Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Frustation, Steps Forward and Back, Decision Time: Can I Do It?

Spring is often a time for change, birth, blooming, what have you.  There is no lack of change happening here.  I feel like this journey I’ve been on has left me either ill-equipped or just too drained to deal with the challenges I’m facing. Of course there is also the possibility that none of that is true and I’m just being too hard on myself as usual. I think it is a bit of both. Either way the alternating between forward and backward progress is draining.

Okay, so after continuing to struggle while waiting for a spot to miraculously open up at the therapy office where I had Ariana evaluated in November, I took her to a psychologist. I can’t get her any help without some type of diagnosis whether it’s adhd, dyslexia or both. And paying for tutors and private school was getting me nowhere. Ordered the home version of the program the therapist (that has no spots open) wants to use, but after doing her regular school work, we are both spent.

I met with the psychologist on my own first for an hour to talk about what we have been experiencing. Of course this had to include talking about Thomas’ illness and death. I think I have said before that talking about all we have been through at once really does something to me. Hearing it all come out of my mouth and watching the reaction even of a well-trained therapist (and she does appear to be well-trained) or whoever I am speaking to at the time, is at the least a really interesting experience. Testing was scheduled for April 3rd and she’d test for adhd as well as any learning disability, plus anxiety and depression just in case. That day was trying and tiring, but the therapist said she enjoyed being with Ariana. She said she’s a wonderful child and it would likely be life changing just to get her into the right educational environment, but if need be she would advise on medication.

We were to meet two weeks later to go over the results. In the meantime I toured a school with a learning support program embedded in it. It was the only private school around I could find with one implemented. I walked away impressed, but also with the knowledge there’s no way I could afford it without a scholarship. The principal said that was a common response and handed me the financial aid packet as well as addresses of preschools nearby in case I wanted to move my son to ease the commute.

Well, after delay after delay after delay, I am finally headed back to the psychologist tomorrow for the results. The original plan was for us to meet two weeks later, on April 17th. Testing was April 3rd. However, the paper work required from her teacher took 3 weeks to come back. I should have followed my first instinct to hand deliver the package. The doctor for valid reasons preferred to mail it to the school.

After all was said and done, this conversation was delayed 2 weeks. Here we are in May. This discussion is basically going to decide where my daughter goes to school in the fall and I have been more than frustrated. I have not been able to get back in touch with the lady from the school I toured last month because I have nothing new for her and this also delays her being evaluated for the program they offer and me being able to apply for a scholarship, which we will definitely need. I did however, manage to get her a seat at the public school I wanted. It’s two minutes away from my son’s daycare. If we end up there, I’ll add therapy at a local center. My pastor (knowing how much the school means to us), wants to get her what she needs. I appreciate it, but I am just not sure if he has the time to do so and we can’t go through another year like we have.

In the meantime work has been crazy and my daughter has had some stellar moments and some not so stellar moments at school and at home. She has however begun to do her homework without supervision. I didn’t worry as much about the correctness of it as I normally do because I didn’t want to take away from her taking the steps to do her homework without me an inch away.

Last night even I called to her so we could prepare for a history quiz and she yelled back, “I’m already studying!” I peeked and there she was, sitting, history book open. While she took a break I wrote down the study questions the teacher had emailed to the parents and let her go on her own again. She didn’t mind. That’s a change from saying she needed me next to her. She may or may not do well on this quiz, but I won’t let that take away from her studying on her own. It’s a step right?

I feel for her. I know she has tried. Her friends mean a lot to her and while they have been supportive, there have also been some comments on all of the crying she does during the day. I don’t know if it is fatigue at this point, but she’s had more episodes of frustration and crying in the last month and so have I. She’s 9 years-old now. She had a birthday last week. We celebrated surrounded by family and friends and I didn’t experience the crash that normally follows hitting yet another milestone without her father. But as I move forward however slowly I can’t help but feel I lack the fortitude I need now. No matter what the doctor says tomorrow, there are going to be a lot of adjustments to our lives. Not the least of which is a possible change in schools, which is not the least bit welcome in her world. She’ll make friends wherever she goes, but I’m bracing myself for the ride during the adjustment. I will make a small mountain of decisions to make once I find out the extent of what she will need.

Challenges in everyday life whether they are large or small magnify the loneliness in my life. Reading that 1 out of every 10 students has a learning challenge hasn’t helped that. Knowing that I have to make whatever changes I need to make for her good haven’t helped that. Reminding myself that the hell we have been through would have crushed a lot of people hasn't quite helped that. I have reached the point where I have faith we can overcome what we face. I do however feel as if I have been swimming upstream for the better part of the last seven years. I’m smarter, more compassionate, and in a lot of ways a better person from the journey. I’m also flat out tired. The answer to my original question: Can I do it? I can. I will. I have to.

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