The chicken or the egg?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well, difficult child had been doing great at school and had talked about how his memory was better since coming off medications. Behavior and motivation had been great. Then, at visitation on Sunday, here it came. He was clearly depressed- fighting back tears and was very frustrated and agitated and had been sleeping all day. He was upset because he said he suddenly was failing Spanish because he couldn't memorize all the words assigned each class period and couldn't concentrate enough in his unit to study them in the evenings. He was failing PE because now he had to participate more and he couldn't take it. He had been written up the night before for talking during shower time and apparently didn't hear his warning to get out of the shower. I suggested he talk to his therapist- but now he hates tdocs and doesn't want to hear any advice from me.

    So which came first? Did school requirements suddenly become more stringent and the demands of the advanced high school track drive him into feeling overwhelmed and being depressed? These kids went to school all summer but started the regular school year the first week of September. Or did his depressive time of year roll around again (this is the 4th year in a row that he's suffered depression starting in Oct.), decreasing his ability to concentrate, memorize things, and function in general? Of course, the other theory is that it's all willful and intentional and the only time he's depressed is after he gets caught up in the consequences of his own choices and actions.

    It's times like this that I get ticked at this whole probation/parole system. We need a mental health case manager. They have been told this, but again, refuse to give it. The probation/parole officers have to act as CM's, yet if you asked them, they would have no clue this kind of stuff is going on, much less what to do about it. difficult child has a CM in Department of Juvenile Justice- she is a behavior person not a mental health prof (not a therapist) and she's "in charge" of making sure he meets his Department of Juvenile Justice objectives- such as completing anger management class. She has no clue what is going on with difficult child and his therapist or what the mental health recommendations are. She has no clue what is going on with school issues- because of course, difficult child has another CM at school for behavior and another for his IEP.

    So, for a kid who has so many CM's, why am I still the one trying to make sure that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing? Why am I still the one trying to get others to communicate with each other and sitting here writing letter after letter and copying all the "case managers"? I have spent the majority of this day getting this kind of stuff in writing for the IEE. I have become convinced that the real CM is the warrior parent and we just have to bobble our heads as the others claim this position while we pass out our documentation to all of them so they might get a clue what is going on in the various settings- that is, if they bother to read it instead of just filing it away and if they don't take the position that if the mother provided the info, the facts are questionable to begin with. Arghh....

    At least the sd agreed to let difficult child's previous therapist do the IEE. Now, let's just hope the typical psychiatric attitude that everything is about a behavioral issue doesn't dominate his opinion.

    A little Occupational Therapist (OT)- I found out today that there is no problem with difficult child going to HI - IF - I am out there by mid-Nov so I don't mess up difficult child's release date because they have to have their paperwork in hand months ahead of time. And, I found out the cost of the dogs being quarantined- which is outrageous. So, the only way I can make that work is to nail the job this week. I have no idea how to contact their HR dept. to try to rush things along so there's nothing I can do. I have no other job leads and can't afford another month in this house. Bummer, huh?
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Is there any way he can be evaluated by a psychiatrist while in Department of Juvenile Justice?
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    He kind of was/is. He was taken off medications and doesn't want to go back on, however, I think he would without too much fuss if deemed necessary. His therapist does appear to be keeping an eye on how he's doing, as well as his guidance counselor at school (who has more sense then all the CM's by the way). difficult child is supposed to request to see his psychiatrist if he feels "different", depressed, or whatever. He's supposed to go talk to his guidance counselor for supports if he's struggling at school. I did suggest to him in a letter I sent out today that he go talk to the guidance counselor and not quit this advanced program or spanish until talking to her and thinking about it for a few days first. I told him I would support his final decision though because I don't want him to feel pressured or that I would be disappointed in him. Really, he could take spanish in summer school and still stay on the advanced track. And, I noticed in his IEP that we can put in supports to help him with memorization work so I thinnk I'll call the guidance counselor about this. I have also written a letter to the therapist doing the IEE and asked him to help discern what is cause and what is effect.

    But getting back to the immediate concern, I was going to wait until our next family session early next week to bring up difficult child seeing the psychiatrist. For one thing, I wanted to give things a little more time just to be certain that this wasn't just a bad day or week for him and I was hoping that the current therapist would see some of this on her own when she sees difficult child this week. I will say that this therapist stays on top of any slight suuggestion difficult child makes regarding starting back self-injurous behavior. Also, difficult child was upset Sun. because he said everyone is looking at him and watching him constantly since being taken off medications and he "can't take being treated like a guinea pig". He's not being treated any differently and staff has been very happy with him- I'm sure his write up on Sat. was not considered a big deal given how well he's been doing. But, I thought it might do difficult child and others there a little good to see some of these changes on their own before I rush in asking for psychiatrist involvement. I can almost see it coming based on difficult child's previous history but this time, I want others' back-up so the next sd and "CM" and so forth have more than just my word and private prof's word- which means nothing to people in the system. It would help curb the opinions of those who still want to insist that difficult child is just a behavior problem- I even got one comment today that this is probably just the honeymoon period wearing off. Well, I would agree if he had started fighting or bullying or being disrespectful, but this has not happened.

    And, admittedly, I have a sstrong feeling that since this is a contracted psychiatrist who only sees these kids 15 mins at a time periodically to write scripts, if difficult child sees him, difficult child goes straight back on medications. This will be crushing to difficult child so I want him to have a little time to accept that he needs it, time for his therapist to try to handle it by using coping skills instead of medications and time for this sd to see for themselves that this kid changed on Oct. 1 or thereabouts. Plus, with the GAL's position that she is just going to back up whatever others' iin the system say about me- even though I'm the only one really advocating for difficult child, it will help to give these people a little space to figure some of this out on their own, I think. But I can tell you- I am brushing armour off and getting ready to rear my warrior mom head. LOL!

    They can't say much about the IEE therapist- he used to work at a state psychiatric hospital here for the criminally insane who were violent and he has a masters in Special Education and a phd in psychiatric. He's licensed to do psychiatric and educational testing and is a clinical psychiatric as well. If he backs some of what I've been saying up, it should go a long way in getting more people on the same page.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  4. My experience is that things are good until they hit the slightest bump (or even perceived bump)in the road and that triggers the funk.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    thank you for the response. I just got off the phone with difficult child. He apologized for being edgy at visitation the other day. His unit "head person" got his charge dropped because it was such a minor incident and she knows he's not being defiant in there. Someone at sd is going to talk to the PE teacher and he talked to the Spanish teacher about how to bring up his grade since it dropped so much within one week. He said now he has learned all the stuff he was having trouble with last week (??) This is all good, of course, but I told him (since I finally remembered- duh) that his IEP has some allowances for times like this so if he feels overwhelmed with it, we can help some thru the IEP. For instance, if he is supposed to be studying spanish words in a Department of Juvenile Justice unit with 17 other boys talking and watching tv, we can just find a way for him to have time at school to study them and maybe someone to help help him.

    Then, he said he's doing a hundred push-ups each night and he feels great now. This made me a little concerned about whether or not he's cycling. I have noticed that when he was what I would call hypomanic, he could do very well in school so no one at school noticed a problem before it turned to worse. (Still, the coping skills he's learning as described above are beneficial.) I asked if he's sleeping more or less lately and he said he thinks about the same. I reminded him that there are people around who can help- depending on what is needed, he has people at school, a therapist, psychiatrist he can see, and staff, so we can continue to talk about things and if this mood comes and goes, we will need to discuss it with these people so he can get some support and help. He seemed ok with that.

    I am comfortable that at least a couple of people there are really trying to help him and watch closely for signs of self-harm, etc. If this can help get others on the same page and help difficult child and I become more comfortable with his diagnosis, no matter what it is, then I will feel progress has been made.

    I know I have been on much lately and I apologize. It has been a time period for me where I am antsy about the job situation and am trying to get all paperwork pertaining to difficult child updated and distributed now while I have a chance.
  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    first, don't ever feel that you are "on too much". There is no such thing when you are worried, planning, and thinking outloud about your child.

    Second, sounds like you feel confident that difficult child has some folks looking out for him in this program. That's a good thing. I don't have any first had knowledge or experience with the cycling, etc., but I wonder outloud if difficult child is being a little stressed by the advanced high school ciriculum.

    I only question that because I know first hand, with my son, that I did not accept placement in the IB middle school (which he qualified for by virture of his grades, district testing, and SOL scores), nor did I accept placement in the "core" program at his current middle school (which averages a year ahead of the rest of the grade-I suppose kind of advanced placement for middle school) even though his grades and scholar role status in elementary placed him in "core".

    For my difficult child personally, he excells academically, behaviorally, and emotionally when his anxiety level is kept at a minimum and he views himself as successful. My difficult child is a really smart kid - but I purposely chose for him to stay in the general ciriculum because the demands are not as great. I know that may sound a little odd. He excells in his classes and it really gives him the confidence he needs to reign in the anxiety, which leads to frustration, which leads to aggitation, which leads to behavior issues, yada, yada, yada. Just a thought.

    I know with easy child, I pushed her as far as I could because she was so "typical" and could handle the stress without side effects. If I even attempted the same with difficult child, it would be a nightmare.

    Glad they are letting his old therapist do the IEE.

    Hope something positive moves quickly on the job front.

  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Sharon! It could be- I don't think it is the advanced track- but it could be contributing. Well, let me say it this way- in mainstream, it could be that an advanced track is too much for him. In Department of Juvenile Justice, they are so easy on these kids in school- most have no homework at all, ever, that this can't be an issue- except for spanish class, which difficult child has always wanted to take but didn't get into until now. This class has homework so he's trying to memorize the stuff while other kids are having free time. In that sense, that could be too much to expect. He's taking advanced English, which the teacher and guidance counselor recommeded and I questioned but they say he is doing well in it and he's never seemed stressed over it so I'm letting that one ride. The advanced diploma means 4 years of science and math instead of 3 and 3 years of a foreign language. So, as a 9th grader, he's taking spanish while most are not taking a foreign language. He could quit the class and still get the advanced diploma (which he asked for) if he took foreign language in 10-12th grades. However, I am in support of finding out while he's in Department of Juvenile Justice if this is too much for him. I'm fine with giving accommodations to make sure the requirements are reasonable (like- not expecting him to memorize words while the other boys are making noise), but if he is feeling real stress over the demands at this Department of Juvenile Justice school, I know he can't handle the demands of all the homework in mainstream.

    So, this is a big question and I included that in my letter to the IEE therapist. Usually, the sd responds that they aren't evaluation'ing cause of problems because they aren't diagnosis'ing- only trying to identify a problem. But, I think it would be helpful because it helps us know how to deal with it appropriately. on the other hand, IF it is cycling that is interfering and causing the other problems, it might be worse on difficult child to be pulled from the advanced track. At least, things might need to be handled differently, I'm not sure. Anyway, this is one of the big questions.

    I should add that difficult child does need to learn to take more responsibility for himself and I thinnk he is starting to- but I was in support of the advanced track because when he said he wanted to do it, I knew it would lead to him having to face the question for himself- "is he willing to go above and beyond and do what it takes to get what he says he wants".
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2009
  8. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I definately agree that we have to reach a point where we let the "take over". One of the advantages to the advanced diploma is that when kids are making college applications, it shows a rigorous course of study and most kids who do the advanced track end up taking IB classes and dual enrollment college classes while in high. Naturally this all implies that they do well!

    "Usually, the sd responds that they aren't evaluation'ing cause of problems because they aren't diagnosis'ing- only trying to identify a problem."

    One day the school systems will realize that you can't have one without the other! How can you identify and "heal" if you don't diagnosis? Crazy.......

  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Exactly- not that I trust the qualifications of anyone in the sd as being adequate to diagnosis- or do a threat assessment or do a manifestation determination, especially on a child with a mood disorder. When this Special Education director told me "they only do educational testing" for a triennial report, I suddenly noted that the majority of the report was written about difficult child's behavior outside of sd and his personality and her assessment of these things, which was obviously skewed. By the time we all get on the same page, difficult child will be out of school. LOL!

    Now at this school, I'm happy with the people that are actually working with difficult child directly- the guidance counselors and teachers. They planned his advanced track so he only had to take the upper level (AP/college credit) classes in his senior year. This was fine with me because I figured that if he got decent grades in 9-12th grade, we could decide then if he could handle the AP classes. The only effect this track has on him before then, other than needing to keep his grades C or better in core classes (English, history, science and math), is that he has to take foreign language. I had a horrible time trying to learn a foreign language in high school so if he struggles with this too much, I'm really not worried about him staying with it.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  10. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    if he hasn't taken a foreign language before, give it time. My easy child started Spanish in 6th grade and struggled like the dickens in 6th and 7th (mostly vocab as spanish 1 was split in two years). By the middle of 8th she had finally got it, caught on, whatever, and ended up with Spanish 5 by the time she finished high school. Sometimes it takes a few hurdles before it runs smoothly.