Over the years, I've always had concerns and struggled with Calliope's behaviors. I felt I was a good parent, even had strangers stop me on the street and in stores to compliment me, and I just kept doing what the books, magazines, and other parents suggested and expected things to get better.
After being dismissed by teachers, doctors, counselors, a principal, a school psychologist, other mothers, and relatives, I still knew something wasn't right and kept looking for help. They all made excuses for her; she's so young still, she has a single parent, she just moved, she misses you when you're at work, she's competing for your attention now that you're dating, she has a step dad to adjust to, she has a new baby brother, her hormones are starting early, and on and on with excuses for her behavior. I was aggressively denied membership to a special needs support group I sought help from. I requested from the school over and over, finally IN WRITING that my daughter's needs be assessed and was ignored. There was no one left to call, no one left to talk to, no one left to seek help from.
The counselor my husband and I were seeing to help us with the issues of raising this blended family with a high needs child didn't think it was anything like ODD or ASD. But, after he met with her twice, he reconsidered. He suggested a psychologist that specializes in autism, and we made our fist call to Julie Daggett.
After testing, Calliope was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. That diagnosis on top of major depression and gifted intelligence diagnosed earlier. So, we had a name for our problem, and it felt awful. I knew that with a real diagnosis the school couldn't ignore us anymore. I thought that with a real diagnosis the places that couldn't help before would have things to offer. So far, the first year of middle school is a mixed bag, and the community support is zero.
I feel as if I've been shouting from the rooftops for two years now, "I'm doing all I can do and need HELP!" No one can hear me.
My main goal is and was respite care, just to get a break and have fun alone, with hubby, or with just the little kids, but there is no way to get that break.