Monday, August 16, 2010

Bill of Rights

I am preparing for one of the most difficult and important meetings about C that I have ever had. Our whole plan and the funding associated with it is currently tied up in the assumption that he will attend Day Treatment at one of our local Children's Mental Health agencies. If this meeting does not go well I will be faced with either another HUGE fight to get him the resources and treatment he so desperately needs or I will have to decide the fight is not worth it and retreat - possibly still having to fight to reinstate the resources and supports we had before. And as I blogged before, this is no small feat - I am TERRIFIED of us going back to that dark place we were in before if we do not get the supports our family needs. I am just not willing to sell out my child and his needs to do it.

Amazingly enough, although I am anxious (when am I not???) - I am also really calm in knowing that what I am advocating for my son is the absolute truth and what he so absolutely requires. I am his voice tomorrow and I will represent who I know him to be. I will not be swayed by arguments that try to convince me of any truth other than his own. He is a GOOD kid who has worked HARD to get to where he is at. Adults around him using the Collaborative Problem solving (CPS) technique is what has brought him back from the brink of ultimate peril.

And with that I give you

Bill of Rights for Behaviourally Challenging Kids, © Ross W. Greene, Ph.D.

Behaviorally challenging kids have the right:

- To have their behavioral challenges understood as a form of developmental delay in the domains of flexibility/adaptability, frustration tolerance, and problem-solving

- To have people -- parents, teachers, mental health clinicians, doctors, coaches...everyone -- understand that challenging behavior is no less a form of developmental delay than delays in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and is deserving of the same compassion and approach as are applied to these other cognitive delays.

- Not to be misunderstood and counterproductively labeled as bratty, spoiled, manipulative, attention-seeking, coercive, limit-testing, controlling, or unmotivated.

- To have adults understand that challenging behavior occurs in response to specific unsolved problems -- homework, screen time, teeth brushing, clothing choices, sibling interactions, and so forth -- and that these unsolved problems are usually highly predictable and can therefore be solved proactively.

- To have adults understand that the primary goal of intervention is to collaboratively solve these problems in a way that is realistic and mutually satisfactory so that they don't precipitate challenging behavior any more.

- To have adults (and classmates) understand that time-outs, detentions, suspensions, expulsion, and isolation do not solve problems or "build character" but rather often make things worse.

- To have adults take a genuine interest in their concerns or perspectives, and to have those concerns and perspectives viewed as legitimate, important, and worth listening to and clarifying.

- To have adults in their lives who do not resort to physical intervention and are knowledgeable about and proficient in other means of solving problems.

- To have adults who understand that solving problems collaboratively -- rather than insisting on blind adherence to authority -- is what prepares kids for the demands they will face in the real world.

- To have adults understand that blind obedience to authority is dangerous, and that life in the real world requires expressing one's concerns, listening to the concerns of others, and working toward mutually satisfactory solutions.

I have printed it. I will laminate it tonight. I will place it before me at tomorrow's meeting. I will remind myself that I am not delusional. That I KNOW what my son needs and how he can be set up for success. It is not with coercion, physical force, threats and isolation. It is with mutual understanding and respect, its with collaboration and problem solving. It's not easy but I have seen it done. It works.

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