At the last team meeting at the crisis home, I shared my appreciation at how good the staff are. I told the manager and director that it is a very odd feeling to walk out of the house while your child is in a frenzy, calling names and obviously escalating.
They said no worries, that is what they are trained for and paid to do. None the less, it feels very strange. I will not lie, it also feels very good in an odd sort of way. To be able to walk out the door, or hang up the phone when she is completely dis-regulated and acting out of control, is a nice option. It is an option that when we are living with her 24/7, we wish we had sometimes.
This is one of the gifts of this break, this respite. To be able to walk away or hang up. And as good as it feels, it also feels very strange. Akila is my daughter, I love her deeply, I am responsible for her. And to leave her in a rage, knowing that she will more than likely be hitting, kicking or biting the staff, is an awful feeling.
It is similar to when your child, neuro typical or not, bites a kid on the playground or in preschool, or hits them. You feel awful. You apologize to the other parent, assure them it will not happen again and teach your child it is wrong and give them a consequence. The neuro typical child, will more than likely learn not to do it again. The brain damaged child, will more than likely not learn. Either way, it is embarrassing, and you feel awful. You apologize.
Each time I get a call that Akila had to be restrained (she was twice yesterday), I want to say can I talk to the staff she was attacking and apologize. Again, the manager and director tell me they are use to it. They also say it is easier if the parent does just leave when it is getting dicey. I totally understand that. It is similar to when I work in the church nursery and a child is having separation anxiety. It is much easier if the parent just bolts instead of trying to acclimate the child to the environment. We can do that, and the longer the parent stays, the less likely we will be- usually.
I keep wondering how much they pay the day to day staff. I'm guessing no more than $15 an hour, but hopefully I am wrong. These staff put up with a lot. Akila is not only hitting, kicking and biting, but she is also using racial slurs. Saying she hates black people one minute, white people the next.
The huge advantage these staff have, is that they get to go home and decompress. Parents don't get to do this. Now, maybe one or two of the staff also have a challenging child at home, and I can't imagine doing it at work and home. Akila will be coming home in the next few weeks, and we will go back to 24/7 challenges.
It has been nice to let my brain decompress these past two months. When Akila is at home, I am always thinking ahead, hot to avoid a rage or an issue. Then during a rage or issue, I my brain is at a heightened arousal mode obviously. After the rage or issue, my brain is processing what just happened, and thinking of ways to avoid it in the future. And the cycle continues, on average 5-20 times a day. Yes, my brain needed this rest, as did my body.
Not only is it hard on the body to be hit, kicked, and bitten each day; but it is also hard to restrain her. My lower back was not good going into parenting Akila. Now, it is a mess. The stress also does a job on my body. I have gained weight, and I am sure that some of my headaches are a result of the stress (although I have struggled with headaches/migraines since I was a teen).
I am so grateful for staff people who work in crisis homes, group homes, and residential treatment centers. I am sure that some of them are not fantastic, but I have only ran into fantastic ones at this crisis home. What I also appreciate, is that the staff at the crisis home, especially the director and manager level of staff, seem to understand FASD. And as I have shared, that is hard to find.
Which is more difficult?
16 hours ago