Monday, September 30, 2013

How a Problem Behavior Develops

It seems so simple. A single little action can turn into a behavior problem so quickly.  I received a phone call from a teacher.  Michelle is doing well in class.  She is very bright.  However, she is becoming more disorganized.  Might seem like an ADHD problem.  That was my first thought since her medications haven't been increased this year.  However, after talking further I am not so sure.

One day she spilled her overstuffed pencil bag right in the middle of instruction.  Many kids helped her and her teacher gave her attention for it.  I am sure that it was an accident.  Then it happened again.  I am sure that wasn't an accident.  And again.  Now most of her pencil bag contents are in her locker.

She also has problems finding her paperwork.  The teacher has been helping her to look for it.  I am sure that the first incident was a true need.  I am equally sure that the rest of the time it was not.  Once she received the one on one help she wanted more.  Slowly she has been developing more and more of a disorganization problem and it all started with that first incident.

I pointed out to the teacher Michelle's strong desire for attention and how some of her disorganization is attention seeking.  If not stopped at this point it will become a problem.  It is hard.  How do you give attention in these types of situations?  How does her teacher engage with her so as not to increase negative attention seeking behaviors? 

In this situation I asked her teacher to simply tell Michelle that she is sure she can find her papers on her own and leave it at that.  Meanwhile at home I cleaned out her folder so there are no extra papers to lose her assignments in.  I also told her that she will lose her pencil case if she continues to have a problem with dropping it.

Her teacher is more aware of Michelle's behaviors and will have to monitor it in the classroom.  Sadly she will have to be on guard to make sure that her responses don't increase unwanted behaviors because it happens so quickly.

Anyone else have a child who does this?  How have you dealt with it?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Last Day of Washington DC - Large Family Travel

On Sunday we had planned on simply travelling home. However, Sarah wanted to visit the Holocaust Museum again. She was young the last time we visited. We didn't think that the little ones were ready to go to the main part of the museum but there is an area for the kids called Daniel's Story.

So on Sunday morning we took our van from the oversized car lot and headed over to the museum. We paid $30/day to be able to park in this area behind the hotel.  Our van wouldn't fit in the parking garage.

Daniel's Story was a very good way to introduce the kids to the holocaust.  It gives the facts but not in such an emotional way that the other part of the museum presents it.


The way it is presented helps the kids to interact with the displays.  Warning - many of the journal pages are written in cursive.  Anthony could read them because he loves cursive.  I wonder when they will have to change the signs since many schools are no longer teaching cursive.

As you go through the displays it gets darker and colder. 

All the kids wrote cards to express their thoughts. 

We finished before John and Sarah so we had some waiting time.

We headed home after visiting the museum.  For our crew it was a 9 hour drive, many food and bathroom breaks.

This was quite an expensive weekend trip for our family.  Riding on the Metro got costly when buying 7 cards, driving and parking was actually cheaper for us. 
Food was crazy expensive.  We brought snacks but we still had to buy three meals a day.  Staying at the condo in Myrtle Beach was cheaper because we had a kitchen. 
We also don't fit into a typical hotel room, at all.  Not even close.  Parking was not included with the hotel rate.  There were no free breakfasts.  We did however stay a block away from the Air and Space Museum so could walk to things in that area.
All of the museums were free.  We did pay for the kids to ride the simulators at the Air and Space Museum but we didn't do the IMAX movies. We spent $80 at a street vendor for 4 shirts, one hoodie, three purses and one hat for the kids.
We also had to pay for my mothers aide and prepay for the days the kids were in respite care. 
We only had 6 weeks to budget for this trip so we cut corners wherever we could. I bought the book  Daniel's Story from the holocaust museum and a rock (tradition) from the Natural History Museum. Everything else was bought from the street vendors.  Shirts can be bought for $5.  We brought our own snacks and drinks for in the hotel room although we actually spent very little time in the room.  We ate one big meal at the mall which was actually cheaper than many of the restaurants downtown.  Still it was a very expensive trip!  We ate very cheaply at home and cut back all extra activities to make up some of the cost. 
I think that our next weekend trip will be to a condo with a kitchen!  Maybe we should go visit Kathy, she might feed us!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Day 2

We started day 2 at the Natural History Museum.  We actually spent quite a bit of time there.  We had to be at the ceremony at 2 and went from the museum straight to the ceremony.

The weather in Washington DC was great.  A slight breeze and slightly warm.  we originally planned on taking the Metro to the ceremony but keeping all those kids together was like trying to herd a bunch of cats, we were going crazy.  In the end we drove our monster van and parked wherever we were going. Thankfully I do parallel parking very well.

We spent the rest of the day with friends and eating at an Irish pub.  It was a great day and we were all exhausted by time we got back to our hotel room.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Last Weekend - Washington DC

Last weekend we went to Washington DC.  It was a super quick trip to attend a change of command ceremony for a family friend.  Thursday night we took the foster kids to a foster family down the street. Friday we got on the road early and were able to see a lot of DC.

Warning, many pictures ahead.

Friday.........we first went to the Air and Space Museum.  There is lots to see and do there.

Larissa was very upset by the war displays.  She says that war is stupid and wants to know why we have them.

Naturally, the kids got to ride on the metro.

We were not able to go up the Washington Monument because of earthquake damage.

WWII Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

At the end of the day we rode the Metro out to the mall at Pentagon City to eat.  Food was a huge expense on this trip.

Next post....Saturday


Once again we are on a quest to see if we can control Larissa's seizures.  Since she has starting homeschooling a lot of her behaviors from being overtired have gone away.  However, knowing her personality I expect that at some point she will want to go back to public school.  At this time there would not be a positive outcome because she requires extra sleep.

Once again we did a sleep deprived EEG.  Of course that also means that I am sleep deprived because Larissa was not going to stay up until midnight and then get up at 5 am all by herself. 

As soon as they got the probes on her she fell asleep.  Shortly after that she had a seizure.  Her seizures are so numerous and reliable that it is easy to get them recorded.  The problem is finding a way to stop them without taking away from her quality of life. 

Say a prayer for her that the right medication can be found, we go back later in October to discuss options.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Larissa Turns 8

 Larissa turned 8 shortly after Emma turned 7.  She is two months younger than Michelle. 

Larissa requested a Monster High cake and just about everything that she saw on TV.

We have added six children to our home through adoption.  Larissa is the only adopted child we have who has pictures of her first birthday.  I never realized how important those first pictures were until I had children who don't have them.  On my external hard drive I have pictures of all my foster kids birthdays.....just in case one day they are wanted.

Has she changed much?

Sarah wrapped Larissa's big gift in multiple layers.

Happy with crackers.

I got her a camera.  Well, actually I am repurposing an old camera that was stored in my desk.  I had no idea what to get her so decided to go with a camera.  I am not sure why it was in my desk but it seems to work fine.  She loves it so much that if it dies soon I will have to go and buy her a new one.

We now have a birthday break until November.......for Jason, Tasha and Sarah.  We went low key this summer with only family parties.  Who knows what next summer will bring.