Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dear Crisis Social Worker

Dear Crisis Social Worker

First, I want to say thank you for being so kind and understanding with my son when I brought him to the Emergency room. I appreciate that you saw his anxiety and despair for what it was and took him seriously.

I also want to thank you for trying to empathize with me and how exhausted and "burnt out" I was that day. I know your heart was in the right place, please know that.

However . . .

The last thing I needed you to tell me was that I know more about my son and all of his conditions than the rest of you and all your co-workers "put together". Seriously? Is that supposed to be some source of comfort to me? Or were you trying to plunge me deeper and darker into despair?

Also, you should know that I BELIEVE in inclusion. I believe a "child like mine" CAN and DOES belong in a "regular" school and in a "regular" classroom. Being told, while I am despondent about my 11 year old who is acting manic and saying he wants to kill himself, that I need to start making plans to basically institutionalize him in the next couple of years - how exactly is that helpful to me or him????? And why on earth would you say those things while he was 2 feet away from you?

But thank you - seriously. One thing that I have learned in all this is that it is hard for me to not have someone to be mad at. Dealing with this latest crisis and having my sons whole team all on the same page and in agreement with everything but no one being able to do anything - well, that was agonizing. When I have someone to rage against it almost makes it easier. It helps me to focus on something than just the pain, worry and despair. So inadvertently your words lifted me up, renewed my energy, made me sit up and say "no way in hell is that going to be my kids life".

Your words have made me determined, once my son has passed this crisis, to make sure that you eat your words.

Thank you.

Friday, February 05, 2010

In Search of Spectacular Destinations

I haven't been blogging even though I very much want to. There is so much going on and I feel a pull to write about it. But it's all so much, so big that I never know where to start and I never know what is mine to share and what is my sons. The truth is he is in crisis and the last two weeks have been the hardest time for all of us but especially him. He fell apart and had to be hospitalized and now we begin to try to help him rebuild everything.

I've mentioned many times the ups and downs with our school over the years but even when we don't see eye to eye I know they care deeply about our son and are committed to him 100%. We very much appreciate them and all of their efforts. With C's latest situation the school bore the brunt of the fall out the days leading up to the hospitalization. All the staff rallied, they did their absolute best. They cried for our boy and agonized over how to help, how to keep him safe.

Yesterday we had a school meeting. EVERYONE from his school team was there for almost 2 hours. Well, his teacher had to leave after 1.5 hours because we suddenly realized how much time had passed and there was no one to cover his class. During that meeting there was constant dialogue around how do we support C. What can we do to make him successful? What's reasonable to expect and how do we go about it? The Psychologist we now have from our children's centre was phenomenal and not once, NOT ONCE, did anyone around the table even begin to balk at the idea of C returning to school. In my field of work I have been to hundreds of school meetings. Many have become heated and adversarial over far less than what we were dealing with yesterday. Most schools, I almost want to say every other school, would have at least once said "but surely you can't expect us to be able manage him here???". But they didn't. Instead they brainstormed and eagerly sought possible solutions. They wondered aloud how to get me more support at home as he will not be able to manage more than a few minutes of school a day for the next while. They agreed to strategies that the Psychologist and I had thought were doubtful they would agree to. At one point there was a discussion of a pop up tent for C to use when he needed to get away. I tried not to looked visibly shocked when there was unanimous agreement on the strategy. Then I wept openly when after I vowed to go out that very night and pick one up (all the while trying to figure out how I could really make that happen with all that was on my plate) and the Acting Principal (this poor man who is filling in for a few weeks and probably never expected to deal with this) piped in with "I will go tonight and get one - you have enough to do - let us help you".

There were some horribly difficult things discussed yesterday. Possibilities of what is happening to our son and what it could mean were briefly mentioned and left hanging in the air. No one wanting to discuss or speculate further. There was a lot of hope in the room but worry for him as well. As though we were all acknowledging the hard road that lies ahead and praying that for once the road might not be the hardest one but perhaps a long, windy one with a spectacular destination at the end.