Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Updates on my Son

We spent all day yesterday in a psychiatric consultation regarding my son. For those of you who haven't been following the story, here are a few links:

The Start of School

The highest moment of drama

Traveling with my son

There are additional issues, like the fact that we just found out that his first Third Grade teacher continues to talk about the way in which my son assaulted her. (Which he did not do. Believe me, if I thought he had, I would be the first to honestly say that he did.) And my daycare provider just told me that she overheard the school psychologist talking about my son with another parent in the Kindergarten playground. Hello! Confidentiality! Hello! (We actually have an appointment with lawyer to see if we can get everyone to shut the fuck up about my son in public places.)

But. All that aside.

The verbal version of the report says that my son has an anxiety disorder. He may have traces of Asberger's-like behavior, but not enough to bring him clearly into that diagnosis. They have ruled out ADD and ADHD (which we ruled out some time ago). For treatment, they are recommending more frequent psychotherapy visits and some anti-anxiety medications such as Zoloft at low doses. We are waiting on the details of that second recommendation.

So this gives me a label to bring to the school. He's got anxiety, so YOU need to help him relieve it. No more dragging him out from under tables, OK? Because that would INCREASE his anxiety. OK?

Next week I have yet another meeting at the school (Another IEP addendum). Lord, this is time consuming.


CindyS said...

Here's my two cents ;) I have had an anxiety disorder since I can remember but I didn't admit or get help for it until I was 28 years old. At that point I had spiraled into Agoraphobia and knew I needed to find someone to help me. I started on Paxil and am now on Effexor - I'm now 36 and will be on the meds for the rest of my life.

Here's what I know. If my parents had been just a little more aware and the doctor had been ever more aware and I hadn't been such a people pleaser - I could have dealt with my anxiety as a child. If I could go back in time I would ask to be put on meds for anxiety - I often wonder who I would be today if I could have lived my life without the daily grind of my anxiety. I would have been a completely different person and I know this.

My Godson (not blood related) has ADHD but over the summer his therapist suggested to his mother that Zach go on anxiety meds - Sue wasn't really convinced until I told her what I would have wanted as a ten year old. Zach is on the lowest dose and in November he was talking with his mother and turned to her and said 'I'm not afraid anymore.' I have to admit I cried because I understood what this meant for him. I know he still has ADHD but even his school work has improved because he's not anxious over whatever it is his brain works on (mostly the brain likes to play the 'What if' game for hours upon hours). He's also much happier and enjoys his life.

That's just my story ;)

As to teachers speaking to other parents about a child? Huge, huge problem!! Sue also heard about this happening with one of Zach's teachers and she was nuclear. It's nobody's business and she should be told by the principal that she was completely out of line.

Oh, and Sue has come to grips with the fact that every year she will have to fight with the school to get a proper IEP and to get the resources Zach needs to get his education.

I get tired and I'm just on the sidelines so huge kudos to the moms out there who take on the system every day. I don't know how you do it without taking hostages ;)


Bookwormom said...

Hugs to you & your son. I've had recurrent battles with school officials, none so serious as yours, but stress inducing nonetheless.

In the end, I had one of my children switched into a different school because I simply despise our base school & felt that they had vilified our child & made the daily environment untenable.
The gossip was unbelievable. No matter what we did, we were always in the wrong.

The situation is much better this year. Different school, different teacher, more experienced administration. New kids.

Don't know how things'll turn out though. His teacher just got a transfer & was well loved by the entire class. I've not met the new teacher, but my fingers are crossed that the transition will be smooth. We'll see.

Best wishes. I'm in your corner.

Kristie (J) said...

((((Hugs Suisan)))) I admire you so much for all the crap you are having to deal with. Hopefully they find out exactly what it is and the right way to help your son. And I can't believe the unprofecialism of that psychologist!!! That is just so wrong on so many levels!

Doug said...

Breaking confidentiality is a BIG DEAL. I don't know whether you want to make serious waves over this, but you could.

Hang in there, Suisan ;)

Suisan said...

Thanks for your comments, you guys (gals).

I met with a lawyer this morning (who had changed his address since the last time he signed up for FindLaw on the internet. Thanks, buddy). He was VERY helpful in working out a strategy for upcoming IEPs. Essentially he pointed out that if the IEP is worded just so, then it becomes the school's responsibility to provide my son with an environment conducive to lessening his anxiety and one which pormote learning. If a teacher or staff members then gossips, that poisons his learning environment and is a legal breach of the IEP and my son's rights.

The School Pyschologist had a meeting today with Personnel to discuss her breach of confidentiality and how that puts the District at risk for lawsuit, and how a demonstration of a breach of confidentiality would affect her professionally. Maybe she's take the hint. If not, my lawyer will descend.

CindyS said...

I'm glad! I also just recently learned that an IEP is a legally binding contract (here in Canada) and the schools try to word them vaguely. Sue said they couldn't put down specifics like 'Zach will have an hour a day for reading' because teachers get ill or conferences etc. So if they miss a day they can somehow have legal issues. Sue didn't sign Zach's IEP until well into December - she made them re-write it to be more specific.

Good luck!


Kate R said...

(((Suisan and son)))

I have the anxiety panic disorder too. The cognitive therapy stuff did wonderful things for a whole lot of years. The tapes, the imaging, the trips out with the "therapist" (who didn't actually have a high school degree even, but was a whiz at panic/anxiety) let me have an nearly normal life for a long time.

I ended up on meds when I hit my 30s but I had a lot of years without them. The anxiety was pretty bad, but the depression that follows an attack was worse.

Aspergers runs in my family too. I don't have it, but several of my nearest and dearest do. Wonder if there's a link.

Kate R said...

something else that helps me--and my oldest who also seems to have anxiety: running or exercise. We've convinced ourselves that we've used up some of that godforsaken epinephrine. And a lot of coping with it is convincing yourself of [fill in blank].

most of coping with panic/anxiety seems to be simply coping with it--accepting that it happens. That is saying "oh dear, here we are again. That's life."


protected static said...

We're going through something like this ourselves. The hardest part of all has been getting the teacher on board with our observations, the developmental psychologist's observations and recommendations, the *school* psychologist's recommendations, the school *counselor's* observations and recommendations...

Because The Boy makes her life difficult, she wants him labelled as Behaviorally Disordered, rather than addressing his sensory and attentional issues. She's finally coming around, and it's made a huge difference in the classroom.

We've opted not to try for an IEP, but to stick with what the district calls a 504 plan. It's a less radical intervention, and there's no (well, less) danger of him getting shunted into a B.D. classroom. The school psychologist actually recommended against our pursuing an IEP evaluation for that very reason - it didn't seem like she was trying to get out of it, it really seemed like she was acting as an advocate for The Boy, and not the school.

Good luck. It's time-consuming and draining; I hope it works out...