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ARD Meeting 12/18/09 (December 18, 2009 - 6:10 p.m.)

It's been a while since I updated here, and a lot has happened. When I say, "A lot," I am most certainly not exaggerating.

A couple of weeks ago, a sequence of events came about that landed Stephanie in the inpatient program at Springwood Hospital in Bedford. Springwood is a "psychiatric and addiction" treatment center that is attached to what used to be HEB Hospital. Now called Texas Health Resources.

Anyway...that sequence of events came very, very close to landing her in the Kimbo unit juvenile detention center. At one point on that Saturday afternoon, our daughter was standing in our living room with handcuffs on her. That's a sight that I never want to see again.

But, we are through all that, now. She has a new trick-cyclist...oh. Sorry. Psychiatrist. Dr. Syed Quadri. She got out of inpatient program this past Tuesday with some medication adjustments. Dr. Quadri took her off of Abilify, and replaced it with Risperdal, which allegedly has similar results. He also added a low dosage of Adderall, which is a little scary, because that's an amphetamine. But he swears that a dosage this low has no danger of addiction. They also took away the Equetro (tegretol) because it had an adverse effect of lowering Which is really bad. Apparently. Christi read off a bunch of stuff to me about those neutrophils and it was scary. So...glad to be off of that med.

So. Today, we had an "emergency" ARD meeting, which we actually began scheduling before all this started. In our opinion, it was a very successful one. It started out really shaky, though. As we began, the main diagnostician was talking about a program to keep Steph in a "self-contained" environment, but one of the vice principals was still talking noise about trying to get her in "out classes." It's their job, I guess. He's not a bad guy. Christi kept shaking her had at proposals that were flying around, and at one point, I finally just said, "I think we need to get completely away from the idea of getting Stephanie in out classes." Finally, the Stars teachers came to our rescue! The two that were there today were our champions! They finally spoke up and said, "Look. We've been trying this approach all semester and IT'S NOT WORKING!!" I almost stood up and cheered.

So here's what we finally came up with. Stephanie will spend the majority of her day in one classroom. It's not the Stars room, but I think it's right across the hall or something. It's a smaller room with much less in and out traffic to cause her anxiety. The classwork will be brought to her. Her Stars teachers will still be involved with her, and will be her "teacher of record" on a couple of subjects, like history and english. The teacher who actually has "ownership" of that room will help with math. I'm not sure how they are working biology. However, it is, though, she will have a limited number of teachers directly involved with her in a single classroom. The only thing that will be outside that class is an idea that they came up with to to assist the Life Skills teacher with a program called "Partners in P.E." This program pairs up severely challenged kids with someone more "normal." Stephanie would be a helper in this situation, probably an addition to one of the pairs. It's nothing like normal P.E., so they don't change clothes (which was a MAJOR stressor in Middle School!) or anything like that.

There will also be some counseling sessions with the Special Ed counselour, whom we met today. She will work with Steph on things like coping skills, communication, peer relations, etc. This will reinforce what she is going through in the Intensive Outpatient Program through Springwood (I forgot to mention that...3 hours three times a week in Southlake, and we participate in the Saturday morning session).

They are also sending someone to our home for about 12 sessions of "parent training," which we strongly believe we need. This will be to try to insure that home and school are more evenly balanced. Or something like that. At any rate, Christi and I have been thinking seriously about some therapy for ourselves, too. I think we need it badly.

All in all, we both felt very positive about the outcome, even though it started shaky. These people have worked very hard to piece together a program that really didn't exist, just for Stephanie. And they were committed to making it work on their campus, instead of just shipping her off to a different one. That says a lot.

On a side note, we are about to embark on enzyme therapy for Steph. I have been reading a book called Enzymes for Autism and other Neurological Conditions, and it is very exciting. I got a bottle of Peptizyde in the mail today. We're starting it with tonight's meal. I'll keep you updated on how that goes.

That's it for now. Currently, things are okay at the Bickleyhouse, and I haven't been able to say that for at least three weeks.

God is good.

TTFN, y'all!

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