Saturday, September 20, 2014

Goofy's Fear

There have been some strange things going on with my Goofy One lately. He started Adderall and I started seeing progress in the area of recognizing and respecting danger. It was awesome. Sort of.

We had some storms, in Missouri that's kind of expected. It happens a lot. He opened the curtains to keep an eye on the sky while he watched the weather. This is pretty normal for him. He's been watching the weather since before he was out of diapers (which was late, but still), what was a little odd is that he looked to me for reassurance. He shared his concern with me. This is progress, isn't it? I thought so.

...but then a few nights later he got onto me for smoking outside. I've smoked outside for as long as he can remember and there's never been a problem with it. The problem here is that it's dark and I'm on the back porch. He is worried that the wild animals will get me. The odd thing about this is we live in a busy part of South St Louis County. We don't have wild animals. In the 6 years that we have lived here, I think I saw a raccoon once but I can't swear that it wasn't a really big cat. We had a black snake once. Other than that... the most dangerous animal around here belongs to us.

Vicious thing. No mercy, no remorse.

But, ok. I'll just smoke on the front porch where there's a light. This one sort of worried me because honestly, even for my kid, it's weird. So I emailed his teacher and resource teacher. She said that he was doing great, she hadn't noticed any anxiety- he actually tried to calm another student who was afraid of thunder- but she would keep an eye on him.

Alright, I'm a paranoid mom. I get it. I need to relax and enjoy the fact that he is taking things seriously. He's maturing. There were little things here and there but I told myself to leave it alone.

We increased his Adderall.

Then came Dark Skies. Now, those of you who have followed us for a while know my Goofy One. He is a horror story fanatic. He loves them all. Zombies, Freddy, Jason...the scarier, the better. I guess it goes with the no fear thing. Or the youngest of 5 brothers thing. I'm not sure, but he's been interested in horror movies since he was a toddler and they have never scared him. Do you remember the flash of light I told you about? The one he woke me up for because he was scared?


Oh, yeah. Scary. Thank God, no more scary movies, maybe he can get some normal interests. (Yeah, I know. but I'M scared of these movies. They give me nightmares.)

It's all looking pretty good. I don't see a downside to this at all. Well, except that every night he comes up with reasons I shouldn't go out to smoke after dark, but that's minor.

Until he came to me in a complete and total panic that he couldn't go to the bathroom alone because there might be a poisonous spider and it might bite him and when I refused, he begged me to stand outside the door. Now that's not odd, that's terrifying. There's something wrong. There is no reason for him to even think there might be a spider and even if there was, it would never be something he needs protection from. He's the brave one. He's the one who saves me.

I messaged his pediatrician who messaged me back the next morning. He wants to know if we've moved yet because he knows where we live and that we'll be moving to the country- which would make his fears logical and a normal part of adjusting to a new home and area, when he found out we are in the same place we've always been, he told me to stop the Adderall now and we will not be starting a new medication until the anxiety symptoms are gone.

No meds until the anxiety symptoms are gone... high anxiety and unmedicated ADHD... for an undetermined amount of time... someone pass the wine, please. We're not even going to attempt this sober.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Goofy's Meeting

We had a meeting with Goofy's team one recent Monday, about 2 weeks ago. I've sort of tried writing about it, but I've been a little frustrated. It didn't start out well and went downhill from there. The way things have been going lately, that's a real shocker, right? I'm not sure if I need a better attitude or a freakin' break.

I started out mad. They were nice enough to send me the two weeks worth of collected data beforehand so I could review it before the meeting. Their collected data on his on-task behavior is total bullshit. I still stand by that statement. The day after we picked up Goofy's prescription for Adderall, I got a phone call from the pediatrician's office that I didn't pick up his prescription. I disagreed. We were confused about how she still had his prescription in her hand and she decided to shred it. A day or so later, I checked our mymercy account and saw in a message from his pediatrician that he prescribed the wrong dose based on his weight. We decided to finish the current dose and then increase to the proper dose. I didn't tell the school that part, but I did tell them repeatedly that his meds aren't working. They disagreed. I told them at the start of the meeting that their data made me angry so I didn't want to discuss it and that I was requesting a Functional Behavior Assessment no matter what their data said. They wanted to discuss it anyway.

It didn't go well.

It is really irritating when they think they hear you fall for something once and then think they'll get by with it again. In the first meeting, when they were suggesting taking data, the resource teacher told me that the Goofy One's evaluation wasn't relevant because it was from last year and this is a new year, so they have to have new stuff to look at. I was furious. I knew what she was saying was not true, but I didn't argue it because they were collecting data, which was what I wanted, so that made her stupid statement irrelevant. Remembering and anticipating that argument when I quoted the same evaluation in my formal written request for a Functional Behavior Assessment, I went ahead and let them know that I will absolutely agree to their request for re-evaluation if they disagree with the last evaluation because you know schools have the right request re-evaluation if they determine that the educational or related services needs, including improved academic achievement and functional performance, of the child warrant a reevaluation. They said it anyway. And then changed their mind. I guess they agree with his current evaluation.

You know you have the right to Prior Written Notice (a Notice of Action) any time the school proposes or refuses actions related to the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of your child AND the provision of FAPE? That includes when they are agreeing to or refusing things you ask for relating to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or provision of FAPE for your child. Saying no is easy, when they have to explain why...they take a minute to think it over. I asked for a Notice of Action on my request for a FBA. Three times I clarified that I would be getting a notice of action and three times the man reluctantly agreed.

Then we moved on to his handwriting. In the last meeting, my suspicion was confirmed that "this is really typical for a *fill in the grade* grader" really is some sort of standard line that they hand everyone, whether it is typical or not. I think it's in their training, maybe their job contract. You know what else is standard? Blaming the parents. Whether it's for breaking the kid in the first place, or expecting "too much," or that "parents worry." That's annoying.

Absolutely typical for a second grader.
I totally see it.
In this meeting, his handwriting isn't quite as "typical" as I've been led to believe (too bad. There for a minute, I could have believed that my child was perfectly normal). This time, he needs a word processor. A fusion is what they're using. The resource teacher going to set up a meeting with a lady that does technology stuff. and now I'm even more irritated. If he's doing so much better with a word processor, that means handwriting is a real problem, as in the act of writing limits what he is capable of. His typing is much more detailed, he has a lot to say, but handwriting is silencing him. You can't just ignore that. You can read about Dysgraphia, everything says that they need accommodation, modification, and remediation. He needs remediation. They say occupational therapy is enough, I disagree. He has remedial reading, he has reading in class. He has special ed instruction in written expression, he has writing in class. How does that make only OT for handwriting instruction sufficient?

We disagree for a very long time before I rudely cut the principal off and turn to the area coordinator, "would this conversation be going differently if he actually had the dysgraphia diagnosis?" He hesitates, I'm not sure if it's at my rudeness or if he doesn't want to answer. He says no. I don't think I believe him. We disagreed about whether or not Dysgraphia is covered under Specific Learning Disability, he was saying no because IDEA specifies "written expression" while I was arguing that SLD is a disorder that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. The funny thing is, we were both right. Dysgraphia was a Learning Disability in the DSM-IV, In the DSM-V it's called Specific Learning Disability in the area of Written Expression. After the meeting, I put together an e-mail for him with links that explain that dysgraphia is  a disability in written expression and asked what more we could do to help him. That e-mail was ignored.

So I waited. When the resource teacher emailed me to set up the SETT meeting to discuss technology options, I asked her about the Functional Behavior Assessment. She asked the Area Coordinator. I still haven't heard back. So this morning I called and left a message for him to call me, and I still haven't heard back. I'm getting a little irritated, but I am determined- I will have a Notice of Action proposed or refused on his FBA. And, I called his psychologist. He has an appointment October 20 to be evaluated for a Specific Learning Disability. Because I guess we're starting back at the beginning.

I'm tired, man. I'm so tired of fighting. I'm so battle weary, I wondered if I had any fight left. Well, I guess I do, because here we go.
 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Looking up

This week started out shitty, then bottomed out.

Tuesday night we had an end-of-the-world battle over homework. The Goofy Child has hit my last nerve. He screamed, he cried, he dropped to the ground over erasing, he slammed buttons on the keyboard making his spelling list and yelled at me about the unfairness of life and how freaking tired he was. Alright. Fine. Too tired for homework? Then you're too tired to play. Skip reading for 15 minutes and get to bed. I told that boy straight up, I don't care, he's not doing any of his favorite activities until homework is done.

I called the boys for night time meds...and I'll be damned if Walter didn't take the wrong ones. That makes for a rough night. Walter wakes me up Wednesday morning wanting to know if he should take Thursday morning's pills since he took Wednesday morning's the night before. Oh, Lord, thank you for waking me up for that one. Geez.

I grudgingly drag my butt out of bed late and walk in to wake Alex up...my talented artist struck again and I can see exactly what the problem is. He's too big for L/XL pull-ups and too small for XL. His pull-up fell off. No more. I bathed the kid and scrubbed and scrubbed the mess. (and later spent about an hour on the phone with the medical supply company trying to explain exactly what I meant by "diapers" in my request to change from pull-ups to diapers. Did I mean pull-ups?)

I fought with Goofy over clothing to the point that I wondered how truly awful it would be to let him wear yesterday's clothes underneath today's clothes, even if he did look like that bundled up little boy on A Christmas Story... then decided against it considering I'm already pushing my luck since I can't remember the last time soap touched his body (he says the soap will burn his "boo-boo").

I just barely get the little demons on their buses. Alex's bus driver and aide are freaking awesome. They are most definitely a couple of characters. They are having a thing with Alex's school aides over a specific Elmo teething ring. This Elmo is sacred, in their eyes. He's the only toy in the world that keeps Alex's shoes on through the whole bus ride and the school aides keep taking him. They are not happy. They keep telling me so. Alex has two Elmo's. One in the classroom and one at home. I don't know why the school aides would need Elmo. Well, today, the bus driver and aide won the battle. As soon as they got Elmo in their hands, they kept him. Didn't even give it to the school aide to convince Alex to walk down the stairs. I tell you, they are an entertaining duo.

Sunday evening we had rushed the Goofy Child to the Mercy Urgent Care center with swelling under his jaw and a (still) nasty looking scratch on his chin. They did some tests, said it wasn't strep and sent him home with an antibiotic and an antibiotic cream. Late Wednesday morning, they called me to let me know that it actually was strep which set me right into panic because I just sent my kid to school for 3 days with strep! They don't think it's a problem because if he wasn't feeling better, or he was feeling worse, he probably would have said so. Yes, I explained, and no, they are not familiar with this "sensory" thing. He has what? *Sigh* No, the Goofy One would not tell me. They said I would have noticed laying around or not eating. and we are back to this "sensory" thing. I took what they said and their medical recommendations and called the pediatrician all fired up and asking what to do since these dipshits couldn't even read a strep test. The pediatrician says it's fine, there are two tests and it's not uncommon (uhg, not uncommon. probably as in "typical.") for the first test to be negative while the second is positive. He said to do as they say, he agrees with their recommendations. He is now on two antibiotics and an antibiotic cream.

Ok, so, Wednesday's work appointments ran over which made me late getting home. As soon as Walter got home from school, I called him to ask him to please get his brothers off their buses. He told me he would and then went on to tell me that his doctor's note ran out and he's back to running in PE. Even with the arch supports, his legs are killing him and he's really worried that he has those stress fractures the doctor mentioned. I promised him that I would message the doctor and reminded him to not forget to get his brothers. We're good. At 3:40, I called and got no answer. He's been doing that and we've been fighting and I keep swearing I will take his phone but we both know that if I take his phone, I can't call him to get his brothers. Stalemate. I assumed he's rebelling and just not answering his phone to be a jerk and I swear to myself that I will threaten to take his phone when I get home. 10 minutes later, my neighbor calls. He's all hesitant because he knows I'm going to be pissed, but he says, "Hey, Mac, um, Alex's bus is here and there's no one to get him off of the bus. Is he going to freak out if I try to get him off of the bus?" God bless my neighbor.

When I get done cursing Walter, he puts me on the phone with the bus driver. Character, remember? Entertaining, ringing any bells? I explain that Walter was supposed to get Alex but he didn't and now my neighbor wants to get him and I'm asking if she can let my neighbor have him. She's very politely explaining to me that yes, she sees his brother, but she just can't leave him with a younger sibling. I told her I appreciate that, but my neighbor is going to get him for me because his brother didn't show up, can she please let my neighbor get him off of the bus? She patiently tells me that his brother is standing here, but she really can't release Alex to a younger sibling. I tell her that I understand that, the brother that was supposed to get him is the Mexican one- not the little one, she says, "Oh, yeah. that one isn't here, just the little guy." I tell her my neighbor is the adult standing there, can she please give him to the adult and I will be home soon. I swear, I could hear the woman looking my neighbor up and down as she hesitates a second before saying, "I don't know...can I trust your neighbor with him?" I had to laugh.

Turns out, Walter was sleeping. The combination of wrong pills at the wrong time and the rough night, and the hurting legs, and the running a mile was just too much for him. It reminded me that I'm expecting a child to take care of a child. I think I'm expecting a bit too much out of him, but I'm not sure what to do. I don't know that, as a single mom, I can afford to cut my hours. But I don't know that I can afford not to, either. Rock and a hard place.

Today, things are starting to look up.

After a few more calls to Prairie Farms, our local Wal-Mart will start carrying the sister's little milk cartons this weekend. WOO! Thank you all for your support in that.

After more than a few calls to school administration, advocacy groups, the state, and many lawyers, Mommy finally got a response from a guy named Andy at the school- she will be getting a copy of the sister's IEP and her records tomorrow.

I'm still figuring out what to do about moving. There was a time that I thought I could never afford to own a home as a single mother making minimum wage. After talking to a loan officer, though, I am only 40 credit points away from getting a pretty decent loan through some great programs. I have a credit card now and I've been doing some real estate browsing. I want to go home, but it's looking like some of my best options are close to Alex's Mommy. It scares me that her district is the Lindsay Lohan of Jefferson County, and dealing with them over special education has been the worst experience of my life (if you don't understand the enormity of that, go read the last few years), but it looks like they are scrambling to straighten shit out. I worry about placement options but my friend Rae has had great experiences there, so I'm not sure if I should be worried. I emailed Andy to ask about things, he told me to call him in the morning and he'd see what he can do.

I don't know yet where we will end up or what tomorrow will bring, but I'm feeling pretty good. Life is good.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A very shitty day.

Today started out to be the shittiest day. Yesterday, Walter was in trouble. I don't remember what for. There's this thing going on with my heathens. I'm all worn out and uptight, stressing about moving and such, which means I'm a mess. They pick up on that and become little monsters with temper tantrums and bad attitudes. So, Walter was in trouble, at the end of being in trouble, I toss out a half-assed "go clean something." This is a punishment I have no trouble what-so-ever following through on because it doesn't even matter. So, Walter half-assed the living room. Good enough. He cleaned something, as demanded. I'm satisfied that my parenting obligation has been fulfilled.

The Goofy One has something new going on- fear. I don't know if it's maturing or the meds he's on or what, but he has fear now. He has the kind that's considered good sense- you don't walk out in front of cars, you don't get close to wild animals, you don't sit on the back porch after dark. And then he has the other kind. He woke up in the very early hours of this morning freaking out that he saw a flash of light in the back yard. I don't know what he saw or what he thought he saw, but he was afraid. He woke me up to tell me so. I didn't appreciate that anywhere near as much as I should have because his cat has been going nuts all night long, running here and there and jumping all over the couch, so I was a little too tired to do more than kick the covers aside at the end of the couch to make room for him, and grumble at him to get in and go to sleep. Dozing back off, I did take a second to smile and think to myself, "hell, yeah. progress."

I swear, it seemed like I had barely closed my eyes before I was waken up again. One problem with our current sleeping arrangements is me and Alex are at opposite ends of the house. I can't hear him and my ex-husband closes his door so he doesn't have to hear Alex's middle of the night serenades. No one heard last night's dance party, and it looked like it was a blast. So much so that we had to rent a carpet cleaner to clean up. I'm thinking about a baby monitor.

Throughout the clean up and getting ready for school, my Goofy Child has thousands of observations. There's cat poop in the bathroom floor, he tells me. I know that can't be right because our cats don't make messes. They're good cats. Getting Alex in the bath, sure enough... cat droppings. So not cool. I'm trying to clean Alex while Goofy sits on the toilet chattering away, when Goofy starts nagging Alex for playing with his belly button. "Mom, that's why he poops so much, he's tickling his belly button. It's probably asthma." I was laughing too hard to correct him. I get Alex out and dressed while Goofy gets in.

Back in the kitchen, handing out toasted waffles, I look over and there's more cat poop in the floor! What the hell is going on!? I look up...there's a hamper blocking the door to the litter box. Well played, Walter. Well played. I'll have to remember that next time I toss out a half-assed "go clean something." I think that kid needs to learn some fear.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Importance of Milk

 You all know I have a long, sometimes difficult history with Alex's stepmom- his Mommy. You know we haven't always gotten along (understatement), and I will be the first to admit that the woman is damned near incapable of being tactful or polite. She says what she thinks, no holds barred. When it comes to her daughter...yeah. Not that I can say much about that, I just stormed Alex's assistant principal's office this morning. Good news, by the way, now he is looking into a walking harness, too. Alex doesn't have one in his IEP yet, but he will. because he needs it. I sent him to Elaine. I love Elaine. Also, it looks like Alex's bruise may have come from sitting too close to the table. Maybe we can scoot his specially made chair back, maybe we could pad the table edge, who knows. We'll figure something out.

But, back to the story. That woman, she's all "analyze, analyze, analyze!" I swear, she can be just impossible to talk to sometimes! just ask her neighbor. Heads up, make sure the neighbor has knocked a few back before you ask (that's not going to be a hard one to time) because it's effing hilarious. (sorry, Mommy, I had to and you know it ;) ) Seriously, though, if you can come at her making sense and not tossing BS, she's pretty easy to get along with. All you need is a calm attitude and a reasonable explanation. Neither of which this school has.

I hate this school district with a passion, which you probably remember from last year. I thought once Alex's sister was unenrolled we could breathe a sigh of relief, get the girl what she needs, and start again next year with a different school. That is assuming the problem is this district and not Jefferson County. I'm telling you, when it comes to special education, I'd choose St Louis County over Jefferson County any day, but we're going home, so whatever. (Sorry, Rae, I know you love this district, but no.) But, Mommy still needs things. Why? I'm not sure, but she has reasons and she has rights. Check FERPA, check your Procedural Safeguards, check your State Compliance Plan, check your District Policy. District policy like this one labeled policy 2415...


Like I said, know your rights, because there's a good possibility your schools don't know their own policies, much less the laws protecting your children.

ok, so that's not the point in this post, but we are getting there.

We had a meeting today. It did not go well. It was a scheduled meeting, I sat there and listened to the meeting being scheduled while nodding that we could be there in time. But when Mommy asked to review the sister's records to show the principal a piece of what she was explaining, he said that what she was wanting is too time consuming and she would have to schedule a meeting. She scheduled THIS meeting! They have her chasing her tail, the principal sending her to central office, central office sending her to the principal. She schedules meetings where they tell her that that meeting can't be this meeting, it has to be a different meeting. Oh, I can see why she is fed up. I can totally see why she's losing her temper. How many meetings do you have to schedule for it to finally be the right meeting? "It's the wrong Alice!" Good Lord. So, Mommy was rude, the principal was rude, nothing was accomplished except making the already turbulent relationship worse.

and, we get to the point.

Now, you all know autism, so I'm sure you are more than familiar with food issues. If not, you can go read Bec's How To Help a Selective Eater. The woman is freaking amazing, if you aren't already following her, go do it. You can find her on Facebook here. Ok, so, the girl's biggest issue is milk.

Milk belongs in a baby bottle and only in a baby bottle. Unfortunately, Mommy had to take it away when she turned 5. I have to give Mommy some serious credit here, she has not given in on the baby bottle issue at all. Instead, she is going through hell trying to find any and every way to get dairy products into this child without giving up and getting bottles. She's working harder than anyone should have to to not give in. She's buying milk shakes or ice cream cups with a McDonald's Happy Meal, no matter how it looks to the snobby, judgmental parent in the driver's seat who's thinking, "WTH? Seriously? My kids don't get ice cream or milk shakes with every meal." Mommy takes my confused, WTH are you thinking looks and goes on because she knows this might be her only chance to get calcium into her child today. She's willing to pay extra and to look like a "bad" mom to keep her baby healthy without caving to the baby bottle. That's dedication. She's more mom than I am.

Then there came the promise of hope.

Alex's sister opens a small paper carton of milk at school...and drinks it.

Mommy talked to the principal we worked with over the summer. He said she can ask the cafeteria about purchasing milk through them. Mommy thinks on it, but calls every grocery store she can find in a 15-20 mile radius of her home. Believe me, I googled all of the numbers for her. Not one of them carry small cartons of milk in any flavor. Mommy isn't about to give up, she calls Prairie Farms. Prairie Farms tells her that this milk is a school-specific item and has to be ordered through the schools, she tells Mommy to contact her local schools. So Mommy calls the sister's school and talks to the head cafeteria lady, who is happy to help. Mommy orders 14 cartons for a week and pays the school for them.

This past week, the sister drank every bit of the milk Mommy bought through the school.

Today, after the failed meeting with the school, the principal called her. Now, he is most definitely aware of the sister's feeding issues, especially the milk. This has been an ongoing concern and the issue has had a prominent position in all of our discussions this year. However, once he heard that Mommy was buying milk from the school, he decided to call Prairie Farms. He said that Mommy is no longer allowed to purchase milk through his school, she would need to check her local grocery stores.

Low blow, man. That's not even cool.

It's funny, though. He couldn't make an in-district call to the Director of Student Services to simply ask if Mommy could have a copy of the sister's records, but he could search out and call Prairie Farms over the legitimate purchase of 14 cartons of milk per week. Good to know that even though their 120 kindergarten students make it impossible to write and implement a detailed IEP, and the overwhelming number of students they have needing services puts a necessary limit of 60 minutes on therapy (so not allowed), they make time to track their milk cartons. #Priorities

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Absurd

I think my sense of humor has become absurd.

Tuesday morning, I was happy to get my heathens ready for school. 3 days at home is more than enough for them and me. I love them, but I love them better with a break. So, I get Alex up at his usual time, shower and dress and all that fun stuff, we wait for the 7:40 alarm that lets us know the bus is coming and happy dance to the front porch, chanting "school bus, school bus, yeah, yeah, yeah!" all the way. 7:45, the bus will be here any minute. 7:50...any second. 7:55, I'm checking the school website to see if he even has school. 8:00, I'm frantically ringing the door bell to try to wake the Goofy Child up to get himself ready. 8:05, I'm calling the bus garage. I have to admit, when they told me that they called me Friday and left a message on my phone that they changed Alex's bus, I got a little snippy. There's no way in hell any phone call goes to voicemail on my phone, and I would remember that call. I call bullshit. but whatever, they say the bus is running late. Well, that's nice and all, but Goofy has 10 minutes until his bus comes and he's not even up yet. That gets them moving and they decide to check bus times. Alex's bus won't be here until 8:28. 4 minutes after Goofy's bus. Alex was not happy to be dragged back into the house, he wanted that school bus. We chanted, for the love of Pete! When his bus finally came, the way he looked at the driver, I fully expected him to refuse to get on.

Later that same day, Alex's teacher emailed me to discuss scheduling an IEP meeting. Now, you know how those two little words can freak me out. I freaked. She reassures me that she has no intention what-so-ever of changing his IEP, she just needs to update it. I'm suspicious of this "updating." What exactly does "update" mean...is that code for "change something"? So I ask for notice on anything a member of the team would like to change so it can be discussed, I asked for a copy of the draft IEP to look over before the meeting, and my usual copy to read along with in the meeting. She agreed to all of it. and she's wondering why Alex was on a different bus this morning. Huh. Me, too. We should totally start a movement for transparency in the bus garage. Picket for explanation. I would make a riot joke, but I think that would be inappropriate considering Ferguson was just like, last week. Anyway, the other bus people were frigging awesome. Well, the bus driver was. The aide didn't seem to be too capable of anything, but the bus driver more than made up for it. He walked Alex to his seat and buckled him in every day. Alex loved him. The new one gets dirty looks and stays in her seat.

Wednesday, Alex came home from school all hyped up as usual. I take his vest off, unzip his jacket and hold the back as he runs out of it, just like always. Watching the jacket peel off of his arms, inch by inch of skin being exposed as he goes, my eyes widen as I catch sight of a fresh bruise. It's not big, but that doesn't even matter. I know where this motherfucker came from and I am not happy. I told them not to hold his hands, I told them not to hold his arms. For years I've been showing them bruise after bruise that staff is leaving while trying to hold onto him. We had a plan. They didn't follow the plan! and I'm telling myself, "woman, just chill. It could be from anything." (*snort*) but I calm down...ish. I write a very polite email. Seriously, when I'm polite, it's not a good thing. I usually have to be pretty fricking irritated to be polite. By 5pm, I've got myself all worked up. I'm drafting emails and ranting in my head. I have Twisted Sister's We're Not Gonna Take It, and Three Day's Grace's Let's Start a Riot looping in my head. I'm pacing the front porch, chain smoking and cussing up a storm when I catch myself. This is ridiculous! I'm all mad and cussing at them because they might not respond to my email with an acceptable answer, when I know damned good and well they won't even get the email until morning. I sent them a whole list of things that could have happened, it could be any of those things. Just because it looks like a thumb, doesn't mean they are holding his arm to walk him. I laugh at the absurdity of my reaction.

Until 24 hours later when I still don't have any response- acceptable or not- from any of the three people I emailed. I am going to school tomorrow. and I already have a fully drafted email to Special School Administration sitting in my folder, waiting to be sent.

I'm thinking at this point that it's not so much me that's absurd. What's absurd is that school staff is refusing to use a walking harness for Alex because they worry about how it will make them look and what people will say about them more than they are worried about Alex's safety or how it looks that school staff is bruising him, hurting him, because they refuse to acknowledge that there is a need. In the eyes of administration, there should be no difference between a using a gait belt and using a walking harness other than looks and small minded people's opinions. The harness just happens to be more appropriate for Alex. Different is our way of life. What can I say? We are definitely not typical, and that's not going to change just because someone doesn't like the way it looks.