Musings from an Orthodox Jewish work at home mom of twins with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Archive for the ‘Winter break’ Category

Ch-Ch-Changes

Fred now has new meds on board— no more seroquel and we’re weaning COMPLETELY off the risperdal.  His new med?  Depakote.  No behavior changes yet (not good ones at least) but…… NO MORE ABSENCE SEIZURES!  I was on my way to the EEG merry go round but depakote saved us from THAT fun rabbit hole.  They just….. went away!  Ok so he still screams, bites, kicks, hits, screams, and …. yeah he SCREAMS…. but he’s usually in our world and not completely in la la land!  Those seizures were scarier and scarier as he was getting older.

Fred now has a new school on board— basically, he’s been kicked out of public school.  More suspensions since the last time I wrote.  More IEP meetings.  More frustration.  More “I want to AVOID due process” in my nicely worded letters.  He’s now in a small school in a small class….. which SPECIFICALLY works with kids with behavior issues.  It’s not a permanent fix.  The district likely won’t pay for this forever.  But for at least the next year, school is going to be a-ok.

Fred now has new therapists on board.  He got his waiver in July so this week we finally dropped his old ABA company for his sister’s company who hired a therapist for him who ALREADY KNOWS AND LOVES HIM!  Hoooooray!  Trying to get up to 8 hours a week.  Currently at 4, but better than nothing!

Wilma has her cecostomy surgery scheduled.  MOST days she isn’t crying from the anxiety of it and sometimes she’s even excited about an upcoming hospital stay.

Wish me luck— two weeks of winter break now, otherwise known as “can’t these people get along for 6 minutes?  And when the heck am I supposed to get anything done?”

 

Eight Years Old: The Official Update

All in one post because I’ve been ignoring this blog (what else is new?) while I get busy with life.

First, her encopresis/ megacolon.  We’re stuck.  We are down to one normal sized bowel movement a day  (thank GOD!)…. AND STILL the random soilings as well.  When she soils we make her sit on the toilet, get the rest out, and be calm while we wipe her and change her.  Every night after dinner she needs to produce on the toilet.  If she doesn’t, she gets an enema.  That was all fine and dandy until recently she decided she no longer wanted enemas so the threat of an enema produced a meltdown.   A 30 second procedure shouldn’t involve an 8 year old screaming for twenty minutes. Wishing there were better options. But when you’re left with very few options after trials of other stuff, (Miralax brought her back to the 10 to 17 soilings a day, new poop around impaction— she got re-impacted on Miralax) and the kiddo becomes less and less compliant, and older and stronger…… ugh. Sadly, it used to be a breeze to get this done.  She is not at all impacted.  She is on probiotics and metamucil every day.  I have NO IDEA when her nerve endings will decide to tell her brain that a poop is coming and SHE will initiate a bowel movement in the toilet without being scheduled or enema—ed.  But when that day happens, it’s party time.

Second, my husband was in the hospital for six days recently.  2 kids, 3 pets, laundry, dishes, trash, bill paying, kid appointments, etc depended on me alone that week. I had strep throat TWICE that month. Mommy doesn’t have time to get sick but get sick she did anyway.  He was in for a horrendous abdominal abcess— we have no idea what caused it but he needed six days of IV antibiotics and a couple weeks of oral.  He’s fine now— some residual pain if someone bumps into him in that area of the body– should take a few more weeks and he’ll be perfect.  waited a long time with 2 autistic 7 year olds for my appt at minute clinic. I got diagnosed with strep again. got my antibiotics, got in my car to go home, and…. minor car accident, my fault. I tapped a car while pulling out. So then there were two autistic 7 year olds screaming in the back seat because we weren’t going anywhere— the other car was a woman a bit older than me and an elderly man. The woman was trying to calm the man down by taking a photo of my insurance card and license but she didn’t feel there was any need to call the police— it was a tiny scratch on their car. The elderly man told me I shouldn’t have a license. Then out of nowhere he fakes a fall. He wasn’t even in the car when I hit it. He was standing next to it. All of a sudden he falls down. I burst into tears because I have a husband in the hospital, strep throat which hurts like heck, and two screaming kids. So the woman says they won’t call the police. Right then in the four minutes I was crying, of COURSE I saw someone I know. Long story short, they did NOT file a claim but MAN what a day!

Next, I got my TMJ splint. After six facial surgeries, upper jaw expander, braces, and retainer, I now have TMJ.  I need six months of splinting and then braces again.  So far, I’m taking it out every time I try to talk on the phone. You’d think I’d be used to orthodontic craziness but it’s been decades.  Good luck understanding me when you see me.  I sound like Cindy Brady.

My kids had winter break for 2 weeks. They have drawn armadillos playing the violin. They have watched youtube videos of “Fergie” as Stacy Ferguson from Kids Incorporated in 1984 (I totally remember “Fergie” as a child and they didn’t believe me). They have picked each other’s noses (I never said my children were normal). They have visited two different hospitals, watched me get tested for strep, gotten themselves tested for strep, been out to lunch and for ice cream, been to ToysRUs, been to the post office and the grocery store, and begged incessantly for ipad time. We did (try to) watch one movie—– my blood pressure is still high from that event (MOMMMMMMY CHANGE THE CHANNEL!). School came back again and sanity was restored.  But when you transition autistic kids back from winter break, a snow day is sure to hit.  then a four day weekend (Friday was teacher in service day and Monday was MLK).  Next up?  Spring break.  Kids are both having a REALLY rough time getting back into the swing of things…. psychiatrist thinks it’s still from transitioning back from winter break and doesn’t want to make med changes yet.  CURRENTLY he’s on risperdal which had been working well till now, and she’s on adderall and geodon.  Switched to geodon from abilify which was making her gain weight.  Not sure if i’m hating the geodon, or hating that we just had winter break.

And finally, Fred might be a panda.  🙂  In a neurotypical child, if mom gets strep throat twice and has both kids tested to see who the carrier is and one kid is a non symptomatic carrier of strep and gets two antibiotics, gets tested again, and no longer has strep, you’d be done.  In MY child, since I don’t know whether his behavior increases lately are from winter break or from strep causing PANDAS (I’m too lazy to explain it– please use google) since he acts a LOT like a PANDAS kid, he’s now about to do a month of a third antibiotic— PANDAS protocol with our pediatrician’s office.  If it helps his behaviors, we look into a PANDAS diagnosis (would that help him move up the medicaid waiver wait list so he can get ABA sooner?  hmmmm).  If it doesn’t, then hey— at least we know he’s no longer gonna give me strep again (which hurts like a bitch in a grownup, by the way!).

I’m working more recently.  Aside from Mary Kay and Send Out Cards I also have a small social media business.  Just one of my social media clients wants me for at least six hours each week.  Financially, yay.  Housework wise?  bleah.

Oh and Fred, dear sweet Fred.  BIG meeting tomorrow with the IEP team and the head of gifted for the whole district.  They are now giving as much attention to his IQ and his gifted identification as they are to his autism and at this point, they need to differentiate his instruction more than is comfy. I’m not sure they’ve ever seen such a low functioning kid (psychiatrically, behaviorally, socially) who is so academically advanced.  I just don’t need to be told that it’s the highest IQ they’ve seen in many many years when the boy still poops himself from time to time, ya know?   On the table is skipping a grade (I’ve said no before, but they’re starting to convince me, if they keep him superglued to an intervention specialist who gets him), a gifted program at a different school, or a really individualized program.  I’ll know more tomorrow and I will try not to wait two months to blog again so you all can catch up.  As for Wilma, she’s not gifted, doing fine academically, and will stay at her current school in the correct grade.

Now— kids are back in school.  No more hospital for Abba.  No more strep for me.  Can my life please get boring again?

Oh yeah, they turned eight.  Woot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Crazy World of 2E

It’s official. They finished their 8 million tests and Fred is officially 2E, twice exceptional. He’s identified for now in three categories since they didn’t test for all categories. We are NOT grade accelerating but we ARE subject accelerating, just in math. At this point what that means is that they are moving him from first grade to fourth grade math starting in January. They want to move him for science too if that goes well. It’s not my job at all, of course, but what I’m doing right now during winter break (have I mentioned these monkeys are HOME for two weeks?) is going through each unit of the second, third, and beginning of fourth grade curricula to see what skills he’s missing. Printing out worksheets on those skills, and getting him ready for fourth grade math. If I don’t finish, he’ll struggle— which means he’ll scream and cry and freak out in class. If I do it, he’ll academically be okay, but he’ll still struggle— which means he’ll scream and cry and freak out in class. (The zoloft increase isn’t going well and his anxiety is at an all time HIGH now). So really, nothing I do matters. But it will make me feel better to know that he’s prepared. He can either be bored out of his mind and scream like a banshee during school or he can be academically challenged and still scream like a banshee— so I’m glad we’re doing this— but I’m not certain they’ve ever had another kid in this school subject accelerate so many grades at once. They don’t have a self contained gifted program until fourth grade which means he’ll do fifth grade math in second grade at this school and then we’ll have to decide what to do with him for third grade— I don’t think they’d bus him to the middle school for math and back and I AIN’T homeschooling no MATH, no sirree. I trust the school— they’re GREAT with him. Does he need better meds and better anxiety control? You BET. But academically and socially they’re doing all they can for him as he continues to tumble downwards away from his peers socially and run rings around them academically (particularly with math). This kid is a CHALLENGE. In the same week we did his new IEP and did his gifted scores, we also did a 28 page FBA on his biting behaviors.

Tree Killing

The kids are home from school for two weeks for winter break.  I still have to make an income, do some housework, and do….. the paperwork.  I’m not going to say it’s been EASY, but Wilma’s new medication is… dare I say it……. WORKING!  She’s had a couple of massive, horrific temper tantrums….. but just a couple!  There are DAYS that go by with just NORMAL five year old temper tantrums (you all know the difference between a normal five year old tantrumming, and an AUTISM tantrum, right?  My landlord doesn’t— he came to get the rent tonight and he spent five minutes pontificating how his grandchildren also have temper tantrums—- tantrums don’t mean autism…. um helllloooooo.  I LOVE my landlord in every other way so I’m not going to torture him by making him read this blog— but I’m tempted.)

I digress.

Yesterday I hired a babysitter for four hours so that I could photocopy:

Wilma’s ETR x2

Fred’s ETR x2

Wilma’s IEP x2

Fred’s IEP x2

Wilma’s adhd paperwork x2

Wilma’s autism paperwork x2

Wilma’s special speech eval paperwork x2

Fred’s autism paperwork x2

 

And then stand at office max dividing it all up and stapling it all………  1 copy of each for the new developmental pediatrician.  Do we NEED a developmental pediatrician?  No….. we have two neurologists, a psychiatrist (same one for both twins now— THAT’S new!), a therapist, an outreach worker from the behavior center, an outreach worker from the county board of developmental disabilities, an outreach worker from the autism center… and a partridge in a pear tree.  It takes a village, right?  However….. we HATEEEEEEEEEEEEE our required weekly behavior therapy.  All three psychiatrists we’ve tried thus far have required weekly therapy.  The ONLY weekly therapy covered by the twins’ insurance within a half hour of our home is at a behavior center that we’ve grown to dislike VERY much.  And we’re there at LEAST once a week.  We have the outreach worker there, the therapist there, and the psychiatrist there.  Soooooooo at my last meeting with the outreach worker from the autism center, I told her how we’re STUCK at the behavior center which shall remain nameless.  She called a developmental pediatrician to ask her if she’d consider doing our med management (and not require this weekly therapy…..).  We have our first meeting with her on the twenty first.  I HOPE this works out so our Wednesday afternoons could be easier!

1 copy of each for the SSI lawyer.  We tried applying for SSI for one twin and got denied.  I got frustrated and gave up.  But ASIDE from the work I put into my businesses and the work I put into laundry/ bill paying/ cleaning (ok not that much work ha ha)/ cooking…… I put AT LEAST fifteen hours a week into emails, phone calls, paperwork, meetings, and research about these kiddos.  Dammit we need the money.  PAY me for all this damn work.  So we’re re-applying.  With a lawyer.  Wish us luck.

 

oh by the way…..

Oh I forgot to tell you all the upshot of Wilma’s IEP meeting and follow up conversations……. she’s not in a special ed class.  She’s no longer REALLY in the mainstream classroom.  She’s not sent off to an autism school.  They’re bending over backwards to create a schedule for her based on her needs.  The resource room and the intervention specialist (who works with first and second graders also) is her home base.  As behavior permits, she is brought into the mainstream classroom with an aide for 50% to 85% of every day.  She gets a LOT of individual attention (some of it from the occupational therapist which is interesting because I had been toying with the idea of begging for more OT…… hey!) and over the past few weeks since this new program has been initiated, her behavior at school has gotten MUCH MUCH better.  She earns the right to go be with the group and see her friends…. and the bulk of her academic work is done in very small groups without the overwhelming atmosphere.  Before she was being removed from the group when she was disruptive.  NOW she works well one on one or in small groups and then GETS to re-enter the classroom for part of each day.  She does all specials (art, gym, music, library, lunch, snack) with her class.  Rest time she does in the resource room because everyone else was resting and she was up at the computer reading over the teacher’s shoulder (poor teacher was constantly emailing me!).

Additionally I won the FBA argument.  I have a meeting on January 10th to sign the paperwork to get an FBA in place for her.  SO WHAT if her behavior has improved over the past few weeks.  LONG TERM, it’s gotten much worse from preschool to kindergarten.  I need a paper trail NOW to show that we’re doing all we can to keep her mainstreamed because things are only going to get harder once the first, second, third grade bullying starts.  Thankfully, there has been NO kindergarten bullying (yet?!).

Here comes winter break.  Two weeks of not being able to travel with them, not being able to take them anywhere by myself, not being able to move a load of laundry without Fred biting Wilma as soon as she ticks him off.  I’ve changed my meds.  I’ve changed Wilma’s meds.  I’m armed with lots of books, toys and games.  Let the fun begin.

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