Thursday, March 21, 2013

Telling is futile

It's back.  My daughter's depression.  Not as bad as it has been, but still a force to be reckoned with.  Old patterns are back, too.  Not getting up in the morning.  Putting off homework.  Feeling bad about doing so and then taking it out on family.  And this morning, destruction of property.

I'd very much like to get her into therapy.  (Past attempts failed when she refused to go, tried to kick out the car door glass, ran away from the office...)  She said she'd go if I never talked with the therapist myself, never presented a balance to her world view, never offered background information.  Of course, her saying she'd go if, if, if doesn't mean she really would.

Last night I heard about a local therapist who is said to work well with children on the spectrum.  Maybe he could help my daughter.  I'm in the process of getting more details.

A couple of weeks ago, I broke down signing my daughter in late at school.  I spoke with the school counselor; she said she'd help, but so far, I haven't seen any evidence of it.  I really hate that my daughter "doesn't qualify for special education services."  She has a 504 Plan with a handful of accommodations.  What she needs help with at school is predominantly executive functioning skills;  they need to be taught and practiced at school, where work happens or is assigned.  Twinkie accommodations don't get at the problems, and teacher statements like, "She needs to learn to be more organized," or "She needs to learn to advocate for herself," show just how little she is understood.  The child has ADHD.  Telling her she needs to learn it is futile.  Teaching her may yield results.

We had had such a good window of opportunity, now lost, when the effects of her depression were low.

I don't know how to effectively advocate for this child.  I started when she was in Kindergarten -- called her first PST meeting.  Results:  "She's nothing special."  Had another one a year or two later (though there were fewer problems in 2nd grade because her teacher took such good care of her).  Results:  Nothing.  Identified mild depression/mood dysregulation in 3rd grade.  Addressed need for rigor in 4th and 5th grades.  Identified executive functioning issues in 5th grade; attempts to address them cut off when depression symptoms became severe.  Called another PST meeting early in 6th grade, yielding an ineffective "PST Plan" that some of her teachers didn't even know about.  Tried counseling multiple times.  Identified ADHD -- Inattentive Type and a few other issues in 6th grade but essentially left her unsupported in one of the most organizationally difficult years of the rigorous program she was in.  Lost the academic rigor after 3 quarters of 6th grade.  Had special education testing performed at the end of 6th grade with the result of not qualifying for services and being referred back to a 504 Team.  And for the three quarters of 7th grade so far, have heard, "She doesn't need it," about the accommodations that she does have.  So now, when work piles up the last two weeks of the quarter, she still doesn't have the EF skills she needs to get it done.  And the cycle continues.

I wish I had something brilliant to say.  Or better, to do.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

One fifth

It's mid-March.  The post-flood renovations are almost complete.  I've got new wood laminate floors, new vinyl, fresh paint...  I've got a bathroom that feels like a peaceful retreat.

And in a few weeks, we'll lose a fifth of our income to sequestration.

I won't purchase the gazebo for the back deck; I'm not sure I can afford a replacement canopy for the frame that's still there even if I can find one.  No canopy means an unusable deck which means a loss of social options for my daughter.

I'm canceling my plans to take my daughter to New York City for the day next month.  I don't think I can even budget for the drive up to New Jersey to see my sister; tolls alone are $25.

Yard projects are on hold.  And we may not be able to afford the lawn mower man this year.  (This one is HUGE as hiring the lawn mower man two years ago probably kept us out of divorce court.)

There will be no summer camps this year.

Therapies I was considering trying will not be started.

Behavior incentives will have to be rethought.

Food.  Limited eating out.  Careful menu planning.  Occasionally springing for the box of Spongebob mac & cheese because it makes my daughter happy.

There is so much more to say; the emotional impact is as great as the financial.  And the cost to my children is significant.  It's already so difficult to get my children the interventions they need.

My stomach hurts every time the thought of sequestration enters my head -- more often the closer we get to the mandatory furloughs and to 10 weeks of summer vacation and no funds for fun -- and words get stuck in my throat.  I don't want to hear any more political excuses.  I just want it fixed.