My Family

My Family

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fork in the Road

Some people get really excited about changes and a chance to try something new and exciting.  They jump at the chance to get out there and seize that rainbow!!  Reach for the sky!!  Whoohoo!

I am not one of them.

I am the girl who has drank out of the same two coffee mugs for the past million years, I have had the same pillow and pjs for longer than I've been married and I really don't care that the PJs are too big now and the pillow has a gaping hole that most of the stuffing has fallen out of (my husband calls it roadkill).  I have the same morning routine, the same hair style, and even though my laptop is only held together by duct tape and prayers right now and my new laptop is ready to go I'm still typing on the old one praying that I don't set something on fire.  You get the idea.  

So when change occurs I don't always embrace it or get excited.  Usually I resist with every fiber of my mortal being.

When we adopted Cary Lynn I gave up a fantastic job as a teacher.  I missed teaching.  I had a hard time adjusting to being a stay at home mama.  But Cary Lynn took up a lot of time and energy.  In the meantime Marvin started to fall apart too.  He went from loving school to dreading it in the course of his first year.  The next year wasn't much better and after fighting non stop for things to change we pulled him out of public school and started him in private school.

We also had him tested.  We found out he had processing disorders, dysgraphia, ADHD, and other impairments.  He also tested off the charts in some areas.

Confused?  So was I.  I am privileged to be a mama to a child who falls into a category called twice gifted.  It means on one hand he's really smart.  I mean not mama thinks I'm all that and a bag of chips, but actually really smart.  On the other hand he has a lot of learning disabilities.  So many that it's hard to see the smart sometimes.

So when I sent the info to his new school I was assured that there was no problem.  Marvin tried hard but when your curriculum is heavily based on neat handwriting and you have dysgraphia then you have a mix for disaster.  I was also getting pressured to pull him out of his therapies.  It was even alluded to that if I spent more time reading him the bible maybe he would fall in line.  Seriously?

Then I hit my fork.  Marvin's CAT testing results came in and we tried treating his ADHD with medication.  Let's start with the medication.  We tried a mild stimulant.  It made him sick.  We ended up taking him to an after hours treatment place thinking he was having an appendix attack.  Nope, just the meds.  So that was a no go.  Next we tried another kind.  This on made his blood pressure bottom out repeatedly.  My son threw all the chairs in the kitchen and tried to launch himself onto my stove top.  I called my husband and he came home.  We took him to the Dr the next day after I had frantically called the after hours nurse 5 times.  At that point the Dr.said that he was uncomfortable providing Marvin with ANY meds.  I said that was fine since I was uncomfortable with him taking ANY meds!

In between meds I got the CAT scores.  I know you can't base life on test scores.  But my son's scores knocked the breath out of me.  First his vocabulary was on 12th grade level.  His spelling 5th grade. Then I looked at his math, reading comprehension, and the rest.  1st grade levels.  Every last one of them.  And they had passed him to third grade!!!  So I called the school.  Left a message.  I also drug out his work from last year (yes I saved it all!) erased a bunch of random papers and set him down. Guess what he knew? Bubkis.  Nada.  Zilch.  I asked him if he was sure and couldn't he just try??? He told me that he was dumb and it didn't matter.  I told him he was smart and it DID matter.

You see Marvin also has shaken baby syndrome.  Because his bio mom was strung out all the time.  And let's not forget being born meth addicted.  So I sent Marvin outside and had a good cry because the school told me that they "had this".  What did they do with him?  So I gathered my wits and after a talk with the school put the story together.

Marvin is a good kid.  He goes to school.  Smiles and is charming.  He's polite.  The teacher had her hands full with 1st and 2nd graders who did have some behaviors.  Marvin won't ask for help and no, the school is not willing to make accommodations.  They are a small private school and cannot do this.

So there was my fork and at this point you're probably wondering where the heck I'm going with all of this.  I'm getting there, hang on.  We had to decide what to do.  Right now we can't send him back to the private school and we can't send him to public school.  I don't have hours each day to live on the phone, at IEPs and fighting to get my son caught up.

So our family is making a huge transition this year.  Marvin is going to be home schooled.  Yup.  This idea was actually suggested by some public school people.  I can work with Marvin and catch him up.  There is no way he can keep going forward when he is already so far behind.  We need to teach him differently.  He also needs to step up his OT and his other Drs since he is a med lightweight.  So we need to teach him how to handle his ADHD other ways.

Lots of people have said I don't know how you can do that.  But when you no longer have a choice you would be amazed at what you CAN and WILL do for your child.  Not everyone is thrilled about it either, but we have limited resources in this area and I've exhausted them all.  Trust me I looked long and hard at other options before this one.

I will be working hard with him.  I've talked with his support team and we've found curriculum that will challenge him and help catch him up in weak areas.  We are making sure he has plenty of social opportunities with co-ops, and extra curricular activities (he will get more than he did in school. Ask our local moms about silent lunches and recess time being taken away so kids can test).  He will also get the help he needs to manage his needs so he can be in a better place.

I resist change, but sometimes it becomes necessary.  And sometimes that fork in the road really does take you to a better place.  I know we can do this.  Marvin and Cary Lynn are both smart kids who need to do things differently.  And for their sake I'm willing to try.