How do I not get so irritated???

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Registered: 05-23-2003
How do I not get so irritated???
7
Fri, 05-23-2003 - 9:45pm
I haven't been here in ages - I really dont' like the format still. :(

I don't know if anyone remembers but I was struggling thru the school system to get my ds tested (although we homeschool him). We got that back a couple weeks ago. I was told several times by all of them individually that he didn't have asperger's but was "emotionally disturbed" instead. Or they said they agreed w/ his anxiety disorder he was diagnosed w/ 2 years ago. But they did in fact come back w/ asperger's (w/ a rule out of bipolar based on family history - he has symptoms in so many categories but "fits" the asperger's label more than anything else). Of course they said several times (in the report also) that they couldn't rule out homeschooling as the factor for his math problems (he scored 135 on his IQ test which is above average but his math was really poor - 78) and also b/c of his social problems. (Um, hello? isn't having social problems a part of having asperger's??) They honestly said in the ARD meeting that they didn't realize he was involved in things - they thought he was pretty much holed up at home w/ only his 3 yo sister to play with. Whatever! I told them several times during the evaluations that he was active in church, scouts, took piano lessons, met w/ our homeschool support groups for field trips and such as well as a homeschool group at the Y twice a week for PE! NO - he's not socially active every single day but he's no hermit! I couldn't believe their assumptions! BUT - anyway, I got the asperger's label. Although they said they coulnd't offer him anything since he was homeschooled (counseling would have been for how to address his school problems, the IEP would center around his school and since it's at home, it's not needed, etc). I mentioned the OT - that I was really concerned w/ his fine motor skills (something Imentioned throughout all the evaluations) and they said, "well, we didn't realize it was a problem until the end, so we never had time to do the OT eval" - WHAT???? So we've set that up but b/c it's the end of the school year (next week), it probably won't happen until next school year. Grrr! So that's what happened at the ARD meeting. Overall I was happy - mainly b/c they did see the asperger's in him and it was kind of a relief to know it's not just me! SO many times I've been told that I'm just looking for things that aren't there, or no one else sees the problems, he just has "quirks", etc. And finally I felt like I wasn't alone.

ANYWAY! lol! That's not why I'm writing this. I'm just so frustrated and irritated w/ my ds right now. (Btw, he's 9) I get so irritated by him walking on his toes all the time. I get tired of the "palilalea" (mouthing what he says after he says it over and over). I'm SO tired of the obsessions. THAT especially is getting to me. He's obsessed w/ legos right now, particularly bionicles. It's consumes him and it's driving me batty! I don't want to spend time w/ him b/c all he wants to do is play w/ those stupid things and it's all he wants to talk about. It's SO....Ugh! I'm tired of him not fitting in and I feel awful for him. I feel awful b/c he finally has one friend and I just KNOW he's going to push this friend away w/ his obsessions (luckily this kid likes bionicles so it might not happen right away). And part of me gets so irritated b/c he's so...different. He's so...weird sometimes! And I get mad (I don't show any of this to him btw - it's all inside, internal feelings) that he doen'st fit in!

My dh is gone ALL the time and I homeschool ds also so I'm with him 24/7 and I know that's part of it. It's wearing me down emotionally. I feel awful for feeling the way I do but I can't help it right now. And I don't know what to do! Please tell me I'm not alone in these frustrations. Please tell me how to get past it so I can go back to being the best mom I can be for my ds and not feel so frustrated and resentful. Please help me!

Julie

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 05-24-2003 - 10:43pm
First of all, take a big, deep breath......okay, now dodn't you feel better? No, of course not. Frustration doesn't go away with breathing excerices. BUT it does ebb a bit with a hearty helping of chocolate, especially when consumed away from the house and kids. I'd send you some good Ghieardelli Mochano but all I can do is send some e-chocolates. That is, unless we get amazon.com involved, LOL.

I can definately relate to being cooped up with the Aspies. Sometimes the rest of the family forgets that I need time away from the house too and I find myself going through a routine of waking, working form my home office, homeschooling, cooking, then bed. And this will go on for weeks if I don't put my foot down. DH doesn't understand that getting out to skate practice with the kids and getting out for a cup of coffee with my best girlfriend are two entirely different things. He works outside the home, plus being an Aspie himself, he has a tendancey to overlook the building frustration in me until it's too late and I explode or go into depression. And it takes him a while to recognise the depression thing. Sigh.

I love my kids, my work, and homeschooling, but I have to remember that I'm a human being and that I have needs too. I can't expect my DH to fix-it-make-it-better all the time. That's why I try to make a point of getting out of the house on 'child-free' excurtions at least once a week. Actually, they are 'Aspie-free' excurtions. I don't mind taking dd10, who is not an Aspie, but I leave Dh, who is, at home. It gets really tiring having to go out with Aspies all the time, wether they're child or adult. You don't get to just relax and be free b/c your constantly on 'major social blunder' alert.

As for the school district and the IEP, well, I'm sorry you have to go through all that just to get your ds the services he needs. I don't deal with the district anymore just because of all that. I got tired of having some shrink who's job it was to reduce district spending on special services keep trying to tell me that Jade was doing so poorly mentally and socially because she was hs'd. Especially when her doctors all agreed that it was the best thing for her. They, of course, assume that we who homeschool lock our children up and never let them leave the house or talk to other kids, especially not public schooled kids. SHEESH! I have so may kids from the co-op, the local private school, AND ps running around here everyday that I've almost forgotten which kids are mine and which ones belong to a neighbor. LOL And one day I came to the realization that of the 12 kids in my house that day only 2 were mine and my other 4 were at the park drooling over the boys who were shooting hoops. Yeah, they're totally socially impaired, can't ya tell?

As for the ps district saying your ds' math problems stem from hsing, that's not surprising given the fact that they don't really see the AS. Math is a common area of concern for Aspies. Those who are good at it are usually uncnnily good at it (like Einstein) but most Aspies have a hard time with math's absrtact nature.

I hope things get better for you. And I wish I could be of SOME real help. Other than hopping on a plane and coming out to babysit for a day or two I can't think of anything. If I do I'll let you know.

Peace,

Candes

Peace,
Candes  
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-23-2003
Sat, 05-24-2003 - 11:35pm
Thank you SOOOOOO much Candes! It really helps to just voice my frustrations and also to have someone that really gets what I'm saying. I really really just need a major break. I told my grandma today (we went to the country to go visit her and all the kids played outside all day - it was great fun) that I needed a vacation. She asked where I'd go and I said I didn't care - as long as it was kid free for one whole day. I told her a week sounds nice but realistically I know I'd miss them terribly after a day. :) Dh feels bad b/c he knows that I'm stuck w/ them all the time and if he could, he'd be here more. But he can't.

Overall I feel really grateful for my aspie b/c of all my kids - I think he's the best behaved. He knows the rules, and while he'll try to avoid work whenever possible, if I remind him of the consequences or ask him to do something or whatever, he does it. Rarely does he willfully break a rule (other than things like not doing his chores or schoolwork but he doesn't ever lie about it anything). Today, at my grandma's, my sister's kids were there too so it was 5 kids playing today. And of my 3, only my aspie didn't get in any trouble. My 7 yo got mad a few times and threw the bat (baseball was being played) almost hitting my nephew (of course, he had been provoked by my nephew who told him repeatedly that he stank at baseball - so I didn't punish him really, just talked w/ him about the dangers of throwing bats! lol). His glasses were bugging him so he took them off, setting them on the ground beside him and forgetting about them until I noticed they were gone. So he ran outside JUST as my stepfather ran over them w/ the lawnmower. GRRR! He immediately burst into tears. Poor kid! And my 3 yo had a tantrum when it was time to go b/c she got in trouble for running and jumping in the house (after being told several times not to) but she was very tired from playing all day. But my 9 yo aspie was great! He even played baseball and w/ some instructions improved his swing and pitch and did pretty good! He spent a great deal of time outdoors which is highly unusual for him since he hates the heat and sweating as well as anything physical. He's really a great kid. I needed today (as much as I need a break too) b/c it showed me a side of ds that I needed to see. The GOOD side of him - not just his quirks.

What I'm most frustrated w/ concerning the school district is that I went in there voicing one of my main concerns w/ him was his fine motor skills and I was hoping for OT (or at least an eval and a therapist to give me tips on things I could do at home to help him) and that was completely overlooked. So that's very frustrating to me. Of all the services they offer, that's the only one I want! Oh, the psychologist said she strongly recommended he return to formal educuation b/c of the social problems. But when I asked what they'd offer in the way of social training/help - it was only once a month meeting w/ the school counselor to discuss his problems and working w/ his teachers to pick up on his problems and help him. I asked about social skills classes or work, having a social buddy, etc and nothing is offered. So I flat out told them my opinion - that I think it's crap for them to tell me I'm socially hindering my child (who was bullied last year in ps) b/c I'm homeschooling him and "hiding him from normal problems of school" when they are going to do virtually nothing (I'm not already doing) to help him overcome his social issues! All I want though is for him to have that OT eval and get some help there - even if it's just pointers on what we can do at home.

Thanks for the support w/ the math. I had no idea this area is a common problem for aspies. That makes me feel much better. It's frustrating b/c they said he was normal in math in 1st and 2nd grade but if you look, he went from like 90% in 1st grade math to low 80's in 2nd grade. And 3rd grade math you learn a LOT that year! Reviewing +/- w/ multiple columns, simple multiply and divide as well as double digit multiplying and some long division, geometry, etc. It's a LOT to take in for a normal kid! It came easy to me but math is an easy concept for me anyway. HATE it but it's easy for me. ;) I've talked w/ several homeschool moms who have said a lot of kids take 2 years to learn 3rd grade math and by the time they finish the 2nd year of it, they've caught up to 5th grade so they really aren't losing anything. I am working all thru the summer on math drills (timed worksheets so it's only a total of 15 minutes of math a day), handwriting and spelling. Those are his 3 worst subjects so I'm hoping by the time school "starts" in the fall, he'll be somewhat caught up and ready for 4th grade and we'll keep at 3rd grade math until he gets it. That's the great thing about homeschool - he doesn't feel stupid by being in a remedial math class or being left behind or made fun of b/c he doesn't get it on their time frame. Well anyway, it's nice to know that I'm not alone in the math struggle! lol!

What do you use for a curriculum for your aspie? I'm terrible at homeschooling - mostly at planning it. So I've been looking at things like Calvert where it's all planned out for me w/ all the materials I need and then I just implement it. But it's so darned expensive. I'm thinking also of just picking and choosing the subjects and trying to find the most laid out curriculums for each. I really like the look of math-u-see w/ all the manipulatives and whatnot. But it would be nice to hear what you have - any experience you have to offer me having an aspie yourself. ;)

Need to get to bed. I'm beat! I wish my 3 yo would fall asleep though. She's in bed tapping on her books or something to keep herself awake. Silly goose! ;)

Julie

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 05-25-2003 - 7:12am
Julie,

I have my kids enrolled in a foundational sat school. I can't really call it a sat school though, not for us, scince I work there. I am the co-director of research plus one of the curricula development writers. We have had quite a few programs for math but none have worked very well for 3rd grade in regaurds to ASDs. However, this year we had a new extension of Dragon Math writen specifically for kids on the spectrum. My kids won't be using it until next year but so far all the kids I work with from the foundation say that it is great.

My partner, Scott, is in charge of the math department (I personally hate math) and a while back he deciided there had to be a better way for teaching kids on the spectrum things like fractions and percentages. He asked several adults on the spectrum (including my own DH) to help him rewrite what we had been using. He figured that having already gone through these trials themselves these ASD adults would understand how to explain this stuff to the kids. When Scott first asked my DH to help out I though for sure that Craig would refuse since he absolutely hates math with a passion. But he really surprised us all and said "I will do ANYTHING to keep my kids from having to go through what I did." LOL, so off they went, setting up control classes and inerview groups. It was hysterical, a bunch of Aspies all getting fired up about teaching a subject they couldn't stand.

I hear that Saxon Math is pretty good. And even though a lot of homeschoolers don't like it I've found the McGraw Hill books to be good for Aspies. I think it's becasue they don't throw in any frills and thrills and keep it pretty clean cut and simple. I'm not sure I would recomend Singapore math for an Aspie though. Yes, it IS very easy to use from the teacher's point of view, but it concentrates more on the abstract quallities and less on concrete facts. The reinforcement projects are also a bit lacking in regaurds to concrete thinking. Truth be told, I think 3rd grade math is one of those places where kids do best with unscooling reinforcements instead of set projects. Of course you DO have to sit down and go over the equations and formulas since that is the entire point of complex math, but it has been my expirience that kids (on the spectrum or not) understand fractions and percentages more when they are given repeated examples of how they are used in real life. It tends to give them something more tangible to grasp. I know Jade does really well with a good mixture of traditional hsing and unschooling when it comes to math. For more references you might try posting on the homeschooling board. I know the cl (Michelle) has a pretty good grasp of what AS is and what packed curiculla have been recomended the most for Aspies by other moms.

Peace,

Candes

Peace,
Candes  
Avatar for maresgood
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 05-25-2003 - 3:31pm
Hi, I'm glad I read your post because my dd sucks @ math too & I feel better knowing this is normal for A.S. She failed every test this year. Fortunately we got her an IEP at the end of this year. Her spelling & reading are good because of the memorization factor. I feel for you Julie, having to be everything for your son 24/7. It helps me to get away also. I leave my dd @ home with my dh alot. My dd hates to shop & starts to whine when we are gone for any length of time. She likes to be @ home. She likes the library though & swimming & being alone in general- solo activities. Good luck this summer! I wish I could be of more help-MaryAnn
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 05-25-2003 - 8:08pm
Just a couple of thoughts for you re district and math.

First, re district, two thoughts:

First, you were mentioning lots of conversations, but nothing in writing. I'd recommend putting EVERTHING in writing, so that you can, at the very least, hark back to your letters in meetings. At worst, if you actually decided to take legal action, you'd have a paper trail to back you up.

Second, consider getting in touch with an educational advocate who can work with you and attend meetings with you. In Philadelphia, we have an org called the Educational Law Center; don't know who you might have locally.

Second, re math --

I'm not totally familiar with bionicles, but is there a way to build curriculum elements out of your son's fascination? For example, if they have lots of pieces, you might be able to do something about polygons, fractions, etc. with that. I'm thinking that, with a little creativity, an aspie's intensity might actually serve him well academically!

Just some thoughts!

Best,

Lisa

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-23-2003
Sun, 05-25-2003 - 9:44pm
Lisa, I think you were talking to me. I hope so anyway b/c I'm responding! lol!

As far as the conversations, everything *was* put in writing - I had to fill out sheets w/ what I was wanting, problems I was having, etc. And I got the whole ARD packet at the end - w/ all the test results and their opinions on what should be done. This *is* a paper trail but all of the info I've referred to here has been from the conversations I've had. I have actually found several mistakes in their papers I got at the end. Like ds was in speech therapy as a toddler b/c he was a late talker. (I don't think he needed it though b/c of how little therapy he got and how fast he progressed - it was at the same time as his baby brother was learning to talk so he had someone to talk to, didn't have anything to say before that, etc) He started in the program at 31 months (at a 19 month speaking level) and ended at 36 months (at a 36 month speaking level) and they have in one person's assessment that he started at 31 months, went for 2 months and ended at parent's request. (He ended b/c they only dealt w/ kids til 3 years old and he was speaking on level then, had he still needed therapy he would have moved to an early childhood intervention program that dealt w/ kids 3 and up) Another person's assessment most had it right but said it was 5 weeks, not 5 months (but they showed the 31 months and 36months so it's more obvious a typo). This is just one example. There are several things that are wrong - mostly from that first person's assessment (the one in charge of it all) where she puts things in there that are slightly or even greatly different from what I had told (written) them. Anyway, there is a paper trail (and I will be going to the school this next week to go over all the mistakes now that I've gone thru the whole packet and circled all the items).

As for math, I'll incorporate his space obsession into his curriculum w/out hesitation. But I will NOT incorporate his bionicle obsession. If it were plain legos, I'd do that - and that's a good idea b/c he has a ton of those. But bionicles are made by legos but they aren't legos. They are creatures - hard to explain. You can look them up online to see what I'm talking about. I do use the idea of them - such as ds wants to buy more so we discuss his allowance and he figures out how much more he needs to buy this one or that, or to get all of the ones he wants, how long it will take him to get that much money, how much tax will be (percentages), etc. But using the bionicles themselves? No. I can't see how I could for one thing but I'm so sick of them right now too.

I talked w/ another mom at church today that homeschools and she gave me some ideas (she's homeschooled I think all 6 of her kids and 2 or 3 of them have already graduated). And I had a meeting after church w/ a leader there - his son has asperger's so we got off topic to talk about that. He (the dad) always seems so calm and accepting and everything but I could tell by talking to him that he also is frustrated w/ his ds over the obsessions and things. So, I felt better knowing I'm handling this the best I know how. Also his ds used to see a social skills counselor in a nearby town so he's going to get me that information. Might be helpful (if it's not too expensive since we have no insurance). I felt a lot better about things today.

Julie

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-27-2003
Tue, 05-27-2003 - 12:06am
Back to the "Not getting irritated"--my ds age 7 is also obsessed with the Bionicles and anything else lego--how many times do I think, "Will you please shut the HMMMM up about the Bionicles!!!" Or, "dear God, will you ever be fully toilet trained or learn to ride a bike?" Or, "Dammit, there are no tornadoes within a hundred miles, now go to sleep!!!" (Thankfully our purchase of a NOAA weather radio for his room seems to have laid that to rest and he no longer insists on sleeping in the basement and lying awake until 10pm each night worrying).

Here is my emergency response kit to feeling irritated with my boy:

--extreme self-discipline on sleep, exercise, nutrition and taking my meds--I gotta be top of my game to keep calm.

--Be blunt and prompt about describing my needs (I can't talk about Bionicles right now, I am taking a shower. Please go away.)

--recite my daily "battle prayer"--Lord, let me be clear of mind, clear of speech, and warm and willing of heart.

--Imagine ds with aura of love and acceptance around him.

--Look at baby pictures or peek in on him while he's sleeping and cute.

--Tell myself he will get everything eventually, it will just take longer. (Dunno if it's true but it helps me be patient.) Sometimes if I imagine him as like 5 years younger a lot of my irritation lessens. I do need to adjust my expectations somewhat.

--GET HELP! We hired a nanny to help me at-home b/c I had preemie twins at 27 weeks. Now that situation is better but we may keep her a long time just for my stress level. Never something I thought we could afford but she knows my ds and how to manage him and man, that's great and I can exercise, etc. I know that's not an option for everyone but try relatives or respite care (available thru state social services) What could be a better improvement for your life?

Good luck with your district stuff. I'm glad there are doing assessments for you--I think in my state they won't if you are homeschooling. We are very fortunate in that our district has a full-time autism specialist and thanks to her my son has a kick-ass IEP. He is getting social skills class and gifted ed twice a week plus an hour a day in resource room doing social stories, etc., plus visual schedule plus work tailored to his interests (no longer has to do work that sets him off!) plus para help when needed. OT maybe too--assessment just coming in. Also they will put him in same class with his friend next year. You hear so many horror stories so I say keep hope, we have been nothing but impressed with our district and their responsiveness to Bill and to us. THEY ARE FANTASTIC!!

Hang in there--as my dear baby daughter's ENT said fiercely to me, "You are a good parent! Don't anyone ever tell you you are not!!" Made me cry.

Deb