Monday, January 28, 2013

Why Can't I Fix It??

Four words of many to describe how I have been feeling lately.  The phone call from his teacher was the straw that broke the camel's back.  It was the phone call that left me feeling so helpless.  And in tears.  I think I've failed because I can't help my child.  This isn't about me; it's about him.  But when you can't fix "it", as a Mother, you blame yourself (or at least I do).

I don't have anything funny today, and I'm sorry.  Right now, in this moment, I am so sad, and I will probably ramble.  Just be glad you're not with me face to face, because I ramble worse in person.  And if no one reads today's post, I don't care....I need to get it out of my system.

Last year during Parent-Teacher Conferences in October, the Boy's teacher told me she had concerns about some of his social skills.  About some things that I thought were little quirks; things that as a Mom, I thought he did just to annoy me.  Sometimes he had a hard time sitting still (as if he needed to jump out of his skin).  He couldn't stand situations where the noise level was too extreme.  He constantly kept pulling up his pants Steve Urkel style, even though they fit just fine where they were on his waist.  I was told when things got too frustrating, of if he was unsure of an assignment, he'd get red in the face & burst into tears.  His handwriting was larger than it should be; he complained that his hand hurt when he held the pencil for too long.  He didn't like snap jeans, that he preferred button jeans, because the snaps hurt his hands.  He had a hard time staying in his own personal space when interacting with others. 

Call in the SAT Team of professionals.  Let's discuss the child & ways to try to remedy the problem.  The school psychologist wanted to do observations to determine if my child had ADHD, Aspberger Syndrome, or Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Yeah....absorb THAT one as a parent.  We agreed to let them do testing, but it wasn't getting done.  No return phone calls.  His teacher had a baby in the middle of February & took a 12 week maternity leave.  After months & months of unreturned phone calls, the school psychologist FINALLY got back to me in APRIL!!!  She had just done the testing, & could I come in for a meeting???  It took 6 MONTHS to test my child?!?  Really?!?! 

The Boy tested negative for any type of 'diagnosis', but qualified for help with the speech-language pathologist for one on one work for social skills, and for work with the occupational therapist for the fine motor muscles in his right hand.

Fast forward to this year.  The Boy is in 2nd grade, & has been having issues.  He is so smart, but when things get confusing or difficult, he shuts down.  At first, it took the form of tears (I found out that he was doing this during swim team practice as well).  At some point, the tears  were an embarrassing thing to do in front of classmates & friends (he told me so), so instead of tears, he started getting angry.  Red in the face, rocking in his chair (tipped his desk over once), refusing to ask for help when he didn't understand kind of angry.  I was finally able to witness his outbursts during swim team practice one evening, & it was then & there that I decided that he needed some help.  Professional help, because my husband & I couldn't help him.  No matter how many times we gently said, "when you are uncertain of what to do, please ask--please TRY; mistakes are not wrong.  We often learn from making mistakes".  The psychologist that he is seeing has given him techniques to work on to help him recognize & verbalize his frustration.  She is not affiliated with the school system, & I am in constant communication with his teacher (by the way, this woman is amazing; the Boy couldn't have a better woman putting up with him this year--yes, there are days when I don't know how she does it; my son is often times a pain in her neck).

The child psychologist that he is seeing informed me that the testing the school did last year was not the most current method of testing for Autism Spectrum Disorder, & asked for permission to retest my child.  Yes.  Test him.  If we need a diagnosis in order to get him the help he needs, then so be it.  I love him so much & want him to have every success in this world.  We will not have the results of the testing until our appointment this Friday, February 1st.

Fast forward to a few minutes ago.  The teacher called.  This time the Boy was in the office with her.  She feels as if they've hit a brick wall today.  He is quietly disrupting the class, getting out of his seat, & refusing to work. He was told this morning that if I got a phone call from the teacher, that he would not be attending swim team practice tonight.  He has a swim meet this coming Saturday, & this is a long practice.  I didn't want to take this away from him, but I had to keep my word.  I was firm with him on the phone; he didn't seem to have any reaction to having his favorite activity taken away from him. 

I absolutely hate being the bad guy.  I can't stand it!!!  Why can't I get through to him??  He is so smart, he can do the work...he just won't.  He is a funny, smart, loving, kind, & caring little boy.  The teacher has not issues with him until it's time to pick up that pencil & work.  He is only 8 years old; aren't these things that don't usually arise until a child becomes a teenager?? 

So there it is.  He may have a diagnosis.  Fine.  Let's help him to be the most wonderful that he can be.  Let's encourage & love him.  But WHY WON'T HE LISTEN & DO THE WORK??!

I will be there for him & his siblings ALWAYS.  But for now, I think I need to cry.  I need someone to give me hug & reassure me that he will be okay....


  1. Blogging is a great release. It helps to write things down.

    He will be ok. It may just take some time to understand what works for him. No two kids are alike. I'm glad you are his mother, it's good he has the teacher he has and it's wonderful that there are outside resources as well.

    The school councilor - hearing about her taking so long to work with him makes me sad. They should have just moved forward with his teacher being gone.

    On an upper note, he has people in his life that care. That's important!

    Thinking of you!

    1. Thank you so much Alissa!! I hate seeing him this way. I hate feeling all emotional. And I still need to find a way to release my anger at the school psychologist from last year (I know they mean well, but they have so much on their plate). Perhaps we could've gotten Sam help sooner had she been on the ball, & for that I am so damn angry!

  2. Sheila..he WILL be okay. He will. It is so hard as a mom to not be able to make all right with our kid's world. But..he WILL be okay. The answers are there, the help is there...
    He is probably scared, just like you. Hug him extra tonight. .not just to reassure him but to reassure you. He will be fine..he will. Just keep reminding yourself that! Hugs.

    1. Thank you Heather!! I really need to hear that it is going to be fine; I just get so emotional when something is wrong with my littles.

  3. He sounds a lot like my brother at that age. And my youngest acts that way. It is hard to find what matters to them. You don't want him to be this little robot yet he has to conform to school. It is a challenge. It is really tough taking away the few things a child like cares to do. I wish I had an answer. Hang in there, sister.

  4. His psychologist refers to this process as "interventions", & says that we have to continue tweaking things until things until we make more progress. I am not very patiest about this: I want answers, & I don't want his teacher/principal/caregivers/friends/friends parents/etc to give up on on him. If his diagnosis is Autism Spectrum Disorder (which, by the way, I think every person in this world fits SOMEWHERE on that spectrum), I think it is mild, & it is my hope to use behavior modification. The anger (at home & school)& defiance (mainly at school) have got to stop. Otherwise, he is so happy, so funny, & every bit as silly sassy as his little sister. Thank you for your kind words & listening ears.