I’d like to say it was unexpected and came out of no where, but I cant.
I’d like to say it was unexpected and came out of no where, but I cant.
So do you remember in August I shared with you some news, the placing authority had offered to fund some specialist therapeutic support for the girls because we really felt we were not getting anywhere with CAMHS. Well that was August.
Shortly after offering this amazing life line to us, our contact at the placing authority left and handed us over to her colleague. Well I say handed us over, it was more of a shove, a late night email the day she left informing us of the name of the person we were to now contact.
So I left it a week or so and as I’d heard nothing from this new person regarding the new therapy they were sourcing for us I thought I’d give her a call. She was out and would ring me back. She never did. So I emailed. She didnt reply to that either. Over the last month or so I’ve actually lost count of how many times I’ve called her and emailed her. I’ve had one email from her informing me she didnt know much about the offer of support that had been made and that she’ll contact me when she has more information, well at least I know she’s a real person now because quite honestly, I was beginning to doubt it!
So I rang her again today, she doesn’t work Tuesdays apparently, I wonder what days she DOES work!?
The local authority have made it clear they don’t want to help us, but just for fun I called them too this morning. The lady I need to speak to is in a meeting apparently.
I can’t ring the voluntary agency that we used because when we were trying to get some support for middle girl and her sleep issues last year the placing authority rang them over and over to tell them that they were too far away to help us so they either needed support us or they wanted money back from them, and then our local authority rang them over and over to tell them that it wasn’t their job to support the girls as they’d not lived in the county long enough to be responsible for them and that they needed to help us. So honestly, I’m too embarrassed to ring them, and they’re no doubt too pissed off to want to talk to me.
So back to the placing authority, the ones who have promised to fund for us this fabulous support service. I appreciate she has other ‘stuff’ to do, and I understand that I must not be the only person that’s calling and emailing her but really, what do we have to do to get her attention! After all we’re just an adoptive family that has so many difficulties that they’re financially helping us to build an extension right now, albeit under the pressure of Sir Martin Narey. We’re just an adoptive family with a need for specialist support services, so much so that even CAMHS have been unable to provide what was needed. We’re just an adoptive family with an autistic 9year old that pinches, scratches and hits herself out of frustration, a troubled 8 year old that punches herself in the head in anger and an anxious 6 year old that bites herself. Yes, I have 3 children that self harm, and I have no idea what to do about it because no one will help me, no one will call me back, no one will return my calls. No one will give me any advice as to what I should do when my 9yr old decides to hit herself in the head with her hairbrush first thing in the morning in temper, or my 8yr old lies in bed at night screaming and punching herself in the head or when my 6yr old wakes up with bite marks on her arms, apparently everyone’s too busy.
I can only hope that the reason for her lack of response, is that she is SO busy sorting out the fabulous post adoption support services that us adopters have been promised by the government.
The School Trip
Big girl struggles with all things related to school. At the beginning of the year there was a 3 day residential trip. (I dont think I’ve blogged about it, but please forgive me for repeating myself if I have). As soon as I found out about the trip last year I had reservations about whether big girl would cope. She’d never spent a night away from us since she came home and I certainly didn’t think 2 nights away with school would be her ideal first sleep over, but still, I kept an open mind. The letters came out several weeks before Christmas. ‘please can I go?’ she asked. We chatted, I told her that I was worried that she wouldn’t like sleeping away from home and would be awake all night and then feel anxious all day. I suggested that we dropped her off and collected her each day so that she could sleep at home. ‘I really want to go, please can I go?’ she begged and pleaded until in the end I agreed that if she really wanted to go and felt it was something she could handle, then she could go.
A few weeks later I wrote the cheque and put it in an envelope and left it ready to take to school. I popped to the shop that evening just before bedtime. Big girl spotted the envelope on the unit just before bed and asked Daddy what it was, so he told her it was the money for her trip and off she went to bed. That was a Friday night. From Friday to Monday she had around 12hours sleep in total. Every night that weekend She struggled to sleep, I’d go up to her room to ask her if she was ok and each time she would say she was fine. By Monday morning she was a jibbering mess and was crying and unable to tell me why. I’ll cut a very long and distressing Monday morning of missing school short, to tell you that in the end she blurted out that she actually didn’t want to go on the school trip afterall and had been worried about it all weekend. Needless to say that I reassured her that she didn’t have to do anything she didn’t want to do and I would book her the 3 days off school as holiday. And I did. I might add that until the actual day of the school trip came, and passed, she didn’t fully trust that I would keep my promise, but when the day arrived, she sighed a huge sigh of relief. And so did I.
The Talent Show
A few weeks ago big girl came home from school with a letter to enter a talent show, ‘Please can I do it?’ she asked. Here we go again I thought. I was right, everything that happened with the school trip happened all over again, she begged, and pleaded, I told her of my concerns, she pleaded some more, I relented and signed the form. The talent show was/is to take place some time after Easter half term the letter said. Over Easter half term she was stressy, stroppy, tired and irritable and the self harming habits returned. After many nights of no sleep and many many difficult days, she finally blurted out that she didn’t want to do the talent show afterall.
Big girl so desperately wants to fit in at school.
Next time she presents me with something I don’t think she will cope with, I will go with my gut reaction and say no.
Picking is becoming baby girls latest obsession. Its likely she does it as a release for her emotions that she locks away inside of her, a common form of self harm/mutilation for traumatised children.
She developed a small blister during the summer holidays and over a period of weeks, in bed, she picked and picked and even though I told her each morning she had to stop, she picked and picked some more until the teeny blister was a huge bleeding, weeping mess over and inch square and preventing her from wearing shoes! Socks for bed was the answer!
Then there was the little pimple on her leg that she picked and picked and picked until it was a huge puss filled scab! A plaster left on for a week was the answer here.
And now there’s the small bump behind her ear where her earring pressed in over night a couple of weeks ago. She rubbed it, and scratched it and picked it until we discovered it, by then it had weeped and bled so much that her hair and earring became entangled into a huge crusty congealed mess behind her ear. We cleaned it up, we applied cream and a plaster every day, it had almost healed so we stopped applying the cream and the plasters a few days ago, that is until today. She’s picked it again, almost as badly as before. Out came the TCP, it stung, she cried, and now I’m just hoping it hurt enough for her to not pick it again.
CAMHS therapy hasn’t even touched the surface of her yet, perhaps baby girl permanently wearing gloves and socks is to be our only answer!
CAMHS decided in view of the self harming incident with big girl at school recently they should see her.
We arrived at CAMHS this morning a little early meaning big girl had time to calm down, relax and focus on some colouring for ten minutes.
We were called through by the therapist and big girl’s anxiety levels instantly rose. The therapist quickly explain the reason for the appointment and told her Mummy would be waiting outside while they had a 15-20 minute chat. I’ve never left the room before, how did he think she was going to react, how was this supposed to help?!
I left the room.
I have no idea what was said, but big girl rushed to the door to check I was still there several times during their brief chat.
I was called back in.
The therapist told me that she hadn’t told him anything revealing and that we could chat about it further at our 1to1 tomorrow.
Big girls anxiety levels quickly dropped and all was calm, or so I thought. I took her to school and asked them to keep an extra close eye on her.
I saw her teacher later on that day, and she informed me that big girl was clearly anxious upon rejoining the class and when a child asked her where she’d been, she burst in to tears. The conversation with the teacher pretty much went like this.
Teacher : You should keep her home when she’s had an appointment, I don’t know how to or even want to deal with her.
Realistically I can’t give her a day off school everytime she has an appointment, she’d loose too much time thus making school even more difficult for her. Besides, being home alone with me would make her just as anxious. So for now, it seems better to stick to routine and normality and hope she muddles through.
So far all CAMHS seem to do is upset my girls with no therapeutic input to even make the upset worth while.
Tomorrow I have a 1to1 with the therapist, I wonder how that will go.
Ear ache is what I have from being on the telephone all day!
After yesterdays incident with big girl at school it left me in quite a panic. I started off this morning by calling the school Senco, she told me she’d been filled in by quite a distressed teacher about the events of the day and she herself sounded quite worried about the situation. She openly admitted she didn’t have much experience or knowledge about self harming and was not sure how best to support big girl. She talked through the various different options she would usually opt for, but felt that because she was already ‘under’ CAMHS, they should be the first port of call. She expected they’d arrange an emergency appointment to see big girl, I was less optimistic. She also hoped CAMHS would help school with how best to support big girl with her emotions, again, I was less hopeful. I agreed to call CAMHS and report back to her.
CAMHS lines were busy, I left a message for them to call me.
Feeling impatient I decided to call the placing authorities post adoption support team, on the off chance that they’d care. They didn’t.
I called CAMHS back again and was passed to the duty worker, in the absence of our therapist who only works Mondays and Tuesdays, how useful. The duty worker was very softly spoken and in a very kind tone she pretty much said ‘I don’t know, I can’t be bothered to find out more, its not my job, I’ll get your therapist to call you Monday’. Great, thanks a lot!
I called the parent support worker and left a message for her to call me.
I received a call from the Salt (speech and language therapist) who told me she’d been in school today to observe my big girl’s social difficulties. She was pleased to inform me that she’d seen her on the playground chatting to some peers and sharing their magazine with them and felt there was no real cause for concern and planned to discharge her, of course 10 minutes is plenty of time to asses her isn’t it! What she hadn’t been aware of during her short observation, and what I later discovered, was that the ‘peers’ she was chatting to, were part of the buddy scheme reinstated today, and If she had taken the time to talk to the school staff during her visit she would also have known about yesterday. She didn’t. She hasn’t discharged her.
So back to the school Senco I go, I fill her in on the useless ‘professionals’ assigned to support us and we talked about options. She’s going to make a referral to the Educational Psychologist for September but warned me that she’s not likely to receive much support as a result of this, the school themselves had only had 12hours of the Ed Psyc’s time since September and even that was divided between several children. We also discussed getting a statement for her emotional and social needs and she said the Ed Psyc would possibly be able to support this decision. Finally we talked about how it might be an idea to reduce the time big girl spends on the playground and perhaps, in the absence of lunch clubs for her to attend, they could find her some ‘jobs’ to do at lunch time (as this is when big girl struggles most) i.e help in nursery, tidy the library, help clean up the dinner hall. All sounds like child labour I know but I can assure you worried readers that she’ll love anything like that, it could even boost her self esteem by helping her to feel useful/valued in school.
So where does that leave us now?
We’re awaiting a call from the therapist next week. The PSW has a message to call me. And the school will continue their struggle to support her with the limited resources and experience they have. The school Senco is in a bit of a panic and feeling as worried as me I think.
And post adoption support (ha!) they still have their heads in the clouds thinking everything is ok.
Big girl, well she is still trying to hold herself together, her walls higher than ever, still unable to trust the people around her.
And me, I have a headache, again.
How does life become so bad that at age 7 you would want to hurt yourself!
My big girl obviously felt that way today. I was called aside at the end of school to be told that a misunderstanding between children on the playground at dinner time had resulted in her being so upset that she was unable to speak to explain what had happened and so angry that she intentionally hurt herself by scrapping her knuckles on concrete and pushing her fingers into her eyes.
I feel too sad to say anything more about it at the moment, but be assured that I will be speaking to school tomorrow to see how they can support her, this is not the first time she’s intentionally hurt herself in school.