Met with-therapist to discuss placement for difficult child

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Sigh. He doesn't think it will "stick" after difficult child gets out, especially if I only send him for 1 yr.
    He also said that between the two programs I narrowed it down to, difficult child's depression is secondary to the Asperger's. (by the way, he said it took him a long time to get on board with, since difficult child is so high functioning. I said I know. Some time ago, I insisted that's what difficult child had, and Dr. R disagreed, and I burst into tears. It was a bad week and I had just had it. So now, after yrs of seeing difficult child's rigid thinking, now that difficult child is fully verbal--or maybe more self aware and able to explain his thoughts, or lack thereof, he "gets it.")

    He suggested alternatives to the expensive ($81,000) places I'd come up with, such as therapeutic foster care and residential treatment. He gave me two names. I'll look it up but most residential stays I find online are for drug users. Hopefully, the local places are more generalized. Sigh.

    Lots of sighing going on ...
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Wow, it sounds like you have quite the decision to make. I am hoping it never comes to that with difficult child 1 but I am keeping an open mind just so I'm not devastated IF it does.

    Good luck on your search. {{{{(((HUGS)))}}}}
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I still vote for military boarding school. I don't think you would be happy with the avaliable local placements or things like wrap around services and him staying in the home. And I thought you were referring to a placement for getting him thru HS, not a 1 yr placement when you first brought it up.
  4. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Hugs. Such hard decisions to make, and do hard to deal with the the emotions that come with that decision. My thoughts are with you.
  5. buddy

    buddy New Member

    oh wow, I wish there was a clear answer.... really tough one.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I thought you were looking at a placement to get him through school too. I would also suggest interviewing military schools.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    The problem with military schools is that they have the routine, but they do not have the rewards. If difficult child has a meltdown, with his anxiety issues, it would only make him worse. The dr said he doesn't know how much of that escalation would go on in a military school. The local schools are $20,000 less, though. :) I will call next wk and ask them if they've had anyone like my son. I would think so ...
    I'd prefer 4 yrs but money is an issue.
    Of course, now he's being an angel, with friends, and helping me put up Christmas decorations and lights.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    There are rewards...they are called increases in ranks. Personal satisfaction in a job well done.
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That's what I started to say- the same as DJ. The reward is learning confidence in yourself and pride from achievement and learning how to stand on his own feet. That's what he needs to learn, as do most (or at least many) of our difficult child's, and maybe even moreso for these boys. Outside rewards will only work for so long. He would learn to feel like a man- that's most important and what these teen boys are really trying to find- the difficult children just go about it all wrong. Some of them have certain churches that help contribute to cost and I think all have financial aid available. Terry, if I had it to do over again, my son would have been there in a heartbeat if I could do anything to make it happen.
  10. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Sweetie, good luck in your search. Keeping all body parts crossed that some placement works out.

    Saying that, given difficult children level of dysfunction would he qualify for disability &/or medical assistance? That may be an avenue for you & husband to pursue.

    I hear your exhaustion, your frustration & I so understand. (((hugs)))
  11. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    I doubt that a kid with Aspergers is going to fare too well in military school. I think a school that understands these kids and works from a philosophy of building on strengths is the way to go. I do not regret at all the decision to send my child to boarding school for a year. Hope you find one that you feel comfortable with.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Personal satisfaction in a job well done.

    This is exactly whathe has always lacked and what we have been working on for so long. I swear, that part of his brain is missing.
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I tend to think it's because when kids are younger, the 'outside' rewards are effective. As these boys get older, they aren't./ But the boys don't know that and between them and the parents, it's very easy to just keep thinking a bigger and bigger reward or stiffer consequence will solve the problem, but it doesn't. I've heard from many parents, of difficult children and TTs both, that boys this age are really trying to find their path to manhood. The things that worked pre-teen years will no longer work.

    I know you'll do what you want and I understand your frustration. I'm just suggesting that you try to open your ideas to things that you aren't used to being set in.

    If you want him to go someplace to live a while, maybe you shouldn't pick a place that uses the methods you have been using, because lets face it, if they were working, you wouldn't be looking for some place else. If you want to continue on and believe eventually this will work for him (and maybe it will- I have no idea), then I suggest you quit threatening to send him someplace else. This kind of threat rarely 'snaps' a kid into appreciating you- it really can serve to push him further away from you and anything you want.
  14. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I certainly can relate to those years of profound exhaustion and frustration.
    Prayers and good thoughts that you find a good placement.
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you all.
    Klmno, let's hope so, about the maturity level and finding his way. I haven't threatened him with this placement. He does not know I'm doing this.
    We have told him in the past, when he was really violent, when he was about 9 and went to the psychiatric hospital, but the clonidine and therapy helped a lot.
    I'm going to ask the psychiatrist about anti-anxiety medications. Right now it's Clonidine and Imiprimene. We've been talking about a change for mo's but haven't done anything.
  16. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I wasn't around for a long time so I know I'm missing lots of what's been going on. My heart goes out to you because having raised two difficult children with Asperger's, I know how totally wrung out and exhausted I was during their teen years.

    I researched many programs for kids on the spectrum, visited some of them, and if I had been able to financially, I would have placed them in residential programs. The best I could do was to send difficult child 1 to a special summer program for a couple of seasons, during one of his worst "difficult child" periods. The program was wonderful. The staff was supportive, caring, and had extensive experience working with kids with Autism. While it had a strong behavioral component, all negative consequences resulting from inappropriate behavior was handled as a learning experience, not as a punishment. The program also had a strong reward system built into it for good behavior. The reward could be one of many things - a candy bar, spending some extra one on one time with a favorite counselor, etc... difficult child 1 thrived in this setting.

    The staff valued each child for his/her unique personality, gave these kids a much stronger sense of self by having them reach goals that they thought they would never reach. For instance, there was an obstacle course that was built high up in the trees. If a camper was afraid of heights, he/she still had to complete the course. Other kids were allowed to help the camper. The kids learned to work in groups to reach goals. Most of these kids were outcasts in school and all of them were valued and accepted in this program. difficult child 1 came home with a new found sense of pride, self-confidence, and even a bit of empathy for others - Something I thought was impossible! The down side is that the summer program was not long enough to make all of the positive changes last.

    While I think military schools are a wonderful option for certain types of difficult children, I'm not sure they would be beneficial to all difficult children with Aspergers. It really sort of depends on their individual personalities and level of functioning. I don't think this sort of program would have been the answer for my difficult children. difficult child 1 has a very high IQ, is extremely opinionated, headstrong, and very independent. Even though he needed lots of structure to function, I think he would have become much worse behaviorally in an environment where he was forced to conform. I don't think he would have lasted a full week without being expelled. However, once he graduated from high school, he thought about joining the military. This surprised husband and I because while we think the military is a wonderful opportunity for growth, for developing a sense of pride, and maturity, we just couldn't picture difficult child 1 doing well in this sort of rigid environment.

    I think a military school would have been even more of a disaster for difficult child 2. difficult child 2 has an average IQ and is much lower functioning then difficult child 1. To this day, he still needs help with some ADL's. He has executive functioning issues, extremely poor social skills, and is unable to see things from any point of view other then his own. ( Although all difficult children seem unable to see things from any other point of view but their own, difficult child 2 is extreme in this way.) difficult child 2 has an anxiety disorder and worries for days beforehand when he has a task he is going to have to complete. He still "melts" when things don't go his way. He has trouble with even the slightest change to his schedule and obsesses over the smallest of things. He has a need to be perfect and responds only to praise. He is also a hoarder saving scraps of paper, opened wrappers from food, broken pieces from toys, etc... I truly think he would have fallen apart in a military school. His anxiety levels would have been so high, he would have been unable to function.

    I know how hard it is to make changes. So much conflicting advice, it's easy to second guess what you feel deep down is the right decision for your child. Just want you to know I'm thinking of you, know how much you've struggled in the past, and hope that you find the answer that makes the most sense for you, for your family, for your difficult child... Many hugs being sent your way... SFR
  17. ML

    ML Guest

    I apologize for coming in on this late but I do not believe military school would be good at all for a kid on the spectrum. I really do hope you can find some place that will help. I have been inspired by your dedication to your son over the years. He is lucky to have you and I know that you have done everything possible within your power to give him opportunities to reach his fullest potential. I think you are on the right track with a boarding type of school/learning environment but I do not believe military school would be good for him. JMVHO
  18. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    I have no advise. Just a big hug and an understanding nod. I dont have the same issues, but have had to make the decision to send away a complicated difficult child several times. I know you are exhausted. My thoughts are with you and hope you will find the right place and soon.
  19. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, SFR, ML and Exhausted. I'm giving it lots and lots of thought.
    Due to $ situations, we may just have to do summer camp for now.
    We'll see.