Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's been going on here

I am not sure even what I want to write here or even where to begin, but I know I want to write out my feelings and frustration somewhere. Here is as good a place as any, right?

So, as I have blogged here before Sammy is have a tough time adjusting to school. And that would be one of the biggest understatements of my life. Not only is he unhappy to go off each morning. but at school he almost becomes another child. Sure at home he is odd and says funny things. He is stubborn and loud, but NOTHING like the maniac he becomes at school. I know this first hand as I have been going to school to work in Sam's class twice a week for about 3 hours at a time. Sam's teacher and I have had many conversations in person and on the phone. I have talked to the school social worker on several occasions. And it comes down to none of us know what to do.

And let me just say that those hours in the classroom with Sam's class are some of the hardest and longest in my life. I need to step back and let his teacher handle Sam. I have to be the classroom helper, not his mommy. And if you ever tried to step away from the mother role for a little while when it involves your will know what I mean when I say it is torture.

His behaviors range from yelling out, to crumpling papers, refusing to do the work, throwing things, and escalating to the vigorous shaking of his clasped hands together as a nervous tick. He seems lost in the room. Unable to focus. He often wanders. He needs constant re-direction. When asked to do work or sit and calm down he wails to the teacher " what! You don't love me anymore!" And as his level of anxiety or exhaustion rises, he just shuts down. His teacher sees his breaking point and lets him sit and try to relax himself. Usually this makes not difference in my child. He doesn't have many coping skills for a 6 yr old, so freaking out and yelling are it. Not acceptable or desired, but he doesn't know what else to do.

And to make matters worse, he is not a kid that "has a price". My friend Sue and I talked about this the other day, because she too has a child that "has no price" She can take away anything and everything and unless she takes away love, food or sleep, he says "okay, fine. when will I be un-punished?" That is Sam. No matter what is offered or taken away, he feels how he feels and he is not changing his behavior for anyone.

And two weeks ago, it escalated. He absconded from the room. His teacher had to run to catch him. He told me he was heading for the bus door so he could get a ride home. In the battle of fight or flight, he chose flight. He just can't handle being there and just wants me to come get him. He is very unhappy there. I can see him filling with tension the entire time I am there and finally it brims over and he is done. He can't work. He cant follow directions. Just done.

And the really sad thing is that he knows he is not acting right. He knows that he is freaking out. Last week he had quite a bad day and once he got into the car with me after school he started to cry. I asked him what was wrong. He said " I guess I am not going to be October's Terrific Kid" And that broke my heart. And that was it. I called his pediatrician and made an appointment. We had tried to work it our with other methods and I didn't know what else to do.

And I am sure there is another component to all of this too. Sammy has some sensory issues as well. Noises, lights, temperature all bother him and make him more anxious. So I have been completing paperwork for the OT specialist to see him too.

After examining Sammy, talking to him, talking to me he felt Sam suffers from an anxiety disorder and advised me to home school him and take him to see a specialist. This might have something to do with Sammy telling the doctor "I am VERY nervous is in school and if I do not hold my Buffalo token...I go crazy!

That was just the beginning of my adventures. While I agree with the doctor in some respects, I am worried that taking him out of school all together might not be the way to go. Bringing him back into the setting after a time away might be harder. And it comes down to..I just don't know what to do. I come from a background of medicine. There are cause and effects. There is a recipe, if you will, for fixing things. And while that recipe can be tweaked to fit a certain person...for the most is the same recipe. I want a set of instructions. I want the code. I want someone to hold my hand and tell me exactly what to do.

And that is just not possible in this situation. This is ground I never walked before. This is something that needs watching and trial and error. This is the beginning of a VERY long road for us. I talked at length with Sam's teacher and she could not be more open and willing to help him if she was his own mother. She notices the same things about him that I do. She can sense his anxiety and frustration like I can. I can't say enough great and wonderful things about her. We all just want what is best for Sam. We want to work him through this and make him happy and confident. She told me she is not going anywhere and he is hers for the year. She wants to help me solve this puzzle which is Sam. I trust her. I look for her input just as she looks for mine. And my heart almost broke when she looked at me and said "if this takes all year we will get him through this."

ALL YEAR? I am exhausted and it has been about 6 weeks. And part of me was excited to have him home with me again and part of me wonders if that is what he needs. I go back and forth in my head trying to think it out. Wonder what I could have done differently. What I can do now to help him. What is the right amount to push him? Can I just keep him home forever? You know that part of me wants that so much. But I know I can't. I need to help him go out into the world, when all I want is to protect him from it. forever.

So as it stands, right now, until I get permission from my doctor, Sam is home. I am in a circle of unending phone calls with the school nurse, the principal, the teacher, the insurance company, his primary doctor, the clinic for treatment and the school social worker. His teacher and I are trying to find a schedule that works for him. Afternoons seem to be the hardest. He is spent by that point of the day. Perhaps a half day will work best. We are working through it together.

I am sure I will be writing more about this in the weeks and months to come. I need to write it out to keep it straight in my head. I feel so many things right now..but mostly stressed. Nah, that is not true. I can't really pick out one emotion from the cluster. I think at the end of this, I might be the one with an anxiety disorder.