Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by PassedExhausted, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. Hi!

    I've been on here for awhile, checking in from time to time. When I first became a member many of you helped me quite a bit to get by. Also, a few of you were right on with a diagnosis of Asperger's even though I'd been told my son's whole life that it wasn't likely. At his last hospitalization earlier this year, his psychologist actually felt he was Aspie right off and did the full evaluation. This doesn't change his other mental health issues, but I feel vindicated lol. So, I'm back. I want to start by saying that I'm not really an emotional person, which I think is part of the problem. Recently, the school has recommended that my son be placed in a mental health residential treatment facility (not a group home). I want to be clear, I do feel that this is best. My son is going to be 14 and he doesn't leave the house, he won't do school work, and he can't cope with his emotions and different situations. Usually, once I make a decision, it's made and I'm at peace with it. However, I'm a mess. It doesn't help that we had to go to the county meeting with SPOA who then approves the recommendation (which was already done). We then have to wait for the PAC committee to convene to approve my son for residential mental health treatment. This whole process from start to actual placement won't happen until around the first of the new year. This is so long and it's tortuous for both of us (as we needed my son's permission for approval). I'm really taking this hard. I feel that it's the anticipation that is truly hard. Not that I want to get rid of my son...but he needs help and if the sacrifice of being in residential treatment for 9 months to a year is going to bring him out the other side a functioning, productive child with the ability to cope with different situations outside our house, then that's what I'll do. But, one day I'm crying for no reason, I'm depressed. Other days I'm OK. Other parts of my life are suffering. Any support, advise, guidance would be appreciated :).

  2. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Why do you need your son's permission for approval? I would think that since he is a minor you, as his mother and caregiver, would be the one to make this decision.

    I think that sometimes when a huge decision is before us we sort of buckle down and do what we need to do in order to make the right choice. Now that the decision has been made all of the emtions of that choice are catching up with you. Give yourself some time. You know that what you are doing is in your son's best interest, but that does not make it easier.
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member


    There are a lot of emotions involved. I'm sorry that your state has so many hoops that you have to jump through (In my state, if the IEP team determines that Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is the placement, then in the child goes.)

    Sometimes examining the losses can help you process the grief and, maybe, realize that you have more control than you think.

    If your biggest loss is that you won't see difficult child every day, check with the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) on their phone/visitation policies. Most allow daily calls from parents and open visitation. There was a girl at one of Kanga's RTCs (who was not violent with her family). Her family ate dinner with her every Wednesday on campus and took her off campus 1 day every weekend and eventually she went home every Friday night and returned every Sunday night. They may want you to keep his off-campus visits in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) community (rather than in your community) at the beginning while difficult child adjusts. The Residential Treatment Center (RTC) may even have a family house that you can use to stay there sometimes.
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I dont know anything about how Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s work only what folks here have said. I did just have my son away for two weeks in the psychiatric hospital and it was really sad and scary. I cried driving down the road, doing laundry, etc. Then I would have it all together. I lost some weight so that was good, but not being ABLE to eat really stunk. I can't imagine the thought of such a long time. I am just wondering, why are they so sure the other mental health diagnosis are still correct? I'm not doubting it, I am just wondering. So many kids are misdiagnosed and if he has never had appropriate autism services and accomodations, it is no wonder there are more issues. I am so sorry for you that they missed it and yet so glad for you that you were able to find someone to see your view! Great work warrior mom! I hear your mommy heart breaking, and I feel so sad for you. You are not alone and i am sending support and cyber hugs your way. Please let us know how things progress.
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Bunny -- Most RTCs require that the child agree to the placement. Some of the reasons: decreased chance of runaways, limited number of beds so they want the kids that, at least on some level, want to be there

    Buddy -- Placing your child in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) isn't like throwing them in a black hole. It is more like boarding school (thousands of mentally healthy students attend boarding school in this country). psychiatric hospital is a crisis situation and the stress in high for the entire stay. An Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is stressful at the beginning due to all of the paperwork and the adjustment, but once the child settles in, RTCs can be a very good thing for the child and the family.
  6. OK....thank you all for your kind words and support. Lets see if I can answer some of the questions here.

    Bunny: NY needs his permission because it is through the OMH and totally voluntary, even though it is the school's recommendation.

    JJJ and Buddy: The IEP committee would decide if my son went to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and that would be it. In NY (and I'm sure other states) there are RTCs and RTFs. RTCs are group homes and usually kids' mental health issues are in control, but their behavioral issues are not. So, these kids live there and leave to go to school and get their treatment. The state takes custody and the child goes as long as the state deems fit...no loopholes. An Residential Treatment Facility (RTF), on the other hand, is through the OMH and is voluntary, therefore, I keep custody of my son. These places are not locked. They are campuses where the children go to school on site, get counseling and medication treatment, and learn to function and cope in the real world. Discharge planning starts the second the child gets there. Currently, my son is in a program with day-hab treatment. This is a high level of care for school...the highest prior to placement. The step between his program and the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) is an OMH group home. But, since my son has issues leaving the house, I don't think this "group home" step would be productive. As far as other Dxs, Aspie, bipolar, separation anxiety (at nearly 14!!!), agoraphobia and claustrophobia. Are these different currently? Who knows? Right now, the issue is that he needs to learn to function outside so he can live as normal a life as possible when he gets older. Having to be with me all the time will not be cute at 30 lol. Also, he gets violent outside of the home. I need to help him as much as I can while I still can.

    Again, thanks so much for your support. It's so hard to find someone objective to talk to while putting on a brave face for my son.

  7. keista

    keista New Member

    Hi. Just wanted to lend my support. Must be difficult making such decisions and then having to deal with all the frustrating red tape as well. Have you considered therapy for yourself? Just a way to help process and validate the emotions you are going through.

  8. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Ah...it is different terminology between the states. Most states use Residential Treatment Center (RTC) to mean what NY is calling an Residential Treatment Facility (RTF).

    But, even in NY, the school does NOT have the authority to order the child to a placement where the parents must turn over custody to the state. How horrifying if they are illegally abusing their power like that!
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    In NC, we have both Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s and PRTF's. A PRTF is a psychiatric residential treatment facility. The one Cory went to was locked. Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s can be anywhere between level 1 and up. I believe a group home is considered a level 3 Residential Treatment Center (RTC). The school system had nothing to do with intake at any of these for me.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have a son with Asperger's too and I have a little bit of nervousness thinking about this.

    What are the other kids at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) like? Are they juvenile delinquents? Predators? Kids who can prey on him? Do you know that Asperger's is not a mental health problem but a neurological difference and that usually community at-home interventions are helpful? My son is forced to go to various places and he doesn't want to go, but he does. Aspies are never not Aspie nor should anyone expect any Residential Treatment Center (RTC) to produce a totally functional child in any period of time. There MAY be improvement, but not always and sometimes it is short lived. The experience can be helpful or it can be traumatic...depends on the kid, the Residential Treatment Center (RTC), the staff, and the circumstances.

    I wish you luck and support any decision you make. I just want you to think it over carefully. I've been in Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s for foster kids and there were numerous "emergencies" where I saw kids grabbed and put into rooms while screaming their lungs out...but they had behavioral problems. One parent wanted to take her child out, but was not allowed to. Please be careful. ((((Hugs))))
  11. Hi everyone,

    Thanks for all the support. I'd like to clarify a few things. I realize the terminology is different in different places, I'm sorry for the confusion. In my state, if the child will not go to school or is disruptive at school and refuses to do work and creates unsafe situations for himself or others...the school will call the state who steps in to start group home proceedings. The big, major difference between a group home and an Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) is that since an Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) is under OMH they will not use therapeautic restraints unless it is an extreme circumstance where the child is at risk. Group homes and behavioral programs that are under the state arm have no such guidelines.

    I understand that I can't expect miracles from any programs no matter the length of time. I also understand that he will always be Aspie. However, there are things that are within his control if he had the capability to prioritize the messages from his "thinking brain" rather than his "feeling brain." Whereas, in patient hospitalization has the main goal of stabilizing them to go home and a group home's goal is to show a cause and effect of behavior, an Residential Treatment Facility (RTF)'s main goal is to help them cope and function in the world. If I could think of any other possibility for help....I would grab it. Unfortunately, he has burned through so many options. In my area we fall into a region that would put my son at best 2 1/2 hours away from me for anywhere from 6 months to a year and at worst 3 1/2 hours away. This is not optimal. I'm very much a hands-on mom and he does not grasp that this kills me inside when I smile and tell him that this could be a great opportunity. He knows he needs more help than his school, his counselor, MST, SPOA, WAIVER, and I have been able to give him. I'm proud that although it hurts and scares him to think about going away for so long, he recognizes the need to try....this tells me that although he verbally tells me in anguish that, "It's always going to be the same, I'll never get better, nothing works," somewhere inside, he's still hopeful.

    Again, thanks for all your concern, kind words, support, and most of all...allowing me to get this all out. :)
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    when a huge decision is before us we sort of buckle down and do what we need to do in order to make the right choice. Now that the decision has been made all of the emtions of that choice are catching up with you. Give yourself some time.

    I agree.

    I hope that they get him on the right track, and integrate him into society. Plus, it will give you a break. You are still his mother and you are still his son. This is a learning curve. {{hugs}}
  13. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hmmm, I certainly didn't mean to imply anything about the Residential Treatment Center (RTC), and definately wouldn't have said it was a black hole. I said I dont know anything about it. My post was in response to the statement that there was crying/depression alternating with dealing OK with things. I could relate in a small way to that. Sorry passedexhausted if it sounded anything other than supportive, I truly just meant to say I could relate, I care, and I think what you are doing is amazing. HUGS, Buddy
  14. buddy

    buddy New Member

    And well you should be. I am sure he has that hope from how you have presented it. That can't be an easy thing to do when you are such an involved mom and feeling both sad and hopeful yourself. I will look forward to hearing how he does and how things go for you both.