Matthew is coming home on Friday, and we are working to prepare ourselves emotionally for his return. Even if he is at his absolute best, Matthew is noisier than most and talks a LOT, so the quiet that Jacob, David and I have enjoyed at a bare minimum will be gone once he returns.
He seems to be in a cycle of having a really good day and then a not so good day and then a really rough day and then he cycles through again.
It is also completely and totally possible that this is just the reports that I am getting from Healy House. I almost get the sense that they have to show improvement and so that is what they are working to do right now. He had a rough weekend, I know this because when I visited this is what I was told and this is what I observed. He was not allowed to go on any trips all weekend and spent a lot of his time in the "back" being kept away from his peers. He was sent to bed early each night between Friday and Monday and was often taking breaks in his room. However, when I called to check on him, the social worker said he was "showing improvement with the structure and support and number of staff at Healy House". Improvement? Where? Did I miss it?
So today, I was planning a visit to see him and I called to see what time was a good time to visit. I was told by Matthew that there was an afternoon field trip, so I asked him to find out what time the afternoon trip was and what time he would be returning.
The dialog from the staff member was this:
me- "how as Matthew's day?"
staff- "he is having an ok day"
me- "so he will be going on the afternoon trip? I want to come and visit him and I am trying to figure out what time works"
staff- "I don't think he will be going, he would probably rather visit with you than go on a trip."
me-" he says he is looking forward to the trip, and I can come after the trip. Will he be allowed to go on the trip?
staff- "well his behavior hasn't been great, I don't know if anyone is going on the trip, but if we go he will go"
Ok, so how is his behavior? The deal is usually if you are being safe and compliant you get to go on the field trips. Is he being safe? compliant? Is this just a tired staff member?
I have to remind myself that this program in many ways, especially on a vacation week, is just a way for the family to have respite. Some of the staff does an amazing job teaching and guiding Matthew's behavior, but some of the staff does not.
The respite for Jacob, David and I has been great. My only concern is that I have not yet set up a new behavior plan for when Matthew comes home. I am working on a plan, but I want to make sure that it is one that I can implement and follow through on 100 percent of the time. I am looking to try to implement a plan at home that is similar to what they do at school so that he understands how the plan works.
That said, I am one person with 3 children and dinner to make, homework to do and other mom jobs, so I have to be realistic about the plan that I create.
I worked with Jacob's new therapist to create a safety plan for Jacob and David for when Matthew returns. She and I are working to empower Jacob and we are putting together a safety box for Jacob and David to use when they are scared. I am going to teach Jacob how to use the phone and call his grandparents if he is feeling scared. Upon hearing this, Jacob quickly made his own little phone book. When the therapist asked if David would ever call his grandparents if he was scared, Jacob quickly giggled because while David might dial the phone, Jacob said David wouldnt talk.
Jacob may be one of the most insightful children I have ever known. He is amazing at reading David and understanding what he needs and even at reading his peers. I think having him work with a therapist will provide him time to destress each week and will allow him to have a time where he can just be 6 years old. I am also hoping it is a time for him and I to be together where he will know each week he will have my undivided attention.
- I am a single mom of three amazing boys! All three of my sons entered my family through adoption. All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!