Thursday, April 11, 2013

School-Time Blues

At the moment, I've been metaphorically placed on the rack and am being effectively pulled in different directions. The issue: Preston is doing pretty great at home, not-so-great at school. His teacher (bless that woman) works with him everyday to get his classwork done so it doesn't come home (yay for me! One less battle I have to fight). He is doing decently with the 1, 2, 3's in the morning and I'm even getting him to come to the table for dinner to possibly pick at his food. I pull out the chat pack at dinner time to spur some light-hearted conversation as well. If my husband leaves the parenting up to me, then Preston is pretty happy. I'm even getting him to complete his daily chores which is something in and of itself. So, on the home front, I think we have made some great progress (and I also attribute some of this to the addition of B Vitamins and some Greens powder in his daily shake which he amazingly enough doesn't know I started slipping in there). The torment for me comes from the fact that he is really struggling at school.

My education on anxiety is just about to begin and I feel that that is the little devil that is causing the problems at school. I see it when my parents come over - he gets so excited and starts doing nutty things to get their attention and goes into his hyperactive state. I see it when step-brother comes around - Preston just automatically goes on defense (and this has only escalated in the last year since step-brother has officially entered adolescents and is himself not well self-regulated). It comes out randomly when I ask him to do something - he doesn't want to do it initially and then goes into this other realm of dread and drama and tears because he so badly doesn't want to do it. Other times and other issues he goes to pieces over the smallest thing and ends up totally freaked out because he can't breathe and is screaming, "I'm going to die! I'm dying! I can't breathe!" Oi vay.

So, imagine going to school with all your peers that you are trying to win over but you really don't have a good idea of how to do that which leads to inappropriate jokes and behavior to just get a laugh. With his lack of self awareness there is also the issue of just not recognizing when people really don't appreciate what you are doing, including getting in their space. Preston loves to get weird and crazy in people's personal bubbles. This in turn leads to 'think times,' table-jumping and eventually isolation at the back of the room near the teacher. In fact, the last update from his teacher was titled, "Preston is an island." Sigh.

The real plus (I'm training myself to see the positives) to this is that he seems oblivious; yes, that can be good and bad. The bad is that is will affect his relationships with others long term, the good is that is depression used to be pretty severe and it has lightened considerably. The school psychologist related a story to me that one day she was walking by and Preston was working in the hall and after greeting him he very pleasantly told her, "I just wound up out here because I'm being 'cray-cray!!'" (Crazy) All the disruptions from him also cut down on his work time and if he really doesn't understand the concept of something, he just gives up. This is where I need to get a math tutor for him to help him over that mental hurdle. In the end, mostly manageable at home and not-so-manageable at school. Amidst all of this inner turmoil and concern swirling around my head, I can't decide if I've actually put the possibility of trying meds again back in my pipe to smoke or not. I can see how far he has come and I remember what a battle it was with the meds and that the side effects outweighed any small benefits. He's actually getting some great nutrition from his shakes and greens and I'm trying harder to prepare meals that he might try. I'm really not sure what else to do.

I contacted his psychologist who is being very supportive of my continued crusade to leave meds out of the mix and ran by him a few ideas on a more structured class behavior plan. The plan is to have Preston bring home his planner each day that notes how he did academically and behaviorally during the day. If he can average an 'okay' day, he gets to pick something off his money tree that now has money, scholastic books that will be ordered and mystery envelopes on it. It could work, but at the same time, we're talking about a kid with a mental disorder who doesn't really have control over his impulsive behaviors - the ones that cause the problems. I guess I'm hoping he can teach himself to cue in on it, but I don't really know if that can work. Well, actually, yes, that can work because he has been making progress so some stuff does stick around in that brain of his. This is the latest and greatest of my efforts and I hope it gets me off the rack for a little while at least.

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