IEPs, ballet Elvis, EMTs and police

This last week has been horrid.  So, let me go back to last week when I have some positive stuff to report.  Mickey’s IEP meeting was last Thursday.  I didn’t have much time to prep because the school dropped the ball and his IEP was expiring on Friday and they didn’t have it on the schedule.  I had no idea what the outcome would be.  I have talked about transitioning Mickey from his current very restrictive placement before and I have talked about how Mickey sabotages every attempt.  For that reason, I was not going to push. His grades are good, his school behavior is positive 90+% of the time.  I figured we would just kind of rubber stamp the IEP – assistive technology had been added in the spring and otherwise we didn’t feel any additional accommodations were needed. My average IEP meeting is about 4.5 hours (yes, I am that mom and no, I feel no guilt over getting everybody on his team to work together to come up with solutions with the fewest accommodations needed). I cleared my calendar just in case, but I was prepared for a quick discussion.

So, I was ill prepared when we got to the end of the current accommodations and they brought up transitioning him to the Autism program.  We had discussed it in the spring and made the determination that was the direction we wanted to head and Mickey said he was excited.  But, then behavior, as usual, went down the drain.  I am fearful of moving him because this is the most stable he has been at school – ever!  I hate a lot about his school and the lack of opportunities, but he is safe, comfortable and he feels secure there.  Mickey has met the exit criteria we laid out for him in the spring.  His objectives were 80%.  He is meeting them at 90% consistently.  It is time.  Mickey himself had approached his principal, asked to see the criteria and worked hard on them.  He had discussed it with me and reviewed his IEP so that he could address those concerns specifically.  It is time.

Most kids from his program go to an EBD (emotional behavior disturbance) program for kids with behavior concerns.  Mickey will be the first to leave the school and go to an Autism program instead.  That is what we fought for in our last 4 + hour IEP meeting.  In all honesty his ODD diagnosis and his ASD diagnosis qualify him for both.  Most days Mickey lives pretty firmly on the ASD side of the house.  But, and ODD flare up lands him firmly on the EBD side.  But, most of those flare ups can be managed/mitigated using the ASD program methodologies, so we don’t feel EBD is the best choice for him anymore.  Plus, he was traumatized at the only school within the county that hosts the EBD step down program and I will NEVER force him to go back there.

He will begin his new program 1/2 days after the Christmas holidays.  There will be an evaluation to determine which Autism classroom will suit his level of functioning best during November.  Mickey even attended a portion of the IEP meeting and expressed his excitement and fears over the move.  He left very excited.  So, that is the good news.  The rest of the post is going down hill quickly.

My brother fell Sunday and broke his ankle in two places and will require surgery.  For anyone new, he has stage 5 kidney failure and needs a kidney transplant. I am to be his donor.  We were hoping to do that before the end of the year, but that has now been postponed because of the surgery.  EMTs were called, an ambulance ride taken. The fall was caused by increased potassium and seizures that have begun as a side effect of the dialysis. He has been having blood clots in his port which is making his dialysis more challenging, thus causing the potassium levels to increase.  His levels were critical when he was admitted into ICU on Sunday.

On Monday his company had been hosting a fundraiser for his transplant and I had hired our very first non relative babysitter.  This freaked Mickey out, even though he knew the person, as she was a friend of the family.  Uncle being hurt freaked Mickey out.  My missing his Halloween tap and jazz class performances to be at the fundraiser freaked Mickey out.  Red Ribbon week and the anticipated Halloween holiday has him completely out of sorts.

Fast forward to Wed night.  Mickey attended his ballet class, dressed in his Halloween costume (as all the kids do this week, dubbed costume week at the studio).  He did ballet as Elvis (hysterical, by the way).  Minnie went in to her two hour class, as is the norm on Wed.  Mickey and I ran a few errands and were back at the studio with about an hour to spare.  He got fixated on a snack that I said no to because he had already had a snack and a smoothie and we were an hour before dinner.  This is where the wheels came off.  He slammed my work laptop down on the counter and lost his mind.  I asked him to come outside to calm down and he screamed at me.  I walked outside in hopes he would follow.  He did.  There he proceeded to kick the car hard and repeatedly.  He also punched and kicked the windows of the car repeatedly.  He would not stop and his rage was completely consuming.  I haven’t seen him like this in a long time.  The car is damaged – there are now dents along both doors, but my real fear was that he would break a hand or a window.  My attempts to physically stop him made him run.  The studio sits next to a rather busy highway, and he headed there every single time I came near.  So, I stopped chasing and got in the car.  He came back and continued his rage. I opened the window and asked him to stop or I would need to call for help.  He didn’t.  He screamed more at me and proceeded to keep going.  So, I called the police.

I never thought I would be in that position.  An ambulance, a fire truck and two sheriffs were dispatched.  He stopped as soon as he heard the siren and begged me to call them back.  He begged me not to let them take him.  He sobbed.  It was the single worst day of my life.  His sister watched from her class as he was checked out by the EMTs and talked to by the Sheriff.  The studio owner, who has been so unbelievably kind and supportive had to explain to worried parents what was going on.  Mickey was under control so I elected not to have him transported.  The officers were kind and Mickey refused to speak to them.  The whole incident was approximately 45 minutes.  Minnie is embarrassed as she had to explain to her classmates who witnessed this why.  I was embarrassed because this was so very public.  He was just scared that I would send him away.  When I didn’t, he got back to being surly and his attitude has gone between being apologetic and annoyed that I took away privileges because of this.

This started as a temper tantrum, at some point it crossed into a meltdown, but it should have never gotten to where it was.  He has better coping skills than this.  It is not okay to destroy property because he is angry.  He will not be trick or treating and he is 100% grounded for a minimum of 2 weeks.  He is angry because he feels like I should just understand that he lost control. I do.  But, he has to understand that had he not have started the (fully in control) tantrum, the rest wouldn’t have happened.  He was offered ample opportunity to de-escalate before he got to the place where he could no longer control it.  The outside forces are a lot this week, I get that.  But, this can’t go without consequences.  Even if they do deprive the world of one more Elvis on Monday night.  Sometimes parenting sucks. This is one of those times.

To end on a higher note, here are a couple of pics from costume week.  Enjoy the Elvis pics, until his plan to grow up and be an Elvis impersonator come to fruition, this is likely the only time you will see Mickey as Elvis.

Suzy, hurricanes and fall break

Well, Suzy is still missing and I would have said presumed dead, but I worked from home Friday and am almost positive that I heard her.  So, the hunt continues.  If not, I may have to burn the house down because we have a mouse and I am petrified of rodents (apparently not the type we keep in cages). I am kidding, in case there is any concern. Seriously, I found some snacks near where I thought I heard her, but we have yet to locate her.  I did however move the motion detector camera to that spot this morning, so if she is big enough to set it off, maybe we will have some luck.  Keep the positive Suzy thoughts coming.

We are not/were not in the path of Hurricane Matthew.  we were scheduled to head to Orlando Friday evening though.  I cancelled the trip on Wed, because evacuations were suggested, the hit seemed like it would be direct and it was the last day to get my refund on the hotel. Turns out, we could have gone, but better safe than sorry, right.  So, we skipped Disney for our abbreviated fall break this year.  The kids were heartbroken, but mostly concerned about our Florida friends.  Thankfully they all survived the storm with minimal impact.  I wish the same could be said up and down the east coast.  Sending best wished to any impacted.

We decided to have fun at home and we hit Six Flags for Fright Fest instead.  I didn’t think Mickey would like it, but he did.  He thought the music was SUPER annoying.  He thought the walking zombies did pretty good makeup, but all in all, my little scaredy cat hung in there like a champ. We had less success with the insane crowds.  Lines were 90+ minutes and the key difference between Disney and Six Flags (ok, there are sooooo many differences it isn’t funny and we are theme park snobs) is that the fast pass/flash pass system is $$$ at Six Flags.  Disney we can always get the top rides because of fast pass.  We also have the disability pass option at Disney, which we have only used once when Mickey was having a particularly out of sorts day.  Six Flags offers a version of the disability pass, but it requires a Dr.’s note and I am not willing to go to the Dr. just to get a note.  We only go every 3 months now, so we haven’t been since we first attempted six flags.  Mickey can’t wait the 90+ minutes every line had.  The six flags queues are particularly difficult because of the setup – they make me feel claustrophobic standing in row after row of people, sandwiched within inches.  Mickey lost his mind every time we tried. So, not terribly successful on Saturday.  I may have to look into their disability program more so that he can enjoy the day.

We were at the park for 9 hours on Saturday and we rode maybe 4 rides (and two were not even big rides).  We did go again yesterday though for the holiday and we rode EVERY ride in the park during the six hours they were open.  Amazing.  We had a blast. I mean, we rode Batman 3 times in a row and walked right on/waited for one or two loads tops. The longest line was for Monster Plantation and it was 15 minutes – and it is a cute little boat ride, not a thrill ride.  For what it is worth, Mickey got in line with us for that one and lost his cool 5 minutes in.  He  went shopping so that Minnie could ride it.  That is what I mean about the queue lines – it isn’t even the duration, it is the anxiety and inability to deal with the crowds that sends him over the edge.  Disney winds their lines for most of rides through interesting stuff with lots of stuff to look at.  You are very rarely trapped with 5 rows of people on both sides of you.  This is an empty example of what I am talking about at Six Flags – this is for one ride (and I borrowed this image, credit is in the bottom right corner – none were this empty during either trip) – imagine it full of people, then imagine someone with severe anxiey trying to stand among those people with no personal space.

Image result for six flag queue lines over ga

It wasn’t Disney, but it was fun. Now that Minnie has hit the magical 54″ mark, she can ride everything and my little daredevil has no fear. She stood up to the creepy dudes walking around Saturday night and laughed when one stared her down. Here are some pics of our weekend.  Next Disney trip is planned for Thanksgiving week, but we may try to hit Six Flags once or more between now and then.