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!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


So I brought my letter and the Intervention spreadsheet to the IEP Meeting and waited for the right moment to introduce it. The IEP Meeting Facilitator started up where we left off, with updating the Crisis Plan.



In the off campus and school setting Kitty has expressed suicidal ideation, including threatening to harm herself. According to Mrs. Themom, Kitty has expressed a fear that she may harm herself. Kitty exhibits somatic complaints, asking to go to the nurse frequently and then home.

*******If Kitty asks to go to the nurse, call parents or requests the Behavior Program support:
-Call the Behavior Program x#### or x#### to discuss request with Kitty and if necessary, ESCORT to nurse.
-The nurse will assess validity of complaint, check her vitals and if there is no evidence that she is sick, Focus escorts Kitty back to class.

(If Kitty has no fever, vomiting, or outward signs of illness, she is to return to class after emotional status discussed - see below.)
In order to assess Kitty's current emotional status the Behavior Program will utilize feeling scales and signs of "acting in" behaviors (see attached) and personal observations to discuss with Kitty her levels of anxiety. Parents will be given feedback through the Review 360 behavior data collection/progress monitoring program.

********When/If anyone witnesses evidence of SUICIDAL IDEATION including threatening to harm herself in either oral or written form, call the Behavior Program immediately; the following procedures must then be followed immediately for the Suicidal Ideation:

-Call the Behavior Program x#### or x#### . The Behavior Program then calls the following:
-Nurse x#### to assess medical needs;
-Crisis Counselor, Ms. S, general education counselor, Ms. V, x#### to assess emotional needs or any counselor;
-Asst. Principal, Mr. R x#### or any other A.P. available, Mrs. S x####, Mrs. S x####, or Mr. S x####
-Parents, Mr. &/or Mrs. Themom. Please call in this order: I) ###-#### Mrs. Themom; 2) ###-#### Mr. Themom; 3) ###-#### Mr. and Mrs. Themom
-Parents are summoned to campus as needed to take Kitty home or to the doctor, if necessary.


The good news is that while they wouldn't acknowledge my letter or list of interventions, they did copy the "Acting In" behaviors straight from my letter and put it in the Crisis Plan so at least we have it in somewhere. Now I wish I'd had more time to write it, but I think I covered the basics. Someone sat down and typed it in (so I don't claim the typos!) during the IEP Meeting.

Examples of "Acting In" Behaviors as reported by parents:

  1. Manic/Hyper: agitated, overly-sensitive; loud, pressured speech, over-zealous in relationships, loud, barking laughter, "vibrating" leg(s); popping knuckles (only does this when under stress); impulsive; difficulty concentrating

  2. Self-harming: gouging skin with finger nails; stabbing with pencil, burning skin with
    eraser. ..technically this is an "acting out" behavior, but Kitty has been known to do it secretly in public and often expresses concerns that she might self-harm and asks for supervision to prevent it.

  3. Depressed: Statements she wishes to die, statements or acting as though she wishes to "give up;" statements that others "hate her;" belief/ statements that she is
    worthless/hopeless/unlovable ...

  4. Escape/Dissociate: physically leaving room or "checking out;" unfocused; changing subject (often apparently at random); distracting (asks question or makes comment that changes the subject); napping/head down; appearance of being exhausted; "shutting down"

  5. Somatic Issues: aches; pains; exhaustion; hunger. Has difficulty identifying correct emotional and physical feelings so is prone to emotional eating and ascribing real or perceived aches and pains to incorrect sources. Ex. If Kitty is feelings depressed or suicidal (possibly because she forgot to take her meds, skipped a meal, hormones chemical imbalance, was triggered by a traumaversary or event ...), she might blame this on a recent event (such as a fight with her sister) that may or may not actually be related.

  6. Depressed: Sad; crying whining; begging to go home

  7. Overwhelmed: low frustration tolerance; disorganized, needs to "chunk" assignments (break down into smaller more manageable pieces); forgets assignments or needed materials; hurries through assignments, requires frequent breaks to relax and regroup; frequent requests to leave the room; needs frequent redirection and individual attention; difficulty remaining focused and on task - needs frequent assistance/reminders.

  8. Anxious: hyper-vigilance; worry; hurries through assignments; obsessed with following the rules

  9. Poor Boundaries: inappropriate interpersonal interactions. Inappropriate share/ venting with peers and others, particularly about abuse and perceived abuse (past and present); participating in or allowing physical and/or emotional teasing/bullying; inability to recognize other's "boundaries" and bothering them; perceives others as threatening or abusive; tattling about rule breaking; verbal lashing out; gossip- (has spread vicious rumors regarding sibling/friends and accused them of doing the same); threatens 09r hits peers (yes, this is and "acting out" behavior, but is on that Kitty as acted on in school and the community).


I requested that they redo the FBA (Functional Behavioral Assessment - originally completed on "Meltdown Behaviors.") to address "Acting In" behavior, but was told by Ms. BS that it was "illegal for her to assess behaviors she can't directly observe." She did say that some of the 'acting in" behaviors had been observed by her so she would do... something. She didn't really say what.


At the end of the time allotted for our IEP Meeting, I asked them to add my 2 documents as an addendum to the IEP, but since we "didn't discuss them" (not for lack of trying), this was denied.

So we refused to sign the IEP. We have another IEP meeting in 9 days.

This time we will be bringing a professional advocate. We found one that is offering us some pro bono work, and we'll find the cash somehow. (Stupid car decided to start breaking down).


Since we didn't sign, supposedly the altered Crisis Plan will not be put into effect, but obviously it already has. Kitty called me today at 1:30pm from school too anxious to go back to class. I talked to her briefly, but she could not verbalize what was wrong. I talked to the behavior program staff, and he thought he could get her back to class. At 2:30pm I got another call. This time she was calling from the school nurse's office and the nurse said the school was OK with her going home.

I'd just been thinking she was responding positively to this latest bump in Dep*kote and we'd have trouble convincing anyone she still needed residential treatment. She was alert and participating in the IEP meeting, even though she'd just had an overnight sleep study, so I was convinced we were going to lose all ground on the school front too. Guess she took care of that.

1 comment:

Struggling to Stand said...

Wait wait wait! I didn't read past your first sentence yet. Where is the "concerns" part that goes at the beginning of an ARD? Where was the "purpose of meeting" that goes at the start of an ARD? Did they even do the "introductions" section?

I want to go strangle them for you.

I hope your advocate does this for you, but if they ever pull something like this again, just say "If you do not discuss Kitty's placement as stated as the purpose on the invitation to this ARD, we will exercise our rights to due process. These meetings have been a farce and I have more than enough evidence to prove it."

They are so, so wrong. And they clearly intend to continue to use these ARDs as examples of how to bully the parents. (Isn't there a "no tolerance" rule for bullying at school? Why doesn't it apply to the grown-ups?)