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!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kitty Assessments

I spent all day yesterday talking about Kitty and getting her assessed and now I'm even more confused!

So yesterday morning Kitty and I had the initial interview with the psychologist for Kitty's psych eval. I really liked her. As usual, I brought in tons of documents including the psych eval from last August. She wanted to know why we wanted another psych eval - she had a good point. I was interested in getting her diagnosed for bipolar disorder, but she's already on 3 meds for it (Trileptal, Seroquel and something else). The psychologist said it would be very difficult to "tease" out the bipolar from the ADHD and other issues. I think what I might really need is just someone to explain the results.

One thing she mentioned was that Kitty's IQ is only 76 - borderline mental retardation. We've always believed that Kitty doesn't present and test well due to all the trauma, moves, learning disability and ADHD, not being stable on her medications yet, and not being comfortable with the testers - so we were working on the assumption that in reality her actual IQ is higher; however, the psychologist said that if she can't adapt or adjust well that this could actually be lower. (Kitty's EMDR therapist believes that our initial assumption is correct and that Kitty is actually higher functioning than this).

The psychologist (after Kitty left the room), pointed out that we did the right thing by keeping Kitty in a small classroom setting. That she would not be able to handle all the chaos, stimuli and social issues that go along with being in a regular classroom. She also noted that the previous psych eval had included a lot of academic assessments. Her biggest concern was that Kitty doesn't appear to be able to generalize information so a little time each day teaching her tips and techniques (which is all I figured she needed) would not be enough or very helpful. Right now Kitty is working on about a 5th grade level (she's in 7th grade). She is not making big leaps in the academic area so I'm afraid she's going to continue to be 2 years behind. She'll already be 19 when she graduates. Add on 2 extra years or more (as things get harder I worry she'll get further behind) and she may never graduate! Did I mention Kitty's current goal is to be a surgeon?!

The meeting took only an hour so I decided Kitty should go back to school (Kitty was not thrilled!). We went to Salvation Army and picked up appropriate clothing for school (didn't make sense to go all the way home and then all the way to the school when she needed more uniform pieces anyway), took her to lunch, and took her to school. My car is on the critical list, so my Mom drove us around. After we dropped Kitty off, we went to the middle school closest to Kitty's private school (according to the law they are responsible for Kitty's assessments and providing special services because she attends a school in their district) to meet the woman in charge of assessments. I'd already given her a heads up that I would be coming by to pick up and drop off paperwork, rather than mailing them (I am not a patient person).

So here's my biggest concern. Kitty's private school, while very willing, does not have the capability of providing more than minimal accomodations for Kitty. They do not even know how to read an IEP and as far as I know have never bothered to read the one Kitty came with last year. I doubt seriously that we could get the school to train them or provide a one on one aide at the private school. It's really starting to sound like Kitty will need more than a couple of hours a day of help. If the school district insists she needs to be enrolled to be able to provide all the services she needs then I have to decide if I want to pull her from the private school. She has to be in a resource room environment (which I would have to fight for), and since she is so high functioning, I worry that she's going to look around and give up because, "everyone thinks she's stupid."

I'm this close to deciding that the new psych eval is unnecessary, plus we think we will have to pay the $1500 insurance deductible, but if the school district assesses her and decides that they can't accomodate her at the private school, then I will need something showing that she shouldn't be mainstreamed with inclusion help (which was their plan in 6th grade- regular classes with 15 minutes a week of in class assistance!). I'm guessing that proving she is mentally retarded (based on her low IQ and inability to adjust) might force them to allow her the resource room classroom.

So most of the paperwork is turned in, now I just have to wait for actual assessments.


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