An Update on Michigan

This is my grandson, X, on his first day of second grade. Thanks to a trip I made to Michigan, X is reading on grade level, although still a year behind chronologically. The one on one tutoring this summer (paid for by the school district) made a big difference. I think he is the world’s most handsome second grader, even if I am biased.

My son, J, is back on his meds, attending therapy regularly (I call and check), and has a new job. I was unable to talk to him regularly before he was back on the meds because I did not have it in me. Our relationship is much better now.

My granddaughter, K2, is still struggling with an overwhelming weight problem, but has managed to keep her weight stable three months in a row. I am so proud of her!

My oldest granddaughter, Kaylee, is a senior in high school and has a job.

I am encouraging both J and my DIL to develop some skills through vocational training. I have offered to help pay for it and this is the third year I am trying. I have hopes that they are both stable enough that this may be the year they decide to go for it.

X’s birth mother has warrant out for her arrest, hasn’t seen him in over eight weeks, and has an open CPS investigation for leaving her 2 year old alone for 72 hours. No body has seen her or her two year old in several weeks. I told J to file for a suspension of her visitation rights. I hope he does. X is really struggling with this. He is afraid for his baby sister. Any prayers you have would be appreciated.

Couples Counseling

The kids spent three hours at Kid’s Kingdom in the Little City. The Dad and I drove them, with MK, paid for their admission, and gave MK money for lunch. We picked them up three hours later and nobody wanted to leave.

We did this to manufacture time for The Dad and I to  spend alone. We went out to lunch and then to couples counseling. Couples who raise special needs children have an extraordinarily high divorce rates. Throw a RADish or two in there, expert at pitting one parent against the other, and professional help can be a necessity, not a luxury. Divorced Trama Mama’s aren’t a rare breed and the norm for Trauma Mama’s can be strained relations between them and their other half.

The Dad and I have been married a long time. We have even survived raising a RADish together. Surviving is not good enough. We are looking for more. I have not kept Hope’s struggles a secret. Our life is never easy, but the last eight weeks had pushed us over the cliff. We were not in sync at all. Hence, couples counseling. We are working for our future. God has better things in store for us. We are looking forward to our future together and if we need help to get there, we get help.

Laughing Is Always Better

I have been reading up on Borderline Personality Disorder. It is one of the common conditions that an unhealed RADish ends up with as a diagnosis. I just started my third book this week. It is different than the first two I read because it is not written by a professional. It is written by a man who is married to a women with Borderline Personality Disorder, from the perspective of how to survive and not buy in to the persons problems.  The name of it is When Hope Is Not Enough. I started reading about Borderline Personality Disorder because I was looking for new ways to relate with my oldest daughter. It is an interesting book. Last night, after the girls were in bed, I picked up the book to read until I could sleep. The title had slipped my mind- I just remembered that it had a green cover. When I noticed the title I started laughing. Hope is ALWAYS enough. Better laughing than crying.

PTSD and Me

My grandson is sick. I am concerned. Besides being concerned, it changes my day. MK is doing a great job at meeting Mali’s needs and he is attached. MK is also still battling the adult versions of what RAD left behind. When Mali is sick, all her fears and insecurities come rushing back. So today is being spent with MK staying close. I will drive them to the doctors and I will do my best to meet my daughter’s needs in a loving way. She needs it. She deserves it. I am praying for the strength to give it to her.

Adult Children

MK came with us to visit J. For the last two days, I have had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with them. In most  ways, it has been a pleasure. Both are stable. Both meet their obligations  with a matter of fact attitude. They are thrilled to be spending time with each other.

The snag- they both think they are equipped to raise the girls and if they were in charge, the girls would be “normal” (read not exhibit behaviors that are age inappropriate). MK has apparently forgotten the car ride. J has the same desire to be right as he always had. Neither one has a clue to the disabilities the girls are dealing with. Hope has already suckered J twice,  telling him that GB and X wouldn’t play with her. He started explaining to GB and X why they would not be permitted to behave that way. I stepped in and asked Hope what really happened. She told me that GB and X wouldn’t play the way she wanted them to.

I am still keeping Hope with in arms length. It gets tiring to fend off J and MK. The Dad has spoken to both of them, but hasn’t shaken their core belief that they could do better. I guess I can ignore them another three days. Even with fending them off, it is so much better than the ride here. The ride home showed up in my dreams nightmare last night. Not pretty. When we get home, we will be staying home for a long while.

Persistance Pays Off!

Today was my grandson’s, X, CSE. After two years and a half dozen meetings, it finally happened. X was deemed eligible for special education services. We had visited this before, but my son kept leaving the meetings with nothing and refused to teleconference me in. In dealing with adult special needs children, a lot of the same methods work. You need to know what you want, articulate it clearly, be persistent, and not take your eye off your ultimate goal. You also need to recognize when you have leverage and be willing to use it.

Shortly after Christmas, my son started talking about us visiting Michigan for Easter. I told him it was possible, but I needed to see my grandson classified for special ed and I needed to monitor the process to satisfy myself that everything was in order. Every time he asked, that was the response he got. When his wife asked about Easter, that was the response she got. Two weeks ago X’s CSE was scheduled for today. Last weekend, I received a copy of the evaluations to be used for this meeting. Last night, I received a copy of the proposed IEP. This morning, at 7 am, I was teleconferenced in.

I only stuck my two cents in twice. On the Connor Scale (a frequently used, norm-referenced, behavior  checklist), Aggression was very elevated. Yet on the IEP, where they list areas taken into consideration for this IEP, Behavioral Interventions wasn’t checked. I asked for an explanation. They told me that X was not a behavior problem. I did not bother pointing out all the physical things he had done, such as kicking the teacher and pinching little girl’s butts, but rather asked how he scored so high in aggression on the Connor’s scale. They had no answer. I insisted that it be put in his IEP that any behavioral problems will automatically invoke a Behavior Assessment Plan.

The district ended up offering 8 30 minute periods of resource support a week to X. This isn’t going to cut it,  but they have a benchmark in place for the end of the year. They say X will have mastered 60 of the 110 sight words required by the end of first grade. When that doesn’t happen, the committee can be reconvened to examine why this benchmark wasn’t met.

I told the kids to sign it. At least he is classified. We can get it on the right services later.

So I will be in Michigan for Easter!