Thursday, May 10, 2012

Not again

My heart is breaking for my 3 kids at home right now.  They have been enjoying being able to play outside in the neighborhood without a ton of drama from Akila.  They have played outside all afternoon each nice day until bedtime, except for homework time and meal breaks.  But things have changed slightly, again.

I have written many times about our next door neighbors.  There is a girl with FAS who is fairly low functioning, she has now turned 18.  She left the home last April after one of many episodes over the years, which included my kids.  Imani had been outside playing with this girl and her younger sister.  The younger sister got jealous, and the two sisters started arguing.  The older sister got mad and went into a rage.  I ended up having to help, it was a very ugly situation.  I had a TV thrown at me, she tried to attack her sister as I was chasing her, it was not pretty.  The police were called, and she went to the hospital.  It was at least her 20th time at the hospital that I knew of.

Shortly after that, she went into a crisis home.  The county has been struggling to find the right group home placement for her, she is very hard to staff.  She was in the crisis home for over 6 months, as they tried to find something.  Then she had an incident on the school bus which landed her in the hospital again, without the possibility of her going back to the crisis home.  She moved home two weeks ago.

Imani told me several weeks ago, right after Akila left, that the younger sister said the older sister was going to move back home.  Imani said she was nervous about this, and made a comment about how hard it is, now that we finally have some peace at home, and that now she would have to face this stress.

The sister came home, but she has a lot of services.  She is receiving staffing through the State Operated Services program of the state of MN, which is evidently what is used for the extremely difficult.  She has a minimum of 2 staff working with her at all times, even overnight.

The challenge is, that when Imani plays with her once, the girl gets obsessed with playing with her and expects to every day.  I recommended to Imani that she did not play with her, to not set up an expectation.  Supposedly, next month her group home will be ready.  Well, this didn't work.  Imani and the kids played with her two days ago.  After awhile, she told her she had homework (she did not), and came in for the night saying that the girl was getting really bossy.  I know, I should be proud of her and happy about that she played with her, but I know the girl too well.

We were at Imani's volleyball game yesterday, and when we were coming home, the girl was in our front yard waiting to play.  Imani and the boys did not want to play, and begged me to park in the back of the house so they could avoid her.  I did.  But once in the house, they were dying to go outside and play.  They did, and after awhile, they came running inside saying the girl had a angry look on her face.  They stayed in the rest of the night.

I know that she should be moving next month, but I also know how things get delayed.  I am just sad for my kids who were starting to be able to recover, and play freely.  I have thought about talking to the next door mom and seeing if the staff could put a limit on her time when she plays.  It is one of those things where if they let her play for 30 minutes, it would work.  It is after this amount of time that it always goes south and she ends up freaking out.  But I know her well enough, to know that for them to try to get her to stop and do something else after 30 minutes, would probably not work.  She gets stuck really easily, and it is her way or the highway, which I know all too well.


Chicago said...

Why can't they just simply not play with her? Why should they be put into that situation when it is totally unnecessary?

I would think it would be more beneficial to them if they learned how to protect themselves from people who are emotionally disturbed.

Learning to set boundries with people is an important lifelong skill.

the johnson crew said...

i'm sorry. wish you could all come over and play with us.

Carrie said...

I'm so sorry. She must trigger all sorts of emotional stuff for your kids... but if her caregivers can't keep her inside all day I understand how stuck you must all feel: like it isn't safe to play in your own yard. If you're going to talk to her mom/caregivers, do you think you could arrive at some compromise where your kids have a few predictable "free" hours outside everyday where they know she'll be in her house or somewhere else and conversely, a few hours where she can play outside while your kids are away or elsewhere? Praying they can work out the out of home placement for her so this doesn't shadow your summer. Your kids need some space to recover.

Jules said...

Can you talk to the 18 year olds' mom? Given that the state is providing 2 full-time workers 24/7 to care for the girl, would it not be easier for THEM to amuse/engage/distract their charge??

Your kids deserve to be allowed to play outside at will. Surely the mom of the 18 year old understands the impact her fasd daughter's actions on YOUR kids and is willing to do what is necessary to ensure your kiddos can frolic out of doors at will. Especially as she's got live-in help!!!!