Tuesday, May 21, 2013

When a child is hurting, Part 4 - The conclusion

Dr. M. thought that perhaps we should try an anti-depressant.  She felt uncomfortable putting her on one of the typical ADHD meds since most of those are stimulants.  We all agreed that Amelia didn't need to be stimulated...at all!  So, she started her on a common anti-depressant.  After a week or so, we still hadn't seen any significant change.  I watched her struggle everyday.  Her behavior at home was awful and so I knew it had to be that way at school too.  Then, the week before Easter break, I got a call from the principal.  Dan and I went in to see her and they decided that it would be best to change 3rd grade classes.  I know that they wanted us to see this as a "positive" change for Amelia and I was hopeful, but I also knew the real reason they had switched classes.  For one thing, I think her poor teacher needed a break!  I know that Mrs. J. spent a ton of time trying to keep her reigned in.  Clearly the other students needed a break from her too.  She was so disruptive in class that I'm sure those kids were grateful for the peace and quiet.  All did not go well though.  Even though our intent was not to tell her about the change until Easter break had started, she inadvertently found out that she had been moved to Mrs. G's class while in the car line at school.  She was very upset.  She cried hysterically for several hours.  My heart was breaking for her.  She didn't understand (and still doesn't) that her behavior matters and that dealing with her can be exhausting...for her teachers and her classmates.  She thought that this change meant that Mrs. J. didn't like her and that the kids in her class hated her.

By the time classes started back again, she was ready for the change to Mrs. G's class.  I walked her to class that first day and she seemed happy.  I got to work, sat down...and prayed.  All I could think was...."and now we wait"!  Sure enough, the honeymoon period was short.  Within the first two weeks, we were right back where we had started.  Only this time, it got worse.  I got an email from Mrs. G. explaining that Amelia had made some very inappropriate comments to some of her classmates during recess.  Apparently, the kids went home and mentioned this to their parents.  Consequently, Mrs. G. had gotten several calls and the principal had gotten several emails.  I'm not going to say here exactly what the inappropriate comments were but suffice it to say....they were awful and not something that should EVER come out of a 9 year olds mouth.  To make a long story short...she was suspended for 3 days!  To this day, she denies having said anything even close to what those kids repeated to their parents, but the truth of the matter is, Amelia lies all the time and there was NO WAY for me to know if she was telling the truth or not.  There was no way I could defend her. 

I immediately called Dr. M and I also called to make an appointment for an evaluation with a neuro-psychologist.  Dr. M was able to see us right away...but it would be several weeks before she was seen for the evaluation.  Dr. M. spent quite awhile talking with Amelia that day.  She upped her anti-depressant to a dosage that I was not comfortable with.  I was prescribed this same anti-depressant after I had delivered Nathan for some post partum issues.  Amelia was now taking a higher dosage than I was taking some 12 years earlier!  I was scared for my daughter.

She had the evaluation with the neuro-psychologist back on May 2nd.  We are still waiting for her findings.  This was about a 5 hour appointment.  I sat patiently in the waiting room, praying pleading with God to please help her...to help us! 

Two weeks ago, we had another incident with Amelia saying something inappropriate to her classmates.  This time, they took her out of Mrs. G's class and have her in Mrs. W's (who is the resource teacher) room for the rest of the year.  She is not allowed to interact with her classmates at all.  She can't even have lunch in the cafeteria.  The good news is that she does much better with one on one interaction. 

I'm at the point now where I just don't know what to do.  I try to tell myself that I'm doing everything I possibly can to help her.  She is fidgety, impulsive, not focused, inattentive and hyper.  She's very smart, but she can't slow down enough to think logically.  She has no filter.  She does not understand that she can't just say whatever she is thinking.  She can't grasp that some things are better left unsaid....that she can't just blurt out whatever she's thinking, whenever she's thinking it.  She wants so much to be liked and she doesn't understand that the way she behaves pushes people away.

I have cried more tears than I ever thought possible.  I want her to be happy, healthy and successful.  I want her to be liked and appreciated.  She is such a sweet little girl.  She has many talents as well as great and creative ideas.  She has a wonderful imagination.  She has a big heart.  She loves her brother and sister immensely.  She is feminine, yet, she can climb the heck out of a tree.  The best part of her is that she knows how to love!  She is so special to me.

This has been a rough year for her.  She is suffering.  She feels defeated and lost.  She told me the other day...."mom, maybe I should just go away".  How is it that my precious little 9 year old can feel like that?  Please tell me how!  So many times I've wanted to just grab her....pack our stuff and just get in the car and drive!  Just she and I.  I want to take her away from here, from this school, from these teachers, from this mess that's been our life for the last year.  She needs to be free from ridicule, from harassment, from the stigma of being "one of those kids"....the "problem child".  Oh, if only I could just take the hurt away from her.  If I could just make it better.  What kind of mother am I that I can't make it better? 

As of today we are weaning her off of the anti depressant.  I truly think this has not helped her at all.  Frankly, I think it's made things worse.  We are also waiting for the evaluation from the neuro-psychologist.  Her findings will give us some guidance, some direction.  It will be helpful to know exactly what we're dealing with.  Is it truly ADHD, is it ODD or is it some other issue.  In the meantime, there are only 7 days of school left.  I don't think I have ever been so glad that a school year is ending!

I know that I can count on your prayers and support during this difficult time in our family, but today, I'm really looking for some practical advice.  Someone, somewhere out there has had a similar experience and can share some words of wisdom with me!  I know we are not alone.  This path has been well worn by the feet of praying, hopeful yet concerned parents.  My daughter is worth every tear I've shed...every trip to the Principal's office, every time out, every temper tantrum, and every prayer that I've pleaded.  I will not give up on her, even if the school does, even if society does.    She is everything to me!

For Part 1, click here.
For Part 2, click here.
For Part 3, click here.


mary333 said...

Nancy, my heart goes out to both you
and Amelia. My daughter has problems too so I know how heartbreaking it is to go through things like this and feel helpless to help your child who is suffering. My daughter's seems to be Aspergers but at one point I wondered about ODD. It's definitely a challenge when your child's brain works a bit differently. Have you tried some of the special diets for children with issues like these? They aren't a cure-all but they do help a bit.

Here is a link to an excellent book that you may be interested in:

Thia said...

Knowing what the end of the school year is like, I'd take her out, if there's any way to do so. I don't see any benefit of her being there for one more week. You have the testing results coming, hopefully soon, and can then start thinking about the fall.

Lori said...

Nancy, my heart is breaking for you and Amelia and as much emotion as I feel for you right now I know it's not near what you and your daughter have experienced. Once you receive her test results from the doctor I hope you will have answers that allow you to help Amelia in the very best way possible. I will certainly pray for her and I will pray that God give YOU the strength and courage it will take to fight for her. She is going to need a warrior mom to help her through this. I know you've got it in you my friend. I wish I could hug you right now. Sending you love . . .

John Hoffman said...

I know how you feel. For your child to be the "trouble child" at that school even if she isn't. Not very nice from that school, as my family goes there as well. I personally think homeschooling or one-on-one is very good for her.

Nancy said...

Mary-I'm definitely looking into the diet aspect. A friend of mine mentioned that food dyes and gluten can cause this type of behavior. She also mentioned that caffeine can help them...but I shutter to think what would happen if I let her drink a Mountain Dew!!!

Thia-I totally and completely agree with you. The thing is, this is where my husband and I differ. He is adamant that she finish out the year.....I think we should just cut our loses and end the year!

Lori-It did my heart good to hear from you!

John-I certainly would homeschool if I could, but unfortunately, I can't right now.

mary333 said...

Yes, food dyes, gluten, sugar, msg, aspartame and a few other common food allergens. The problem is that these diets are very hard to stick with (ask me how I know...lol). Still, I see the most improvement when my daughter's diet contains as little of these things as possible so they do make a difference. Now if we could only do it permanently (sigh).

I am praying for you and Amelia. Sometimes things improve as the child matures. Michaela is 9 too, though she will be turning ten in a few months. I have to admit though: the thought of her teen
years terrifies me a bit :(