Hello from another new member.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Red Chief, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. Red Chief

    Red Chief New Member

    Hi all,
    Just wanted to introduce myself, and say thanks. I've lurked around this board for a bit & I've gotten good tips, and I'm sure I'll get good advice for any questions I ask.

    About me: I am a 38 yo stay at home dad. I was diagnosed with ADD (or whatever they called it back in 1981) as a child. I was put on Ritalin. I think I stayed on it too long as it totally messed up my personality. I went from being very outgoing & social to being very shy and a loner. Because of my experience I swore I would never put any child of mine on medications.

    wife works 2 jobs to make ends meet. She has always had mental issues due to things I'm not at liberty to discuss. She is currently diagnosed with adult ADD and anxiety, so she gets Concerta & lots of Xanax to deal

    easy child is a 20 yo college student. She moved out a couple of years ago, so we only see her when she needs something.

    difficult child is a 10 yo girl. She was first diagnosed with ODD at 6. About a year ago she was tested again. The ODD diagnosis still stayed, but they also determined that she had ADD/ADHD. She was put on Abilify and Adderall. Our biggest issues have been with getting the right medications and school.
    Thru first grade, she went to a public charter school. She generally did OK. Teachers had problems with her staying seated, getting work done, and with lying & stealing.
    For 2-4th we put her in public schools. Even with a 504 program, it was a disaster. I'm going to leave out the details, but it ended on a day last February when she trashed an office (among other things), and bit & kicked a teacher. We were told that she would be expelled at the next incident. There were incidents every day, so it was a matter of when, not if, so we decided to pull her out. Then wife and her decided on a nice little private christian school. Because of her lack of education during the school year, they put her back into 3rd grade.
    Things went really well last school year & for the first 2 months of this year, but her grades started slipping starting just after Haloween. The teacher & principal started complaining about some of the things she did, like inappropriate talk. Just after T-giving, the principal started mentioning expulsion if she didn't improve, so we & her therapist decided to enroll her in an outpatient mental health facility. They changed her medications a little (changed Adderall to Vyvanse & added Concerta) and gave her lots of therapy about her compulsive behaviors. Things seemed to get a little better, but her focus in school still wasn't good, so her local Doctor & I decided to up her Vyvanse a little. That didn't work, & she started complaining about being sad & not knowing why, so we put her back into the outpatient program, where a violent outburst got her admitted for 5 days & nights. They changed her medications again (Moved Vyvanse dose back, stopped the Abilify & added Risperdal).

    Sorry for the novel, I will wind this up because I have to leave shortly.
    After getting out of the hospital, she lasted 1 1/2 days in school before the Principal called me to come pick her up. He said if we can get her stable, she would be welcomed back at the start of the school year. Meanwhile, I think I'm going to homeschool her. Because Michigan laws are so lax, that won't be a problem. One on one interaction will help her stay focused. I'm just worried about the next school year, because I'm gonna need a job by then, so I can't continue to homeschool.

    My question is has anyone had any experiences with public charter schools? She will not go back to the public schools. I'm not going to send her back to the christian school because we really couldn't afford the tuition. That leaves a couple of public charter schools in the area, including the one she started school at. From my research, because they are public, they have to follow all the same laws that the regular public schools do, so getting her a 504 or IEP program should be no problem (provided they acutally admit her into school). I've been looking & I can't seem to figure out what an IEP program actually is. What is it?

    OK. I gotta go. Thanks in advance for any help/suggestions!
  2. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Hi Red Chief,

    Welcome to the board. Thanks for being so thorough and open about what is going on in your lives. Your daughter sounds like she's really having a tough time of it. Between the medications and the inpatient stays I haven't read anything about her seeing a therapist. This could help you all a tremendous lot. For a few reasons. One, problems don't get fixed by ignoring them and a therapist is a good person to go to once a week to kind of recap a bad week, blow it out, and get some viable solutions to work on all the next week. The younger you get the kids into therapy the more it becomes a habit, and by the time she's into her teens? The easier it will be for her to open up to someone. Mostly because it's not going to be you or wife. Just FYI.
    Two, if you have a therapist "card" you can use that with the school system and play it. Sorry to say but it's a good one to have. "Yes we're working with her therapist. Oh I'm sorry she trashed a portable, I'll speak with her therapist Thursday evening. Would you like to talk to her therapist? Can her therapist attend the meeting about her BIP (Behavior Intervention Plan) on Monday?" It's all sort of relative and a little bit of political, but if you start stacking good people in her corner that are really going to be THERE for her? It helps a lot. The more professional people that are THERE for her? The less chance you have of her being railroaded, thrown out of school by the school or ---not being given the opportunity that I'm thinking you may have not been given that you need to check into which I'm going to tell you about now.

    See my son was so unruly HE trashed a school portable, had been suspended and was sent home. When we went back for his re-admittance hearing they told me they didn't want him back even at the alternative school. Here's the HUGE problem with that. I had to work and my fiance was home recovering from his back surgery and 110% disabled and in no way shape or form able to watch Dude. I have no family here in SC, we were black listed from every single day care and private school was not even a financial option. So this meant what? Home, alone at 13? So I called the school and they said "So sad, too bad." I got out my copy of FAPE (Free and Proper Education) and read something to the effect that the school HAD to provide education for him. So the counselor suggested an IN HOME 1/2 a day SCHOOL PROVIDED teacher.

    IT WAS WONDERFUL. I set up a classroom in my dining room. She came around 8:30 - then I left for work. She stayed until around 2:30, took a lunch and was there M-F. This went on for six months, the district paid for it and she was a former special education teacher they kept for just such occasions. OMG - how awesome was that. He was home schooled at the school district's expense. When he COULD go 1/2 days to self-contained? He went to the afternoon class and the bus came to the house and brought him home. She would come in the morning, then he would catch the bus and finished out the school year in full-days of school.

    It's worth a shot. It's also worth THEM paying for it - especially so you could go to work NOW.....Less stress for her too. She gets 'weaned' back into self-contained school and you sit and write her behavior intervention plan or BIP with the in home teacher who gets to sit with her one on one. Oh and lest I forget. When she DOES go back to public school? If she NEEDS a shadow for more one on one help to keep her in check (like if she needs to leave the class room or something) this is ALSO paid for by the School District.

    Just a thought.
    Hope it helps
    From one Native American to Another - Blackfoot Nation ;)
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Hi and welcome. An IEP is an Independent Education(al) Plan specifically tailored for your daughter while still working within the parameters of the school districts teaching methodology. Often, it means supplying the student with special services such as Occupational Therapist (OT) or an aide, or longer test times, longer due dates for homework, using a recorder to take notes rather than the student taking notes, more frequent bathroom breaks or class breaks, time spent in a resource room to do her homework or extended time for class work, tuturing and various other services, depending upon what your daughters specific issues are.

    My difficult child daughter went to a charter school for HS and did well on a social and emotional level. Academically, it didn't really help her much. My daughter has always scored in the above average to superior range on IQ tests and standardized tests, even won a writing award, but on a day to day basis, she just wasn't interested enough to keep up and almost flunked out of HS. Thankfully, she hung on by a thread and graduated. Has no intereste whatsoever in higher education, which is fine as long as she is working and supporting herself. But back to you.

    I didn't notice what state you're in, but here in CT all the charter schools are considered part of the public school system, however, they also rely on grants and other funding to survive. And because of that, they most certainly can take on and enforce students with IEP's, Section 504, etc., but they also have the flexibility to alter their curriculum a bit more than traditional public schools to meet the needs of their students. The charter school my daughter went to seemed to be filled with mostly kids who were a little left of center, which I loved because my difficult child fit right in with them. And because this seemed to be the typical student at her charter school, the director was able to really mix things up in the curriculum and guidelines of the school. I would suggest contacting your state's education department and getting a full listing of all alternative schools within your area, charter, magnet and other. You may be able to find a school that is a perfect fit for your daughter.

    In the meantime, hugs, prayers and patience. I hope the medication tweaking is helping.
  4. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    If you put your daughter back in school, I would go for a public school of some variety. It sounds like she needs an IEP and is a good candidate for a 1:1 aide to help her focus and to help her regulate her emotions. I good, well-trained aide can make a huge difference in how well a child does in the classroom. It bothers me that none of the principals or teachers you have worked with has mentioned the possibility of an IEP or an aide.

    I loved Star's suggestion for having a teacher come to your home. We had that option for my son in the spring, but ultimately passed on it in favor of me teaching him. If I had it to do over, I would take the teacher from the district. difficult child is a hard one to teach and I am better at just being his mom.

    Good luck.
  5. Red Chief

    Red Chief New Member

    Thanks for the responses.

    daughter is seeing a therapist. We try to get her in once a week. Unfortunately daughter hasn't seen her much over the past month, because we've spent so much time at the hospital. I have played the therapist card many times. It has definitely helped in the sense that the teachers know that we care for our child and are doing everything we can to help.

    When she goes back to school, I'm aiming for one of the public charter schools. There is no way she is going back to the regular public school! I do like the suggestions given. When she goes back, I will definitely check into an IEP and a 1:1 aide. Of course, no one has ever suggested anything like that; we only got a 504 program after the therapist suggested it, and even then the school acted like we were being a pain. She liked the private school (my wallet didn't), but they just can't provide the individual attention she needs even with the smaller class sizes. Plus they didn't have a 504 or anything like that. The teacher did her best to work with us though.

    Best case scenario, she'll be back in school within a month, worse case will be the start of the next school year. She is in no shape to go now. I've found a computer based curriculum that should be good for her. She loves to do anything on a computer, so I'm sure it will keep her attention & she will actually learn. I will supplement with other work to make sure she actually puts pencil to paper during the day. I am leaning toward homeschooling for the rest of this school year though. She was diagnosed with some sort of math dysfunction during her original testing, so she's still behind 4th grade level in math (still doesn't know her multiplication tables). I think I can work with her and get her back to grade level by the end of the year.

    It was the plan all along for me to go back to work when school ended. It was just easier for me to be at home, for transportation reasons, and also so I was available if the school needed me. I want her to go to school for social reasons, but has anyone heard if it is possible to get disability or Social Security on the slight chance that I homeschool her next year? wife's logic is that she's been kicked out of two schools already, and I may be entitled to aid if I have to stay home and teach.

    Thanks all!


    Shout out back to you Star! Wampanoag on Mom's side & Pottawatomie on Dad's.