisdom, or medications of wisdom that would work. I know you have tried so many medications with him, are there any left to trial? Just a thought, it may not be a good answer, but it was the only one I could come up with.
  11. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I know you don't want to do this but have you considered that a more structured setting like residential care may be
    the best answer. If he is a danger, which he is, to other students and adults including you then school is really a wasted
    exercise. If his brain is in such disarray he isn't really learning is he?
    I know first hand that schools and society do not address the issues of mental and emotionally unstable students but the truth is that when they get to this point, educating them is really not a priority. Because as a society we are too afraid of the black hole of the label of mentally unstable we tend to keep them in an environment that is not to their or anyone else's well being far too long.
    Getting them stable and functional is the priority before he can go to class and be educated.
    I knew when medications of all sorts weren't working. All the experts money could buy didn't influence difficult child's behavior. All the special education the school system had to offer couldn't keep him in a state of mind where he could learn and he had no fear of authority that I had lost the battle using traditional methods. It was time to admit that my son was unsafe and unhealthy. School was not the priority. He suffers with that consequence now but he will have to learn what he missed at this age. The trade off of an incredibly stable young man who is struggling with educational deficeits and work struggles is infinitely better than the whirling dervish of a barely visible human boy at 12 and 13.
    I know you keep hoping that you can go a little longer before the inevitable but you continue to believe that you can handle it a little longer, hoping it will work itself out.
    The educational system is not set up nor ever will be set up to handle emotionally unstable children. Some of our kids need a therapeutic environment where they can get the chance to grasp on to reality. After they are better then they can get educated. It is a disservice to difficult child, the other students and the teachers to expect an unhealthy, unstable child to attend day after day.

    I understand your fears. I understand that the school system doesn't want to say that they can't educate you child but they can't. If he isn't being educated then what's the point? Going through the motions doesn't make him fit in. When my difficult child said he isn't like the other students I told him he was not acting like the other students so he can't expect the same treatment. Doesn't mean my difficult child couldn't change his behavior and get rewards. Some self discipline lessons have to be instilled even when they are unstable.

    You know guilt comes with raising a difficult child but when it holds you back from doing what difficult child needs then it is a liability. I finally threw it out. I do what's best for difficult child and if there is nothing I can do for difficult child then I do what's best for the family.

    Despite common thinking, not everyone can learn and being in a state of mental instability is one of those times. in my humble opinion of course.
    I also know that if you don't come to the truths on your own you will not buy into it. The guilt will cause you to cut interventions short so if you get to the point I did you will do what your son needs regardless of personal pain, guilt or public opinion. Hang in there. You aren't on this path by yourself. Several of us recognize the crazy life you are living.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  12. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    What Fran said :flower:
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    I think what Fran said is very wise.

    In the ideal world there would be a place that did everything perfectly and our kids would be able to get a brain scan or a blood test to know just which medication would work to fix this problem and it would be just fine again. Not happening yet.

    Until then, I think Frans advice is something to seriously consider.
  14. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Shari-I do think the stigma of being in Special Education is bothering him. We've tried to frame things in a positive light but he does not like needing extra help even though he knows he does. (on the other hand, apparently one day last week he yelled across the room in SS and said, "I need help now, I'm Special Education."-very unlike him)

    Beth-Could be medications but I'm just not sure-psychiatrist wants to keep things the same for now.

    SW-His neuropsychologist was when he was 9 and very thorough. I do think some of this could be due to damage done by alcohol or drugs. He does not have the official diagnosis of fetal alcohol effects but I'm sure it does play a role.

    K-I think you are correct -he seems to want to stay in control-especially at school but can't always do it.

    Heather-Thanks for the hugs!

    Gvcmom-For now psychiatrist wants to see if the small increase we made in Loxapine a couple of weeks ago will help-so far it doesn't seem to be doing anything with the exception of making him more tired at times.

    Linda-I'm going to start with the director of Special Education. I could be wrong but I don't think another district around us would offer more but maybe I do need to check into it. Thanks for the continued prayers.

    CM-Thanks for the hugs-I don't know what medications we haven't trialed but there must be some. I think psychiatrist is wary because this combo, while not perfect, has worked better than other combo we have tried.

    Fran-Thanks for the hugs and wise words. I'm not far off from being in total agreement. At this point he isn't really learning, not making much, if any progress. For some reason though, no one seems to think he is at the point where he needs residential-in fact-the program that difficult child is in that is designed to keep kids in the home is dropping their support because they do not feel he is in danger of being placed out of the home (I was not at all happy about this and did try to convince them that isn't true). It is extremely frustrating. Apparently because he isn't violent every day any more or even every week he is in no danger of out of home placement!

    Another thing is that there are no residential programs around here (the nearest one is about an hour away). husband is definitely not at the point where he thinks difficult child needs to be placed out of the home at this time. Still if things consider at school this way maybe he will change his mind.

    There was one program that sounded promising as far as day treatment but then we found out it was headed by the psychiatrist that was in charge the last time difficult child was hospitalized. She was horrible (and we heard that from other professionals). Once he turns 13 he might be eligible to participate in the day treatment program at the local adolescent psychiatric hospital.

    Linda and Janet-Thanks-I do agree Fran has brought up some things I need to look at more closely.
  15. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    "For some reason though, no one seems to think he is at the point where he needs residential-in fact-the program that difficult child is in that is designed to keep kids in the home is dropping their support because they do not feel he is in danger of being placed out of the home (I was not at all happy about this and did try to convince them that isn't true)."

    If this is the case then the school and support services shouldn't be asking you what to do to prevent injury to other kids, prevent injury to you, throwing desks and the variety of things he does when he is upset. Obviously they see something different than the school sees.
  16. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know and it is so frustrating!
  17. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    We were just having a conversation with our therapist along the same vein of what Fran wrote. The Schools really are not prepared to deal with the kids who are Mentally unstable.
    There is no way they can cover academics while trying to "babysit" our kids on most days. Sad but true.

    I'm sorry