Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween Quickie

Just as an FYI, the Kid chose to be Harry Potter for halloween in the end. Just thought you'd like to know.

I'll post a picture soon!!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Ah, sense memories...

Don't ask me how it started, but The Kid and I just got done with a house-wide water-wing soccer tournament. I have no idea why, when or how the water wings found their way in to the living room. I just saw them on the floor while corralling The Kid toward the bath tub, and kicked one of them at The Kid to get his attention. He got a devilish look in his eye and kicked it back at me. Naturally, I kicked not one, but two water wings at The Kid. On my hardwood floor, those suckers can get to flying. It's kind of like they become little hovercrafts. Suddenly, a super-competitive new sport has been born. The Kid played through a stubbed toe, even, this Water Wing Soccer is not for sissies.

The best part of the whole thing? As the game made it's way back to my bath room, The Kid asked me to blow up one of the water wings more so he could take it in the bath with him. As I bit at the plastic-blower-upper-nozzle to blow some more air into the water wing, I could still totally taste the last pool we'd gone to, and for a quick second, I was transported to one week before Kindergarten started, when The Kid and I took a spur-of-the-moment vacation to the Hot Springs Pool at Glenwood Springs (if you've ever been there, you know what I mean about tasting the water, it's all sulphur-ish and mineral-y).

Last summer feels like a different age to me now. I've never been a worry wart. I've never had trouble sleeping. I've never found a gray hair. But in the last two months, I've turned into a complete wreck. My house is an embarrassing mess, I'm disgustingly behind at work, I've forgotten bills (literally, FORGOTTEN, not "forgotten" or claiming "willful blindness"). I've become wistful at the taste of sulphur on a water wing (and thus need therapy, clearly).

The Kid has gone into a spiral of violent outburts and aggression, while I can't say they weren't completely absent two months ago, but at least they didn't show up in my home. The Kid has uttered the words, "I hate school" and "Everyone hates me" and I know he means it. It's been dark, tough times.

But it all comes back to my favorite 4 letter word: DEAL. We can't go back, and can only continue on the path, complete the hard work. I subscribe devotedly (and knowingly, and tongue in cheekingly) to the idea from Candide on the view of our world:

...the old woman ventured one day to tell them:
"I would be glad to know which is worst, to be ravished a hundred times by Negro pirates, to have one buttock cut off, to run the gauntlet among the Bulgarians, to be whipped and hanged at an auto-da-fe, to be dissected, to be chained to an oar in a galley; and, in short, to experience all the miseries through which every one of us hath passed, or to remain here doing nothing?"
"This," said Candide, "is a grand question."

Indeed, this is the best of all possible worlds, because this is the one The Kid and I inhabit. Right?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Nature is ancient and surprises us all...

A little Bjork quote to title a post specifically for my mommy.

I was given a tomato plant early in the summer. I transferred it to an enormous pot and have taken good care of it all summer, but no tomatoes. This is a bummer as I was told this was an heirloom plant (THE.BEST.TOMATOES.EVER). As it's started to get cold (and has even snowed once already), I've neglected my flowers and the tomato plant, putting off cleaning up my balcony for some other weekend (why do it today, right?). Well, this weekend, after not watering, deadheading or paying any attention at all to my miniature garden for at least two weeks, I found 5 tomatoes on my plant! They are small and amorphous, but they are tomatoes. And I grew them!!!

The Kid is excited, as he is a great garden helper, although he still stated that he only eats tomatoes in ketchup form.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Psych Eval.

I can't seem to organize my thoughts from last Wednesday's meeting. I met with the DU psychologists to go over the results of The Kid's evaluation. The important things we found out boil down to the following bullet points (I get all technical when I don't know what to say):

  • The Kid is really intelligent
  • The Kid's behaviors are consistent (VERY consistent) with ADHD
  • The Kid's behaviors and non-responsiveness to ADHD meds indicate a mood disorder like bipolar disorder

I'm not particularly frightened of the bipolar diagnosis, particularly because my boss has a bipolar son who is a STAR. It's not a death sentence. What scares me is the drugs. Lithium, anyone? YIKES! I haven't had the chance to talk to the Psychiatrist yet, but she had mentioned that our next step after Adderall would be mood disorder drugs. Because I didn't know The Kid's father for a very long time (about a month), I don't know his history. I do know that he was extremely charming, had a quick mind and was very high-energy and with hindsight can see either ADHD or bipolar attributes. I don't know about either of those things in my family history, although my dad's side has a history of alcoholism (hello, IRISH!), and who knows what they were self-medicating, although being a drinker doesn't mean that you have mental disorder other than being pre-disposed to addiction.

I need to read up about bipolar in children. I was skeptical at first, when they mentioned it. The Kid doesn't get depressed, so what I know of bipolar disorder is that there are periods of mania followed by periods of depression. Apparently, it isn't that simple when it presents in children. The one website I have counted on through this whole time, NIMH, lists attributes here. On the website, they list the manic behaviors:

  • Severe changes in mood, either extremely irritable or overly silly and elated
  • Overly-inflated self-esteem; grandiosity
  • Increased energy
  • Decreased need for sleep, ability to go with very little or no sleep for days without tiring
  • Increased talking, talks too much, too fast; changes topics too quickly; cannot be interrupted
  • Distractibility, attention moves constantly from one thing to the next
  • Hypersexuality, increased sexual thoughts, feelings, or behaviors; use of explicit sexual language
  • Increased goal-directed activity or physical agitation
  • Disregard of risk, excessive involvement in risky behaviors or activities

I am not convinced. Maybe some of these things he is too young to even show (hypersexuality, for example), but I don't see the grandiosity... But yes, he gets angry. Yes, he had never been a sleeper until he passes out, and it has taken a great deal of work on my part to get bedtime down. Disregard of risk? Just ask my mom, who last year found him climbing on the outside of a third-floor balcony at a condo we had rented for a weekend-mountain getaway.

As far as the depression:

  • Persistent sad or irritable mood
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Significant change in appetite or body weight
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Physical agitation or slowing
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

I don't see these... He doesn't get sad. Irritable, I suppose, yes. I just don't know. My boss mentioned that when his son was first diagnosed, he didn't believe it. His mother had been a classic manic-depressive. My boss told me that what he hates more than anything is when furniture is moved in his house. His mom always rearranged the furniture at home when she would start on a manic kick. He knows bipolar disorder, was raised by it and is now raising it. His son is 18, has overcome considerable odds and by all accounts will be a successful adult. At any rate, my boss was skeptical that his son's behavior was being put under the same umbrella as his mother's. He described to me a few more things that his son showed early on:

  • Need for "justice" and would lose it if he felt that something was "unfair"
  • Inability to distinguish between adults and children, in realms of familiarity and in discipline (see above, it was unfair that adults could do something he couldn't)
  • Moodiness, turning into volitile tantrums
  • Upset over imperfection (beat himself up for messing up)

So, it's all very interesting. They had me fill out another behavior survey, and I suppose I'll be hearing more about their verdict as they complete the report, which I should get the week of Nov. 7th.

On a total other, and way fun, note: The Kid and I had a pumpkin extravaganza last night. I had a pie pumkin and as yesterday was relatively cool, I decided it was okay to have the oven on for a few hours. I baked the pumpkin so that I could make one of my favorite cookie recipes (yummy, cakey pumpkin cookies that are really good for breakfast!!). I looked on line to find a recipe for pumkin bread or something else I could make with pumpkin, and came across this recipe for eyeball cupcakes. I just HAD to make them, even though they have no pumpkin in them. I think they came out pretty well, although they look nothing like the pictures... The Kid and I had a blast making them and licking our fingers while icing the cupcakes! I then invented a truly amazing side dish, mashed pumpkin and potato, w/ butter, salt, pepper and real maple syrum. Oh. My. God. It was so unbelieveably delish. I really should cook with The Kid more often, we had a blast with the pumpkin, and now we get to enjoy our spoils!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2005


So, it's Thursday. Just a normal day at the office. The department nearest to me is in their annual crunchtime, so around 2pm an email went out (I get their broadcast emails) saying, "In order to pick up everyone's spirits, we're having a popcorn party! Come by Email Author's desk and pick up a bag to microwave!!!"

Okay, first, lame party.

Second, did you really just invite 40 people to microwave popcorn at the same time on the 20th floor of a closed-window highrise? Smell-o-rific!

Now, I must say that I despise the smell of microwave popcorn, especially at work. I put up with the smell; there is at least one bag of popcorn nuked (and often burnt) on my floor on a daily basis. You put up with it much like you put up with the woman who smells like she got dressed in a humidor and then transported to work via cigarette-smoke filled pneumatic tube. But when there are bags and bags and bags and bags of microwave popcorn stinking up your workspace? You. Must. Evacuate.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Breaking news, and denoument

First, Breaking News:

I found a gray hair today on my head. What a very momentous occasion. I'm not even 30 yet. One foot in the grave and The Kid is helping me shovel.

And now for something completely different:

I have settled down since my last, vitriolic post about The Kid's teacher. I realize that I am a very careful writer and reader, and not everyone is like me. I was on a academic career track until The Kid redirected my life, and now I work in a very litigious industry, and for an attorney at that. I could list epistemology, linguistics and etymology among my interests. I am a geek AND I'm self-aware. So, I am singular.

The Teacher misused the verb To Choose in the context of The Kid's behavior. I did let her know that I do not believe that The Kid is choosing to do these things, and reminded her that the behaviors she described are ADHD-symptomatic.

That was all the energy I could put into it. Choose? No, that's not the concept at play here. Okay, let's move on.

Tomorrow I meet with the DU staff to get The Kid's report. I hope it is helpful and comprehensive. I've called another IEP meeting wherein I will share these findings, and suggest the more specific IEP that I discussed a couple of weeks ago.

My attention to language mustn't get in the way of helping The Kid, although it certainly can help as well. I can't say that I've completely forgotten what The Teacher said in that email, so I am watching her closely, but she's still the professional here. Or, at least one of them...

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Something in the way he moves me...

I am a music-obsessed individual. If I could spend all the money in the world, I believe a good amount of it would be spent on CD's and shows. I have never really listened to kid music around The Kid, instead opting to just play what I like, generally keeping him away from music with bad words and "adult themes" (I've failed at times, especially during last spring's "Well Whiskey" fiasco--The Kid was obsessed with that song, as was I, but I quickly stopped listening to it in his presence once I realized that he was singing along...).

One of my very favorite bands, of course, is The Beatles. The Kid took a special liking to them at about the age of 3 when I was going through a Revolver kick. On that album, of course, is Yellow Submarine. This naturally brought us to the animated film, which quickly became a favorite. After a few viewings, he decided that George was his favorite Beatle. We talked about George a lot for the better part of a year, and he even cried when I told him that George died a couple of years ago. This, of course, made me take a second look at George, and yes, The Kid helped foster some serious Harrison love in me as well. Ohm.

Tonight, The Kid and I watched A Concert For George, the concert at the Royal Albert Hall performed "one year to the day" from when he died (so, November 29th, 2002). A friend of mine lent me the DVD, and it is really incredible: Beatles/George fans must check this out. More incredible than the "rock and roll" performances (can I just say that I got such major goosebumps hearing Clapton and McCartney singing Something together?), was that The Kid was actually pretty interested in the songs that Ravi Shankar wrote for George. They are these very beautiful Indian songs, and The Kid was kind of mesmerized. So was I, honestly. We blasted the TV, and I think my neighbors might have been thinking unkind things about us (damn hippies and their sitar music, or some such thing). I kind of thought that I'd end up watching the DVD on my own, and The Kid would go off and find something else to play with. By the time Billy Preston was singing My Sweet Lord, we were singing "Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna!" together at the top of our lungs.

Are we wierd? I just am so happy to have things to share with him, things that we both enjoy. I can't help but keep going on a good thing. He gets sick of me on it eventually, but it's fun while it lasts!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Special Day With Special, with Aftermath

Every Friday, The Kid's teacher pulls a name from a hat to designate the next week's "Special Person of the Week." The special person gets to take home this huge, white teddy bear appropriately named, "Special." Friday was The Kid's lucky day, so we had a very cute teddy-bear houseguest for the weekend.

Saturday morning we had an early wake up call for soccer. Special came with us to watch the Earthquakes get rocked (ha) by some other group of 5 year olds. The poor Earthquakes, they were just no match for this team.

We left soccer humbled, but by the time we arrived at home, The Kid's mind moved quickly on to happier things. He had filled his sticker chart during the previous week, and the reward was a trip to the zoo. We got our old umbrella stroller out and stuck Special in it, and wheeled off. The Kid talked to Special the whole way, preparing him for the trip. He told him what we were going to be seeing, and that he was not allowed to climb on the gates or get into the cages (I'm just glad The Kid knows those rules!). It was a fairly uneventful trip to the zoo, all in all, but we got some good photos, saw some animals, and even got to see a gorilla eat some poo. Good stuff.

The other important thing that the Special Person of the Week has to do is to make a poster about themselves. They are to draw pictures, write words and paste pictures of things that interest them. If you have ever helped a child with ADHD/ADD/Impulse Control Issues/Insane Need for Perfection, you can only imagine what a HUGE job this was. We spent about two to three hours on it, all told. First, we looked through photographs that I was willing to part with (The Kid decided it was wrong to cut pictures out of magazines) for the purposes of a collage. He decided, actually, on a print of the adorable photo of him I posted last week, and then another random "action shot" of him playing soccer. He pasted both photos to the page, and then he and I started brainstorming about things that he liked. We got a good list going, and inspiration hit The Kid. He yelled, "I've Got It!" He grabbed a light green marker and made a long rectangle, the length of the page, and then added lines, spaced large enough for him to write in each space. He then asked me to spell out all of the things that we'd talked about him liking. In case you were wondering, he likes Halloween, Winter, Summer, Fall (apparently, The Kid doesn't like Spring, which like a true Coloradan, he really has no idea what Spring is--we don't really get spring here, just winter to summer, I'm not kidding), Dinosaurs, Soccer, Musuems, Aquariums, Meema (my mom), Cousins and Family. He wanted to write Aunts and Uncles, but chose a shorter alternative that included both. Plus, he was running out of space.

The pasting, planning and writing of these things took two hours. I'm not kidding about this, because I made a pot of coffee sometime in the middle of the seasons knowing that we had a job ahead of us. After all that writing, he decided he'd finish up all of the drawings the next morning, which he did. He drew some fall leaves, and then rainbows. He was very proud of himself, and kept talking about how he got to share it with the class.

Sunday, he stayed with his grandma while I went to the Bronco game. Perhaps I'll post my somewhat interesting and very wet Bronco game story at the Optimist Club shortly... At any rate, we finished up his Special Person obligations after the game at Meema's: Special has a journal, and each child writes what he/she did with Special on their weekend together. We printed out a bunch of the photos we'd taken at the zoo and pasted them into Special's journal, and he then wrote, "I had a great day with Special." He pretty much had a cow when the t and the h in the word "with" were touching in a way he hadn't intended them to. He cried, HARD, for about 30 minutes about it, until my mom invented white-out from a clorox stain pen (she's a real MacGuyver, that one). It was one of those moments, trying to comfort him from his upset at non-perfection that my mom and I just looked at each other like, "Yeah, this kid has a mental illness." Not judgemental mind you, but just one of those moments, as a parent, or grandparent, that you see a window into what a day at school must be like for him. And that glimpse is really heartbreaking.

We got everything into his backpack, got Special packed up, and the next day, The Kid headed off to school.

When I picked The Kid up from daycare on Monday, he immediately started in on me that I forgot to put his poster in Special's backpack. This is true, but I had put his poster in HIS backpack, and explained that to him. Again, the intense tantrum of crying. He didn't stop all night. He was devastated that he didn't get to share his poster all about him with his class. I know The Kid, and this is something he would really enjoy, and I feel for his sadness about it. I tried to calm him down, saying, Don't worry, your teacher will let you show it tomorrow.

Now, The Teacher had suggested a couple of weeks ago that she e-mail The Kid's daily behavior report. Apparently, he'd gotten upset one day when he disputed one of her sad faces, and she wanted none of that going forward. Monday night, though, I received no email. In fact, she's pretty terrible about e-mailing in general, I don't know why she thought she could write me daily about his behavior. So, considering that at 7:30 last night, The Kid was STILL crying that he hadn't gotten to share his poster, I wrote her the following e-mail. Keep in mind that I wrote in the spirit of working with her, aware that I ask a lot of teachers, but thinking that they ask a lot of parents, so it's a give and a take. Plus, I'm an involved parent, isn't that what they want? Anyway, here it is [edited slightly for personal info]:

"I just wanted to let you know that The Kid's special person poster was in his backpack today. He did bring it to school. He worked really hard on it. Also in his backpack is the confirmation page that you had sent last week regarding conferences. It has been in his backpack for about 3 school days now. I know I ask a lot of you already, but can The Kid get a little help with remembering to check his backpack for the things that he is sent from home to give you? This will clearly become a huge educational issue if we don't teach him how to remember to do this now, in Kindergarten. I tell him where everything is every day. Somewhere in the middle, he always seems to forget.

"He was heartbroken that he didn't get to share his poster today. He cried for a long time when I told him that it was in his backpack the whole time.

"I also haven't heard from you today on how he did. How can we make this easier? The daily report is really important to us. I use his daily report to model the night at home. If he has done something good, he gets rewards. Conversely, if he has done something [negative] we talk about it, and privileges are taken away. Also, we do still have the sticker chart at home, and for every 3 point entry that he gets, he puts a sticker on the chart. It loses its power when the immediacy is gone, so when he has two or three days worth of reports to put stickers on his chart, he doesn't remember what he did right to earn that sticker. We can talk about this on [at conferences], but I think we need to work out a better way for the notes home to come home every day."

Today, I received the following response [again, edited for personal info, but not for grammar, egad]:

"I am sorry that I did not send a report to you yesterday. Some days are just going to be like this. I was extremely busy all night. I can report on yesterday and today. Yesterday

[Here was pasted from Word a table with his behavior chart, but it doesn't copy and paste well from email to Blogger. All you need to know is that day one was mostly 3's, and day two was mostly 1's and 0's, inconsistent with the message below.]

I feel that much of his problem right now is he does not want to do what the class is doing. He knows what he needs to do to get a 3 bunch chooses to not participate. Most of the issues are related to this. Sometimes he even throws a fit when I don't let him do what he wants. Yesterday he cried for a long time because he couldn't play the computer game he wanted because it was in the other computer and another child was using it. He had the choice of waiting or playing another game or reading a book. He chose to cry and hit children. Today he did not hit or hurt any kids, he just was extremely compliant."

Okay? Do I have a right to be mad here? Is this a woman who has never HEARD of what a child with symptoms consistent with ADHD might act like? Does she have absolutely NO IDEA that The Kid is actually not choosing to "cry and hit children," but instead is being controled by impulses that make it really hard for him to keep control? I don't want to excuse The Kid from hitting. It's not okay. He needs a teacher that understands that he has special needs, not that he is simply a behavior problem. Is this not one of the primary misunderstandings of the disorder? She knows he's got an IEP. She knows that he's seeing a psychiatrist. She knows that he has a history of being easily overstimulated, which turns into hyperactivity and oppositional behavior. If she knows all this, how can she NOT know that it's not a matter of him choosing to behave in class the way that she would want him to. He needs help, and I fear that with an attitude like hers, help is not what he is going to get from her.

My sister found this very good little blurb from a website I've yet to truly check out (I'll link to it here, check it out with me!--although my sister did mention it is a very Christian take on the whole thing, so, just keep that in mind), but I want to share with you:

"ADHD is not the result of poor parenting. Because it is biological in nature, the analysis of the problem based on behavior is often misleading. Well-meaning individuals will often suggest that "a good, swift swat" or "firm, consistent discipline" are the answers to the problems of dealing with the ADHD child. This completely misses the point. While a diagnosis of ADHD should never be allowed to become an excuse for misbehavior, in dealing with inappropriate behavior a parent or care giver must be careful to try and determine the actual motivation for such behavior... The frustration of constantly living on the ragged edge of control breeds angry, often violent outbursts. The insecurity caused by never really being sure that they have a handle on things provokes demands for attention and reassurance that can be misinterpreted as merely selfish behavior."

So you know this, I know this, many professionals know this, but The Kid's teacher does not. I do not know where to begin to react to her. I fear that my anger will spill over.

Especially after this: When I looked through his backpack again tonight, the poster is still in his backpack. She didn't let him share it today.

I'm seeing red. Good thing I have a blog that will allow me to vent, or she'd get one hell of an email from me tonight. I might choose to yell and cry. Of course, I have that choice. I don't have ADHD.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Wonderful evening and please pray...

Tonight we had the pleasure of attending a little party. My boss's wife runs a non-profit that distributes goods made by women weavers in Guatemala. She takes their weavings and has a tailor make them into bags, wallets, all sorts of stuff. It's beautiful and amazingly well made stuff (virtually indestructable, I'm not kidding).

She got started with the non-profit (she doesn't have a website, or I'd link her here--if you are in Denver, just ask me about it, or look around for her sales at your church or community center, and she also does one HUGE sale annually in Santa Fe, NM) because her sister is a Maryknoll Sister in Guatemala, and has been down there for more than twenty years (so, do the math, and if you know anything about Central American history, she arrived in a very dangerous country for an American nun, or for anyone, especially the indigenous Mayan people with whom she worked), providing access to the women, and her sister (my boss's wife) provides access to rich Americans who can buy their products at a huge mark-up (an this stuff is still cheap!!!). My boss's wife gives all of her profits back to the women, although last year, I think she recouped her expenses (which are small) for the first time. By allowing the women to do their weaving, this allows them to be near home, raise their children and stay off of the under-paying coffee plantations (buy fair trade, please!!!) and other exploitative work sources. It also allows them to make a living off of their traditional art.

Anyway, the Maryknoll nun was here on a visit so they had a party for her. I finally got to meet this very brave woman. It was cool.

Meanwhile, Guatemala and a great swath of Central America has been decimated by Hurricane Stan. Today, there was a huge mudslide in Guatemala as a result of the rains (and the deforestation of the hillsides of Lake Atitlan. Please pray for the people down there. They have no FEMA, no flood insurance, and many now have simply nothing. We are disgusted by the poverty in this country, but by and large, our poor would be considered very rich in other parts of the world.

I can't fit this link in conversationally, but my best friend also works with women in Guatemala. She works for Friendship Bridge, a microcredit institution whose services are going to be greatly needed in Guatemala in coming months...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

New to the blogroll...

In the wake of writing about The Teacher's new plan for daily notes, I've found another special ed teacher who practices this, along with a very family-inclusive plan of home visits!!! I've added Erin's blog to my "Related Links" sidebar, but while you're here, check her out here.

1-2-3 I-E-P!!!

The Kid's official special ed staffing took place on Monday morning. The end result from that meeting is The Kid's specialized IEP, and a definite commitment from the school to provide all of the goods and services at their disposal that his IEP outlines that he needs. This, ultimately, is very good.

But I've read and re-read the document and can't help but feel that it is lacking. It is generally unfinished: it is lacking in specificity, lacking in services planned to be rendered, and lacking in focus.

I'm going to drive The Social Worker crazy. I took to the IEP like the professors that were the bane of my existence during my academic career. Everywhere in the document, I say, "define this!" and "you are contradicting yourself!" The goals and baselines are really unfocused. Goal one is: "The Kid will increase his ability to cope appropriately." Cope with what? What is appropriate coping? The objective is to have The Kid learn 3 new techniques to soothe himself. Learn, or enact? Is there a difference? I think he already knows or has learned a number of ways to soothe himself. The issue for him is to apply that knowledge. Perhaps that is too much to expect? I am not sure.

The second goal involves following adult directions. The baseline is "The Kid has many incidents of non-compliance a day." I understand the concept of non-compliance, and can imagine that it encompasses a large range of behaviors. It can go from not carefully following an instruction all the way to a violent temper tantrum in the middle of the class. What are his most severe non-compliant behaviors? I still don't think I know this, at least on a practical, "happens every day" kind of basis.

Goal three is the base of my biggest concern, however. The goal is for him to increase his ability to join classroom activities. Again, there are no specifics in the goal, baseline or objective. Just that he isn't part of the class now, and should join them in the future. I agree that this is the entire purpose of pretty much every IEP that is written in this country. The problem is that the way things currently are, this is almost an impossibility. I was told during the staffing that because he has so much trouble with transitions, that he and The Para go for "sensory walks" whenever a transition is coming up. He then comes back into the classroom after the next activity has already started. I know The Kid. This will cause one of two (if not both) reactions with him: 1) anxiety because he's missed something or 2) the need for extra effort to get him going in the new thing because he missed the directions, will need to be settled down and get going. The end result of this is that he's constantly set apart, constantly missing class, and constantly behind or not finishing his assignments. This is not the way to acheive the goal, and I am requesting that this stop.

There are some pretty glaring contradictions that may change the services plan. The Social Worker inserted the sensory and motor profile that was done inconjunction with the preschool special ed group. This analysis is outdated, and I'm hoping that our work with DU will update it, and elucidate his needs in this area better. The report from last year stated that his pencil grip was normal for his age of 4. At 5, he has an immature grip, which was noted by the Speech and Language specialist, but not included in the motor section. He needs help in this area now. Additionally, I believe that he needs more attention paid to his sensory integration issues, which will likely be coming to light in the DU report. The DU report will also give further direction on what kinds of therapies may work for him (OT, PT, etc). As it stands, he will be seeing an occupational therapist for 5-30 minutes per week. If his central issue is sensory integration, 5 minutes per week of OT is not going to cut it.

We left the meeting with the understanding that it wasn't done. They all know that we are going to be getting a report from DU in two weeks. They must also suspect that I'm going to haunt them for appropriate services because I've been at that school practically as much as I've been at work for the past few weeks.

One funny note/victory: The teacher came to the meeting with the proposal that we change the behavior chart/report yet again. This time, she proposed that she would report on each segment of the day rather than reporting on the negative behavior (NOT hitting, etc.). Can you say, I TOLD YOU SO!!! I have written a number of times that this was how I envisioned this program, and told her that this was the way I thought the chart would best be executed way back on day one. As I was annoyed with how long it took The Teacher to finally take my advice, my sister reminded me that sometimes the greatest satisfaction is to hear your own ideas repeated back to you. Yes, it is good, but it sure took her a long time to do it!

I plan to make great use of this data that we are going to collect from these new charts. We might just see a pattern emerge. This might help plan when interventions should take place in the course of the day. Perhaps they could schedule the "sensory walks" at specific times, once or twice, during the day rather than removing him whenever the class was changing activities?

Overall, the IEP is just getting started. I'm not disappointed, but I am aware that there is a lot of work I would like see done to this plan.

One other bit of news. I'm taking The Kid out of the AM session at the school. The AM session is awesome in theory (specials, spanish class, structured "academic" setting taught by paras instead of daycare for the time not spent in kindergarten, etc), but with 31 kids in the class, it is simply too much for The Kid to process, and then expect him to be present for the real thing in the PM kindergarten class. Instead, he's going to spend the mornings at the daycare, which will have 13 kids, free play with some story and circle time inserted and in general a loving atmosphere.

I am hopeful.

Monday, October 03, 2005

One more picture...

I'm never too tired to show off The Kid's good looks... Here's where you get to see the beautiful child I live with.

Ugh. Must. Post. Update...

I don't know where to begin here, or how long I will last, I'm incredibly tired and feeling honestly worn out... I guess I shall start with Wednesday.

We started The Kid's assessment at the University of Denver Neuropsychology Lab last Wednesday morning. It was a good meeting, by all accounts. The Kid went with a grad student to start a round of testing, another IQ test, but based on a different scale (and with different tasks) than the one taken at the school. While the Kid did that, I sat with the professor who went through the Kid's history. She was very thorough, we must have spent an hour alone on The Kid's behavior and infancy, all before we got to what is vexing us today. It was good to just put it all out there, that this is a pattern of behavior, and a pattern that has been there since day one.

We go again on Wednesdays for three more weeks. Results on October 17th...

Thursday we went to see the Shrink again. We haven't seen a positive effect of the Ritalin on The Kid. She was really concerned about his behavior on the drug (did I tell you about the sad day? The day when he was just sad?) and kindly scolded me for not contacting her at once after that. I'll take a scolding, at least she cares, right? And she's put him on some other drug that I really do care to know the name of but always just want to call it Allegra, which it is definitely not. Um, [racking brain] oh, Adderall XR. The XR means extended release, so the effects should last throughout the day.

I really do care very much which drug I am putting into my child's body, so please don't read that last paragraph wrong. I'm tired. It's been a long day.

The weekend was pretty darn good, where I'm going to leave off tonight. I think I've said this about 14,000,000 times above, but I'm tired. This morning was The Kid's first IEP Staffing meeting, and while it went well, I'm chewing over a lot of information right now, too much to tackle in a exhausted-post. So, I took this picture of the Earthquakes, who triumped over some other group of 5-years olds being coached, again, by some overbearing father... Grrr. Anyway, GO EARTHQUAKES!!!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

A Baby is God's Opinion That The World Should Go On

Wonderful wonderful news! My dear friend Shannon has had her third child. Lily Claire joined the world today. All are doing well. With any luck, I'll get to meet Lily in person this weekend, and hug the brave Mister Lady after her third labor and delivery!

(title stolen from a Carl Sandburg quote)