Saturday, May 9, 2015

Hard Decisions

We had a hard IEP meeting for Anthony.  My husband and I had already discussed his placement for next year (first year of middle school) and both felt that he wouldn't be able to cope in a regular classroom.  However, I went into the meeting open to suggestions from his classroom and resource teachers.

Several years ago when we had him evaluated we were told that there would come a day when he would not be able to keep up and would fall further and further behind. He had been diagnosed with a brain injury and TBI went onto his school records.  We were told that he will continue to grow but that his rate of growth would not keep up with his peers rate of growth, the difference would get wider and wider.  We are seeing that at home and at school.

At the IEP meeting both his regular and resource teachers felt that he needed to be in a self-contained classroom setting.  The school psychologist wanted to move him now.  We did not agree to moving him now, his teacher doesn't feel that he needs to be moved now either.  However, we did make further modifications to his IEP so that he can finish the year out with less struggles.

I worry, eventually his development line will stop growing.  I worry for his future because he has other issues which impact his abilities.  Anger is one of them, lack of motivation is the other.  If he gets frustrated he gets angry or he just shuts down.  If something is a challenge he shuts down.  He does not push himself.

At home we have really come to realize that he struggles with daily functions.  He will be 12 this summer but still can not follow multi-step directions.  We are searching for ideas in the home so that he can function better and have less frustrations.....which lead to anger.

I talked to the school counselor about his anger and I asked her for suggestions for a therapist.  She told me that I would be better able to work with him and she sent home this workbook for us to do over the summer.

Anyone do this book?

It looks interesting, Area 1 Understanding Anger, Area 2 Safe Ways to Release Anger, Area 3 Cognitive Restructuring, Area 4 Relaxation and Area 5 Conflict Management.  I actually plan on working on it with all the kids.  Michelle has anger issues as well so it will help her too.  Emma and Larissa not so much but I think that the conflict management couldn't hurt. I have come to realize that Anthony doesn't always understand his feelings so starting with understanding anger will be good for him.

We have talked to him about his placement for next year.  He hasn't said too much about it.  I to believe that he was relieved.  This year has been a struggle for him and his behavior over the year has gotten worse and worse as the struggles got harder and harder.

Making these decisions for my kids is really hard.  However, I really feel that we are making this decision for his best interest.  It sucks and to think that they believe that his TBI came from someone shaking him as a baby, ugh.  He will forever be impacted by someones lack of control.


  1. It's sad the things that have been done to our kids that can't be undone. As the parent, you ultimately know what's best for him. Follow you instincts. You can always change things if it doesn't work out. Maybe he could go in to school for some of the extras--PE or a club or whatever--for socialization. Could he run cross country and track?

  2. I have a tbi, I have learned that people with them have more issues with mental health, whatever you had before or were predisposition for it will become worse. My depression got worse and I developed anxiety, my friend's learning disabilities become worse.
    have you looked into working with a therapist who specializes in brain injuries, I did many years of it and my daily functions have gotten so much better. She has taught me coping skills and new ways to do things , especially when it involves a few steps. She has also helped me regulate my emotions, a little thing to fix for someone with a tbi is much harder and much more frustrating.
    I spent several months in a day program intensely learning skills, now we just work together once a week. I live in NY and went to the rusk institute. I had friends who went to Maryland to Kennedy creiger for several months. Most go in the summer, they and their families stay for a few months. I also have friends who don't live near a therapist who Skype with one. With proper help their is so much potentia, my parents and I never thought I would have my own apartment or hold down a job , and I know have my own business, but I still have a lot of trouble keeping my apartment not messy , but it's something we are constantly working on. My closet is set up with labels that tell me where to put my clothes away since doing that change a basket of laundry doesn't seem that hard and I no longer just dump it on the floor and pick my clothes from it each day.
    I love reading your blog it's so encouraging , you must be doing something right because I bet the previous foster parents of Emma never thought she would change and look at her now.

    1. Last night I was thinking that there have to be programs for kids with TBI. Our area is so frustrating in regards to therapists. Many foster parents in our area are looking for someone. However, seems like TBI would be a little different. This is an area where I need to ask around. I am still looking for a neurologist as well. And yes, I was told that everyone thought that Emma and Michelle would age out of the system because of their behaviors. So sad when everyone thinks that and the children are ages 4 and 5.

    2. His predisposition is bipolar and we sure see it. Makes it all the more difficult.

  3. I would look into any celebrual palsy (no clue how to spell I just know it as cp) clinic's, a lot of times they have ot who can help him learn how to work on tackling multiple tasks. I did that in the day program. I honestly believe that to Anthony everything seems impossible and therefore has no motivation. It's not really about long term rewards I know I needed it right away. Have you tried giving him some money after he does a task even if it's a little it is still something tangible to hold then say if you keep your room clean for this long I'll buy you a pair of sneakers. I have depression with major mood swings if it hadn't been for a few therapist who saw potential in me I would never be where I am today. A lot of the therapies I did were out of pocket, but I have a medical trust fund.
    the other thing I would look into is vision therspy. A lot of people who have a tbi, also have trouble in tracking perphihal vision and processing. It's not something that turns up on a regular eye exam, and it's not even something that really effects a person vision. I also did vision therapy, a lot of kids were also their who had learning disabilities it trains your eyes to decode things. I traveled over an hour and half each way for therapy but it was so worth it. Have you looked into the nearest children hospital they have neurologist who are usually really good. Another thing is getting a neuro psych evaluation privately this can show little things you could work On. Unfortunately the one's that give you the most information can cost up to $5000 I'd be happy to talk with you if you want some more information.
    do they think Larissa also has a tbi, because if you can start working with her now she might not have some of the difficulties Anthony is having.