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!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Transition Good News! Bear Update

I am reeling! We met with the new principal of my daughter's special school for emotionally disturbed kids. We've been dealing with this school for 5+ years (Bear went there too). This guy GETS IT!

We've been fighting the transition (from high school to real life) battle (and losing) for years, one big reason Bear is in jail. This guy backed me up on our complaints about the school encouraging unrealistic vocational goals (Bear wanted to join the military despite being on massive psychotropic medications with severe mental illness), and as you know, Kitty wants to be a preschool teacher (bad idea for similar reasons). The school has been encouraging them to "be whatever they want to be" despite the fact that they both have low IQs (74 and 79), memory and processing issues, severe emotional issues and take large amounts of psychotropic medications..

Currently transition plans are written with the child and either a case manager, or, more likely, a "transition specialist" who has never even met my child and has no access to their files.  This specialist "interviews" my child and writes their answers to questions like, "What kind of place do you want to live in? (apartment/house/city/with a roommate"  "What kind of job do you want?"  "What skills do you have to get what you want? (can do laundry, budgeting, cook...)"  "What education/skills do you need to get this? (junior college, electives in high school, math classes...)"

The person writes these "brainstormed" answers with different colored markers on big white sheets of paper they've posted around the room (which they give to the child when they're recommendations are written - and the child promptly throws them away).  So if my child says she wants to live in a mansion and become a brain surgeon, then the recommendations might include taking extra science courses and doing volunteer work as a candy striper, with lots of deadlines and assignments for individuals on the "team."  (Mom will give her more chores.  The guidance counselor will get her a copy of the electives for next school year.)  No thought as to whether or not this is a realistic goal.

The new principal said, not only will he help us write a realistic transition plan, but he will be RECOMMENDING SHE STAY IN SCHOOL PAST GRADUATION NEXT YEAR, despite the fact that she'll have all the required credits for graduation! I'm so excited! Now if only he'll follow though...

Since the annual IEP meeting is in only 2 weeks then the principal had better hurry!


Bear has been going back and forth about what he wants to do when he gets out of jail.  He's bored and struggling with his PTSD, depression and the return of his night terrors so he's not willing to let the lawyer do a continuance after all (the lawyer's original plan was to put off the court date as long as possible in the hope that the plaintiff would just want it to go away, and not show up for court - in which case the charges would be dismissed).  He's struggling and there is apparently no alleviation for his mental health issues until he goes to court.  Which he doesn't qualify for unless they get the charges reduced to a "non-violent" crime.

The court is also doing nothing about paying for his LSI (mental health testing to see if he qualifies for mental health court), and if friends or family pay for it, then we jeopardize his indigent status and he could lose his free court appointed attorney.

Sometimes Bear says he wants to come back to Texas.  He wants me to contact his ex-girlfriend here and tell her he hasn't contacted her because he's in jail (which is bs - he'd already dumped her and moved on to new Kleenex girls before he was arrested).  Sometimes he's willing to go to Gary Job Corp.  Sometimes he talks about going to live with bio family (for the whole 6 weeks that would last!).  Sometimes he talks about a "fresh start" in Georgia because they're "nicer to convicted felons there" (I've pointed out that he HAS TO HAVE the support of family and he has none in Georgia).  He's still talking about going to trade school (although we've mentioned our concerns about this).

We're trying to be pretty realistic about his options.  I've told him that moving to another state where he has no one willing and able to help him get the services and support he needs is pretty stupid.  He can't live in our home anymore, but he can go to the Gary Job Corp that's not terribly far away.  So far the only thing he's consistent on is needing to get back on his meds.


Anonymous said...

Bear is the defendant. I think you mean Bear's lawyer is hoping that the plaintiff won't show up if he gets a continuance.
I've seen that happen in shoplifting cases when the merchandise was of little value but from what you've written, Bear's crime was of a serious nature so not bothering to show up seems odd, unless the plaintiff has something that he/she doesn't want exposed in court. Interesting.

marythemom said...

Sorry, you're right, I meant the plaintiff. I've edited it. I think they are hoping the plaintiff will want to forget about it so won't show up to court. I know the plaintiff received pressure from family to prosecute in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Do you ever wonder about the IQ and development of girls that would choose Bear as a boyfriend? Do you think it's fair to call them Kleenex girls? Would you want someone calling Kitty that? I don't mean to call you out, it's your blog and all, but it's a little mean. By the way you describe Bear and the violent crime he's been charged with, I feel a little sorry for those girls he's been with.
I hope Bear is able to get the support he needs- what do you think he needs at this point? Do you think he will be released soon? It's a shame that it doesn't seem like there are appropriate programs out there for boys like him. Where do you think he'll go?
Finally, I'm so glad to hear that Kitty's new principal gets it! Hopefully he'll start leading the counselors and teachers in the right direction, too.

marythemom said...

Anonymous - I don't call them Kleenex girls to say anything about the girls themselves, although I do believe they probably have serious issues themselves to tolerate Bear's issues. I call them Kleenex girls because Bear goes through them like Kleenex. Believe me I feel sorry for the girls and occasionally I try to warn them off where I can (but it's not really my place).

Honestly I don't know what will happen to Bear. If there is a good place for him I haven't found it, or found a way to access it for him. He NEEDS structured support. Honestly jail is not a bad place for him in many ways. Unfortunately he falls in a gray zone and there are no perfect solutions for him.