Monday, March 16, 2009

A Lovely End to a Tough Week

What a week... The reentry from vacation will inevitably be bumpy, but, honestly, I was not expecting the week to unfold as it did. (If you want to fast forward through the gloom bits, I won't be offended- be sure and see the last paragraph, though, because it is all about our beloved Braja!)

I muddled through Monday and Tuesday, powered through Wednesday with the help of my new medicine (although I was disappointed Wednesday night to not hear from Braja after we had set up a phone date for after she got to the airport), and headed into Thursday knowing it would be tough....

Thursday morning my husband and I had an IEP meeting with Destructo's (I really need to come up with a new alias for this kid) school. An IEP, for those blessedly not in-the-know, is an Individualized Education Plan. What's that? Don't make me say it. Okay, fine, dammit. An IEP is Special Ed. And my darling little guy, addled by his ADHD, really, truly needs it.

Wait... I need to Cornify Hit the button: QUICK: Scare away the darkness and bring in the unicorns and rainbows!!!

I want to bail on this post. I am still so fragile and sorting out this whole thing. Suffice it to say, no matter how comfortable/accepting one might be with a diagnosis of ADHD for their child (or themselves! :); accepting that it is a real, physical condition, that medicine really can make a difference, that your baby will have difficulties at school.... It is heartbreaking to know that your bright, lovable child really is the odd guy out in the class. That he cannot relate to the other kids easily or follow the social rules that most first graders are well-acquainted with. That he comes home and asks why he doesn't have friends. That I have to remember what I was like at that age to the kids in my class that needed special help is particularly difficult and tears at me. I know that I am doing everything to defend him and help him now, but it is excruciating
to remember and then to follow that with the thought that kids are kids and there will be children (just like me) that treat him like a non-entity or worse because of his issues.

On the upside, Destructo is, blessedly, a smart boy. He is getting the concepts that he needs to be learning, even if he can't write them down as well as the other kids. He is a charming oddball that doesn't act out in violent or aggressive ways. He is a profficient reader and great at math. All kids have issues and his just require a bit more work than others'. And, fortunately, he's got his parents on his side, making sure that he gets the help he needs in appropriate ways.

Setting up an IEP is a lengthy process that takes a team of people. The teacher, the principal of the school, the school psychologist, sometimes the school nurse, a district representative who handles the "case," and the parents all meet for a series of meetings that determine if your child needs extra help, what the extra help will entail, and then more meetings later to discuss how the extra assistance is working for the child.

So far, the process has been good, if emotionally draining, and the Madison school district, our school in particular, has been extremely helpful and supportive. Destructo, who was diagnosed last year, in Kindergarten, has been working with a therapist, and has been taking medication to help control the symptoms, which for him include wandering around the room, inability to finish work, and a lack of social skills that integrate him with his peers. That he is only 6 (almost 7), and starting this now is a GREAT thing.

But... all this IEP work and effort and clarification at the meeting of how the ADHD is actually affecting him at school sent me into an absolute tailspin of self-doubt and terror about our impending move to England. ADHD kids have to have routine to be at their best and the thought of uprooting him is anathema! How long will it take for him to acclimate? How will the schools deal with him?? How are we supposed to re-learn how to navigate all of this school burocracy to get him special help over there? Isn't our life difficul enough right here at home, where we know our doctors (let's see: the psychologist, the psychiatrist, the diagnosing psychiatrist, the allergist, the ENT, the family doc,.... anyone left out?), where we know the school, where, conceivably, he will have an assistant already set up for school next year, with the same teacher (b/c he is in a 1/2 classroom)...???

Why would we put our family into such a pressure-cooker?

And, I am ending there for today. I will continue tomorrow. Maybe working Totally Awkward Tuesday into the mix. I certainly never lack for awkward moments in all of this! :)

One more bit, though: Another facet of this overwrought week was the fact that one of my best blogging friends was hurt in a devastating car accident, so I was upset and frantic for information about this event that had occured on the other side of the world. The good news is that I TALKED to Braja on Sunday morning!!!! She called from the hospital and was in high enough spirits that she instructed my husband to hand me the phone with the words, "I don't know who it is." if I asked. Nice. I was so floored and overwhelmed with emotion (who, Me??? ;-) that I can't tell you everything she said.... but she let me know that she could feel all of our love and well-wishes and that it meant so much. She sounded tired, but strong. I told her that all her blogging friends were thinking of her constantly and wishing for her recovery and that the on-line rallying for her was incredible to behold. She said that she will remain in India for at least another month to recover, as she still has some surgeries to undergo. I am sorry that I didn't ask how her husband was doing. I was completely verklempt, to be honest, and barely holding myself together. :) Believe me when I tell you, though, that she KNOWS that we love her and are praying for her and sending her every bit of positive energy that we can muster.
Read more here and here.


  1. I can't imagine that your little one will be the odd one out. ADHD is a very common diagnosis.

    I hope the IEP goes well!!

  2. I think it will go much smoother than you anticipate. Really. :)

  3. You're learning how to deal with your son's ADHD and I bet you'll be great when you make the move to England.
    SOOOOO wonderful that you could talk to Braja! Isn't it amazing how quickly the news went around the world and how quickly everyone responded? I bet Braja will be demanding a laptop before we know it!
    Thanks for letting us all know.

  4. Sending more prayers for Braja!

    The most important thing for your child is to have wonderful parents who will suppport him.....and he has that! Good luck!

  5. Oh Amy - that's wonderful news about Braja! I'm so relieved to hear that she felt well enough to talk to you. I really hope that her husband starts a quick recovery process too!

    I can feel your pain about the ADHD diagnosis and your move to the UK. Unsettling for him - but I'm sure the schools in the UK will be able to cope with this...

  6. I KNEW she would feel it! I felt it on that day as I sent my love and energy to her. Thank you for the update. It is so wonderful to hear this good news.

    I will read the rest of the post later. I am at work. Thanks for giving permission to scroll to the end. But I WILL read the rest a later

  7. Oh Amy - my heart goes out to you girl!! Your poor heart dealing with your sweet boy AND the news of Braja! So amazing to hear that you spoke to her though and that she is strong and moving forward. That totally seems like her. Thank you for updating us.

    It sounds like your son has all of the right things on his side - mainly parents that are going to ensure the best for him every step of the way. You will handle whatever comes up because it's who you are.
    Hang in there....thinking of you...

  8. Amy,

    First of all, you deserve Mother Of The Year - I have a child in my preschool class with the same issues, but the parents have their eyes shuttered about the whole thing. As a teacher, I can only keep suggesting and hopefully, when he enters Kindergarten, they'll listen then. (But probably not.)

    Keep pushing forward with his cause. :)

    I'm glad Braja is well enough to talk and felt our love. :))

  9. I totally get the whole IEP thing. Both of my older boys had have them. My oldest, the kinder, is growing out of it and will not need one next year. My preschooler however is indeed an oddball with speech, aggression, and social awkwardness. He is extremely bright but these other issues may continue to hold him back. He doesn't have a label other than he is developmentally delayed and he is on the autism spectrum. Maybe he has Aspbergers, we just won't know until he is older. I truly know how you feel about wanting to protect your child from the being the odd one out. I have cried over this as well.

    I really hope that your week gets better. I'm sure that your son will adapt as well as any child that has to make such a move, with loving, supportive parents to help him deal with the stress he will be fine.

  10. I have had to do a similar plan for my son. he was never diagnosed with anything he just had a tough time learning at school. We have don A LOT of work at home and we are finally seeing a much needed improvement. Just keep pushing and he will be just fine. I dont think he is the odd kid out, they all have thier own individual issues.
    Encouraging news about Braja, I'm glad she is in good spirits.

  11. Amy if it makes you feel any better, LaLa is also ADHD (but we haven't taken the medication step) and she has adjusted very well to English schools. There is a lot of structure (one of those things ADHD kids thrive on) in her classroom and there are plenty of teachers as well.

  12. My 18-year-old has had an IEP since second grade, and let me tell you, it has been a life-saver! Don't worry about classifications and labels (but maybe "Destructo" could morph into another alias sometime in the future).. . they know they learn differently than their friends are are glad for the help.

    On the brighter note.. . I'm so glad you heard from Braja and she's doing well. . .

  13. Sending positive thoughts your way. Hoping it all becomes less overwhelming in short order.

  14. Nice hidden little shout-out. Made me grin. :)

    Seriously, did you get my email about Tuesday night?

    I'm weak in the knees over Braja. I'm nodding in your general direction over ADHD and kids and medication and hope.

    I'm with you.

  15. So excited that you heard from Braja!!! That is fantastic news!!

  16. Ugh! You have got to be the best parents on the planet. I'm sure it's super scary with all the unknowns about uprooting yourselves, but I'm also confident that both you two and Destructo will pull together on this one. It will be a challenge, especially at first while you all are trying to pull together your arsenal of doctors/teachers/etc. over there, but I honestly believe that it will work out for the best. And I'm sooooo happy you got to talk with Braja! What a load off your mind in a week full of stress! Hugs to you~

  17. Yay for Braja! She is a fighter.

  18. much encouragement, friendship, and blessings...all from bloggy praises to God for your friend's recovery. I am always humbled and thankful at a praise report on someone's recovery. It truly makes me thankful to God.

    I love bloggy friends!!!

  19. I know how you feel. My son is 6 and has similar problems. It is painful to see his difficulties in dealing with everyday's problems. He has very few friends and problems in school, even if he is very smart. Here in Italy ADHD children are never treated with medicines, but parents and teachers are trained to be able to deal with it. I am sure, that in England you will find all the help you need. You know the problem and you want to solve it, together with your love it is all that your child needs.
    Matilde in Milan
    (sorry for my bad english)

  20. I am sorry to hear you are having such a rough week. I am sure that the little man is going to be the stud genius of the class. With all the love and support you and 007 give I have all the faith in the world. Prayers are with you sister.

  21. I want to pour over this with you sipping a cocktail.

  22. I told you I would come back and read.. although it was kinda difficult with unicorns and rainbows all over the screen, but I couldn't help myself! Oh speaking of ADHD.. the reason I came to comment.

    The good news is that you are getting him help early, the whole world is familiar with ADHD and kids are more loving and accepting than you think.

    My son has a stuttering problem. I started his help in pre-k.. all throughout school.. he is a junior now. He has never really been teased for it. Sure occasionally here in there. But he has found GREAT friends.
    It will all work out just like it is supposed to, just be strong. ;)

    England will challenging, but at such a young age, they learn to adjust quickly

    Now if only I can chase these rainbows and unicorns away

  23. What a crazy week you had - I hope this one is better (I saw your post from today about your happy St. Patty's day!).

  24. I am AD/HD and so are my kids- CHADD.ORG is a great place to find help, support and just really good tips.

    I was not diagnosed asa child because we moved so much, no teacher/school ever had me for over 2 or 3 years. Once there is a diagnosis, it is easier, you know what you are dealing and what to expect :)

  25. Whew, not sure how I missed your post...

    So happy for you that you spoke to Braja - relieved that she is doing so well...

    We have recently gone thru the whole IEP thing, and are now on our way to figuring out kindergarten. Scary. It is so hard for me to see him as the odd child out, to wonder what it's going to be like for him... I sympathize with you.
    I have to agree with the poster that praised you for doing something - there are many parents who don't...
    I'm sure the fact that you are on top of things will help him so much in your move. You sound like a great mom and he sounds like a great kid - you'll work it out together! We are all here for you!


Thoughts appreciated. Advice welcome. Douche-baggery scoffed at then deleted.