A commenter asked me:
"Just a thought, how stable is she really if life is so hard with her and shes still so... Walking on eggshells emotionally? How could the school district deny she's effectively disabled like this...
Isn't there anyway to get her more stable than that or is it mostly because her personality disorder makes her character under what the medication controls unstable? "
The reality is that Kitty is stable... as stable as she can be. Her medications seem to be controlling all they can control (specifically the bipolar disorder). Which means her personality disorder and the brain injury (which effects her emotions in addition to her memory and processing) are what make her still emotionally volatile. This is why the psychiatrist and treatment centers are willing to say she needs legal guardianship, even though her IQ is over 70 and she probably has enough life skills to live an "OK life" - despite therapy and medications she continues to show signs of instability.
As to why the school doesn't see it? They don't want to... and she can control it to some extent when she wants. Also, in public/school her instability primarily shows in socially acceptable ways. She shuts down. She gets quiet. She's extremely compliant. Her immaturity means she's not interested in experimenting with the type of trouble (sex, truancy and substance abuse) as other kids her age. In other words, she's exactly what the school WANTS. Of course keeping all that stress and anxiety locked up inside means she has to let it out sometime... and she chooses to do that with us.
We had an IEP meeting recently with a new principal of the special school who really seems to get it. Kitty was ecstatic with the results, because I decided to trust the principal and let her try vocational classes at the high school next semester. I don't think she realizes how little time she'll actually be spending at public school, and I hope I'm making the right decision.
For awhile I was thinking that since she's so happy that she's getting what she wanted that maybe we don't have to do the legal guardianship thing right away (her next annual IEP meeting won't be until next December), but the school quickly made it very clear that we did. They had her sign paperwork that she understood that as soon as she turns 18 (in April), her parents would no longer be voting members of her IEP team, although they still would be invited to meetings. We knew this, but the problem is that they plan to call an IEP meeting at the end of the school year - in April - to determine her schedule and the plan for the next school year after we see how things go with the vocational program. I don't think the timing is on purpose, but we still can't take that chance.
Somehow we're going to have to come up with the cash for the attorney. It's too bad we don't live in a state where you can file the forms yourself for just a few hundred dollars.