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All posts for the month August, 2012

ASD Assesment – Sessions 4 and 5

Published August 22, 2012 by thefamilyof5

I had session 5 with the psychologist today. Session 4 was the cognitive assessment that took place last week.
She shared their findings on the cognitive assessment with me, I’ll try and explain as best as I can remember but there were lots of big words that I didn’t know 🙂

She started by explaining each stage of the cognitive assessment and what area each section was to check for. So basically she said that big girls verbal score and understanding score, whilst low, was within acceptable range. There was an IQ test whereby she scored well below average but still within an acceptable range. And finally a score to check ‘multi tasking’, she didn’t use this phrase, I forget what she called it, but she explained that it was to check the brains ability to ‘multi task’. Anyway, big girl scored very low here and she explained how this could make following instructions very difficult and also it would be having a big impact on her ability to learn.

She chatted quite a lot about ASD and how she feels this fits with some of my concerns. She shared with me that she feels an ASD diagnosis is almost certainly on the cards for big girl but until the assessment was complete she couldn’t say for sure.

She also chatted to me about middle and baby girl. During our sessions there were some things that I’d said that she’d picked up on which also caused her some concern. She’s recommended that I request CAMHS to refer them both for ASD assessments of their own.

I feel both relieved and terrified at the prospect of an ASD diagnosis. Relieved because it makes so much sense of some of her quirks and it also means I’m not imagining it all and she IS different.
Terrified because ASD is for life, and it seems there’s the potential for all my girls to be somewhere on the Autistic spectrum. ASD is not something she’ll grow out or can have therapy to ‘fix’, which means I’m going to have to find a way of understanding her rather than trying to ‘help fix’ her.

Being on the autistic spectrum won’t change her, it won’t make me love her any more, or love her any less, she’ll still be the same big girl she always has been, but it will mean she’ll always be the way she is and that wont change either. Therapy isn’t our answer, or at least it isn’t hers, she no longer needs an answer it seems.

So now I need to learn more about ASD so I can understand my daughter and learn to become more compassionate rather than irritated when presented with one of her unusual behaviours. I need to find a way to accept that this life may not be everyone’s ‘normal’, but it is going to be our ‘normal’.
I still need to find my answer.

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Compliant Sick Kids!

Published August 18, 2012 by thefamilyof5

Any Parent will tell you that their sick (secure, well-adjusted) kids are hard work, they whinge, they whine, they want a drink, they don’t want a drink, their head hurts, their tummy hurts, they’re hot, they’re cold, they want a cuddle, they don’t want a cuddle, they need their teddy, but not the one you offer them, they want a blanket but it makes them too hot, they want you to stay with them but they want you to fetch them things to meet their needs as well. They drive you mad with demands, wants, needs and expectations and of course a little bit of milking it for all they can along the way!

Sick compliant insecure traumatized kids are all of those but you wouldn’t know! Dont be fooled in to thinking this is a good thing!

In fact the only way you can tell they’re sick is because they look off colour, or they’ve just vomited all over you, or you can see they’re burning up, or there’s blood gushing from somewhere or bits hanging off. They wont tell you, they wont ask for anything, they’ll deny their illness to the death and drive you insane with the frustration of not knowing the need your expected to meet, or the hurt you need to treat (unless it’s obvious by the gushing blood or detached limb of some description that is!) or the bug you need to starve or the cold you need to feed.

They will not show you their weakness yet they expect you to be the good mummy you promised you were and see through their walls of steel and meet their every need, blindfolded!
I have 3 “fine” children today, 2 of which, are anything but ‘fine’!

CAMHS part 2 – Session 1

Published August 14, 2012 by thefamilyof5

I met with the new camhs therapist today, a lady, she seems quite lovely.

She’s had some notes from the previous therapist, but essentially we’re starting from scratch.

We chatted about all the girls, some of the progresses we’ve made, some of the brick walls we’ve hit. We talked about how our family ‘works’, how we address things, and the area’s in which we struggle to address things. I say ‘WE’ chatted, but really I mean ‘I’, I chatted, a lot! So much so that our 1hr appointment lasted 1hr 15 minutes 🙂

She shared her thoughts on our therapy options and how she will be taking advice/guidance/assistance from another member of the team who is a Psychotherapist, rather than a Family therapist like herself. Initially she feels that our individual needs, as well as our family needs, need to be addressed so she foresee’s long term attachment based therapy, some aimed at me, some aimed at each of our daughters individually and some aimed at us as a family.

We have an appointment for a few weeks time whereby she will meet the girls, mainly in an ‘observing their play’ kind of approach.

I’m hopeful once again, the light at the end of this very long tunnel has started to glimmer again, albeit faintly.

She seems to know her stuff, she even told me ‘your only human’, so I think I’ll be able to leave my cape at the door for future appointments!

The Search for Support Continues

Published August 14, 2012 by thefamilyof5

I received a call last week from the placing authorities post adoption worker. She was calling to tell me some exciting news, apparently they’d finally been able to source medical records for big girl (see prev post) and was sending them in the post, I was so excited and relieved to hear this, little did I know at the time that what she was sending me was not actually the written notes, just the limited computer printout.

During our call she also discussed support. Basically she said

‘We’re too far away to support you, your local authority don’t want to support you so we’re putting the responsibility with the voluntary agency you used’

She’d called the Voluntary Agency (VA) that we’d used when we adopted, Action For Children. Apparently they were able to offer us support and she also mentioned something about funding for it being part of the agreement between the 2 agency’s when we adopted?!(Who cares!) She suggested I ring them to discuss further.

I rang them yesterday. The social worker I spoke to was a lady we’d met during our training/approval. I hadn’t really taken to her much in the past if I’m honest, she was loud and ‘in ya face’ and always seemed to have her huge boobs hanging out all over the place, but I didn’t let that stop me explaining our situation to her this time.
I chatted to her at length, I told her how I felt we needed support but as I wasn’t sure what kinds of support were available, I didn’t really know what we needed. I explained that I don’t feel we’re functioning properly as a family and that 2years in I still don’t feel I know any more about my girls than I did the day I met them. We talked about compliance and the difficulties it presents adoptive parents with, she was very ‘clued’ up on compliance and this pleased me, she said all the right things, gave me examples of scenarios and empathised on how it all must make me feel. She also touched on how compliant children generally appear happy and content to the outside world, with only mum really knowing that things were not as they should be. Soooo true!

I had called our VA previously, last year I think. I’d spoke to our original social worker. She is a lovely woman, we’d always got along with her. She was great during the approval/matching process, she guided us, helped us and pushed us along nicely. When I’d called her for support though, I hadn’t found her very supportive. She’d offered empathy when what I needed was guidance and advice.

So back to the current phone call, we chatted about CAMHS and how that’s been working, or not working for us. She discussed training opportunities and possibly putting me back in touch with our original social worker or perhaps a new one. She also chatted about a family in a similar situation that we might like to get in touch with. All in all she felt that it was best to wait until I’ve met with the new CAMHS therapist (this afternoon) to see what their plan was and take it from there.

I’m going to meet with CAMHS later today, I’m really hoping they’re the solution we need, I’m really hoping they can help us to be a functioning family and stop me from feeling like a long term ‘babysitter’ but realistically I know therapy is a slow process and I’m not sure how long we, I, can hold it together before serious and permanent cracks start to show.

More Puzzle Pieces

Published August 14, 2012 by thefamilyof5

So we received some medical information yesterday for big girl from her former gp, its a printout from their computer, its ‘only’ taken 2 years to get, we still don’t have the written notes, they appear to have been lost, or hidden! (I’m becoming increasingly paranoid that someone doesn’t want us to see those notes!)

So anyway whilst browsing through these very limited and mostly useless notes, I spotted something very alarming. A scanned copy of a LAC review form stating, amongst other things, that big girl was seem by CAMHS on a date almost 3 years prior to being placed with us. This also means she was still with her birth family at this point. Why do we not already know this?! Surely being referred to a mental health service was significant enough for us to have been told! Apparently not!

So of course I immediately picked up the phone and dialled the number for the placing authority’s post adoption team where I was informed that the worker for our family was off sick and no one else could help me. I sank back into my chair deflated and defeated, again.
I shared my anger and despair with some good friends of mine who rekindled the fight in me and told me not to take no for an answer.
I dialled again, this time I refused to be fobbed off and was eventually put through to a manager of some sort. I explained the situation, she was very understanding and promised to look into records, contact their local CAMHS and ring me with her findings by 12 the next day (today).

12.20pm today she called. She’s not been able to find out anything but I appreciated that she’d tried. She’d looked through records on their computer system and could find no reference of a CAMHS appointment for big girl. She could however see that one of their elder siblings had been seen by CAMHS. She has made contact with their local CAMHS and is currently waiting for them to ring her back to discuss it further.

Was this a mistake? Did the GP write up the report incorrectly? Has big girl been referred to CAMHS in the past? Was she just seen as part of her siblings referral? Is someone hiding something from me?

So many questions, again!

Counselling Stress

Published August 8, 2012 by thefamilyof5

So, tonight I had my first counselling session.
And probably my last.

The therapist, who had an annoying, and probably stress related, repetitive tic/face scrunch type thing going on, really didn’t know anything about adoption but assumed her many years as a single parent of 2 now grown up secure, well adjusted, attached children, qualified her to tell me how to parent my traumatised, unattached, insecure children.
What’s that saying, you know the one about assuming and it making an Ass out of U and Me!

So any way, after she’d asked me to talk about ‘what ever you want to’, she told me that parenting is hard, ‘she should know having always been a single mum of 2’, she also told me not to worry as ‘all kids do that’. I explained that my girls are compliant, and that they never ‘give any part of themselves to me’. She told me the way to get my kids to talk about their feelings was to bribe them with sweets in a jar high on a shelf.

No I didn’t punch her in the face, but I wanted too.

I got momentarily distracted by someone walking past in the street below and wondered if I could pretend it was a long lost relative, thus having to leave. I could run outside and pretend to be reunited with them. The fact that it was a drunken pensioner that quite frankly looked a bit scary, put me off so I decided to wait it out, it had to be almost time to leave, I was sure of it, she’d rambled on about her life for a good 20 minutes, 5 minutes to fill the ‘mental health’ questionnaire out, couple more minutes for her to read it, 3 minutes of me talking. I realised then that we were probably only half way through!

So, back to it. To add further insult to injury she gave me a ‘parenting’ fact sheet. It was entitled ‘Fulfilling the Emotional Needs of the Child’.

1. Unconditional love. There was so much I could have said about this, but I bit my tongue.
2. Respect. Durr, clearly!
3. Praise. My tongue was gushing with blood by now.
4. Time & Effort. I almost bit my tongue clean off.
5. Boundaries. Seriously, where did she get this all from, adviceforreallyshitdumbassparents.com perhaps, it certainly wasn’t from any adoption or special needs specific resource!

She then recommended a book, I was a little distracted from the throbbing pain coming from my tongue so I didn’t quite catch the title, but it was something like ‘being a good mother’. And from what I gathered it was about the pressure’s mothers put themselves under to be the very best mother they can, and why this isn’t always ‘being a good mother’. So after reassuring her that I wasn’t a ‘good mother’ and that I was comfortable with that, she moved on to offer me strategies to ‘handle stress’. This week she said she’d give me a relaxation cd, and next week we could discuss more idea’s. Did she think the excitement of ‘more idea’s’ would ensure my return?!

Honestly, what an utter waste of 90p parking and 50 minutes of my life! Yes 50 minutes, not the hour it should have been, she even short changed me on my time allowance! Not that I was going to complain and ask for longer!

Now…………………. where’s that huge, stress relieving, body widening, chocolate bar?

The D Word

Published August 7, 2012 by thefamilyof5

The D word. It could relate to many things, disability, dysfunction, depression even ducks! 😉

But for the purposes of this post, the D word relates to drugs! Not the illegal kind before you panic, the prescribed kind, Antidepressants!

So those of you who follow will know a few months ago I saw my gp about Acid reflux expecting a prescription for Gaviscon, instead, to my surprise I left with a diagnosis of moderate to severe depression! So any way, my GP had offered me a range of treatments, self help books, counselling and ‘the D word’. I have an appointment for my first counselling session tomorrow, yes, it took that long, maybe if I’d ticked a few of the ‘other boxes’ they’d have called me in sooner, mental note for next time, tick more boxes 😉 I had refused a prescription for antidepressants, explaining that I didn’t feel depressed, just stressed.

So a couple of weeks ago I return to see my GP with a chest infection, I had to complete another of her ‘mental health’ questionnaires which came back with the same score as the first one I’d done. She talked more about offering me a prescription, and knowing I was still struggling and barely managing a smile most days I relented, and accepted.

I collected my prescription later that morning and took my first dose at 12pm that afternoon and waited for my smile to return.

I didn’t realise at first they were side effects, I hadn’t thought it possible from only one tablet. I couldn’t control my eyes, they were sleepy and jittery, I felt nausea like never before and dizzy. I was disorientated and confused. I slept in the day for the first time in years.

I decided I was going to take the following days tablet at bedtime in the hope I’d sleep through most of the symptoms.

The following day I woke still feeling sick and dizzy but no where near as much as I had the previous day. I mentally reminded myself to take the 2nd dose at bedtime.

By 12.30 that afternoon I was having cold sweats and the shakes, was this withdrawal?! After only one dose was it even possible?!
I decided not to take any more tablets. I need to be able to function, I have 3 little people relying on me to feed them and keep them safe, I can’t spend my time sleeping and jittering, even if its only for a few days.

So now I have to make an appointment with my GP and confess that I only took one dose. She’s not going to be happy.
I still feel like I’m struggling, I’ve forgotten how to enjoy life, enjoy my girls, how to smile. The slightest stress feels overwhelming and I feel un-equipped to cope. I know I’m stressed, everyone keeps pointing it out, which actually stresses me out even more.

So now I just need to find a way of alleviating my stress and knocking down the wall I’ve built to protect myself from the world. Any one got a secret cure? Because I’ve discovered that the advice from friends and family to ‘stop stressing’ and ‘just relax’ is easier to say than it is to do.

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