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All posts for the month October, 2012

CAMHS part 2 – Session 5

Published October 16, 2012 by thefamilyof5

Today was our 5th session, it was just me.

We briefly discussed how the last session hadn’t revealed much about middle girl, but the therapist did comment that she liked the way I interacted with her. Middle girl was referred back to Salt (speech and language) during the last Caf meeting and the therapist commented that she felt this was a good idea. She didn’t really offer any advice about what to do about the sleep issues that we were having but suggested that we reinstate the (poster) visual reminder in middle girls bedroom in the hope that eventually it will sink in and the behaviour will change.

We chatted about big girl and how I felt more at ease about big girls future now that she had a recognised diagnosis and would be getting support. I also told her that I felt sure that big girl was going to have a great school year due to the fantastic teachers she now has, they listened to me before the school year and now they’re listening to big girl, unlike her previous teachers, they really see her! They’ve already made huge steps with her and have identified a way of helping to keep her calm and deter her from self harming in the classroom (Tangle Toy). Our recent parents evening left me feeling reassured that big girl was happier in school because she was being well looked after and she knew so, that left me feeling ‘content’.

We moved on to talk about baby girl and my worries about her, we chatted about her controlling behaviours, her attention/focusing issues at school, the chaos she seems to crave/create and we also chatted about her being affectionate with inappropriate people (sitting on strangers laps etc).
The therapist suggested that all of the difficulties we experience with baby girl could be due to attachment difficulties but as it was early days she wouldn’t be ruling out other possibilities. We chatted about the recent parents evening and I told her I’d felt that baby girls teacher really didn’t ‘get’ her at all and I worried that because she didn’t understand the reason behind baby girls behaviours she wouldn’t be able to help her. I was very pleased and somewhat shocked when the therapist offered to meet with baby girl’s teacher with a view to support school in supporting baby girl. Finally they’re not just talking, they’re ‘doing’! Yeay!

My next meeting is in 2 weeks time and will be just myself again. The therapist hopes to have spoken to baby girls teacher by then. I’m feeling hopeful!

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ASD Assesment – Session 9 The Diagnosis

Published October 11, 2012 by thefamilyof5

Well as the title says, session 9 was really just to confirm the ASD diagnosis we were expecting and to tell me what happens next.

The diagnosis of ASD has opened a few doors for big girl, an ASD outreach team will be able to help school to support her and she will also be referred to a sleep therapist and Salt (Speech and Language therapist) for support.

There are lots of support groups for us, for her, and for us all as a family. There are activity days, fun days, clubs and specialist venues.

I think mostly for now we’ll concentrate on getting her some help in school and some help with her sleeping, we’ve adapted our lives to meet her needs really so we manage quite nicely at home and I don’t feel we’ll need any additional support at home just yet although I may explore possible options that may give baby girl and middle girl a bit of free ‘play’ time without big girl around to enable them to ‘play’ rather than be controlled and manipulated by big girl.

So, big girl is on the Autistic Spectrum, that explains a few things! Has that made a difference to our family, no not really, but hopefully it will make a difference to schools understanding of her.

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CAMHS Part 2 – Session 4

Published October 2, 2012 by thefamilyof5

Session 4 was today. It was just me and middle girl attending. The therapist planned to explore the relationship between middle girl and baby girl.

When we arrived she presented middle girl with a box of toy animals. She asked middle girl to choose an animal for each member of the family. First she chose Daddy, a Buffalo. Then Mommy, a Horse (I’m hoping it wasn’t an ascetic choice) Then Big Girl, a Goose. Then baby girl, a Stag and finally herself, a Manx Cat.

The therapist then drew 3 concentric circles and asked middle girl to put herself (the Manx cat) in the middle and then add each individual member of our family to the circles in a place where she would like them to be. Middle girl placed all the animals in the middle next to the Manx cat.

Middle girl spoke no more than 10 words (all of which were yes’s and no’s) during the whole session, she allowed the therapist to lead the entire conversation offering only nod’s and smiles and the occasional ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

So, what did we learn? aside from being reminded that middle girl has Auditory Processing issues, nothing.

In 2 weeks time, we’re going to discuss what we learnt today apparently.

Round and Round we go, where we’ll stop nobody knows……….

Published October 2, 2012 by thefamilyof5

So my hunt for support takes us on a Merry Go Round………such fun! (As miranda’s mother would say)

So the last time I spoke to our Placing Authority ( PA are the ones financially responsible for our post adoption support) about the problems we were having, they told me to ring the voluntary agency we used to adopt.

So yesterday I called the Voluntary Agency (VA), they suggested that once again I ask our Local Authority (LA) about the support services they have available, after explaining that I’ve tried to find this out many times, she suggested I put my request in writing.

So this morning I emailed our LA. Who told me the PA had all the information I needed.

So just to clarify, the PA tell me to ring the VA, the VA tell me to ring the LA and then the LA tell me to ring the PA.

*insert your most favourite swear word here!

There’s a storm ahead!

Published October 1, 2012 by thefamilyof5

My little baby girl, or should I say whirlwind is kicking up a storm in school.

Since back when she was in reception I’ve had concerns about how she was handling school. She’d come out of school ‘high’ and looking frazzled, she’d cause chaos at tea time and end up falling soundly asleep into her bed at a time too early for most! I often asked her teachers if they had any problems, if they were finding her difficult, if she was manic all day. ‘Don’t worry she’s fine’ they all told me. ‘She did try and mess with a plug one day, and we do have to sit her on the mat besides the teacher because she’s disruptive, and she has been swearing, but she’s fine’ they said. ‘being disruptive, swearing, messing about’!!! this is not fine and I told them that, and they brushed my concerns aside.

Now we’re in to year 1 and I’m seeing the same pattern again, she’s coming out of school exhausted, looking frazzled and that huge chip on her shoulder is back.

We had a CAF meeting friday morning to go over big girls needs, I entered the meeting and immediately said I wanted baby girl’s needs to be included in all future CAF meetings as I’m worried about her at school.
Seems I was right to worry, I collected a guilty looking baby girl after school friday. I asked her if she’d been good, her face told me she hadn’t. I took her with me to see her teacher and then stood listening to her informing me they’d had a very difficult week with. They told me of not listening, not doing, being rude, chatting, fidgeting, messing about and generally being disruptive. It had been so bad that the teacher was sending baby girl to see the deputy head Monday! I was shocked, but more so because this was the first I was hearing of it and even then it was only because I’d asked!

Aside from all of this, its clear to me that baby girl isn’t coping with school very well and school don’t seem to understand that she needs support with this. She isn’t your typical 5yr old that can rationalise and choose and cope. She’s a 5yr old that’s been trapped in a whirlwind of a life. She can’t regulate her own behaviour, so once she becomes over hyper aroused she loose’s control and perspective, she can’t see why chatting to her friends would be a bad thing, she can’t sit still, she doesn’t hear what’s going on, she can’t hold her pencil properly because her hands are so jittery let alone write with it, she just can’t focus. They need to calm the storm within her and help her to regain control so that she can focus, so that she can see what’s happening and understand what’s going on around her.

I do this for her at home. We have a calm predictable, strict routine, there are boundaries, they’re firm and inflexible and she knows this. I make sure she stood still when I’m talking to her, I remind her to look at me and to open her ears and listen, I prompt her to remain focused, I re-engage with her regularly, I remind her of what she’s supposed to be doing, I remind her that she’s a good girl and that she is loved. I prevent her from failing rather than allowing her to fail because I know she can’t cope with failure.

School is a scary place for her, there’s too much going on around her, she has too much freedom, too much choice, too much expectation to cope with (same principle as why sticker charts don’t work, they have an opposite effect. She thinks she’s going to fail anyway, she can’t bare the pressure/expectation, so she fails as quickly as possible). She just can’t cope.

Every time her teacher tell’s her off she’s just reinforcing her belief that she’s bad and will fail. They need to catch her before she falls, not expect her to be able make the right choice. Eventually she’ll learn she can trust them to take care of her and that school is a safe place. When she no longer feels anxious in school, she’ll see that the world is a good place and that she IS good!

I thought I’d show her teacher today how to calm baby girl, how to connect with her and get her to focus. I took her in to her class this morning rather than leaving her at the playground like we’re supposed to. I helped settle her in, she calmly hung up her bag and coat and got her lunch box to where it needed to be and settled to her desk ready for the day ahead.
However, her teacher was away today so instead of the calm I’d prepared her for, she was hurried through a corridor full of hyper kids and into the class next door with more hyper kids for registration, before returning to her class to be left for the rest of the day with a teacher she didn’t know and who doesn’t know her. And I’m not even going to talk about the fire drill that took place a few hours later. I felt stressed out after only being in school for 10 minutes, how do they expect any 5 year old to cope with that mayhem all day let alone a scared one!

Now how do I get school to understand all of this………………….*sighs

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