When I was young, my Mom used to call my brother and one of his friends Fric and Frac. They looked nothing alike, but where you found one, you found the other. For the most part, they were interchangeable- If one of them wasn’t figuring out what trouble to get into, the other was. Not real trouble- just the usual shenanigans boys got into 40 years ago.
I find myself sometimes thinking of Hope and GB as Fric and Frac. They like many of the same things, and the best (worse?) consequence I can give them is to insist they play in separate rooms. They complain about each other using the same words, which is partially caused by Hope’s tendency to mimic GB constantly, but also comes from their common lack of social skills. The constant “She’s looking at me” gets old, but not as aggravating as the realization that I let them out of my sight and there is nothing but silence. They know they are not allowed out of sight and that it won’t last long, so they take advantage of it whenever I let it happen. Once it was talcum powder all over MK’s bathroom, another time it was Fric, Frac and Ellie eating baking chips behind the couch. They have painted the radiators with nail polish and “baked” with a combination of moon sand and brownie mix.
It is never more than a couple of minutes and it doesn’t happen as often as it did in the beginning (it takes forever to clean up talcum powder, especially with their help) but during those times, I think the best bonding occurs between them… Fric and Frac vs. the Mom.
The system is running amok again and this time it is trying to run over a dedicated mother, Lisa, who most of you know. Please visit J.’s blog and leave some encouragement for Lisa. Keep her in prayer, especially over the next two weeks. With God, all is possible.
Today Hope officially turned 5. Of course she wanted to bring cupcakes (pink, purple, light blue Han*na Mon*tana cupcakes) into school this morning. It is also the day they have Halloween Parties and a costume parade. Rather then put them on the bus, I choose to drive them to school. I made sure to arrive before the other children entered the building so that I would have a couple of minutes to touch base with her teacher, Ms. VY Teacher. Ms VY Teacher really didn’t want to talk to me and made that very clear. The three teaching assistants in the room couldn’t wait to tell me how wonderful Hope is and that they could just eat her up. I told them it is very important that proper boundaries were used with Hope. They assured me nobody minds cuddling Hope, she is just a baby. Sigh. I gave them (and Ms. VY Teacher) my RAD handout again, and went to find the Chairperson of the CSE. We were suppose to complete Hope’s IEP my the middle of October and I haven’t heard from her. Emails go unanswered, phone calls are not returned. Mrs. Chairperson was hanging out in a meeting room and I politely suggested we go back to her office and discus the difficulties we were having with our communication. I reminded her we were suppose to meet in the middle of October to complete Hope’s IEP. Mrs. Chairperson said that had been impossible, since none of the evals (speech, OT, and PT) were completed yet. Sigh. I told her that was not acceptable, they needed to be done and I wanted Hope’s meeting scheduled ASAP. We agreed on Monday, November 8th at 10:30. She assured me the evals would be in hand and ready to go for the meeting. I reminded her I needed copies of all evals AT LEAST 3 days before the meeting. Sigh. My school district uses IEP Direct to write their IEPs. It is a point and click program for writing IEPs that I have also used in the past. I told Mrs. Chairperson that the most important goal, right now, for Hope, was learning personal boundaries. Mrs. Chairperson said that wasn’t a possible goal for Hope and I told her to look under the social/emotional category. I am afraid Hope’s school year is going to involve a lot of personal attention from me. It is hard- she really is cute.
Today was my first individual parent- teacher meeting for GB. Her teacher is actually someone who taught in the same district at the same time as I did and we had been in trainings together. He is a natural with special needs kids. I asked about academic levels. GB is working in a 2.2 reader (second half of second grade). She is not in a regular math curriculum- she is way ahead in some areas and totally lost in others, so Mr. Teacher is doing an individualized program with her, trying to build on strengths and fill in holes. OT and Speech are as a class, 2 days a week, and individual 1 day a week. GB is described as happy and thriving. After seven weeks of school, Mr. Teacher knows GB better than 1st grade’s Mrs. Teacher knew GB at the end of last year. It is truly a blessing to have an appropriate educational setting for GB. Now it is time to work on getting one for Hope.
Hope may not recognize her numbers or alphabet, but I am sure her difficulties do not include FASD. I have been having difficulties with my hip, and the Dad took over Hope and her physical aggression for the last three days. He used the time out chair and our big red 5 minute timed (thanks, Sherri ). As Hope is tantruming, she pulls on him the same stuff she pulls on me – trying to bite, kicking , throwing things (including the chair), name calling, spitting, etc. He deals with them differently. He does keep her from hurting him, which is easier for him then me, but her time out is based on the number of times he turns over the timer. I don’t know if it is an art or a formula I just don’t grasp, but during Hope’s tantrum, the Dad adds on *Timers* as in “Hope you are up to three timers”. After the tantrum ends, Hope needs to sit in the time out chair for as many 5 minute timers as he has said. She has earned up to 30 minutes and has completed them. She knows that 6 timers is a lot longer then 2 timers! This is still a mystery to GB- she still hasn’t grasped that a single Hanna Montana show, with commercials, is a half hour, last year, now, next week. GB only has *now*, which makes it very hard to prepare her for anything. Hope knows that today always turns into tomorrow and you can communicate a rough sense of how long she will have to wait by counting *sleeps*. She can understand around two weeks, 14 sleeps.
Hope still takes constant supervision and hasn’t gone a day without a major blow up, but I think her future will be easier than GB’s. RAD kids are never easy, but with a RAD kid without other medical conditions, at least you know where the problem is coming from. Since my first RADish came (1986), there is so much more identification of children with RAD and so many more treatments available. I think Hope has a bright future ahead of her.