This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Trauma and NeuroPsych testing

Hi Ms. School Case Manager,

I want to apologize for not sending this directly to Kitty’s teachers and Behavior Program staff, and not sending it sooner, but I’ve been super swamped and only some of it has recently come to my attention.

PLEASE do not discuss her biofamily or other drama/ trauma with her, even current drama with peers or family. Due to the complexity of Kitty’s issues, these are topics best kept in the hands of her very experienced therapists. Please notify me as quickly as possible so any issues she brings up at school can be addressed in Kitty’s next therapy session (Tuesdays, Fridays and sometimes other days). If Kitty is distressed, you can certainly contact the Behavior Program staff to take her to a counselor to give her time to regroup and calm.

A major concern is that Kitty has been receiving assignments to discuss her history/ life story. This may not seem like a big deal, but there is very little of Kitty’s history that is not trauma-filled (as I’m sure the teacher who asked her to write on the topic, “A Family Emergency,” discovered when she received a paper about the death of Kitty’s “brother.” I know Kitty greatly edits out some of the worst trauma (we’ve told her it’s OK to lie so people will not have access to this personal information), but she is still having to process it. It is my understanding that some of these assignments are being edited/ reviewed by peers as well.

Especially with Kitty so recently out of the hospital, I’m sure the teachers can appreciate that this subject (and really any assignment on books or topics about death (particularly via suicide), trauma, vampires (Peeps), teenage drama, domestic violence….) is obviously very triggering for Kitty and is bringing up lots of issues for her. I know Kitty claims otherwise, but the fact that she’s been hospitalized twice in 2 weeks, should let you know that she is not as stable and able to handle things as she claims.

Of course if Kitty expresses to you that she wants to hurt herself or others I know that you would follow her Crisis plan and contact the Behavior Program or 911 immediately.

As always I can be contacted via e-mail marythemommy @ gmail dot com or phone (###)###-####. I know you all have Kitty’s best interest at heart and keeping her stable and safe is of primary importance to us all.

Mary

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Ms. S CM's response

Will be happy to share this with Kitty's teachers. I know that none of them would do anything to upset Kitty. Should you have questions about any of her other assignments, please let me know in which class the assignment was given. I will be happy to discuss it with the teacher, and come up with an alternative assignment.

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A second e-mail sent less than an hour later by Ms. S CM

Ms. "Some lady I've never met before unless she's the one who did Bear's Transition Plan to years ago" has agreed to do Kitty's Transiton Plan for her annual IEP Meeting on the 16th of Nov. Ms. S is available on Monday after Kitty's revision IEP Meeting at 10:30. Will this be convenient for you?

Thanks

Ms. S CM

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My response:

Hi S CM,

I’d prefer to delay the Transition Plan meeting until after we have the results from Kitty’s neuropsych testing from X Child Guidance Center (feedback session will be Friday morning, November 11th) so that we have a better understanding of her capabilities. We have specifically asked XCGC to focus on transition topics like driving and independent living since we are assuming these will be seriously affected by her IQ, diagnoses and issues. We would like the school’s Transition Plan to be as realistic as possible since it is extremely unlikely that Kitty will be going to college so this will be applicable soon.

Mary

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Kitty had the NeuroPsych testing on Tuesday this week. Such a different experience from Bear's Neuropsych testing which is a 3 month long process (twice weekly meetings of approx. 2 hours each) with a 10 point questionnaire filled out nightly by Hubby, Bear and I, extensive testing for Bear and even Hubby and I (we're used to the BASC which asks for our perception of Bear and his Behavior... but we'll also be doing an assessment of our attachment to him, have already done several interview type assessments, and will be doing other testing).

When I talked to Kitty's neuropsych at the end of the 5 or so hours of testing, to confirm that she'd be willing to present Kitty's feedback to Kitty, I wanted some assurance that she'd address some of our concerns about Kitty's future and not reinforce or gloss over her challenges. Kitty's last neuropsych was only 2 years ago, but we hadn't had the same concerns then that we're looking at now, things like, driving, independent living, college... So far Kitty's Transition Plans at school have been things like "Neurosurgeon" and now, "Teacher," even though she's on the "Minimum High School Graduation" track.

I don't think Kitty is college material, but my biggest concern is stress and stability. Most jobs are high stress, and Kitty can't handle it. If she becomes a preschool teacher what happens if the father of a child gets verbally abusive, a child has a behavior problem, or a coworker starts some nasty gossip?

The psychologist did mention that she'd already finished Kitty's IQ testing. The results were concerning. Here's three significant scores that I remember.

Verbal Reasoning 89 - this one is why Kitty presents well.

Working Memory 70 - (70 is the cut off for mental retardation). This is a tough one for her and one reason she struggles with math, even though her learning disability is in reading.

Processing 65 - This is the one that most concerned the psychologist. Kitty could overcome a lot if not for this trait.

2 comments:

Struggling to Stand said...

By "Processing" you mean processing speed? That is where Ms A has her worst score. My husband and Mr L have comparatively low processing speeds and I have a comparatively high one, so I really notice the difference. I keep wondering if they got more fish oil would they lay down more mylenin? Mr L remembers to take his fish oil a few times a week. My husband, max once a week.
I do think that working memory has a chance of improvement -- memory is in the part of the brain that is known to be able to grow and strengthen, especially with exercise. (Little wonder my memory isn't as good as it once was.)

marythemom said...

I think it does mean processing speed. Bear gets fish oil 3 times a day. Kitty twice. (That's how often they take meds). Honestly I've never noticed a difference, but I give them that and Super B Complex anyway. We tried Niacin and 5HTP which are supposed to be good for kids of trauma too, but it was pretty expensive, didn't see any results, and Bear started having major side effects on Niacin (flushing and itching mostly).

I strengthen my memory playing Facebook games every day! *grin*

Mary