Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How we became all Cs and an Aspie

I'm Christa and was single with my first baby, named Calliope, later met and married Chris, had a Cooper, then a Clio.

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.

Unannounced Visit

We were having a slow morning; missed Cooper's speech class, put bath mats in the washer, ate oatmeal and watched Curious George. Yesterday, we ran out of milk, and I couldn't summon the energy to shop after bedtime, so we were going to the store today.

Because he wakes up soaking wet, Adam got dressed before breakfast. Cooper wears a shirt and underwear to bed and to breakfast. After breakfast, I got Clio dressed. Then the doorbell rang. It was the Child Welfare Services woman, Alicia, that we had met before, and we invited her in.

She let me know that Calliope's autism specialist psychologist had concerns about Calliope's emotional needs not being met at home. I don't even know what those needs are, so, yeah, I'm probably not meeting them. She said that before visiting me, she had visited with Calliope at school and got the same nasty treatment that she gives us at home. So, at least it isn't just us. Too bad, but still nice that she hates everyone, not just her family. Alicia is wonderfully understanding and says she sees no problems with me and the younger kids, but we are both worried about my pregnancy with all the stress I'm not coping with. She did explain the three options for moving forward with Calliope.

We can keep doing what we've been doing; dealing the best we can with her behaviors and including her (when she's being safe) with family times. I can ask CWS to handle her because I can't meet her needs and her behaviors are a danger to the rest of the family, then she'd go to a foster home until that family realizes they can't handle her, then to another place. The last one is where the CWS come in to take Calliope from us if there is abuse. Since there isn't a place for kids like Calliope, where she can learn how to be Aspie and manage her behaviors, we're going to keep managing at home.

Alicia says I'm great with the little kids, and that is a relief, but I can't help but worry. Officer Idiot started this whole thing because she wanted me charged and all the kids taken away. It is on my mind everyday. She's working to destroy my family, my life, and I can only wait.

We said our good byes, see ya laters, and everyone waved as Alicia left. Then we cleaned up the toys dumped out during her visit, put pants and shoes on Cooper, and I packed the kids up to go grocery shopping.