Monday, May 19, 2008

I'm ready for a slow down

Our home has hit "too darn busy".

My boss went into the hospital last week... during contract adminsitration week ( or what we call "leave Nola the hell alone because nothing is worse that CDBG paperwork" week ), which meant that I had to 'play Nola' around trying to get everything else done.

Chris had a one day layoff.... ordinarily not so bad, except that he was sick two days last week, and I had him leave early one of the two days that he did work ( because I HAD TO work and he was limping along doing cleaning ) thanks to Iain sprinting off the bus, dashing for the bathroom, and power puking ( yuck! ).

And Jane is having an urgent surgery in two days, so she was busy doing everything that she needs to do to be caught up while she is laid up for at least a week.

PTSA tonight, two resident meetings tomorrow night, track on Wednesday PLUS all the CDBG hairy insanity....

When do I get some time to myself???

I sat down and worked on swaps this weekend. I was so mentally drained that I either damaged stuff ( so much for gel cards ) or it sucked.
But they're done, and it's passable work ( eg: still better than some of the stuff I've seen submitted as best work.. not to be egotsitical, because I know I'm not that good, but I'm just sayin'.. ) and will be gone to their respecive temporary homes this afternoon.

As soon as things are less nuts, I am taking a day to MYSELF.

No kids, no work, no husband. NO responsibilities. Just going away and doing nothing.

Now the trick is, finding time to make it happen.

*insert swear words here*

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A much delayed post

I've attempted to post this for over a week now... and you see how well that's gone thus far.

Anyhow, long story short, I am quite pleased with this project.

Cara, the 'Office Goddess' at Miss J's school, is beyond invaluable, and often goes unappreciated in the grand scheme of things.
So, when I started doing things for Teacher Appreciation Day ( which is also Staff Appreciation week for our district ), I bought plants for the office staff ( and utilized the super cute metal buckets that I 'had to have' from $1 Spot at Target a few months back ), but a plant on Cara's desk... well, the poor thing would get swallowed in the vast sea of post its, files and hall passes.

So I whipped together the altered frap pack. Gave me a good excuse to use up some of the lotion and bath salts I'd made for another project a while back, and, I'd hoped, allowed me to give Cara something somewhat personal that she would enjoy ( we've become rather social and well acquainted over the past three years ).

She LOVED it. ( yay!! )

Turns out that I should have made one for the other two ladies in the office, too. They liked Cara's gift better than their own.

Nothing like breathing easy after a job well done.

Made for a crazy six day run. Between the post it note pads, flying through some swaps, and all the general chaos of everyday life... well, I'm glad it's over!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Child o' mine...

..what do we do with you???

Iain has been in, shall we say, rare form the past two weeks.

For quite a while we saw some very positive changes in Iain. The meltdowns were less frequent, and when they did happen, less severe, he was fairly cooperative, and for a good month of better, there were no incidents on the buses, violent outbursts at home had been MUCH improved... it was like the sweet little boy that he can be had sent the naughty little boy packing.

Well, it was a much enjoyed but all to short vacation, because he's back in full swing, and showing off some new techniques.

A summary of the past seven days' episodes:

- a mouth in overdrive ( the stuff he's been saying is off the charts, even for him )

- extra emhpasis on the lack of social niceties ( he's gotten to the point where we should not take him to restaurants anymore. It's exceeded embarrassing and is no longer controlled by reprimand )

- climbing around on the bus

- assaulting a chasier at Save-A-Lot ( no, I'm not kidding. She was chatting with him, as we go in there often, nd he took it way too far. Had he been older, I'm sure the authorities would have been called. Thankfully she wasn't hurt )

- using furniture for highwire balancing acts and assorted feats of danger ( we're back to the jumping off the dresser, only now it's the closet bar, Jennah's furniture when she isn't home, our bedroom suite when he can successfully sneak in there. Yesterday Chris came upstairs to find the sitting room window open ( also a new trick - that thing is ancient and fussy ) and Iain standing behind the futon, playing 'wall climber guy' )

- assaulting people on the bus ( two days ago he pinned a child down on her seat, and was growling in her face )

- general household vandalism ( Iain has never been a intentional breaker or a graffiti artist. Incidents with broken things have tripled and ramdom stuff is getting smeared about in the bathroom on a daily basis... last night it was about a quarter of the tube of toothpaste )

While I know that some of the latter mishap is my all too stealthy and precovious Braeden, some of the stunts being pulled are either
A. Out of Braedy's reach, even if he climbs ( kid's got his mom's super short legs. He can't monkey up things like Bubba can ) or
B. Are too underdeveloped to be Braeden's handiwork.

Braedy's stunts, when self orchsetrated, are complex. Like finding something that he's pretty sure will wash off easily and decorating the underside of the keyboard tray. Iain doesn't think about ways to pull off stuff that won't get caught right away, because he doesn't think.
That's half of the problem. His brain misfires and he honestly doesn't remember what he's supposed to be doing.

When I asked him what he should've been doing on the bus instead of sitting on someone, he said "I don't remember".

There's a distinct difference between Iain when he's lying and says "I don't know." and when he's frustrated because he doesn't know what he should've done instead, and that is what I saw.
A child who was embarrassed that mom ripped him a new one in front of the bus driver and half a dozen schoolmates, who honestly didn't understand why he was being yelled at.

It didn't stop us from handing down punsihment, but even when he was getting the 'cometo Jesus' from Chris and I yesterday, it just didn't look like he was all up there.

And then dinner last night... oh my.
It'll be a while before we attempt to take him to a public eating establishment again.

Iain's exit IEP is in the next two weeks. Ordinarily, I handle the school stuff on my own, and fill Chris is with as much data and literature as I possibly can, unless it's an evening event.
Taking time off from work is expensive and difficult, but in this case, we both need to be there.

Not because the school says so, but because it may end up being a rather intense battle between us and the system.

Thankfully, Pam is on our side, and being the administrator at Frost, she'll ultimately decide - or at least assist with the process - what happens with Bubba next year, and what sort of classroom strutcure he needs.

Anyone with a special needs child understand where I am coming from, especially if they live in Michigan and have dealt with our eductaion system.

Michigan does not acknowledge Aspberger's Syndrome as a legitimate disability so they do not usually diagnose it.
Profesional learning centers have made a killing working with these kids, getting the families the support that they need, because the school system does not do it.
Not because they don't want to, but because their hands are virtually tied by legal jargon on the state level.

A few pieces of AS, as taken from a fact sheet genetared by National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and data sheets compiled by the Grey Center :

- Unlike those with autism, people with AS are not usually withdrawn around others; they approach others, even if awkwardly, for example by engaging in a one-sided, long-winded speech about a favorite topic while being oblivious to the listener's feelings or reactions, such as signs of boredom or haste to leave.
This social awkwardness has been called "active but odd".
This failure to react appropriately to social interaction may appear as disregard for other people's feelings, and may come across as insensitive. The cognitive ability of children with AS often lets them articulate social norms in a laboratory context, where they may be able to show a theoretical understanding of other people’s emotions; they typically have difficulty acting on this knowledge in fluid, real-life situations, however.
People with AS may analyze and distill their observation of social interaction into rigid behavioral guidelines and apply these rules in awkward ways—such as forced eye contact—resulting in demeanor that appears rigid or socially na├»ve.

The only thing that differs with Iain is that he will hug people. He does understand when someone is sad or hurt, and will at times get emotional when someone else is upset.

- People with Asperger syndrome display behavior, interests, and activities that are restricted and repetitive and are sometimes abnormally intense or focused. They may stick to inflexible routines or rituals, move in stereotyped and repetitive ways, or preoccupy themselves with parts of objects.

- Pursuit of specific and narrow areas of interest is one of the most striking features of AS.
Individuals with AS may collect volumes of detailed information on a relatively narrow topic such as dinosaurs or deep fat fryers, without necessarily having genuine understanding of the broader topic.
For example, a child might memorize camera model numbers while caring little about photography.
This behavior is usually apparent by grade school, typically age 5 or 6 in the U.S.
Although these special interests may change from time to time, they typically become more unusual and narrowly focused, and often dominate social interaction so much that the entire family may become immersed. Because topics such as dinosaurs often capture the interest of children, this symptom may go unrecognized.

- Individuals with AS appear to have particular weaknesses in areas of nonliteral language that include humor, irony, and teasing. They usually understand the cognitive basis of humor but may not enjoy it due to lack of understanding of its intent.

- Children with ASD often demonstrate enhanced perception of small changes in patterns such as arrangements of objects or well-known images; typically this is domain-specific and involves processing of fine-grained features.
Conversely, compared to individuals with HFA, individuals with AS have deficits in some tasks involving visual-spatial perception, auditory perception, or visual memory.

- Children with AS are more likely to have sleep problems, including difficulty in falling asleep, frequent nocturnal awakenings and early morning awakenings.
AS is also associated with high levels of alexithymia, which is difficulty in identifying and describing one's emotions.

And I could keep going for a while. People with kids who have AS see it, people who deal with kids who have AS on a daily basis academically see it.

The question is, how do I get the school to see it?

Quite a catch-22 ineed.

I don't like the idea of a label being placed on my son, but it's the only avenue we have to getting some results.
Even those will be limited, because of the indifference the State has displayed about the condition itself. Lord knows we can't afford to invest in sessions at the Grey Center, and without intervention from someone who knows more than I do, and can do more for Iain than we can, I fear he'll end up lacking and it will damage his ability to learn and become a functional adult.

When I look at my son, I cannot help but smile. He's all cheeks and curls and personality.
Within the disorder there is a sweet little boy who tries very hard.. he just gets lost amidst the bad wiring.