Educating the world about Reactive Attachment Disorder through experience, hope, humor and love.
(Warning: nothing here should be taken as medical advice)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Parents appear hostile?

Ahhhh... to live the simple life.  I was talking to a co-worker the other day after having had to crash the meeting at my daughters day treatment center.  His wife is a school teacher who has a diabetic child in her class and he says she has no problem monitoring that childs glucose testing, and can't understand why my daughters teachers would have such an issue.  I told him it wasn't so much the testing part they didn't have time for, but the monitoring of the hand washing since she has a tendency to cheat.  He couldn't grasp that concept - "haven't you told her how bad it is for her to have high blood sugars?"

Uhhh... yes?  Repeatedly?  Some people just don't grasp what it's like living with a child who has attachment issues.  And really, I don't blame them - it's not at all like raising neurotypical children and until you've lived it, you just don't know.  I was reading some statistics the other night that were shocking, but not really.  Not to me anyway.  77% of mothers who have adopted have experienced more intense rage/hate/anger after they adopted than before.  And 14% of those adopted mothers have experienced such rage/hate/anger that they have considered suicide because of it.  Those intense feelings are related to the difficulty of trying to raise an attachment disordered child.  Parents of neurotypical children typically don't find themselves pushed to such a state of rage on a consistent basis that they have thoughts of killing their children - but it's not uncommon for children with attachment issues to push those buttons.  It's not that they do it on purpose, and there are various views on why they do it, but the end result is still the same.  Imagine living with somebody who lies and steals on a regular basis (and we aren't talking once a week regular, but sometimes multiple times in a day), somebody who fights with you every step of the way when all you're trying to do is help them heal... if that were a boyfriend/girlfriend, how long would you stick with them?  Unless you're a serious masochist, probably not long.  But when that person is your child you don't have that option to just kick them out - well, you do but it's not nearly as easy.  Think of the frustration that would build day after day after day after day after day after....

There's a reason "parents may appear hostile". 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Another day, another battle with The Man...

So the Day Treatment Center was having a meeting.  About my daughter.  And they didn't bother to tell me about it?  I don't think so.  I found out about it the same day I found out they weren't allowing my daughter to carry her diabetes testing kit.  Apparently they decided that even though it was in her IEP that she needs to have her kit on her at all times, hospital rules trumped federal documents.  I don't think so.  So I did what any father would do and I crashed the meeting, demanding that she have access to that kit at all times.  They don't have to let her keep it on her person, but it has to be in the room with her wherever she goes.

There were nurses there, and school administrators, and teachers, and hospital administrators, and a psychiatrist even, and it came down to me and one nurse vs the rest of them.  The teachers and school administrator were putting up the most resistance.... "we don't have the resources to monitor her when she needs to do her finger stick".  OK, granted, it's a bit of a hassle because she has a history of trying to cheat the meter and "adjust" her sugar readings to make them appear lower so she can eat sweets.  But the entire process takes less than 1 minute.  She's in your care and this is what needs to be done to keep her safe.  Suck it up.

Eventually most of them relented.  I, unfortunately, had to get back to work so had to leave the meeting early.  But when I left, only two of the teachers were still grumbling about how to make this work.  Not my problem, really.  They will have to find a way, and the district people had come around and were already working to fix it.  So I left feeling a bit satisfied how it turned out.  Not 100%, but we're getting there.  They still haven't managed to find a nurse to be there 5 days a week, which means my daughter can't attend school on those days when there is no nurse.  It's been almost 2 weeks - I would have thought they'd have somebody by now, but they don't.  That kinda pisses me off as well.  I had such high hopes for this DTC.  Oh well, I'm getting used to fighting to get what my daughter needs.

They also are doing another evaluation.  I'm ok with that, but they asked me to complete another BASC-2 evaluation.  Because of all the structure and supervision, my daughters behaviors are much better.  So I emailed the evaluator and asked her if I should fill it out based on her current behaviors or base it on what she's like without all the structure/supervision - because we're looking at two completely different sets of answers.  I told her I was concerned that because her behaviors were such in check right now they might get the wrong impression and put her back in a mainstream HS.  Which IS the ultimate goal, but there's no way she's ready yet.  The *only* reason she's doing so well is precisely because of all the structure she has right now.  Take that away and we're back where we started.  She got back to me pretty quickly and said to fill it out based on the last 6 months, and that she has the previous BASC-2 data and will compare the two to see what's working and where things still need improvement.

Something tells me this battle isn't over....

Monday, November 7, 2011

1 week into the honeymoon...

"You know what I hate about being born to you and Pam?"

That was the question my oldest daughter asked of me the other day and my mind instantly began racing.  It could be so many things.  The diabetes, the drugs, the Erbs palsy, the fact that her mother doesn't call, the fact that we're not together... the list goes on and on.  It's amazing how many thoughts can run through your head in the span of a single second.  I was prepared for anything.

"Why do I have to be so tall?"

Sometimes I think I forget that even at 16, she's still just a kid.  Granted, she's just shy of 5'11, but I wasn't expecting such a simple answer to her question.  16 going on 12 is the way her case worker put it, and sometimes that shows more than others.  When the biggest worry a 16 year old has is not being able to buy skull and crossbone tights because she's too tall for what they have at the store we're at, I would consider that a good thing.  All in all, she's been doing really well with the move. Of course, we don't expect that to last - even the counselor at her new school slipped up next to me at the Open House last week and asked "how's the honeymoon coming?". 

Does he "get it"?  I don't know.  Sometimes he does, other times he seems completely taken by her charm (and charming she can be!).  I suppose time will tell.  In the meantime we can't let our guard down.  As much as we'd love to be able to relax and just let things be, we have found time and time again that doesn't work.  Certainly we can take advantage of this lull and give extra privileges and extend a little more trust as we did yesterday when we were at the mall and gave her $2 cash to go buy whatever she wanted.  She, of course, returned with ice cream but didn't eat it all (it WAS delicious!) and managed to keep her blood sugars from shooting sky high, so we couldn't be more happy with her behavior yesterday.  But the patterns of the past, and the knowledge of how her mind works keeps us from proclaiming she's "cured". 

I hope this new school will take full advantage of this honeymoon period and really help us show her how nice and rewarding good behavior can be.  I know they are all bracing for when the honeymoon period ends (I'd be willing to put money on next week - I think by the end of this week she'll have em all figured out), but in the meantime we're going to try to keep it going as long as we can.

Of course, when one of our daughters is "being good", it seems to be a cue for the other to create a ton of drama, and she's certainly living up to that. 

Love my girls, hate the drama....