Friday, May 30, 2008

Concerns of an over protective Mom.

I need to figure out how to teach the boy how to deal with a feeling I don't fully understand. He says that things get to be "Too much." sometimes at school, or when playing with other kids. The noise they make, the way they touch him, and not wanting to play the same games they do. The way he talks about it, it sounds like it builds up and doesn't go away for a long time. Sometimes it's still there from the day before. WE need to figure out a release for him that doesn't involve hitting or screaming.

He has always been fairly easy going. He wouldn't fight back when the cousins in California (Howard's side of the family) would hit him or take the toy he was playing with. He would just move away and do something else. He took the move back to Oregon with little problem. Not long after we got here he started screaming when he didn't get his way, or when he thought he was getting in trouble. Not every time, but often enough that we all noticed it. Maybe that was his age and lack of language to explain how he was feeling, or maybe it was the start of these problems. When we stayed with my niece, he didn't do anything for weeks when her son would bite him. But he finally had enough and began to pinch and sometimes scratch him to stop him from biting. It took less time at school for him to start to push or hit kids that pushed or hit him first.

As far as I can tell the other kids are often the first ones to hit, however I know that he probably has done something else that provokes it. I don't think The Boy means to treat others in a way that would cause others to hit or push him, but he still has trouble with personal space, and he drools quite a bit, which make people uncomfortable. I think he is sometimes too rough with what he thinks are nice touches.

I need to figure out how to teach him about personal space, and how to keep his mouth dry. We need to work on what to do instead of pushing or hitting someone who is irritating him, whether it's hitting, pushing or just bugging him. He is a good kid most of the time.

Any ideas? Anything that has worked with other kids, or things that have helped you control your negative feelings? I could use all the help I can get. Thanks

Monday, May 26, 2008

The problems you can get into when talking to Teens.

We have some friends who have a boy who is 14 or 15. He's a very bright and usually polite young man. His Mom and Dad are divorced. Dad Married a woman with young children, and he adopted them. I think they are 4,5,7 and 8. Mom has 2 kids with her new husband, they are 1 and 2 now.

I've heard rumors that the Teen can be really cruel to his younger siblings. He says mean things, teases them, pushes them down etc. I think he is feeling displaced. He was an only child for a long time, and now he has to share the attention of his parents, who seem to spend much more time and energy with the little ones than they do with the Teen. Ive heard Teen talking about some of the things he does to his brothers and sisters, like stepping on their feet, calling them names, and throwing Lego's at them.

Anyway, we were at a BBQ with Teen, his Dad, Step-Mom and siblings, There were other friends there as well, but none of them were close in age to Teen, leaving Teen pretty much on his own. Eventually Teen started talking to some of the younger people there, they tried to include him in their conversations and tried to be friendly with him. I think they were feeling sorry for him. Eventually Teen started to ask some rather personal questions, he kept pushing for answers even when they didn't want to talk about it. (He asked them how old they were when they had sex for the first time. And about doing drugs. For example.) 2 of the young men thought they would use their experiences to illustrate what not to do. They honestly answered his questions, and told him how they had thought, at the time, that doing those things was cool. They told him that they later regretted what they had done, and knew that they had been wrong. After that Teen and his family went home.

A few days later we heard how the Dad and Step-Mom were very upset with the 2 young men for some of the things Teen said they had told him. He said that they wouldn't stop talking about sex and drugs even when he asked them to. He misrepresented how the subject came up and didn't mention that the young men had told him how much they regretted what they had done when they were younger. His parents wouldn't listen to people who told them the whole story.

We also found out that he had told his parents that Howard had threatened him. Which I suppose was partially correct, Howard did tell him that if he ever saw him throwing rocks at The Boy again he would drag him kicking and screaming to his parents and suggest a rather drastic punishment. Probably not a good thing to say, but Howard had just seen Teen throw a rock that narrowly missed The Boy's Head and was understandably quite angry about it.

This family won't talk to anyone directly involved with the things they have problems with, they won't listen to anyone telling them what they had seen and heard. They are choosing to totally believe their son.

I feel badly for the 2 young men, they were wrong to talk to him about the things they did, they are feeling guilty over the whole thing. One of them says he is going to lie if asked such questions in the future. He feels badly that he will purposely lie to someone, but feels that it may cause less trouble. (I think that talking frankly with a young person you don't know well, is probably not a good idea. Not because I think that young Teens will lie, but because you don't know their maturity level and it may be more than they can handle. Of course I don't think a 14 or 15 year old should be asking adults questions about sex and drugs either, at least not at a back yard party.)

I'm actually rather proud of Howard. He's changed quite a bit since becoming a Daddy. Before The Boy he would have grabbed the Teen and at least shaken him, no warnings given. If the person had been older than 18 he would probably have started a fight. Now he will give warnings if appropriate by his standards. (which usually means someone is young and probably just needs to learn or needs a reminder.) Or he will call the appropriate authorities to deal with the situation. The parents for someone 17 and younger, or the police for someone 18 and older, even though he would prefer not to talk to the police because of his own not so stellar background.) No one gets away with harming or threatening to harm The Boy while his Daddy is around.

So I guess the lesson here is not to talk to young people you don't know very well about things of a very personal nature. You can be friendly with them and talk to them about other things. Just be more careful than these 2 guys were. They were wrong, and they know it. And maybe Howard should have gone directly to the parents instead of talking to the Teen himself. I think he thought he was helping the Teen to keep out of trouble with his parents.

Anyway this has been bothering me for quite awhile, and I decided that I'd rather get it out than keep running through it in my head. Thanks for getting this far.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Boy, another Update.

We had the meeting with The Boy's school about his kindergarten class room. At this point he will be going to the LRC or Learning Resource Center. There are more adults in that class room, so when a child needs one on one attention they are more likely to be able to get it. It will also be easier for the OT, if there is one involved with him, to visit him in class. It seems to be noise that is his biggest problem right now, so fewer students will also cut down on potential noise in the class room. We do know and understand that even a small number of kids can make huge amounts of noise, so it isn't perfect but probably the best we can do and still keep him in a classroom with other kids. (The Boy wants to GO to school, he wants to be with other kids, and riding the bus is one of his favorite things.)

The OT will be seeing him soon, they want it taken care of before school is out so he can start with everything in place. We are still thinking that he has SID/SPD (Sensory Integration Disorder/Sensory Processing Disorder) mainly because of the problems he has with sounds. He did make a big step forward yesterday, however. We decided to cut his hair, usually this causes screaming and thrashing unless we cut it when he was sleeping. Yesterday he did say that he didn't want his hair cut, but then he sat fairly still and didn't cry or anything until the very last. He said that "It's getting to be too much!" and covered his ears. We quickly finished and talked to him. Thank goodness he is more able to explain what is happening to him! He said that he could "hold it" for a little while, but that the sound and vibration got to be too much. (We were using clippers, scissors are a problem too and take longer.) He says that it's kind of like it hurts, but not really. It's almost scary, but not really. It's just "Too much".

Now we need to focus on finding ways for him to work around the problems he is having. How to walk away when it's getting to be too much. How NOT to hit when someone hurts him, or pushes things too far. It won't be easy, so much of the play I've observed with the boys in the class is rough, loud, and intentionally rude both physically and verbally. It doesn't take long for things to get to be too much. We have to figure out how to modify The Boy's reaction, to these kinds of things. To everyone around him it appears that he is over reacting, to him he's taken all he can and he has to do something to make it stop. Lashing out will usually do that, where talking or asking them to stop won't. He doesn't want to go tell the Teacher, because he doesn't think that's right. There isn't any place he can go to get away either.

Most of the boys he is having problems with also hit, and push. They step on each others toes, and lay down on top of each other. They push and lean on each other, put their legs or arms on each other and other children, The Boy does these some of things too, because he thinks it's fun, because the other boys think it's fun. He leans against other children, he puts his arms or legs on other children. He does these things at the wrong times, with the wrong children, and since he isn't the bully type that some of the others are, he gets a loud reaction that gets the teachers attention and gets him in trouble.

I hate to say anything negative about The Boy's Teacher and her assistants. They are good people and are doing as well as they can, I think. However there are things they should be doing differently, not just to keep The Boy out of trouble, but to keep other kids from getting in trouble as well. The problems happen mostly during free play. During that time, there are usually 2 adults watching the 18 or so kids. One of them might be reading or doing an art project with a few kids, the other will be involved with a few more playing or reading or something. Leaving several children basically unsupervised. Needless to say it's usually the 3 or 4 boys who like to play rough with each other and with others who are left to their own devices. These boys push and hit and trip each other. They are often the ones that The Boy has hit, usually because they hit him first. I just think that one of the official adults should be watching the whole class in general, observing what is happening, and stopping the rough behavior before someone gets hurt. I did mention it at a meeting with the Home Educator, who said he would suggest it to them, however I have been in the class room and nothing has changed. Oh well, there are only a few days, about 22 including weekends and holidays, left until school is out for the summer. I hope his Kindergarten class room will work better for him

Friday, May 02, 2008

Another Update post.

My Step-sister (my Dad and her Mom lived together for several years while she was little. He helped raise her and was probable more of a Dad to her than her bio-dad was) is pregnant. The baby is due November 17. Not big news but it's going to be interesting. She will be 21 November 11, but I'm not sure she is as mature as my niece who will be 21 in December. (She's the mother of 2 now and has always been more mature than my step-sister.)

I found a virtual public school a couple of days ago. It looks interesting, but it's not available in Oregon. It's an on-line school that is free, just like public school. You get all the books, and supplies delivered to the door. The kids get a computer and Internet connection too. I looked at a kindergarten science lesson (I just scanned it I'll have to check it over better later) about life in a pond. It looked like something we would like to do. I want The Boy to actually learn something, but I'm worried that in the special needs class rooms we are considering having him attend he will not get enough actually education. He's smart, but is having problems learning how to deal with other kids. Maybe I'll find something I can afford or another virtual public school that IS in Oregon, to supplement what he will learn in school. Education is very important to me, I worry that his education will suffer while everyone is focusing on his interactions.

I'm still working on getting paid for babysitting The Boy's twin. She doesn't make much money and it seems that most if not all of her money goes to her other bills. I DO understand that she has to pay rent, and get food for her child. I just need to have that money. So I called DHS, because I'd filled out forms to get paid through their program before she moved. They WILL pay me for all the past hours if she calls them and tells them that I did babysit from day X to day X. I'll get a billing form in the mail, and it will take a few days to get the check for the portion they will pay. (something like $171) She will have to pay the rest, which will be something like $114. So now I wait and see if she will do it. (I called her and let her know) I've been stiffed for babysitting before, so I'm not going to hold my breath. We can cover the bills as is, but there won't be enough extra for the things I want to do.