Back To School

After a week at home following the tonsillectomy, the girl is back at school this morning. I was worried she’d need to be out longer, because even on Saturday, she was cranky, complained of headaches, wasn’t eating or drinking much, and was tired enough to be napping. She did a 180 yesterday, though, and aside from a bit of crankiness, she went through the day just fine. She actually ate more regularly and drink a bunch of water, so I know that helped!

BG had her tonsils removed because of sleep apnea, and her doctor thought that it might help with ADHD symptoms in addition to snoring. I definitely haven’t noticed as much snoring over the past few days. I’m guessing it may take some time to see the ADHD symptoms decrease if we do at all. Oddly enough, we’ve seen more of the odd sensory behaviors (she is rubbing everything and sat in the bathtub running water over her hands for half an hour three times, for example), which we were hoping would decrease.

I was working with her on some makeup work for school when she felt up to it, and lord, it was like pulling teeth to keep her on track. I see why she brings home so much incomplete work. Part of the makeup work was working on handwriting. From what I’ve seen of the other students’ work on display, she has the worst handwriting in the class. She has developmental coordination disorder, so the poor handwriting goes along with it. She also has a summer birthday, which doesn’t help.

I feel bad for BG watching her try to write, because it’s such a struggle for her. A lot of her practice is tracing letters, but she is rarely able to keep her pencil on the dotted line. It blows my mind how I can show her the right way to form a letter and guide her hand over how to make it multiple times, and she does the opposite or something completely different directly after. You wouldn’t think that she had three years of preschool, almost a year of OT, and her mom helping her every day by looking at it, poor kiddo.

The girl’s teacher kept in contact with me over the week, checking in on her. I thought that was really sweet. It means a lot to know you’re leaving your kid in the care of someone that cares about her during the day!

Things are about to get busy again. My husband and Little Man are both doing the Christmas play with our local community theater group, so they’ll be practicing three nights per week. LM wasn’t going to do it at first because his free time is reduced since his school day ends later and he has to go to bed earlier, but the director messaged us and asked and he agreed to do it. He really enjoys acting, so even though it cuts down on his time after school, at least he’ll be having fun.

The girl wanted to sign up for Cub Scouts. She went to the first meeting and decided she hated it for some reason she wouldn’t give us, so that’s out. Her grandmother is relieved, because it gave her a small heart attack that her granddaughter wanted to join something that is supposed to be for boys (even though that group is co-ed).

I did so much of that during our text exchange over Cub Scouts.

We tried to get BG to try another meeting, but she had a meltdown and was sobbing, so we let it go. It would’ve been nice for her to have the opportunity to socialize outside of school, but whatever. The Cub Scout leader gave my husband a form for a popcorn fundraiser at the very first meeting and said we needed to sell $300 worth of stuff, so my husband wasn’t inclined to fight BG over it too much.

Here’s to a good week. Happy Monday 🙂

The Psychologist From Hell

Ever since BG was diagnosed as being on the spectrum, I’ve done so much reading. Part of that reading includes joining message boards on Facebook and checking out other parents’ experiences with their kids. I’ve seen so many comments about the hell parents dealt with to get accommodations and services for their kids. I felt relieved since we worked with the school in the past to get a 504 Plan for my son, and even though it took longer than I would’ve liked, it wasn’t an awful experience by any means.

And then today happened.

We requested a meeting to discuss a 504 Plan and speech services. LM had speech services at his teacher’s request when he was in second grade (before his 504 Plan was implemented), and I figured it’d be pretty easy to get them for the girl, too, especially since her speech issues are more severe. (I didn’t even realize LM wasn’t pronouncing his S’s right until the teacher told me.)

We expected to meet with the assistant principal (who also helps coordinate student services), the guidance counselor, BG’s teacher, and the school psychologist.

The school principal, a lady who coordinates speech therapy through the district, the school resource teacher, and the lead psychologist for the school district came as well. The school psychologist, who we absolutely loved with LM, wasn’t there. Things got off to a rough start with the lead psychologist (who we’ll call Asshole) asked why we were meeting. I was thinking, dude, there are like nine people in this room and you have no idea why we’re here?

I told him we were there to discuss accommodations for Norah’s ADHD and autism, plus talk about what speech services the school can provide.

“And where are you even getting this stuff?” Asshole asked condescendingly. “Where are you pulling that diagnosis from?”

My husband reminded him that we sent a copy of the report over weeks ago (and frankly, even if it didn’t make it to his desk, he should’ve come into the meeting with an idea of what’s going on). I brought in some extra copies I printed off and slid one over to him. Asshole made a face as if I placed a turd in front of him.

“I don’t want words on paper,” he snapped. “Where are you getting this stuff?”

“We aren’t just getting it from anywhere,” I said. “Following years of behavioral issues and developmental delays, we took BG to a child psychologist, who did a full work-up. Over the course of about a month’s worth of appointments, he did extensive testing and diagnosed BG with Asperger’s, or high functioning autism, and ADHD. He also noted that she has a language delay, sensory processing disorder, and motor skill coordination disorder. All of that is on the report from the psychologist.”

Asshole glanced at it and said, “Well, she might have a clinical diagnosis, but that doesn’t mean anything in a school setting, so I don’t know where you’re pulling this from.”

The speech lady spoke up and suggested we discuss her speech issues. So we did, and she said that BG likely wouldn’t qualify for speech services right now. They prefer to wait until they’re eight to start for the main sounds BG has trouble with. She did say that she would talk with her teacher on reminding BG how to form those sounds. The resource lady asked a lot of questions about her sensory processing and motor skills issues and said she could definitely work with her on that. She said she’d like to get an FM system for BG, too, and that it could deliver the teacher’s voice directly to Norah through headphones and that way she wouldn’t have to deal with so much background noise.

“She has to have an IEP and be a special ed student to go to the resource room,” Asshole interjected. “And I don’t know if we’re going to even evaluate her for an IEP. Maybe we’ll consider a 504 Plan.”

“We didn’t ask for an IEP meeting,” my husband answered. “We wanted her to get a 504 Plan to discuss classroom accommodations and speech.” I added that her teacher was already making the accommodations we wanted, but that it needed to be put in writing to follow her to other classes/grades. The lady over speech services said that she’d have to get an IEP to get formal speech therapy services, and we asked why LM got them without a 504 plan, and she said the speech services LM received were separate from that.

The resource lady asked if BG’s hearing had been tested and said some of the students she’s had before had speech issues because of hearing loss. I told her she was diagnosed with a mild higher frequency loss, but that her audiologist wanted to have her retested after she gets her tonsils out. She asked if there was a history of loss in the family, and I told her about my hearing loss.

I shit you not — Asshole chuckled. “WHAAAAAT?” he said in a loud, slow mocking voice. I’ve heard that mocking voice — the one indicated deaf/hard of hearing people are stupid — far too many times. If looks could kill. No one said anything for a bit until the assistant principal asked BG’s teacher how she did during the fire alarm yesterday, shifting gears back to the sensory processing stuff.

“Fine, no problems,” she said.

“Well, how’d she seem when you picked her up?” Asshole asked me.

“She was fine when I picked her up,” I said.

“I don’t see how there’s a problem with all of this then,” Asshole said.

“Oh wait!” BG’s teacher said. “I’m sorry, but I was wrong. She wasn’t there for the drill. She had already left for her therapy appointments when we did the drill. But I’ll make sure to give her a head’s up so she can put on her headphones next time.”

Asshole shrugged it off. The resource lady asked about meltdowns at home, and we discussed those for a while, with Asshole chiming in saying that these meltdowns are normal for kids in elementary school. Resource lady and the guidance counselor told him that while kids might have tantrums at home after school, that it wasn’t normal for a kid to have multiple meltdowns that get as extreme as hurting others and themselves. More shrugging off. He gave zero fucks.

The meeting lasted an hour. We were so pissed off by the time it was over. Again and again, Asshole made snarky comment after snarky comment. I can’t remember the last time I was around anyone who was so rude and condescending. I could tell he pissed off some of the other people at the table, too, because he was equally dismissive of their concerns or suggestions for helping BG. He also said it’d be easier if she’d just continue with her private therapies. I should’ve asked why he thought a kid with no problems needed private therapies, but I didn’t.

When it was wrapping up, the resource lady asked if she could keep a copy of BG’s evaluation. If she’s anything like the resource lady that I worked with years ago, she’ll probably try to help out BG whether she has an IEP or not. (The resource lady at my old school was an absolute saint and would include the kids whose parents would allow testing since she knew they needed help anyway.) The guidance counselor also asked for a copy.

“You can have this,” Asshole said and tossed it to the other end of the table. “I don’t need it.”

Perfect way to wrap things up.

I don’t get how someone who has never met my child, never heard the first teacher’s report about her, who wouldn’t even look at a psychological evaluation that’s sitting in front of him could just make up his mind and act like that. The lack of professionalism blew my mind.

After we left and discussed how horribly it went with that guy, my husband said he was going to talk to the principal and tell him that under no circumstance should that psychologist have anything to do with evaluating BG. Ultimately, all she needs is a 504 Plan with some accommodations in place, since we can continue taking her to therapies. And I know for a fact that we don’t need Asshole to initiate that. It’d be nice if those therapies were supplemented so she can make progress more quickly, but I’d rather keep things the way they are than have that douche anywhere near her.


On a positive note, I texted BG’s speech therapist yesterday morning about the tonsillectomy and said she’d miss next week. After her appointment yesterday afternoon, she told me she looked at her tonsils and was shocked at how large they are. She said that she’s had some patients in the past who had tonsillectomies that made incredible progress afterwards. She said when the tonsils are so large, it can push the tongue forward and cause speech issues. She said it’s not a guarantee that it’ll help with that too, but to keep our fingers crossed.

It’s amazing how much removing those tonsils could help. It will theoretically make the sleep apnea go away, which means she’ll get a more restful sleep. One of her doctors said that sleep apnea can cause ADHD like symptoms, so maybe those symptoms will improve. I’m sure that being more well rested would reduce her crankiness. And removing them might be able to help with her speech issues. It won’t help much as far as some of the other issues go, but that is still a lot. ❤

She Forgot She Is A Girl

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I actually wouldn’t mind brewing you a cup today. We had a 3-day cool down, which ends this afternoon, but it was still a crisp 58 degrees this morning. Yesterday the high was 79, and between that and a breeze, it was absolutely glorious. We will return to the high 80s and 90s starting today for lord knows how long, but the reprieve from the heat was much appreciated.

We’ve had a pretty good week. The boy got his progress report on Thursday and had all As and one B. That’s a huge improvement from the three report cards he got in fifth grade (for his school, they only get report cards the last half of fifth grade; the rest of their 5.5 years there, they simply tell us whether they’re meeting expectations or not). Middle school is looking good on him so far.

The girl also got a progress report, and it said she is meeting expectations. We will have a 504 Plan meeting with her school on Tuesday. The VP was supposed to get stuff going on speech and occupational therapy services through the school before the school year started, but we found out that he has done nothing. (No surprise there, I could write a whole post on that guy.) So we’ll talk about that and other possible accommodations. Her teacher hasn’t had any complaints, so there probably won’t be a lot accommodations wise at this point, aside from stuff like preferential seating and using noise-canceling headphones. (She already takes care of that, but I guess it’d be good to get it in writing.) She manages okay until she gets home, and then she lets all of her pent-up frustrations loose.

I have been getting so cracked up at some of the papers BG brings home. Sometimes — mostly with math — she’ll scratch out the problem and write her own and answer that. “I don’t like their yucky questions,” she said. “I want my own problems.”

Here’s an example of one, although this one is more of a misunderstanding. She thought they messed up by not putting anything on the plate when it told her to count the objects and write the number, so she “fixed it.” ❤

The kids have taken an interest in scooters. LM’s friend sends him videos at the skate park, so LM wanted to try with a scooter he got for Christmas a few years ago. And since LM wanted to do it, so did BG. My husband took the kids to a church to scoot around in their parking lot this morning. When they came back, BG ran in and told me she had her very first scar. I asked where it was, and she yanked down her pants and underwear. 

“Look, it’s on my penis!” she informed me. “My very first scar is on my penis!”

Oh boy.

There was no scar. There definitely wasn’t a penis. I reminded her that she is a girl and girls have vulvas, not penises.

“Ohhhh…I forgot that I was a girl for a little while,” she responded.

That child.

We don’t have any big weekend plans. We’re going to a friend’s birthday party tonight, but that’s it. We’re going to take it easy tomorrow, and then we’ll get started on a busy week that will end with BG’s tonsillectomy.

The Boy And His Tics

School is still going great for Little Man (knock on wood!), but I’m worried about him. (I know what you’re thinking — not you!) I don’t know if it’s a nervous tic or what, but he has been picking the skin around his nails until they bleed. The skin picking has been going on for a while now, but has gotten worse. I thought maybe it was anxiety due to starting middle school, but he says he isn’t anxious about school at all. I’m worried he’s going to get an infection if he doesn’t stop. On top of that, y’all know how kids can be. If they notice, he might start catching hell for it.

It has always been something over the years. For a while, he grunted or cleared his throat every few seconds. There has been hand twisting, knuckle cracking, eye blinking. Up until a couple weeks ago, he bit his nails or chewed the skin around his nails nonstop. I bought something from Target that helped stop that, but when he stops one thing, he starts something else. He also licks his lips and above his lips constantly, to the point of leaving red splotches. It used to be that putting aquaphor on it for a couple days would clear it up and he’d stop, but that isn’t helping as much now. As of yesterday, he is doing a thing where he opens his mouth really wide, closes it, and repeats.

My husband took him to get a haircut, and the barber picked up on the mouth and licking things. He discreetly asked my husband if he has Tourette’s. My husband said he didn’t think so, but wasn’t sure why he did that stuff.

We are going to take him to BG’s psychologist and have him evaluated again. LM recently asked us if we thought he was like BG, meaning could he be on the spectrum, too. I told him that he was evaluated for that several years ago and they said he just had ADHD with autistic like traits (but not enough for a diagnosis) then. I mentioned that he does much better socially these days, too. He talked for a while about how he is quiet and watches what the other kids do and then tries to copy their mannerisms and stuff to fit in. That’s what led us to make the appointment with BG’s psychologist. He go on really well with two boys from school last year, and those relationships seemed authentic and not just faking to fit in, but I figure it can’t hurt to have him tested again.

My husband took him for the initial appointment last Friday. That was just to talk to the doctor to see if he thought he should be retested. The doctor said that if the previous provider thought he had autistic traits, that he should have been reevaluated within three years to see what changed, if anything, to be sure. They emailed me the contract for testing services yesterday, and I sent it back, so we’re waiting for them to call to set up appointments for testing. If nothing, we can get to the bottom of what is causing the tics/compulsions/whatever they are.

I was looking around online to see if there are any medications for tics and saw that magnesium can be helpful for that, so I ordered a thing of gummies. If there is any underlying anxiety that he just isn’t aware of, then maybe that’ll calm him down a bit. (If nothing, I guess it’ll keep him regular.) Fingers crossed.

School Nerves

In three weeks, BG will start kindergarten. And in slightly less than three weeks, LM will start sixth grade (rising sixth graders start on Friday). Every summer feels shorter than the last one. We were especially busy this summer, so that kept things moving quickly along. The kids have made their bucket lists for the remainder of the summer, and they’re short, so we should get it all in. Strangely enough, both kids added going to eat at Chili’s to their lists.

And, yes, they sing that when we go. And LM always makes a point to say that he feels God in this Chili’s tonight.

I’m kinda nervous about the kids going to school since they’ll both be changing schools this year. LM will go to a middle school out of our area and participate in a theater program, while BG will go to the charter school that LM went to. The middle school is 25 minutes from our house, the elementary school is 20 minutes away, and the schools are in opposite directions of each other. I haven’t figured out drop-offs and pick-ups yet, but I’ll get there. Hopefully.

The schools the kids are supposed to go to are about five minutes from our house, so we are doing good at keeping things complicated, huh? We have good reasons for sending them to the far-away schools, though. The program at LM’s school is something he’s really interested in, plus the class sizes will be smaller. And BG’s school is really small, with only 18 kids per class. It’s so much easier to get in touch with the principal and other leadership there, too, which is important.

We’ll have to meet with LM’s school and go over his 504 Plan, and I doubt any changes will be made to it. I hope the transition goes well for him. I imagine getting packed up to go from class to class and using a locker will be challenging for him. But on the other hand, I think having classes that have a set beginning and ending time that don’t overlap each other will help as far as him shifting gears mentally goes. Plus, middle school classrooms are typically more no-frills with less distractions. His fifth grade teacher was wonderful, but there a dozen different places to hand in assignments and stuff, and he’d usually end up cramming everything in his desk. And middle school won’t have desks that you can cram crap into, so there’s that.

I have a million worries with BG starting kindergarten, which I could probably turn into a 10-part blog series, but I won’t. Some of it’s just typical anxious mom worries, but a lot is more legit. I’m going to meet with her teacher and student leadership team before school starts to discuss some concerns (like the potential for meltdowns and how that would be handled, her running off, food stuff).

I also need to talk to the teacher about how BG sometimes just shuts down when certain issues come up. At the end-of-year preschool party, I was sitting on one side of the bounce place and saw her approach some boys from another class, but they told started throwing balls (from the ball pit) at her face, and she just sat there, crouched while staring at the ground while they threw the balls and laughed. (That broke my heart, and they got in big trouble.) And sometimes if someone does something that bothers her (like comes up from behind and grabs her or something equally annoying), she’ll let out a blood-curdling shriek, but she ends up being the one reprimanded for screaming, and she won’t explain why she yelled. There are things like that communication-wise that I can see being problematic if the teachers aren’t made aware/keep an eye open.

While BG’s teacher doesn’t yet know the full scope of some of her struggles, she does have a feel for her, at least. They met a few times earlier in the summer as part of a Head Start program. She saw first-hand how BG can be super chatty, struggle to stay in her seat, or just shut down and refuse to do anything. She seemed really sweet, yet bewildered, but she didn’t lose patience at least.

I dropped off the paperwork her psychologist gave me about the autism and ADHD diagnoses, and they’re supposed to be lining up services for her. We also got permission to take her out of school early one day per week so she can continue going to her speech and occupational therapies. Those are about a 45-minute drive from the school, so she wouldn’t have been able to keep going if we had to wait until the end of the school day to go. That’s a huge benefit of going to the charter school vs. the regular school. (Just like how she would have been able to delay 5K a year if we wanted, but wouldn’t have been able to at a regular school.)

On a different — and amusing — note, BG has developed a Hanson obsession. She has asked to watch a Hanson concert (I have like 9 DVDs) every day. She also keeps asking me when she’s going to get to go see them in concert. ❤

BG presented me with this picture last week:

I asked what was going on there, and she said that it was her holding a Taylor Hanson doll. It took every fiber of my being to not laugh. She might have it worse than I did. (Well, do.)