Sunday, May 22, 2011


Some people are preparing for summer right now. They are signing their kids up for summer baseball, summer camps, and other summer activities. They are planning summer vacations, summer family activities. But some of us are preparing a little differently.

My summer preparations include calling the social worker at the Children's Hospital Emergency Department to get her advise on how the mental health system works for children in emergency situations. Another mom somewhere is calling her local park and rec and inquiring about T-ball.

Another call I made was to a mental health agency about a free needs assessment for Akila to see if she might fit into an inpatient hospitalization, day treatment or outpatient program. Another mom somewhere is calling community education to inquire about a dance class.

I also emailed our church several times to make sure that the staff is completely aware of all of Akila's disabilities and challenges for the upcoming overnight bible camp in the end of June (I don't think they get it still). I would like to sit down and meet with the staff who will be working with Akila. Another mom just signed up her mom and didn't think twice about it.

I've been thinking about the beaches we will go swimming at, this is a favorite activity of my kids and my own personal favorite. This summer, more than ever, I am putting thought into which beach or beaches we will go to. I need to think about things like how crowded they are (how many people to witness meltdowns, or how many potential people for her to clash with, how close the car is to the beach (escape route when she is raging and we have to pack up quickly and leave), how close they are to our house (how long all of us will have to be in the car with her as she is raging). Another mom will just pick a beach she likes the most.

We have one small get away each summer over the 4th of July weekend when we go to Willmar to some of my family friends. Michael cannot get away that weekend ever due to work. I am already wondering how I will do it this year with without another adult. I am trying to figure out who I can talk into going with the kids and I. Another mom is just planning her little get away without another thought about who to bring with.

And the biggest preparation that I am thinking about. One that I need some of your help on. I am wondering if any of you out there have experience with walking around with a visible wound on your face from your child. I am trying to prepare for this as I feel that I am close to getting one. Anyone had a black eye or a bruise on your face from your child? What do you say if asked about it? Do you tell people it is from your child? Akila is very close to clocking me in the face. Very close. I am mentally trying to prepare myself for if this does happen.


r. said...

I know there is a mom who publicly posted a photo of her black and blue face about a year and a half ago, when she was trying to get help for her child. She later took the photo down, so I'm not going to name her here out of respect for that decision. But do know that you're certainly not the only one out there.

I don't have kids myself, so take the following with a grain of salt. My hunch is that the general public is aware that lower functioning kids (for instance, maybe, some kids with autism) might act out in a way that is consistent with their intellectual level but not their chronological age. For instance, my aunt, a 60-year-old woman who is developmentally disabled, has had her arm broken by a another resident in her group home who was angry and lashed out. (And my aunt is no angel herself--she has also hurt people, although to my knowledge she hasn't broken any bones. She also takes meds and goes to therapy to help stabilize her emotions.) So I suspect that if you were dealing with strangers, your best bet might just be to say, "I have a child with special needs" and let people make their own assumptions.

I'd be interested to hear what other people suggest, though, especially with respect to acquaintances who aren't strangers.

GB's Mom said...

You are not the only mom doing these things. I am a firm believer in letting it all hang out. With MK, I learned it was the only way to get the services and support she (and I) needed. Praying for you and your family. You are not alone.

Denise said...

I understand your summer preparations. When I've had visible wounds, I've told people about how I got them. Otherwise, I figure they're going to assume that my husband did it! I don't know that everyone believes that my sweet little kid did it, but all I can do is tell the truth!

dorothy said...

Does a broken nose count even if it wasn't mid-rage...only mid-impulse control? (It had some nice bruising on my cheeks as well as the nose.) My last one was done by one of treasures with FASD at a baseball camp two summers ago.....I posted it for sure. Hope your safe...see the tornadoes are heading through your part of the hood this afternoon....praying over that! I have the meds ready in case we hit the basement over the evil hour.

* said...

I told them DQ attacked me. That this is what we live with. Tell them the truth. I also took pictures of every bruise, cut, black eye all for documentation.

Julie said...

I am planning along with you...I get it.
I was punched in the jaw by a 12 year old...I had a slight bruise but it threw my jaw out of whack for several weeks. It was obvious I was in pain. Sometimes I shared..most of the time I didn't..just like most everything in my life..I share with those who will "get it"..not so much with those who most likely won't.

Gloria said...

My 14 yr old daugher cut my hand with a knife requiring stiches. I just told a few people that I trusted. We live in a small community and I did not want her to be rejected or look down by others. Now it's a year and half and she is doing so much better. I'm glad that I didn't tell everyone. It was more of poor impulse control and my stupid belief that I could wrestle a knife from her. It is not a behavior pattern with her though. I think it's different for your situation since it seems to be a habitual pattern with your daughter.

Martinfamily4 said...

My FAS RADling is only 6 and is not thankfully violent....but she does have episodes and I am dreading and preparing for the summer...last summer was just awful...I won't go into it here - but know you are not alone.

Dawn said...

I have told the truth for sure. It is the only way for our kids to learn to tell the truth. Also, my RAD/FASD daughter recently damaged her hand while trying to hurt another child in our home. She has told everyone the truth of what happened even though it puts her in a bad light.

Kristin said...

I would recommend telling the truth or not based on the situation. I think it's good to educate people, but it also depends on your mood, your energy level, the education and willingness of the person you're talking to.... I would never be ashamed, though. Also, it is FAIR to be frustrated that other families do not have the challenges that you and your family have. And it's FAIR to be angry and sad and envious and jealous. But also keep in mind that you have 3 beautiful, healthy loving children too. And wonderful, beautiful moments with Akila too. And there are childless couples that are lonely and would give their right arms to have your situation. The grass is always greener on the other side and you never know what ghallenges those "happy" families have inside their own homes.

I say this only because I have what looks like a very happy, ideal family from the outside, but I experience, daily, insanely painful migraines that I have to fight through to go to work every day to pay the bills, and I crawl into bed every night and my kids beg me to get out of bed and just play with them. I, also, plan everything, all of my schedules and plans, around my migraines. So your beach story sounds incredibly familiar. And no one on the "outside" of my family really knows besides a select few. They just see the smiling, happy family.

So I try and keep in mind that families have their "outside face" that they present to the world, and their "private face." And even if life is wonderful and lacks painful challenges right now, it might not in a year, or in 10 years, or further down the road.