Spoke too soon…

Well, my excitement about Liam’s 30 mins of school work this morning and his promise that he’d work for 30 mins/take a 15 min break was a bit premature.

The drive home from Vessel Studios was disastrous, almost resulting in a broken car window from his tantrum where he tried smashing his car seat into it.  He screamed and attacked Ethan, threw things at me while driving, and almost caused at least one accident from screaming.

Once we got home he started to calm down.  I thought things were getting better.  I reminded him I wanted to go to JumpZone to check it out as a possible place for their combo birthday party.  He calmed down.  Then I reminded him that this morning he promised me he would do more work when we got home from picking up the glass projects.  He then insisted he didn’t have a break…  It took us about 3 hours to go pick up the projects (traffic, we got there when they were on lunch I think, and then more traffic home).  I told him that was a break.  Then he started screaming.

Around that point, I totally lost it and started crying.  He started laughing that I was crying.  He laughed for about an hour while I sat in my chair at my desk and cried. Ethan came and gave me a hug and then went and hid in the living room.

Liam finally did come in and do another page, but not even close to what he said he’d do when we made our plan this morning.  He was all excited about what he was going to earn — stickers to work to Club Penguin cards, trips to the Museum and Zoo, games, science experiments, etc.  I really thought he had finally rounded the corner that we had been struggling so long to get around…

Pretty much the awesome start to the day turned out to be an awful day.

I am so horribly drained from having so many days where he just screams and screams.

It’s not even school-related stuff.  It’s EVERYTHING related.  When we were in the car, that wasn’t a school-related fit.  I don’t even know what caused it.  I’ve been talking to his MT (who is AWESOME) and we can’t tell what’s going on.  I wanted to call her when we got home and tell her what happened, and then I ended up sitting there bawling and felt like a moron for crying and didn’t want to call her when I was crying.

 

*sigh*

We ended up going over to JumpZone tonight to check it out and because I feel like a shitty mother for not knowing what to do for him AND for just sitting and crying for so long today.  The whole way there I felt like crying again.  The whole time there I pretty much wanted to cry.
He had a hard time listening to me while we were there, but he was nice to the other kid that was there. He didn’t follow the rules and pushed Ethan a lot, but that’s to be expected I guess.  Since we’ve been home he’s been pretty calm.  No tantrums.  No freaking out when I told Karl how his day was…  Maybe afternoons are his bad zone?  I don’t know..  I wish I could figure it out.

Oh what a day….

Sheesh… this day was.. yeah.

Started off with Ethan’s Kindergarten graduation. I’ll have photos and more video clips up soon from that. They were absolutely adorable. Liam did pretty well. I was worried that he’d have difficulties, but most of the trouble he had was with personal space issues.

When we left there, we went to eat lunch with Mom and Dad. That even went pretty decently. Only a few times were I had to ask Liam to get his head off the floor and feet off the table. Ethan did end up peeing on my hand in the bathroom. Then there was also the fight over Liam finishing the wordsearch on the placemat before Ethan did. That caused a HUGE pouting tantrum by Ethan.

We ended up having to make a run back to Building Blocks to drop off the teachers’ gifts (Scentsy plug-in warmers that Ethan picked out) that we didn’t get there during the ceremony. After that, we stopped at Walgreens for my meds and for Ethan to go to the bathroom before his head exploded or he floated away. I made a critical error when I told him that we were going to “Go to Walgreens and go to the bathroom.” I didn’t realize he was in literal-mode. He walked into Walgreens, took a few steps through the second double door, and next thing I knew he had his shirt pulled up under his chin and he started to pull his pants down and pull his penis out. I quickly yelled “What are you doing?!”, to which he replied “Going to the bathroom” in a very “DUH MOM” voice. I very quickly ushered him back to the bathroom, where I then asked him WHY he was trying to go to the bathroom in the front of the store. He seemed completely confused and kept saying he was just going to the bathroom. After a bit, he then told me that he thought he was already IN the bathroom. *sigh*

Once we got back to the house, Liam started an anxiety attack about school work. The good part of this is that his Mobile Therapist got to see an AWESOME tantrum that he had worked himself into when she got here. It was EXACTLY what he does here with me all of the time.
I hate seeing him have these fits, but this time I really was glad to see him have a huge one. I can explain about these until I’m blue in the face and I can video them and show her, but they aren’t the same as having her here and having BOTH of us trying to talk him down. We did finally get him calm, but it took both of us the better part of an hour to do it. After she left, he even finished additional school work and helped me with a few other things that I asked him to do. We have a few ideas of things that might help him, so I’m hoping we might be on to something. I guess we’ll see what happens this weekend and between now and when she comes back on Thursday.

*sigh*

Another rough day with Liam….

Had a really rough day with Liam… another day of tantrums for no reason that I can pinpoint. It started at home and continued while we picked Ethan up from his last day of Kindergarten at Building Blocks and even went through Ethan’s Psych Eval. Made the already stressful eval even more stressful. I realized later that there were so many things that I didn’t get to mention that I wanted to.
He calmed down a bit once we got home and met up with his MT, but freaked out again when Karl came home and we were ready to go to Giant Eagle to go grocery shopping. It took him quite a bit to calm down, but he was able to calm himself and we did meet up with them. He did pretty decent at the store. Better than some other trips we’ve made, that’s for sure.

Ugh. I wish I knew what to do to help him more. I hate seeing him so upset. I pulled him from ECS to help him. Now I wish I never even heard of that damned school. It’s caused us to switch his medicines, it’s messed him up academically, and it’s messed him up mentally. I wish I would have pulled him in December when I first wanted to… then I would have been able to work through all of this with him and he wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed. It’s making me overwhelmed and I just don’t know what to do anymore. We have a long summer of work ahead of us… and I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to do all of this alone.

Tomorrow is Ethan’s graduation. I have no clue how either of them will react. Hopefully Liam won’t act the same way he did for Ethan’s picnic — which was roll around on the ground, kick gravel, cry, scream, and throw things… but who knows.

Yeah, this is another rant. Ignore it if you don’t want to hear it. I need to rant before my head explodes.

(I actually thought I posted this yesterday. Just now noticed that I apparently got distracted and went to bed last night before posting it, so I’m posting it now.)

It’s really frustrating that I have to re-teach Liam so much after pulling him from a school that I thought had such an awesome educational system.

In theory what Liam is doing now with the Calvert curriculum at PACyber should be all review. It’s not. He doesn’t really know any of this stuff! He’s so upset about it and doesn’t want to do it.

It makes me so sad to know he is so behind in so many things that are very basic — like north/south/east/west on a compass, reading a map, spelling (he’s testing a full grade level below, proving I was right all along about his spelling!), phonics, social studies….

It upsets me that I didn’t catch this ages ago. Yeah, I noticed the spelling and brought it up repeatedly, but the school said it was fine. Even when I scanned stuff in on Facebook some friends told me it was perfectly fine. I tried stuff at home to help him weekly, but that didn’t help.

Now we’re a month from the end of the school year and he’s at the beginning of a new curriculum that he should be able to test out of because he’s SUPPOSEDLY already been taught it, when in reality he was never taught it… and now I feel like a completely stupid mother because I didn’t notice this ages ago and jump in and make sure the school that I thought was awesome was doing it’s job. And Liam feels like a complete idiot (his exact words, not mine) because he doesn’t understand this stuff that should be so easy for him. It makes for a wonderfully frustrating time for all. Add in Ethan, who this stuff comes SO easy for and this place is like a mad house or a bomb ready to go off. Liam will be struggling with something and Ethan will walk through and answer a question… Liam will bawl and Ethan will be all confused as to why his correct math question is the wrong thing to say.

He’s working on a page right now where he doesn’t know how to spell “what” and he said he was never taught what verbs were. I don’t know if the school did teach it at some point and just didn’t teach it WELL or if they just assumed that kids “knew” it… or if they didn’t realize that Liam is slower at some things and not at others. I can’t count the number of times I got the “Oh, Liam is to SMART to have a Learning Disability, so we’re not even going to test him.” I should have started to count them, since each time they said that it was 100% illegal.

*sigh* And here I thought once the bullying was over with that the worst was behind us. Nope. Now I have to repair this damage.

I’m not mad at Liam in the slightest. I feel awful for him. I know he’s having anxiety issues, and that just makes everything worse. Who knows how long it will take to fix all of this mess. I don’t know what to do to help him. I’m just so frustrated at this whole situation I just don’t know what to do anymore… Would be so much easier if I had some sort of support system to help me out. I’d feel a hell of a lot less like I was going to break into a million pieces. Why couldn’t this have happened after I was able to get into the doctor to get back on anxiety medicines for myself? There’s very little chance of that happening now.

*sigh*

I’m sitting here teaching Liam how to do simple addition (literally stuff like 4+5 and 6+9) and listening to him bawl about how hard it is and how he can’t get it… and wondering how his former school can get away with doing this to a kid on the autistic spectrum.

They not only missed his spelling difficulties (that I brought up many times) but they missed his math difficulties (that I brought up many times).

Now Liam is the one who is suffering and I’m the one who has to figure out how to fix it so he can pass the 3rd grade and actually LEARN the skills needed to progress through the rest of his schooling…. and the rest of us get to suffer through the long days and nights of crying because he’s so upset.

because then I could sit upstairs and cry for at least 30 mins before it’s time to head to Liam’s dr’s appt.

So nervous….

Ugh. I’m nervous.

Liam’s appt with Dr Faber was moved up to this afternoon. I get to go in and tell him about how the anxiety meds that he put Liam on definitely helped him, but not nearly enough to counter-act the bullying that happened in class and definitely not enough to stop the bullying from the Principal himself that happened with me standing 2 feet away.

At the last office visit, he told me that he wasn’t too thrilled at the idea of cyber school. THEN I told him what our options were besides cyber (Penn Hills public) and he suddenly realized that we pretty much were screwed. Penn Hills public is NOT very Autistic friendly. He was really against that. I had told him our plan was to go through the rest of this school year and we’d talk about what to do for Fall. Then he did the medicine switch and we planned on talk on the phone in 2 weeks. We didn’t think anything else would happen in the meantime.

At the time of the phone conversation, Liam had been working with his MT (mobile therapist) about tactics on how to handle bullying and how to recognize the difference between bullying and kids just being “kids”. We had been doing a lot of work on social skills, which he doesn’t have many. Medicine wise he was doing good. The anxiety attacks had seemed to slow down (or at least cluster together in a more manageable way), but he also had Spring Break in there, so it was hard to tell exactly how he was doing “school wise”. We were having more bits of violence and some bits of uncontrollable-ness without the Strattera, but we expected that.

After I talked to him, and after spring break ended is when everything fell apart. That’s when the stomach aches came back, that’s when the school related issues came back, and that’s when I brought up my concerns to the principal the day I picked Liam up after he had thrown up at school… and that’s where the principal yelled at Liam and told him his concerns were meaningless. Liam gave him three examples (out of hundreds that he had told me over the last few months). The principal said that they were “nothing” and actually said “What are the real reasons?” and “Those don’t seem like important things”. When Liam mentioned one child he felt was bullying him, the principal said “Oh, x can’t be bullying you. He’s a nice child!”. The whole time the principal had his hands on his hips and was YELLING at Liam. Liam looked like he wanted to cry. Hell, I wanted to cry.

Anyways… now I have this appt in about a half hour… Liam is having a meltdown over math work because he doesn’t understand simple addition and subtraction (yet his old school refused to test him for a math disorder because he was “too smart” and “nothing is wrong with him”) and he is crying over an inflatable rubber duck that is now his best friend (replacement came in for the one that Ethan broke a few weeks ago)… which I guess is less disturbing than a few years ago when he carried around a 2 ft tall bright orange traffic cone that he said was his best friend. I’m wondering if the doctor is going to yell at me and say I made a huge mistake in pulling him from school. He already scolded me and told me I should have called him in November after he got ISS for the anxiety attack to get meds changed, but I had forgotten about calling him with everything else going on.

My head hurts.

DORA/DOMA… x2!

Well, Ethan has done two rounds of the DORA and DOMA tests (August and January). Liam has only been at PACyber for a few weeks now and is just starting to settle in. Since Ethan was due for his DORA/DOMA tests, I decided to go ahead and have Liam do his too.

Ethan did his first. He ended up having a tantrum in the middle of it when Liam came out to ask me a question (He wanted to go outside with his MT and set off a rocket and I asked Liam to wait. Ethan took that as he’d never be able to go out so he decided to hit #3 for about 5-6 questions in a row before I looked back down and realized he was pouting and STOPPED him and made him do the test properly. Little stinker).

Anyways these are his Reading scores (DORA)… his current grade is 0.8:

Graphophonic (Letters and Sounds):

High-Frequency Word Subtest: maximum (3.83)
Word Recognition Subtest: mid 2nd grade (2.5)
Phonics Subtest: low Kindergarten (0.17) {Can you tell where his tantrum was??}
Phonemic Awareness Subtest: 78% — (Good)
Spelling Subtest: mid 1st grade (1.5)

Semantic (Meaning Making):

Oral Vocabulary: high 3rd grade (3.83)
Reading Comprehension: low 3rd grade (3.17)

DOMA (Math):

Number Skills Strand: Mid 1st grade (1.56)
Fractions: Low 2nd grade (2.17)
Measurement Skills: Low 1st grade (1)

Next Liam got to try it. He wasn’t sure what to expect since he had never done anything like this before…

DORA (Reading) — His current grade (or where he should be) is 3.8:

Graphophonic (Letters and Sounds):

High-Frequency Word Subtest: maximum (3.83)
Word Recognition Subtest: low 3rd grade (3.17)
Phonics Subtest: mid 4th grade (4.5)
Phonemic Awareness Subtest: not tested
Spelling Subtest: low 2nd grade (2.17)

Semantic (Meaning Making):

Oral Vocabulary: high 4th grade (4.83)
Reading Comprehension: low 8th grade (8.17)

DOMA (Math):

Number Skills Strand: Low 3rd grade (3.17)
Fractions: K to high 1st grade (0)
Measurement Skills: Mid 2nd grade (2.83)

All in all I think they both did pretty damned good! :)

Little whippersnappers….

I was at CMU’s carnival yesterday (theme is TV shows) and we walked through the Peanut’s booth. My boys thought it was pretty cool. It was this big version of Snoopy’s doghouse with a huge sleeping snoopy. Anyways, this was the conversation that happened between the college kid running the booth and the college kids behind us as my boys played the Snoopy and the Red Baron “Catch Woodstock” game (that reminded me of the old Atari 2600 game):

Booth guy: So have you heard of Peanuts?
Other guy: Not really. They were before my time.
I almost fall over at this point
Booth guy: Yeah, I know. It’s pretty old. Well, it was a cartoon and I guess they used to have these seasonal shows or something?

I decided not to mention that the game reminded me of the Atari game, since I bet none of them had ever heard of Atari…

*sigh* So first my kid thinks I’m old. Now this college whippersnapper makes me feel old?!

I better start practicing: *shakes cane* GET OFF MY LAWN!

Liam…

Got one call from Liam around noon today. He was crying. Ms. Frye (Head of School) sounded annoyed and said there was an “incident” and Liam insisted on calling me and talking.

Liam got on the phone and talked to me. He told me how he was teased after being upset some kids cut in line in front of him. He cried on the phone, and told me he was angry and tried to run away to hide, but another teacher yelled at him for running in the hallway, and asked him to come back and walk without running, which made him even more angry. Apparently he then really freaked.
I got him calmed down. He wanted me to bring in a stuffed animal, but I had him go to Kate D, the special ed teacher, and ask her for a “Stress Ball” to see if that might help until I get there for pick up. He thought that was a good idea.

*sigh* So glad the school says there are NO behaviors that are problematic to make any need for an IEP or 504. I’ll be sure to tell my gutwrenching stomach pains they can go away and my paranoia each time my phone goes off not to worry….