Nope…not a ghost

I *finally* got smart and found an android app for blogging! <hits forehead> Duh…

Anyhow, I’m here…quick update summary and more catching up to follow:

* FINALLY found a new job and love it

* don’t like my manager so much

* still trying to catch up on bills etc

* Trace is having medication issues (add/adhd combined inattentive-hyperactive type) as in, they don’t seem to be working as well

* Landon is 4 yrs old now…some behavior issues but most likely nothing not typical for his age…speech is improving by leaps and bounds!

I *think* everything else is status quo….

*Love* my new blogging app!!

Location : 800-898 Tepee Dr, Independence, MO 64056,

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Yes, it’s been a long while since I’ve posted. Honestly, I’ve just got so much …. stuff…. going thru my head that I don’t even know which way is up sometimes. Between IEP’s and IEE’s and speech therapy for Landon and trying to find a job….well, ready to pull my hair would be putting it lightly.

The IEE (independent educational evaluation) is done. The dr was fantastic, did a very thorough job and was right on the money about Trace. Aspergers is confirmed, ADD/ADHD combined type, dysgraphia and dyscalculia…everything that we already knew, plus a couple of new ones (dysgraphia and dyscalculia).

The scores on the tests done by the district as compared to the dr’s scores….extreme differences. On the Woodcock Johnson III, from the dr’s evaluations: on the Written Expression, Writing Fluency and Writing Samples, he scored as well as 1% of his peers. 1% !?! Math Fluency was less than 4%. Broad Written Language less than 6%. Including the ones I just listed, he scored under 50% on *11* of the tests….only 5 tests scored above 50%. On these percentile scores, 50% is pretty much average…anything below 50%, less than average, anything above 50%, above average. With the school’s evaluation, the count was exactly the opposite… 5 tests were below 50%, 11 above…go figure. On the Wechsler Intelligence Scale there were such drastic differences that I wondered if they’d even tested the same child!!! His full scale IQ had a 23 point difference….that’s huge. Also, something that I didn’t know at the time but was later noted and confirmed by several people (including our family psychologist who’s been in practice 40+ years) …when the school did the WISC with Trace….on 9 of the subtests administered, he scored exactly the same score….exactly the same. Our family psychologist said that in all his years of practice, he’s never seen that happen on one child’s test. Again, the differences between what the school scored and what the IEE psychologist found, drastic differences. Just as an example….. on the Comprehension subtest, the school scored him at 75%, the IEE found him at 9% – from above average to doing no better than 9% of his peers?!? Another drastic example, on the Letter Number Sequencing subtest…school scored (another) 75%, while the IEE found him to be at 0.4%.

Anyhow, we had our IEP meeting last Thursday. 2 hrs it lasted and….for the most part, it was a complete waste of time. The school part of team, when I brought up his low % scores on the IEE, says “oh, he was probably just having a bad day.” or “You know, his testing was done after school, when his medication had worn off. He was probably fatigued.” I can understand that he could be a bit tired after school….however, that being said, several things immediately come to mind- 1) the IEE psychologist would NOT have continued testing if she didn’t think he’d been up to it. She would have rescheduled. and 2) even if he *was* fatigued, the differences in the scores would NOT have been that drastic, a few % points, sure……the ones that I put up above…not even maybe.

On the plus side, he will continue with 60 minutes of speech therapy per week, and 30 minutes of occupational therapy per week (plus in the regular ed classroom guidance and redirection assistance). On the negative side….really nothing else was addressed, or was brushed off if I brought it up.

Why does this have to be so difficult? Why do we parents have to fight so damned hard for something that shouldn’t have to be fought for at all? And, what about the parents that don’t have the resources that we’ve been blessed enough to have? A wonderful family psychologist, an awesome mentor/advocate, supportive family….all this, and we’re still having issues. Parents that don’t have any of that, what chance do their kids have if the schools try to shirk their jobs?

I’m too tired and too stressed to even try typing anymore tonight….I can’t wrap my brain around even 1/4 of this stuff, much less 100% of it which is what my boy needs from me.

First…..seriously Mother Nature? December 23rd and all you got for us is a thunderstorm, complete with lightening? *shrug* I know there’s a snowstorm headed our way and the newspeople are all “Yippee!! It’s gonna be a white Christmas!!” but, I won’t believe it til it’s on the ground…jus’ sayin’….

Second….I may have mentioned a few times (like, eleventy thousand times!!) that Landon has/is a bit of a behavior challenge for us. And, I may have *mentioned* to his pediatrician more than a few times the same challenges. At his last visit, I mentioned it yet again and she told me about a book called “Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood-Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years”. I was skeptical to say the least, the very least. But, I put it on hold at the library and got the news it was ready for pick up this past Monday. I got it, I started reading it, I scoffed thru about the first quarter of it thinking to myself “There is NO way this is going to work on Landon, no way.” But, I kept reading and…a funny thing happened. It actually made sense, it seemed that it just might be plausible that it would work. Sooooo….I took some of the principles and gave them a whirl. Y’all? Hallelujah, amen and praise the Lord, there’s been peace in our house for the last 2 days at least 90% of time!! (At this very moment however, we’re experiencing part of the other 10% of time….oy!).

The principles behind the concept are very basic and, well, logical, to be honest. Build the self-concept, share control/decision-making, offer empathy *then* consequences and lastly, share the thinking and problem-solving. I’ll be the first to admit….the 2nd concept of sharing control/decision-making had me shaking my head, I just knew it wasn’t going to work. But, apparently, the key is offering only 2 choices (making sure you’re ok with either one being chosen) and in 10 seconds flat if they haven’t made a choice, make it for them. We tried that…and it worked. Yeah, I know, crazy right? I was brave and tried another tactic…we used the “Uh-oh” song. Yup, the “Uh-oh” song…when he started to misbehave, I would say in a “sing-song” voice “Uh-oh….looks like we need to spend a little quiet time in our room” and took him back to his room and told him quietly and simply “When you’re done, you can come out”, closed the door and walked down the hall. I stayed close, just to make sure it was all ok. After about 3 minutes or so, he came out, wiped his eyes and said “I ready now”. I smiled at him, gave him a hug and kiss and went about our day. The authors say it’s important to *not* rehash what happened that caused the “quiet time”. Rinse and repeat as necessary. Do you know, after two times, we didn’t have any more quiet times yesterday? And, only one today and it was more about being tired and having time to “collect” himself. I was thrilled to pieces by bedtime last night, thrilled!

This morning the boys unwittingly provided me with a chance to combine several things from the book…and IT WORKED! I had errands to do this morning, I gave them a choice-“you can come with me or you can go to Dan and Deb’s”. They chose to go with me. I told them that was fine but that for this to happen they needed to 1) be nice to each other and 2) listen to me while we were getting ready. Started out good, Landon put his own clothes on, Trace too….they brushed their teeth, and then I offered 2 choices for breakfast. Trace immediately started in about not wanting either choice and then Landon started in, and Trace took off stomping down the hall. He stopped at his door, looked back at me and said something smart-alecky….I just shook my head at him and said in a sad voice, “Wow, this is a bummer dude. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about your behavior right now but, I’ll think on it for a while and let you know. Try not to think about it.” Can I tell you now that I *love* the phrase “Try not to think about it.” ?? LOL…he was immediately asking what are you going to do etc etc. I just shook my head sadly and told him that I wasn’t sure yet. “Love and Logic” calls this a delayed consequence. Normally it’s used in situations where an immediate consequence isn’t feasible or the behavior so out of line you need time to think of something. I used it cuz I didn’t know what to do! LOL. Thumbed thru the book and found the perfect consequence. I took them to Dan and Deb’s house. Once there, I got the boys in front of Dan and Deb and laid out the following: “Guys, I was really disappointed this morning with your behavior. I need to know that when we’re out running errands that you’re going to be nice and behave for me. Since you couldn’t do that today, Dan and Deb are going to watch you while I run errands. They are going to charge you $1/hr if you’re nice to each other and behave. It’s $3/hr if you don’t behave and be nice. So, how are you going to pay them?” LOL, Trace’s eyebrows shot up his forehead and he blurted out “But I don’t have any $$” and Landon mimiced him. I said “that’s ok, I can pay them for you.” of course there was “yay, thanks mom!” and then I added in, “and you can pay me back. For $1/hr you only have to do a few chores for me. But, for $3/hr it’s chores, *plus* one favorite book and one favorite toy.” They looked concerned and a bit bewildered but said “Ok”.

I ran my errands, picked them up to the chorus of “Mom! We were good!! We were good!!” and we went home where they each did a chore for me and went about the afternoon. They’re both very tired this evening so it’s been a challenge and they’ve both visited their rooms for “quiet time”, but overall, it’s been good. I think I’m going to keep doing this…..and try and tweak some things to be specific to them but I have hope!!

Off to Work I Go…..

Yup, it’s true. As of Monday I will be rejoining the working world. It’s only a temproary position, probably until mid January, with a commodities trading company. I will be so far out of my element as far as the type of services they provide, but good to go for the work that I specifically will be doing.

Only, I’m not excited about it. I mean, I’m thankful, because we need the funds (altho, it’s not alot, nowhere near what I *was* making) but, I’m kind of getting used to the whole gig. I like getting Trace up in the mornings and off to school, I like watching ‘toons with Landon on KCPT… (shout-out to KCPT though? Seriously need some new episodes of Super Why…Landon knows every one of them we’ve seen this week!)….I like running errands and spending time writing and taking Landon to speech therapy. Trace, well, he’s not taking it well…he’s sad and upset because he really likes the bus he is riding now, he’s got people to talk to and he’s finally *comfortable* with it. And now, I’m changing all that. Temporarily, but still. And, he even told me that he likes me being here in the mornings and when he gets home in the afternoons….that’s a big thing for him to admit.I give him all the credit in the world though, he’s trying very hard to realize that this is something that has to happen. Landon, predictably, is thrilled to pieces that I’m going back to work because that means he gets to spend his days with Uncle Danny and Debi again, lol…I’m good with that-very thankful that we have someone to care for the boys that we trust implicitly with them. When I called Uncle Danny to let him know that I’m going back to work next week, first thing out of his mouth was “Do I get first dibs on watching Landon??” LOL…..needless to say, that part of it is a no worries aspect.

Trace goes tomorrow evening for his first round of testing for the Independent Educational Evaluation. Should be interesting….I’m not sure exactly what to expect other than it’s a 2 hr appointment. More on that later….

Lots of things….

Once again, life has been happening at breakneck speed and blogging fell to the wayside. Time to catch up.

To start, one teeny-tiny little tidbit I forgot to mention when I last posted… I lost my job. Well, technically…*I* didn’t lose it, it lost me. They eliminated my position…I went in to work one morning, just a normal workday morning and 45 minutes later, my desk was packed and I was walked to my car. I felt like I’d done something wrong, something criminal the way I was escorted out and I was watched over while packing up my desk. I understand the reasoning behind it, but that doesn’t change how it makes you feel. So. There, that’s out. I’ve been looking for something new, but like millions of others in this nation of ours, it just isn’t happening. I’m either not qualified enough, or I’m over-qualified. That last one is a crock but, there’s not anything I can do about it.

Yesterday, we discovered that Randy’s work van had been broken into. That’s the 2nd time in the last 6 months….we don’t live in a “bad” neighborhood by any means…it’s a decent, middle income place. However, a few streets over are low income duplexes, full of punk ass teens who apparently needed a quick drug fix. Or something. Randy was off for 5 days over the holiday and using some PTO time so he hadn’t been in his van since last Wednesday night. He went out yesterday afternoon so he could repair something and discovered-and this is good, very inventive- that the punks had cut the rubber around the drivers side small wing window and taken the whole damn wing window out. Matter of fact, they took the fricking window itself…along with the new GPS unit (which was hidden in the glove box), a small heater, a “back up” camera and the LCD screen that went with it (so the guys can watch what they’re backing up to and not run into buildings) and some various tools. The thing is…this was no quicky, smash ‘n grab job like last time. Like I said, they actually took the window out as opposed to smashing it, they had to unscrew the backup camera from the back top of the truck (above the tommy lift) and dismantle the LCD screen to make sure they didn’t damage it. And, it had to of been done in broad daylight. We put up a bright ass motion sensor security light after the first time his van was broken into-it’s right outside our bedroom window and wakes us up if it comes on, also visible from the living room (thru the backdoor that goes onto the deck). So, that leaves daytime….again. Just like the first time. There were actually prints on the window this time so they dusted the window and the doors, above the tommy lift etc….not expecting anything to come from it though. AND, because this has happened twice…the guys are not allowed to drive the work vans home anymore, for any reason. We live approximately an hour away from his workplace (therefore, the vans) so if he’s on call, he has to drive all the way to the depot and get a van, then go wherever the call is….in the mornings, even if the first call is 10 minutes from the house, still he’s got to go get a van and backtrack.

Not to mention what this is going to cost in gas money now. Admittedly, we’ve been spoiled in that we’ve only had to worry about gas for my car for the last 2 years. However, after figuring it out today….the amount he’ll be putting in his gas tank every month will be equivalent to what we were paying in child care when I was working. I can’t figure that we’ll be able to afford both….so, unless I get an evening job (which would still be difficult as he’s on call every other week) there’s no way we can think of at the moment where we’d be able to afford child care AND his gas costs…so, perhaps I’ll be staying home indefinitely? I don’t know….Any ideas anyone?

I could always go back to school. For the unemployed there is grant money set aside that can be used while you’re drawing unemployment. I know that alot of jobs that I am qualified to to do (without a degree) are now requiring a bachelors degree or something of that nature. Maybe I should go to school, get a degree so I can be “officially” qualified for the jobs that are out there? Hell, I don’t know… Any thoughts on that??

AND….because things just aren’t varied and busy enough…we requested and got permission for an independent educational evaluation at public expense for Trace. The district didn’t much like it but, then, I didn’t much care for the fact that they are wanting to discontinue his OT services and not address his adaptive behaviors at all. We had our initial assessment appt last night…two hours long, mostly us and the dr talking and then all of us plus Trace towards the end. We all, including Trace, really like Dr. O….she’s a really nice lady. Seems to be very thorough in her work and comes highly recommended. For the next 4-5 weeks, 2 hrs a week will be spent testing and evaluating Trace in all areas related to his disabilities. I think that we are going to be very pleased with her results, but I’m thinking the school won’t be so much. Which is a sad testimony to how far off track our schools have gotten. I know it’s not necessarily the schools, or the teachers (altho, in our case I’m not so certain about that)…but it’s the laws. State laws, and district procedures….they are supposed to follow IDEA 2004 guidelines, the state laws are supposed to ensure that, and the districts are supposed to implement it. But, who’s watching to make sure it’s done right? No one. There’s no checks ‘n balances …at least not in Missouri. Advisory panels aren’t compiled of the people they are supposed to be, parents are shot down all the time if they speak up at meetings…”that’s not the way we do things” ….Um, if federal law states it is the way you’re supposed to do things, then you’d damn well better be doing it. It’s absolutely ridiculous the way that schools and districts find loopholes to get away with things, or just blatantly ignore things. It’s an absolute shame. I thought that the schools are there to teach the children. Period. That the education comes first. Why is that not happening? When, and why, did it become about not wanting to be bothered with more paperwork, or more work in and of itself? About not putting the child’s needs first? I know that it’s not just state laws that are inefficient, but at the federal level too….when are they going to make it about the kids again?

As parents, we need to put a stop to the intimidation that goes on at IEP meetings when the district side of the team wants things their way. We have to speak up and advocate for our kids…no one else is going to do it. We have to work at changing the laws, at holding the lawmakers accountable to do their dang jobs.

Holy Cannoli!!!

This post will be short ‘n sweet…..then I can finish the one I’ve been trying to do for weeks, lol!!

I finally, *finally*, got a laptop! Yayyyzzzz!! It’s a Dell Latitude D505….I have no idea what that means, but it was a good deal. Add in a broadband card from my cell provider and I’m golden!

Now, I can start working on the articles and stories I want to write. I’ve done research at the library to find out what I need to do to get published in some of the regional parenting magazines- I am so damn excited!!!

Also, I will have the means to research and prepare for Trace’s IEP meetings and the IEE…I can work on an IEP blueprint which will be extremely helpful.

Never realized how much we depend on computers until you don’t have one at your fingertips ….

Got to work this morning only to find that the main system is experiencing “technical difficulties” LOL, so I can’t do any of my work that needs to be done. What better time to update than that, right?

I have something really awesome to share with you guys. I got to go to Trace’s horse therapy session Tuesday night (usually I don’t because I don’t get off work in time) and I actually SAW him RIDING A HORSE. OMG y’all…..I couldn’t be more proud, more excited! And Trace was excited about me being there and did a “trick” for me on the back of Big Red- he rotated in a complete circle on Red’s back by lifting his legs up and over and turning! *And* he accomplished it in 5 seconds….*5* seconds!!! He started his session by brushing the dirt from Red’s coat so he could put his riding blanket etc on him, after he finished that, he walked down to the barn (they were in the outside arena this time) and got the saddle blanket and padding, the stable halter and lead rope, his helmet and the girth strap and with help from the assistant in training, carried it all back to the outside arena. That, in and of itself, has the power to amaze me- getting everything in one trip (all the assistant did was help carry-he got everything picked out) was…well, let’s just say that taking his dirty laundry downstairs normally takes 2-3 trips-not because he has so much but because he only takes 3-4 items at a time, lol.

Anyhow, the title said pictures, so pictures it is!!!