Monday, August 19, 2013

School Started..........and FASD Thoughts

School started last week.

I am glad that school has started as I am ready for LGA to go back to school.  Don't flame me for this, but she turned 9, and has been a bit hard to handle this summer at times.  I need the break from her during the day and she needs the school structure.  More on that in a bit.

LGA got the same teacher she had last year.  They moved Ms. M. up to teaching the special ed day class grades 4-6.  Since LGA is in modified grade 4, she got to keep her teacher.  OH, she and I were both so happy.  When I saw her teacher 3 days in, she said that she likes to keep 'her' kids for a couple of years.  I want to ask her to please stay till LGA goes to 7th.  If she did, LGA would have her for 4 yrs.  It's good for LGA.  Transition is hard.  I may have mentioned that they (school district special ed program) were wanting to change boundaries and possibly move her.  If they did that would have meant she would be attending the 5th school since we brought her home 5 yrs ago.  Nope, I wouldn't have it and made a call.  Our Program Specialist with the school district is retiring, so we have a new male PS.  I haven't met him yet but the teacher wants to have an early IEP so we can all meet (there is a new male speech teacher as well) and go over her goals.  Ms. M. thinks that LGA should skip speech as she has more of a learning disorder and we should concentrate on that.  So we'll see how this all plays out.  Already, we had a 3 hour blow out on Thursday of last week.  It started when I let them play electronics (which will be on the weekday school ban starting today - weekday ban is in effect till Friday, then Friday and whenever we have down time on the weekend they can play.  TV is also on this ban) and LGA wanted to play a game that BGA bought with allowance money.  BGA said no.  LGA blew up.  It took 3 hours of off/on behavior and me sending her to her room to cool off and trying again, before I got it out of her that she was made at BGA.  BGA and LGA now share a recess and LGA was mad because her friend, Mr. K., was not there and she wanted to play with BGA.  BGA, being in 6th grade and trying out a new friend clique this year, did not want her sister playing with her and evidently didn't tell her in the nicest way.  So......lots of talking with the two of them and explaning that BGA would not always play with LGA, etc.  LGA has friends, both autistic.  So they have issues, but Mrs. M. is wonderful about sorting out all the issues.   So, the issues I was worried about, being in with the big kids, started quickly enough.  The only thing I will need to go over again with Mrs. M. is this issue. She thinks LGA is ok, but based on her behavior last week, she isn't and Mrs. M. I hope can reassure her and guide her through the big grades.

BGA is doing ok.  I think her teacher (based on what Mrs. M. told me) will be a better fit than last year's teacher (who had a lot of 'life' events happen last year).  I'm already liking how she works her class and basically puts up with nothing.  I think BGA will need to take her pm ADHD med in school though as she can't focus in the pm once her am med wears off and I really feel she needs this so she can be organized.  She forgot her school supply list, leaving it under the metal tray instead of putting it in her folder in her backpack.  So this year we will need to meet with the teacher again and go over how to help her get organized, etc.  Last year's teacher just didn't care and told me, "yes, she has a hard time focusing in the pm, but I am able to get her back on track."  That worked last year, but the teacher the year before said she needed her pm med as she was not focused.  BGA had some bullying issues but has picked a different set of friends to play with, although she has the "she's my best friend and I want to take a dollar to school so I can buy her something" and it's only day 5 of school going on.  But so far, the other girls are leaving her alone. She really wants her other friend back but is accepting that she will need to find another group of friends to hang out with.  I hope she can find them, as the summer talks included the fact that she wants friends and cares about having them this year.  There is a new principal and I like what he is doing so far. 

And now on to the FASD part of the post.  You may have watched Good Morning America, where the author, Emily Oster, advocates drinking into the third trimester.  I firmly believe that no amount of alcohol ingested by a pregnant woman is safe.  FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) is 100% preventable.  Living with an adopted daughter who has FASD, I wonder sometimes if her birthmother had not been drinking while pg, how different her life would be.  I won't lecture on this subject, but do go to this site (NOFAS) and read the response this organization gave.  This subject is all over the internet right now.  Please post a comment if you are inclined.  More and more children in the US and Europe are affected by FASD and it is one of the most misunderstood as well.  Not much research is done on FASD, and it should be.

LGA has issues due to FASD, issues that are sometimes hard to live with.  FASD is something people don't understand and there is always advice about what you should do and not a lot of support.  I read on FB today about a parent who was at the end of her rope.  She's been to therapists for her son (who is a teen I believe, the post was shared on another group, so I didn't see the original post), she's on meds, he's on meds, and life is just hard.  The teen/adult behaviors are hard to deal with.  LGA might be on the lower end of the spectrum, but she still faces learning issues and other delays that make me wonder what life will be like when she is a teen/adult.  It didn't start out that way and the sweet 3 yr old we met was nothing like the 9 yr old she is now.  When she is not having fits or tantrums, she is a very sweet girl.  It's just rough going at times.  I know this woman's despair, although I have not felt the depths of where she is, I have felt unsupported, misunderstood, and tired.  I am going to try and see if there is a support group in our area, because as LGA ages, I think we are going to need it.

So, school year 2013-14 has started and let's hope it's a good one.  Good luck to all who have started school this week.  Hope it's a good year for all of us.

1 comment:

  1. wow I had not read that article on FASD. That link was very helpful, thanks Molly.

    Here's to a successful school year!!!