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Friday, December 31, 2010

Walking Away = Failure?

Again, I am doing a Copy/Paste from my main blog, "The Happy Homemaker Diary" as to incorporate things that I have talked about in regards to my son and parenting him. Plus I think that the post says ever so well what I don't think I could say in secondary form with the right.."gusto" the first time around.

Even now, I have bouts of uncertainty and doubt in raising my children. I think all of us as parents tend to do it from time to time. But add in all the extra "needs" of a disabled child, and the doubts and uncertainty really pile up.

Copy of Why have I not walked away yet?..

How many times have you just wanted to give up? Be it getting ahead financially, the house getting back in order, getting the kids to listen or any other number of possible problems that we all face.

I've personally wanted to throw in the towel so many times that I have officially lost count. Okay, it's because I have no more fingers or toes to count on, being that all twenty of them are used up.

For those of us with children that have disabilities, the number can skyrocket. Especially if they have mental disabilities that make their personalities and moods change like the weather.

There have been days that I just want to leave my screaming, hateful, physically violent child and walk away. I get so tired. It is often times just too draining to deal with anymore. Both physically and mentally.

Those that have Neuro-Typical children (i.e. normal kids with normal heads) always tell us moms of kids like my son "If it were me, I wouldn't be able to handle it. How can you deal with this everyday?".

The answer is simple. We do it because we love our child too much to walk away.

They need us. And in the end, we need them too. Our children deserve as much "normalcy" as we can provide. And we are their only true advocates in this world to ensure that they get the best life that is obtainable.

Once again this morning, Bryce had an "off morning". Once again, I had to deal with whining, crying, back-talking, trying to swing at me and be in a total anti-behavioral mode.

People have seen me in public with him when he "snaps" like this and just stare. Why? Most likely because I am stern, but I'm not "loud" with him as I try to curb his "wild side". I have had people who have gotten to know us ask how I do it. How I stay so calm and collected.

My secret? At times I walk away. Even as Bryce is being belligerent. If I don't and the tempers are both flaring, I might say or do something that I can't take back. So I walk away, take a breath, go back right away and deal with him and the situation.

Yes, there are power struggles. Daily. And with Bryce, thanks to his problems, they are magnified by one hundred it seems. His brain computes emotions, ideals, and comprehension much differently from a "normal" child his age (Bryce is 8).

So, if you are having a really bad, no good, horrible day with your child, then just walk away for a bit. Be it to lock yourself in the bathroom or bedroom. Go outside and get a breath of fresh air on the porch.

Just be sure that the child in question (and any other children in the home) is safe.

Once you are calm, then deal with the situation and the child at hand. It's better than the alternative, which has a more negative outcome.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


The following is a copy of a post I had done a while back over on my main blog, 'The (Not Always) Happy Homemaker Diary'.

And the title of the post was just what it is here, "ADHD". This I hope will give you a first-hand, real life glimpse in to what my son's life is like on a DAILY basis...

As a mother, it is hard to watch your child struggle. What are ordinary, everyday tasks and expectations to us, is a ball of confusion and frustration for our kids.

Sitting still. Focusing. Being organized. Paying attention to the instructor. Following multiple directions at a rapid pace.

Sounds like a lot, and even a bit confusing to you? I'm sure that it does. But to my son, and to millions of other children in the United States alone, it is a hardship for them every single day to keep up with those tasks while in the classroom, and even at home.

Constantly, I have to remind my hyper, active, not-very-attentive son to complete this task first, so he can move on to the next. Then, after that, I have to remind him to let me check his work against his Agenda, to ensure that he completed the assignments. Then, and only then, may he have his computer or his TV time.

The same goes for his household chores. And the teachers have to stay on top of Bryce as well, being he can fall off of the track pretty quick, and pretty often.

Case in point.. Bryce was found to be sitting in the hall, by his Science and Social Studies Teacher's room. Apparently, he was disrupting the class and "poking at" one girl constantly. After being told to finally move himself to an area where he could be alone, he started to bawl and be belligerent. So, the teacher sent him to the hall.

Then, at snack time, when the Mixed Berries were passed out, he couldn't have any, being that the kitchen never made him a separate bowl without the Blackberries, being he is allergic to them. He went buck wild, pitching a fit, not concentrating on the teacher's explanation, and saying he was being abused because she was "starving" him.

It's not ALL stemming from his ADHD. The lashing out is from another disorder he is inflicted with. But the "poking" of the child, his fidgeting, his lack of concentration, and organization skills, as well as his hyperness, even in his talking to others is a part of the ADHD that he has. Bryce has the more severe form of the disorder.

And yes, he is on medication therapy for it. He takes Vyvanse in the morning, before school. His Intuniv is taken before bedtime. It also serves as a sleep aide, being that his brain stays in "overdrive". The Intuniv relaxes the centers in the brain to control his sleep pattern. And it helps him focus on going to sleep, along with his bedtime routine rituals.

One thing that I have noted the last few years, as the parent of an ADHD child that is medicated, is that most (not all, mind you) teachers think that the medication is the "magic cure-all" for the ADHD while the child is in their classroom. That cannot be further from the truth.

While the medications DO help the child stay focused, attentive, and with less likelihood to blurt out or talk out of turn (or even go way off the topic at hand), the medicines can only control those points to a certain extent.

The remainder of the ADHD child's success relies upon both the child's willingness to gain SELF-control and SELF-discipline, as well as the teacher's willingness to work with the child to achieve those same goals that ADHD students need to be successful students.

This may mean giving the ADHD child a separate desk area, where fellow students will not be a distraction. Or even asking the child if the student is understanding and able to follow the lesson. The teacher can't be "all mouth". They must be about action as well. This means walking around, using hand gestures. Anything to keep the ADHD child engaged in the lesson.

On average, the typical ADHD child can give you no more than fifteen minutes of their attention. For the ones with severe ADHD, you are lucky, and I mean LUCKY, to get ten minutes of their attention, being most severe cases have an attention span of only five minutes.

Too many teachers rely on medication therapy. And anti-medicating advocates talk about us parents? MOST of us parents tried EVERYTHING else under the sun for our children BEFORE going the "pill route".

Our child's first line of defense of course, are the parents. Then, the doctors and therapeutic team. Teachers though, as well as the other school staff round out the team for these kids. We ALL have to work together to help these children with ADHD be successful . Within the classroom setting, as well as out in the community and within the world.

So, remember that while ADHD medications DO help, it's far from being the "cure-all" route of having a successful child. One-on-one working with your child (or student, if that is the case), providing the appropriate tools for success, and helping them to build their SELF-esteem and SELF-control are the REAL keys for having an ADHD child that is well-rounded, adjusted, organized and an overall good student in the classroom and beyond.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My version of "normal".

Yeah. It's me again. Just felt the need to say this..

My son is "different", being he has Tardive Diskenesia, brought on as side effects due to his medications. He has times where his tongue moves in and out (kind of like a snake). He inner-touches his fingers. His speech is "jumbled" at times and he seemingly has a stuttering problem.

Also, he can have massive melt downs about the littlest thing. What is trivial to "normal" people is "life changing" or so-called "earth-shattering" things to him.

He cannot handle change well. Sudden changes primarily (substitutes at school, major changes of a room's structure, etc.). Nor can he handle changes in his daily routines without advanced (at least a couple of hours, if not days) warning. Same with changing his environment.

Aside from all of that, he is your average nine-year-old boy. He loves his Hot Wheels, his Transformers, to ride his bike and hang with his friends (the few he has).

Wait a sec... Did I say he is "NORMAL"? Yes. Yes indeed I did. Even after all that I had listed above, my son IS a normal child. Maybe not society's view of 'normal'. But normal none the less.

He's "normal" to me at least. I see him no other way.

Starting Point.. His life. My life. *OUR* life.

My son. Where to start? First of all, he is smooshed between two sisters. There are times I can see in his face that being stuck in the middle of two girls, one with raging hormones is just a tad too... nuts.

When he was four years old, I knew something was really off. I'd seen some odd behaviors before then. Actually when he was a newborn. For the first three months of his life, he only would sleep in his car seat. He hated being held unless it was to be fed or changed. Everything HAD TO BE on his terms.

But at the age of four, things were really very peculiar. He would "order" things. Anything he could get a hold of. Books, CD's, toys. You name it, he ordered it in odd ways. Everything had to line up perfectly, be color coordinated or "numbered right". Sometimes all of the above.

Then, I came to note that he rarely if ever made eye contact. When he did, it was for only a few seconds at a time. Even these days, to get him to really look you in the eyes as you speak to him can be a chore.

His hyperness was another "abnormal" thing I noted. As was his violent tendencies. I'm talking "watch your back" violent moments.

Of course, I kept on FEELING something was quite wrong with my child. Compared to his big sister, he was just completely off the hook. I honestly at times feared for my life. And for a year, I pushed to have him tested for ADHD, being his activity primarily fit that specification.

After at least three repeated attempts, his Primary Care doctor REFUSED to let him be tested. So I forced them to give me a referral to a specialized group of Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Therapists that specialized in Mental Disorders and Illnesses.

Finally, after the testing was all said and done and the Psychiatrist and Psychologist really got to see my son in action...quirks and all, there was an official diagnosis. Actually, more than one.

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Sensory Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Manic Depression, and the real shocker, Bipolar Disorder (which for now is labeled as Mood Disorder due to his age of only nine years old).

As of now, he is on Vyvanse and Intuniv for the ADHD, and on Seroquel for everything else, including as a sleep aide.

Believe me, as his mother, and a mother to two other children, I can and do have my days. Some days, he and I are seemingly at one another's throats. Other days, it's as if he is having a "moment" of clarity. Those are the days I cherish, since they are seemingly far and few between.

After reading this, I hope you will join me on my journey of documentation of his life as a child with mental disabilities (being that they DO impact his social, behavior, maturity and daily living skills/abilities) and maybe gain some knowledge of what life is like for kids like him and the parents like myself that care for and love them.

Until next time...
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