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.

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