Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Update to Music Class

I just now got a phone call from Sam's elementary principal. She received the email I sent out Sunday to Sam's IEP team, detailing the information I was given by the music teacher regarding Sam's expulsion.

I am happy to report that Sam is not expelled from music class and never was. The principal didn't know why the music teacher would say something like that. She said, "We would never expel a student from a class like that, especially under the condition that he is medicated before he is allowed to return. That's not even legal. We can't tell a parent whether or not to medicate her children."

The principal apologized on behalf of the music teacher. She said the music teacher hasn't been teaching long, and perhaps she just got frazzled and misunderstood what the principal said about getting things straightened out.

Today Sam will have a member of the IEP team accompany him to music class. This is a step in the right direction. We'll see how things go today :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

To Medicate or Not To Medicate

I haven't mentioned this before, but my son, Sam, is a special needs child. He was diagnosed last year as having ADHD and PTSD, but I don't agree with that diagnosis. But because of that diagnosis, he was able to get help in school from the special education department and from that, get on an IEP (Individualized Education Plan).

Personally, based on a lot of things, I think Sam has Sensory Integration Disorder and Asperger's Syndrome. He hasn't been tested for either, but that's coming later.

In spite of my reservations about his diagnosis, last fall, I had Sam put on Adderal, because of the issues we had with him last year at school. Sam asked me, "Mommy, can you fix my head?" Well, how could I not? So I took him to our general practitioner and he prescribed 5 mg of Adderal daily.

The first part of the school year was going really well. Sam was excelling in first grade, and when he started to have an outburst, his teacher was able to diffuse the situation rather quickly.

Then things in our personal life started going downhill. In November, we had a house fire. Because of the house fire, we were forced to stay with my sister for a couple weeks until we could get into an apartment. Then we had to move. Then we had to make a medical trip to Shriners Hospital in Minneapolis. (Sam suffers from Idiopathic Toe Walking.) Then we had Christmas break at school. A couple days after school started again in January, we had another trip to Minneapolis, during which we were stranded because of the weather.

Sam doesn't do well with transitions, and his behavior at school had been deteriorating since before Christmas vacation. While on our trip to Minneapolis last week, we ran out of the Adderal. He didn't take it for several days, and I didn't notice a difference in his behavior, which led me to believe the medication wasn't doing its job.

I decided at this point to discontinue the medication until we could get an accurate diagnosis. We have an appointment with a Disabilities Diagnosis Clinic in February. But until then, something had to be done about Sam's behavior, so I called a meeting with the IEP team.

We discussed his sensory issues (I won't get into all of them, because there are a lot), and how to help him get the stimuli he needs. I told the team he was off meds and I planned on keeping him off meds. For the most part, the team was supportive, except the music teacher who shot me a nasty look and then left the meeting early.

I was excited about the plans we made to help Sam at school, until the music teacher called me after school today. She told me Sam was disruptive again in her classroom and that he is no longer allowed in her class "unless he gets back on meds again or something". I was furious! After all we talked about at the meeting yesterday, and she's going to try to blackmail me into medicating my son!

I stopped listening at that point and when I got off the phone with her, I immediately called her boss, the school superintendent. He apologized profusely to me (I think because he realized that he was lucky I called him next and not a lawyer). He assured me that he would be speaking to this teacher about her "lack of tact" before she left school for the day.

Well, I had already made the decision, based on the information I had received at the IEP meeting, to put Sam back on medication for now. It has to be so hard for him during the day, trying to control his impulses but not being able to do so. So Sam is back on Adderal with an increased dosage of 10 mg daily.

Regardless of his now-medicated state, I am not allowing him back into that music class with that teacher. If she thinks she can try to force my hand into doing something I didn't want to do (nevermind that I had already decided to put him back on meds), then she's got another thing coming. I do not want my son around someone who lacks such total empathy toward a child with obvious disorders. That she would treat a special needs child as someone she "needs to control" is at least irresponsible. I know that Sam's disorders doesn't give him a free pass to misbehave, but at this point, I believe he's incapable of behaving. And especially for a teacher who doesn't like him.

Blackmail me, indeed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Valentine's Day versus Anti-Valentine's Day

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, I've started thinking about how to celebrate. As a divorced mommy, I tend to want to ignore Valentine's Day altogether. But then an assignment on Associated Content got me thinking about the Anti-Valentine's Day. So I wrote a humorous little something-something on it.

Anti-Valentine's Day: Five Ways to Celebrate
by Heather K. Adams
Five ways to celebrate the Anti-Valentine's Day guaranteed to make February 14th a little less sucky.
Click here for more...

I started digging around on AC and found some other articles with a less-than-favorable outlook on Valentine's Day.

Things You Should Know About Valentine's Day
by Rodney Roller
Here are few reasons why I loathe Valentine's Day.
Click here for more...
(This one is perhaps my favorite!)

Worst Valentine's Day Date Ever
by Alisha Christian
With Valentine's Day on the horizon, I thought I would share my worst Valentine's Day date ever.
Click here for more...

The Ten Best Anti-Valentine's Day Songs
by RonHart
The ten best anti-Valentine's Day songs
Click here for more...

... and of course, the (anti) Valentine's article I wrote last year:

Top Six Songs that Celebrate Being Single: How I Survived My First Single Valentines Day
by Heather K. Adams
I found myself searching for songs that really celebrated and rejoiced the single life. Or at least didn't make it suck so bad. Here are my top six choices.
Click here for more...

Even though you may not feel like celebrating, you shouldn't neglect the kiddos on Valentine's Day.

Unique Valentine's Day Gifts for Kids
by Chloe Xanthis
Don't forget about the kids this Valentine's Day! This article contains 10 great gift ideas for kids young and old!
Click here for more...

I hope everyone has a wonderful Anti-Valentine's Day!