Sunday, April 08, 2007

Working on Goals

It has been awhile and I apologize. I was voted on the board for the Nebraska Support Network that works with families who need support for their children with special needs. So I haven't had time to share with you some techniques as much as I would like. I promise will try harder for you.

I did want to tell you that our routine is working well. There are bumps in the road at times, and I do get tired, sometimes I want to scream, but I stand my ground and haven't given up ( key is to have a support person you can go to when you need a time out or advice or just to vent). Having a routine is important for children. But here I am almost a month later and it is working. Took some struggle as my son was resistant. But including him in the process made it a litter easier. We worked on the routine together. When he wasn't a willing participant, I made sure he had consequence when called for. As in life for every action there is a consequence and you have to make sure you follow through even if it means it is hard on you. In the long run it will pay off. ( Again that is why you need a support system for you)

Now that we have a routine and reward system in place, we are working on goals. Goals are important part of life. And just because a child may have bipolar or add, or adhd, or whatever, it is important for them to have goals. No matter how small they may seem. Your child needs to have a feel of achievement in order to succeed.

For my son it is hard, I know that he has his down days ( we don't use bad days as that is negative, we are using positive words, it makes a difference, that will be a different blogg)

So for starters, lets say your child has a routine in place, his/her goal is to accomplish the all or part of the routine but another.phpect is to have them tell you want they want to accomplish.

My son for instance, his goal is to try and make it through an entire school day, with out excuses not to be in class. My son is the master of excuses when he doesn't want to do something. So the goal is when he really is overwhelmed he is to communicate that to his teacher with the IEP ( Individual education program) to raise his hand and form the the letter c ( the sign language letter "C") to let the teacher know he needs a chilly pass. That means he needs to be in a self contained room with an adult to calm down or process his feelings.

Let me explain the sign language of the letter "c" we have that in the IEP so he doesn't draw attention to himself and the other students don't know what he is leaving class for. But also as I have explained in other bloggs you need to give the teacher a list of triggers and body language your child expresses when overwhelmed when they are in an episode so the teacher can properly help your child when they are not recognizing the issue.

Another goal my son has is to make an effort to turn in his homework assignments. When he doesn't he has a consequence, when he reaches this goal for the week there is a reward, and we have a reward jar, that the both of us worked on together.

This way the goals seem more attainable and more rewarding. Also working on family goals as well helps the child know you too want to be an active part of their life. Like for my son and I our goal is to communicate better. We have eliminated the word cant. As that means you are incapable. He isn't paralyzed, so he can walk, he has down days but he can have those, he has bipolar disorder but doesn't mean he cant be successful. So one goal is to know he can accomplish anything with support and guidance.

I promise to share more. If you have specific techniques you want to know about let me know and I will do my best to advise.

Take care.
Stacey

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Keeping a Routine

Sorry it has been a while been very busy setting up schedules and getting my son back on track. It is a hard road, and we have hit some potholes along the way. But I have found that with my sons disorder a routine is key. Why because not having one makes them unfocused and causes them to go into episodes becuase they have a hard time with change.

So I try really hard to keep my son on a schedule and we do our best to follow it. I also had him take part in this as it was going to be what has to follow. So far the bed time routine is working well. What we have put to together is wind down time. What I mean by this is an hour and half before he is to go to bed we get together the things he will need for the next day and make a list, that way when he wakes in the moring he has a visual and can check off what he has done. May sound silly but it gives him confidence and there arent any suprises. He knows what to expect.

I do change the routine when he gets to comfortable, because life is about changes and he will experiance many of those when he is an adult. But I do the changes in baby steps. Bed time never changes nor does the med schedule and I am in charge of the the meds, I know that seems a little controlling but I want to make sure he is taking them and to understand it isnt a hanicap to have to take meds. Plus if I forget he know reminds me, so I am conditioning him to be responsible with is meds and taking them like he is supposed to.

One of our obsticles right now is getting him back to therapy, I did have in home therapy which was great but when my job changed insurance, the HSA doesnt cover that, and it is expensive, so I have been taking on the role as cargiver, mom and therapist, and have bought books, not that I am quailified by anymeans but I dont want to trick him into going because that does backfire, his therapist does call to check on how he is doing and gives me advice. But right now that is my pot hole I am trying to overcome.

Homework has been another issue, so our routine is to break up the time spent so he doesnt get overwhelmed nor refuse to go back and finish. I try to make sure the activeites are not over stimulating so he will go back to finish.

Now does the rountine happen over night? NO! Is your child going to be obstinate about it at first? YES! But it is up to you to be the broken record. Just like a teacher at school you have to stick to a plan, if the routine isnt working after a month then rework the plan. Teachers have to do it all the time with students they have a rountine and many children respond to it, if a few students dont then they rework the plan to help them get the education they need from that class. So as parents we need to be consistance and stick to a plan and keep a rountine. Just like you do when you are teaching your infant to sleep on thier own, you make a schedule/rutine and try very hard to stick to. Also make some quite time for you as well becuase at first you are the one that is going to have it the hardest. Even if your quiet time is taking a shower, take what you can get and make sure you try to get others to emtionally support you.

I have really great friends and when I am at the end of my frazzeled rope I call them, they may not have answers or suggestions but they keep me grounded and on task, they will tell me you can do. It helps having a cheering section not be mention someone to lean on.

Also make sure your routine isnt overwelming or over stimulating as that can cause them to shut down. Make it attainable for both you and your loved one. Nothing feels better than knowing you accomplished somthing even if it is small. For instance when my son goes to school and doesnt have any negative reports I give him lots or praise,as well as when he accomplishes a task on the routine chart, I praise him. Now he may not achieve it every day, but it is the small achievments that matter.

Take care.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Been Awhile

Sorry I haven't blogged for awhile, alot has happened. One my grandmother who I consider my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, we have been trying to deal with her numbered days though I am not aware of how long she has. Which has been hard on mt son as he is closer to his great grandma, then his grandma (my mother) . When my husband died ( my grandmother took us in) my grandpa (whom was like a father to me had lung caner) he died February 12th my husband April 1st 2002 same year.

Any way this has been hard on us as we know mortality is nature. But on a good note my Son has learned to value life. We have had a hard journey and we still have a ways to go, but one thine is for certain, we have established open and honest communication.It took awhile and a lot of heartache on my part, but a learning experience on both parts. what I have learned is to never give in and to never give up.

My son battles everyday with bipolar some are great days others are war with himself and his emotions, I have learned that he does not want to behave manic but it is a part of his disorder, we have learned how to communicate more effectively. Which is a major break through. Did we get there fast no!!!!

With a lot of research, classes, and patients I have learned how to help him with his mood swings and his depression and manic times. How because I have devoted much of my time not to obsess what his disorder is but to understand how it works. Much like the weather it is never an absolute. We try to predict and keep records, sometime the patterns are the same, others they change, but what is prominate is communication, sometimes you have to practice tough love other times it is just listening and trying not to fix them.

My son is very intelligent and wants to lead a normal life, but define normal. What is normal to me isn't what is to everyone else. I am not a routine person, but he is. With structure and boundaries he has learned his limitations. It didn't happen over night in fact it happened 6 years and many mistakes later, but now we have a better relationship because I understand his language.

so what does that mean, here is an example, " leave me alone" that means I need your help but I don't know how you will react or if you will judge me, I don't want to be fixed, but listen to non judgemental, so when he tells me to leave him alone I tell him. " When you are ready I am here, I don't want to change you, but know what I can do to help, he has responded much better to this than anything else.

therapy, though he needs professional therapy to many of those who suffer with bipolar mean that they want to change who you are. I make sure he understands that they are not out there to change his wonderful personality, but to enhance his life, people don't understand that.

I am going to leave you with a thought, if you had cancer, or another ailment, you want to be who you are. Doctors recommend change, how are you going to react to change? Are you afraid they want to change who you are? No. They want to enhance your life to live longer and have a happy productive life, but those who have mental disorders aren't given that definition they are told there is something wrong with them. What is true they have a disorder all they need to change is bad habits not who they are.

Take care, I will be in touch soon
Stacey A.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Been some tough patches

Cant believe how long it is has been, but so much has been going on I have, sometimes don't which end is up. My son has been truly cycling hard. I know some of it has to due with hormones and the other is not taking his meds like he is supposed to.

I do keep track when he doesn't take them and keep a chart of his behaviors, so when he refuses to go see his psychrist I go in and let the person know what he has been up to, what has been triggering him and then he will call my son on the phone and they will talk. This has only happened twice but it is irritating.

He hates therapy because as far as he is concerned he is content the way he is. I understand he is happy being home and not being at school because he can be in his room safe from critisim and judgment, however I tell him education is very important. I wish he could see this now!!!

I did get it arranged to where he could go to another school that is smaller and he would have to go only one hour a week to get his assignment's and do the home work at home. Will he do it. No because he finds the school to be in a scarry area, which I don't blame him there, from the outside it does look a little rough. But the teachers are very nice and equipped to handle him if he would only go.

I have worked my tail off of keeping him out of the system but if he continues to not go to school it is a possibility of truancy once again. It is a visicious circle. I wish there were smaller schools for our children so they could feel safe, where the teachers are able to educate our children according to their needs. I also wish for better healthcare for our children who suffer with bipolar disorder. Hopefully someday that will happen.

Sorry this is short this time, but I am going to tell you to keep strong, always have a support system and don't give up on your child.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Breaking Your Bad Discipline Habits

Before I go into breaking down walls I thought I would touch on the subjects of breaking bad habits of parents discipline.

The reason is because before you break down walll with your child you need to have a better techinque of handeling your child/teen during the rough times

Nagging We all nag. And we all know how fruitless it is.

Either your child resorts to fibbing ("I did wash my hands! Really!") or he/she learns to tune you out.

Try this instead: Use eye contact and state your expectations as calmly as possible.

Fewer words are better. Instead of saying, "How many times do I have to tell you not to eat in the living room?" say, "No eating in the living room." And try not to load up on commands. It's better for him to do one thing (put on his shoes) than hear a whole string of orders Source

Yelling

What's true of nagging is doubly true of yelling -- we all do it, and we all feel guilty every time we do.

Even if it does occasionally get results, it just teaches your child that it's OK to raise his voice when he's angry.

Try this instead: A proper scolding that names the misbehavior at hand.
Your child really does need to know what he's done wrong, as long as you don't raise your voice or lose your temper.
Remain clame and explain that their misbehavior will not be tolerated. Children/teens know which buttons to push and sometimes thier goal is to get you to yell. Dont give in.

Issuing empty warnings

A good warning can be an effective discipline strategy. The problem comes when you threaten in anger, grossly exaggerate ("If you do that again, I'm not taking you outside all day"), or fail to be specific ("You'll be sorry!").

Try this instead: Make your warnings more specific and immediate. ("I'm warning you. If you don't give that toy back to your sister, I'm going to have to put you in time-out.") Use a calm, firm tone of voice that makes it clear you're in control.

Follow through and be consistant when you do warn them dont give them several chances you warn once and if they do not do as told then follow through with your warning. Kids will test you to see if you are actually going to follow through with your threat.

Giving the cold shoulder

While removing a privilege can be an effective penalty, turning away from your child when she wants to kiss and make up or giving her the silent treatment after she's misbehaved can make her feel unworthy of your love and affection.

Try this instead: Tell your child how upset you are. Just do it calmly without making her feel rejected. Your aim is to make it clear that it's the behavior that's driving you crazy, not her. This will help to open doors with your child to be able to communicate with you when they are upset. Children/teens need to know that even if they have done something wrong that was thier behavior that made you upset not them as a person. This techniche really can build more self esteeme and better communication skills.

Take Care
Stacey Adams

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sorry it has been awhile

I know I was going to cover breaking down walls to help your child and yourself cope. However right now I am trying to get services for my son once again and change his IEP at school as he isnt attending once again. I know now why he isnt which is part of the breaking down walls. I didnt want any one to think I have forgotten about anyone. In the next couple of days I will have a more informative blog. I have had so much going and cant wait to share with you what I have learned.

Please hang in there.

Stacey A

Friday, August 04, 2006

Just as the services Start they end

So it has been a while since my last post, mainly because working part time and then having inhome services for 8 hours a week. My time was really spent. It was time well spent. At first my son was restitant to the treatment because he didnt like then invading his space, but at the same time he was able to sit comfortably in the comfort of his own enviornment.

During this short time, my son was in charge of setting his own realistic goals. He was required to make his own chart and calendor so he could take ownership of his actions and was rewared or praised for the things he accomplished. What he didnt accomplish that week we carried it over and told him every goal is attainable some take more time then other.

One of the things that is upsetting is just as this program was starting to work, insurance deceided that he didnt need any more treatments because he has reached his maximum amount of care covered under the mental health behavior plan, which is so irritating. So right now I am left without a therapist and a pyschritrist for his meds, thankfully I have the rest of this month for his meds. So that is something I am going to have to work on getting.

However I did request from the therapist a treatment plan that I can follow until I can get addtional insurance to cover meds and his therapy. I am sticking to this plan as it is working. So far my son has been much more compliant and less resistant. We have included more exercise to his day, eliminated refined sugars and junk food. AS that was causing a lot of his irratablilty. Now we do still have some junk food in the house but it is placed in baggies in portions in which i know he can handle.

Next post I will cover breaking down the walls, as this is what has helped my son with moving forward.

My toes and eyes are crossed in hopes this continues as school is getting ready to start which means more IEP's.

Take Care.
Stacey Adams