thankful I found this place

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by zoo_keeper, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. zoo_keeper

    zoo_keeper Member

    Since I found this site I have been reading almost non-stop. It truly does seem like a wonderful place to land for a 'battle weary parent'. I tried to make a signature so hopefully it shows up. I really do feel like a zookeeper and don't know what I would do without husband. We were both divorced with kids when we met (me: 4 sons, him: 1 daughter) and our daughter is nine months old. The main 'difficult child' of the house is my 12yo son who has had a diagnosis of bi-polar for the past two years. husband has been incredibly supportive through everything that we have went through with him. At times he is violent and angry but at others he's a sweet, cooperative kid. He has had four hospitalizations, two in the last 6 months. Things have went downhill with him since the birth of our daughter.

    This past month we had to call 911 and have him transported to the ER because he was raging and he locked himself in the van before I could get the baby out of her car seat. husband had to break out one of the windows. She was not hurt and he none of his anger was directed at her but there is no describing how much that incident shook me. I blame myself because I was careless and should have had the keys on my person at all times and spare sets (in my purse in the van). He never went to that level before and he was discharged from the psychiatric hospital after two weeks. I tried to refuse taking him home until he was 100% stabilized but CPS threatned me with child abandonment and out of home placement for the rest of the kids. They said he was well enough to come home. He has been better and does feel ashamed, but we are all still on edge. They did agree to fund an in home therapist (which we had been fighting his caseworker for before this) twice a week and he also goes to a three hour long day program five days a week.

    husband has excepted a very good job out of state and we will be moving at the end of july. We have been in the same county all his life and am extremely anxious about having to start at square one. Has anyone had experience moving with a difficult child that is in need of these types of services? I am clueless to everything I should be doing to make the transition smooth. He likes the therapist that we're working with now and we are happy with the psychiatrist. Both are unfamiliar of other professionals within the state we are moving (colorado). The move is unavoidable. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for this being so long.
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Welcome! I can imagine the sheer terror of what happened. I injures myself twice trying to get to Tigger before Kanga did. Watching the violence explode around your helpless baby is very traumatic (course, my baby was 5-8 years old but developmentally only 2-3 at the time).

    Do you know what town you will be moving to in Colorado? The internet is a wonderful thing. I would have initial appointments set (make the appts now)with psychiatrist and therapist for difficult child and the pediatrician for all of them so that they can see the docs in the first week or so. It may be critical that you have a "local" doctor and better to have that set up than to have to scramble while in crisis.

    I'd also recommend getting the school records sent now and making an appointment with the school district. For the ones with IEPs, it is vital to give the schools a big heads up so that they can adjust staffing if necessary (it looks like you may have 5 on IEPs?? that could be overwhelming for a small district and the more time you give them to get ready, the better).

    I'd recommend each kid take their absolute favorite toys in a backpack and have 1 box in your car with their sheets, pjs, teddy bears, etc so that their first night in the new house, at least their beds will 'feel' right.

    If you can get a recommendation (either through husband's work or your future church), I would try and hire a couple of teenagers to help during the first week or so -- even just to play with the kids outside while you unpack dishes inside.
  3. zoo_keeper

    zoo_keeper Member

    Thank you JJJ for your response. Very helpful. There is a childrens hospital about forty minutes away that looks very promising. I'm going to start there. Its just so hard to find quality tdocs and psychiatrists that work for 'us'. I would be amazed if we got lucky on the first try.
    difficult child 2 is the only one with an IEP. difficult child 1 was on homebound for this whole school year while he attended the day program. We live in a very small town and the school district has fought us on establishing an IEP for difficult child 1. They think sooo backwards its unbelievable. One will have to be established at the new school if he can't continue homebound. They also said they can accomodate difficult child 3 without an IEP or a 504 as she does do pretty well in a regular classroom setting. As long as the twins aren't placed in the same class and get put in situations where they feed off each other, I don't see them needing special attention in school (knock on wood). Have you had experience in school districts fighting IEP when they are so obviously needed (like in difficult child 1's case)?
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    We hear that a lot on here. The older they are when you start the process the more difficult the schools seem to make it.

    AND as I was reading your comment about your difficult child 3, I was thinking NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Get the IEP or 504 ASAP. If they are going to accommodate her anyway, get it in legal writing. Once she switches to middle or HS it will be so much harder to get one in place, and the higher schools will not be so "accommodating"

    Welcome and stick around. This is a great place for support, insights and guidance.
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Alot depend on why difficult child 1 was on homebound...??? If it was for the bipolar, that is by definition a situation that REQUIRES an IEP.

    For difficult child 3, I would give the school district a letter stating that she needs to be evaluated for special education due to her medical diagnosis of ADHD and her associated educational issues is the areas of attention and learning. That way if she does struggle with the move, they are on notice that she is a child with a disability and she will be under the protection of the Special Education discipline.
  6. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    just wanted to pop in and say welcome, and I love your screen name! I bet you do feel like a zoo keeper! Maybe you should change it to lion tamer! I might go for cat herder.........

    On a serious note, I am sorry you had to find us but glad we are here. It sounds like you are doing a great job to advocate for your kiddo while trying to keep your family safe.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I know what you mean about reading the notes. I was fascinated, excited, and calmed all at the same time when I finally found this site.

    I agree with-JJ, and would add, find some photos on the Internet of the neighborhood you are moving to, and show them to difficult child. And show him pics of your house. Anything to make the area familiar. And once you get there, you can say, "See, that's the photo I showed you."
    I would also make sure he is on a strict sleep/wake routine. That will help him stay stable.
    Best of luck! Wish I had more advice.
  8. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just adding in my welcome! Sorry you needed to find us but I'm glad you did. This really is a supportive corner of the world. by the way, I love your board name!
  9. zoo_keeper

    zoo_keeper Member

    Thank you all for the warm welcome. The more posts I read the more amazing I find this site. Just knowing that other families are struggling like ours is uplifting.

    crazy - "zookeeper" is an analogy I've been using for a while now, works well.

    jjj - yes difficult child 1 was on homebound because the treatment team felt it best that he attend the day program. difficult child 1 has always been seen as a behavioral problem at school not so much as a child with a mental illness. Even tho they know about his diagnosis. At the end of last school year (when he was attending), I was told that it was time to "begin exploring other education options that are equipped to handle difficult child 1." Dead wrong, yes I know. At that time I demanding appropriate testing and IEP eligiblitity meeting. Some testing was done but difficult child 1 was undergoing a massive meltdown at the time and was hospitalized. After hospitalization he started the day program and I knew he was not stable enough for a school environment. School district suggested they fund a homebound tutor and the eligibility meeting was posponed. After researching this I now know that an IEP should have been established but at the time there was only so many battles I could fight. Its an understatement to say I will be glad to leave this school district behind.

    Next week we will all be traveling to the new area to look at a few houses a rental agency has in mind for us. We are contacting a realtor here but so much to be done before our house can be placed on the market; trying to get a rumamge sale organized. difficult child 1 upset about selling a ratty old couch thats been in the garage for a year. Told him to make a list of all the things in the garage he thinks we should keep and we'll talk about each item if he can stay calm. distracted him at least.