Monday, February 25, 2008

No Title (except this one)

Today's events:

I got my mother to leave early. Hurrah.

I was interviewed this morning by CPS. They are filing the report under "Unfounded". There will be a record of a report, but the case has been investigated and there is no foundation to believe that abuse is happening. The Social Worker also asked me to call her if I thought another report was forthcoming so that she could take the case.

I bought kitty litter. I do live a fascinating life, it's true.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Check, Please!

I'm done.

The school has reported us to Child Protective Services. Yeah, I know they're a mandated reporter, and yeah, I know that Saul said in the middle of a tantrum at school that he couldn't go home with his dad because dad made him get bloody noses. Yeah, I know that the social worker will realize that this is an exceptionally complex case once she talks to his behaviorist, his family therapist, his psychologist and his psychiatrist, file a report and be done with it. Yeah, I know all that in my head.

But other parts of my body are screaming.

I have an appointment on Monday to drive up to the county seat to be interviewed by the social worker. Fun. Did I happen to mention that my mother is coming to visit tonight? Staying through Tuesday? Yeah. Great.

I'm totally serious here. I've gotten through most of this stuff with my son by just saying that I can hang on one more day. Or that I can go meet with one more person. Or that by next week such-and-such report will be filed and that THAT report will be the one that is helpful. I've had good people come on board and ten leave with no explanation. I've had decent people come on board who got stubborn. I've had t drive away manipulative people who were damaging him. (Including the one person at the school who said, "All that child needs is a good spanking." Hmm. Wonder where she is now? May be SHE can talk to the social worker and explain herself?)

But right now. I've hit the end of all sanity. I'm walking through days now in slow motion.

And my mother is coming to visit tonight. Joy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


This is getting old already.

Had ANOTHER meeting today about my son. Actually two. The first was a meeting for them to tell us that he doesn't qualify for social skills training because he does not have a language deficiency which causes him to wrongly interpret social situations.

Yes. He misinterprets social situations and ascribes motives to others which are wrong. However, that issue is not *rooted* in a language deficiency, so therefore he doesn't qualify to receive training and support in social situations. (And how did they come to this assessment? By having an adult give him a standardized test, which he loves, and by having the adult observe him during one recess where he spent the whole time interacting with one child to the exclusion of: can I scream here? GROUPS OF CHILDREN!!)

Okay fine. He doesn't qualify, so no services. Love the bureaucracy.

Then we went to another meeting with me, Dear Butcher, the principal, and the case manager to go over the October/November IEP. I had changes, they needed to review the proposed edits to the notes, so we met.

It was at least two hours long, and I ended the meeting both crying and shaking. I have to stop doing this.

It was a good thing Dear Butcher was there, because we do the Good Cop - Bad Cop thing well. I would get frustrated and my voice would go up, and he would step in to smooth things over. Then he would get upset and I'd step in. Round and round we went.

We don't know how to serve him. OK, but you can't just stop serving him -- you have to figure out what will work. Talk to the psychiatrist. Talk to the therapist. Talk to us. "Well, I have six teaching credentials and nothing I do is working." My dear lady, this isn't ABOUT YOU and your ego. This is about the nine year old boy. Remember?

The principal is waiting for him to disappear from her school, and the case manager is waiting to get fired -- she told us that she knew that we wanted her gone. So it's up to the parents to say, "Guys. Cut it out. He's not going anywhere. You've been working with him for years, and you get to say goodbye to him at the end of next year anyway. We have to take care of him for the rest of his life, and right now you are Doing Damage to him. If you won't listen to us, please listen to the mental health professionals who are working with him. They Won't Medicate him until his environment at school changes."

To which the case manager replies in a very snarky tone, "Well, I'd like to have the psychiatrist come down here and see what we do all day. I'll bet he's never set foot in a school."

That's where I lost it. Shaking, crying, unable to speak, felt like I was going to throw up.

"You have him in school all day, and you're right. I don't know what goes on at school. But I have him at home all the time too. And you have no idea what goes on at home. Why don't you come over to my house some night when he can't sleep because he's scared to go to school? You have no idea how terrified he is at school, at home, all day long. The therapist is only just beginning to scratch the surface and there are a lot of monsters in there. Don't add to them.

"You don't know how he's convinced himself that the teacher hates him. You don't know that he wasn't able to go to the Valentine's Day party because he was sure that the party was an opportunity for th kids to show how much they hated him. You don't know that because you won't listen to us when we say that he has a complex disability. Something mental. Something physical. He is getting substantially worse and not only are you refusing to see it, but you are causing him damage. And for that I'm supposed to thank you."

So I'm glad I said all that, and I'm glad that at least two people seemed to "get it" by the end of the meeting that he isn't going to become a normal kid by the end of next week. But I'm pissed that it came to tears. I hate being the crying woman in the room. Why is it only worthy of being heard when a crying woman is delivering the message?

So the upshot of today's meeting? You're not going to believe it.

The principal says, "We need to have a meeting where everybody who works with Saul is all around one table and we need to talk this thing out. Having him in class isn't working. We don't have a pull-out program that fits him, and there aren't any programs in the area which are suitable. So lets meet, everyone, and figure out how we are going to help this kid."


Isn't that what we did in October?

Aren't the notes that we are meeting about TODAY, in February, to discuss and edit from that meeting in October? The one where everyone was in the room?

After I left the meeting I shook for about another hour.

I can't keep doing this. I may have a stress-induced heart attack right there in the room.

Hey, but maybe as the survivor of a parent death he'll qualify for different services. Maybe I'll do my "due diligence" and investigate that option.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Joseph Heller, where ARE you?

So the school system is waiting for me to medicate my son before they'll really dive in and address his needs. (Such as getting his curriculum ON THE COMPUTER like they said they would in October.)

Our psychiatrist is targeting the fact that my son does well in a supportive environment with lots of trained people and proven behavior modification techniques. He does not want to medicate him until it can be shown that my son consistently exhibits explosive behavior in a supportive environment. For every episode of opposition and rages, there is a clear antecedent which the staff responded to poorly.

The school wants my son medicated because he'll be easier to manage if he is. They've given up on being creative with him because nothing works all day, every day. The last resort is to medicate and hope that it changes him enough to be compliant.

He psychiatrist wants the school to manage him before he'll medicate him, because the psychiatrist feels as if the behaviors my son is exhibiting are being triggered by the school. He doesn't believe that any medication will make my son compliant overnight. He wants to target only those behaviors that are truly out of my son's control, and he wants the rest of the mental health team to work with Saul in overcoming the rest.

The psychiatrist's view is that until the school is consistent in its approach to Saul before the medication, there is no guarantee that they will treat him appropriately after the medication begins.

OK then. Catch-22

The best option is really just to move him out of the school. And we're back to this merry-go-round. There are no programs for a fourth grader with these issues in my area. He is too articulate and sensitive for the programs for truly violent kids, and the programs for troubled gifted kids won't take anyone with a history of episodic rages. We can move him to another school in the same district and try to start over, but then we're back in the "He needs more support than we can provide" category. Everyone Verbally agrees that the District is going to have to build a program for young Asperger's children who act out, but no one will commit the funds. Also, to build a program takes about a year. Soooo, what do we do with him now?

We can't teach him until he's medicated, vs. There's no point in medicating him until they can demonstrate that they know how to teach him, because the medication isn't going to change who he is.

For all that I'm stuck back where I started, I really like this psychiatrist a LOT. He wants to start meeting with Saul's aide and anyone else who has daily contact with him. He's working well with the rest of the mental health team. He's ready to medicate, but he's also very interested in working out what makes this kid tick.

Did I mention that I have ANOTHER meeting regarding my son on Friday? Yeah.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I do love me some Fry and Laurie

Love the line, "Are you sure it's not 'Fraud!' they yell at you in the streets?"

Been spending many hours over at James Randi's Educational Foundation website. This was after a friend sent me a link showing that ingestion of virgin cold-pressed coconut oil can be beneficial for autistic children. Not hot pressed oil (Bad Bad), not coconut products (Bad Bad), but only virgin cold-pressed coconut oil (Natural. Good. Good).

Okaaaay. Got any brilliant ideas about how to get said child to ingest this gloop?

This is why I end up hanging out at the JREF forums. The snark on stupidity is quite refreshing.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Mental Health

Apparently Neo didn't LIKE the family therapist the County sent over to start working with the kids.


I didn't like her that much either, and apparently Saul didn't like her, as he left the room the moment she asked him a question.

So much for County-assisted integrated family therapy. I don't think I could get Neo to sit in on another session, even if it involved a different therapist, to save my life right now. She is one pissed kid.

If it didn't have the flags, this is where I'd like to be right about now. I'd have to kick out the current owners though. Hmm.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Stating the obvious

Neo is a really neat kid. I'm very proud to be her Mom.

Phebe is a very cute kid. Twirling in the Supercuts while waiting for her haircut entertained the other patrons immensely.

If you do not feed my son lunch, he is short tempered. There is data to support this conclusion.

Calling the parents two hours after lunch ended to say that he's out of control is really not that helpful, all you school professionals. Then trying to deflect blame onto the child because,well gee, the lunchroom had already closed and we couldn't figure out how to feed him does not calm the parents down in the least.

Using this episode as a demonstration that the aide that the Case Manager likes is better than the one currently assigned to Saul, because "Look, he didn't act up while SHE was working with him" really makes Suisan angry. (He was also being FED while she was working with him, you idiot.)

Must drink wine.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I have my sticker

I've visited the polls and I have my little red, white and blue sticker: "I Voted!"

I had a hard time deciding on the Democratic candidates. I really want to vote a woman into the White House. Both my Senators are women, and they do a great job. My Assemblywoman is, uh, woman, hence the name. My Representative to Congress is a man, and he's a good guy. Overall, I like knowing that my political representatives are well respected amongst their colleagues, and the fact that they are women holding those levels of respect is great.

I so wanted to be able to vote for Hillary. But the truth is, I don't really like her or trust her. If I could, I'd vote Bill Clinton back in, but I"m not going to vote for his wife because I like him. That would be disrespectful to her.

But I'm not totally convinced that Obama's my guy. I don't know who he's going to surround himself with. The person he chooses as Chief of Staff and Press Secretary and all those other "West Wing" (God, I loved that show) characters makes a big difference in HOW he is able to implement his grand ideas.

Push comes to shove though, I couldn't fill in the circle for Hilary. Just couldn't do it. So, Obama got my vote.

Please be a good choice. OK? Thanks.

Friday, February 01, 2008

What the...? I'll need a minute here.

Those of you who have followed my political career so far know that there's a guy who was on the Board before me who encouraged me to run, helped me campaign, and introduced me to politics. I sometimes call him "The Prez". For this post I'll just call him Derek.

Derek is a local millionaire, respected by some, hated by others. Has a reputation for finagling behind the scenes, although I didn't see TOO much of this when I was serving with him.

He was on the Board for two years when I ran for a seat. Those first two years we were definitely in the minority. It was bad. It was ugly. In 2005 he made noises that he wasn't going to run for re-election, but eventually he did, and got elected along with two other similar-minded people. We went from a 3-2 minority to a 4-1 majority overnight. It was cool for a while.

Then all hell started breaking loose. We had a fight with the Superintendent, and then I started fighting with other Board members, then the one Board member in the minority suddenly stepped down, leaving behind her a nasty letter to the papers. Derek and I started fighting a lot. We went from having lunch to being completely incommunicado in between meetings. Snarls. Glares. Uck.

This summer I decided not to run for re-election. My son was talking up all my energy, my daughters needed some attention, and the nastiness and disrespect from the Board and from the PUBLIC, who thought I wasn't fighting with Derek at all, just added up to a yucky mess.

The day after Christmas Derek suddenly stepped down. A quick note to the paper, a short meeting with the (new) Superintendent, and a refusal to answer all phone calls. Total surprise.

Today an article was published in the paper that he's plead guilty to tax evasion and under his plea agreement, will be serving five months in jail followed by house arrest.

Holy KEErist. Never saw THAT coming.

Guess that explains why he was distracted over the past year. Guess that might explain some of the nastiness, or eagerness to fight.

But jeez. Jail? Wait? What year did you screw up your taxes? Huh. Look at that.

You know what, counting on my fingers, and looking up the window of audits on corporations, I realize now that you were probably under investigation the whole damned time I knew you.

Wow. I'll need a week or so to put the last four years of my life into perspective.