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Old 04-21-2006, 07:54 PM   #1
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Question Would you recommend having your own child "diagnosed" ?

I'm really at odds with myself, on this one.

I've got a "diagnosis" as do my brother and father.

My son will be 30, in May. HE opted to stay away from diagnoses, due to potential doors of opportunity being closed. He also has opted to never have children.

My youngest child (just turned 12) is going through all the wonders of hormonal adolescence. BUT, she's clearly showing major signs of BpD.

IF she is at all like my brother, father and I ~ then she'll be in for a tough ride. We ALL are extremely medication sensitive, and cannot "maintain" any med course for more than a few days.

I was trying to allow her the same options my older son had (to decide for herself, as she ages).

BUT. In the meantime - despite her behavior and efforts at school being very good ~ she has run into a "wall" with her teachers. It's symptomatic of many of Public Education's shortcomings, of late. Total focus on TESTING, and then using test scores to whip the kids.

I met with her teachers, at the beginning of the year, to explain that her mother was divorcing me ~ and unfortunately, her life might be in emotional turbulence AND upheaval. Not-so-much that she'd act-out in class (she never has) ~ but that with all the running back and forth between broken homes AND missed sleep and all - that if at all possible, it would be appreciated IF they might try to keep in contact for assignments and such. I might as well have been dealing with the Gestapo. Not a single reply to a single email.

Now, today, I received notice that she's to attend Summer School OR potentially NOT be matriculated from 8th grade when she gets there. That is based upon a "failing" Math Grade. Apparently, when literally sick, she missed a test - and the instructor counts that as a zero (if THEY don't approach to make it up immediately).

Her report card was in a separate envelope, with an F in Math. I'd never been contacted, in any way shape or form.

It's frustrating. She panics during tests. I can work with her for hours, and have her do problem after problem correctly ~ but if they give her a sidewinder during the test - she just freezes. They don't care. Even with good efforts, they will still fail her. I'm appalled.

I did contact the Guidance Counsellor at mid-year, and gave major background (like I did here, and then some).

Unfortunately, even after the conferences ~ ultimately I was told there was nothing they could do. It was left up to me to take her to a psychiatrist and persue a diagnosis (which I really did not want to do).

NOW, I'd like to find out if ANYONE out there has had a child around 6th or 7th grade level, who HAS a diagnosis, and IF any actual consideration(s) or accommodations were made in the classroom (and expectations).


This thing has me sick to my stomach. IF she acted-out, they'd easilly try to work with her - but instead they're slamming her ego into a hole.


Anyone out there have any experiences along that line, and wish to "share" ?



~ Thank you very much for reading all this !!!

 
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Old 04-22-2006, 03:15 AM   #2
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Re: Would you recommend having your own child "diagnosed" ?

If a diagnosis isn't something you want to persue, you are still able to get help and counseling for her troubles. Just with what you describe, it doesn't sound like medication is needed (but I'm just going off your post).

Is she already seeing a psychiatrist or therapist? That is where I would start, to see exactly where your daughter is emotinally and mentally. Then they can see if what she is experiencing is indeed a mood disorder (or something else) as well to see if medication or a diagnosis is necessary.

SGH

 
Old 04-22-2006, 06:29 AM   #3
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Re: Would you recommend having your own child "diagnosed" ?

Your title is what I'm kind of responding to...
And I guess I'd have you ask yourself if you would want your child diagnosed if she had diabetes or polio. Same thing applies for something like Bipolar that doesn't just magically cure itself, or can be "thought out of".
I was 13 when I started having problems. And it started in school. To be honest, that was almost 40 years ago and I wasn't diagnosed properly. But to this day I believe that my parents did the right thing by doing everything that they COULD do.
I never felt that I didn't really have something wrong with me. We just didn't know what it was.
And, maybe your daughter has skipped the genetic makeup that leads to the med sensitivity. She may be able to take it.
And Ben, I think its too easy to just blame the schools, the teachers, the systems. If your daughter IS bipolar then it is her problem too. Except that she had no say so over the onset of the disorder.
I have a feeling that she may really want to get some help from somewhere so that she can do her best at tests and in social situations.
I sure did cause I've sure ben there.

Last edited by Ruth6:11; 04-22-2006 at 06:30 AM.

 
Old 04-22-2006, 08:39 AM   #4
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Re: Would you recommend having your own child "diagnosed" ?

I'd like to thank you both for your thoughtful feedback.

A year ago, I started the process to have her seen and screened. The Health Plan had its own MH facilities and providers. Did the whole preliminary nine yards, with the parents going for a series of "meetings", before trying a therapist or above (no psychiatrist made available).

My daughter finally went. It was fruitless and evidently pointless (aside from the rather large co-pays).

They assigned her to a male therapist ~ whose methods were extremely low-key. After an hour with her, he reported "progress" - in that he'd finally gotten her to say her name to him. Sorry, but that is NOT my standard for "progress", especially with what they put us through and charged. In discussion with me, he expressed no particular "knowledge" of psychopharmaceuticals that your average "Joe" wouldn't have. NOT the way to consider hit-and-miss with my young Miss.

HE set her up with a follow-up appointment. As we left, she said she would never come to see him again. We discussed it, at length. She said she'd consider seeing a female. The only one they had on staff (for Child Psychology) actually ran the whole program for this region, and did NOT do individual therapy.

I pointed-out (to that system) that egregious $$$$ were being paid for services, and that if they failed to provide them, then certainly upstream contacts would be made. They begrudgingly agreed to have that woman see my daughter - IN THREE MONTHS (at that point, in the beginnings of THIS school year). At that point, I'd have had to pull her out of school (and it's a 20+ mile drive).

When the time came (a day before the appointment), my daughter said she would NOT GO. Every conceivable form of cadjolling failed. I called the psychologist, and explained (just under the required window for cancellation). She p-shawed it, and just said to have her there. I asked what the consequence would be IF she was delivered bound in duct-tape, as that is about what it would probably take. She said that would trigger Child Protective Services being contacted. I said they'd best cancel the appointment.

I tried.

Now, we're "here".


I'd been barely hanging in there, myself - hoping this school year would wind-down (I have to get her up at 5:30 AM, in order to be ready for the bus), and the tensions from the divorce, and all, could subside. NOW, the school system wishes to perpetuate that through the summer.* I'm about ready to explode.



Thanks for the feedback.


(in edit) * Does it make any sense, if what you're doing is failing - to simply do more of it. IF a child is not learning - then how on earth does making them suffer through more of the same crappolla increase the likelihood they'll learn it. They are inflexible in their methods, and that's my beef. Punishing her by making her sit through the entire curriculum of summer school will NOT enhance her Math Test scores. There's no focus on Math or her supposed "lacks" (which in a non-test environment disappear). I taught 5th and 6th grade level for 17 years. Their methods suck. If a child didn't pass a test with me (and I wrote ALL my own tests), then I'd set them down and do one-on-one AND if they could perform the tasks away from that testing environment, then I'd let the parents know - and give them credit. This school system and teacher(s) are using ALL pre-programmed materials and remain inflexible. Period. Both it and they SUCK. I'm immensely qualified to say that !!! The whole putrid system is now geared to reward teachers and administrators solely upon the students' test scores. Those who don't test well are encouraged to find other modes of education, so they don't lower the almighty scores. That IS the sad truth.

Last edited by BenGone; 04-22-2006 at 08:56 AM. Reason: Clarification *

 
Old 04-22-2006, 09:14 AM   #5
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Re: Would you recommend having your own child "diagnosed" ?

Reading my own last post, an obvious question emerged...

So, why am I asking about diagnoses, NOW ???

Her medical plan availability is on the verge of a change. More than likely - as early as June - she'll be eligible to see an entirely different "system".


With that in mind - I thought about a clean slate, and IF I should consider starting the process, yet again.

Only this time, I'm also weighing the possibility of pulling her out of the Public Schools (at the same time). I hold "lifetime" credentials for "everything" - so it could easilly work. BUT - socially, she needs school. Like any good person, I'm trying to minimize her suffering.

That's why I sought feedback.

Ruth - were any school persons (counsellors or others) ever consulted about your diagnosis ? Did they make any accommodations whatsoever ?

That's the ghist of feedback I'm hoping to garner BEFORE I traipse down to the County Office of Education and make formal inquiries.

I was in that same office, in November. I was discussing pulling my daughter out, when lo-and-behold ~ my cell phone rang. She was with her class on a $250 field trip and was puking (running a high fever). I had to leave the offices and go retrieve her (some 35+ miles away).

Since then, all was put on a back-burner. Her desire to NOT leave her classmates was the overwhelming item in my NOT pulling her out, thereafter.


So, I find myself looking to the immediate future, and making plans. For one thing - on Monday, I have to go confront the School System. They mailed the forms so they'd arrive not earlier than April 21st - with April 20th being the deadline for enrollment. Very typical of public schools. While I was teaching, they'd sent-out back-dated compliance bulletins. Forms we'd have to have re-submitted by 3 weeks BEFORE we even received them !!! Of course, they'd fake an even earlier date under their letterhead to make it appear that the teachers were at fault...

I could go on, forever !!!

Last edited by BenGone; 04-22-2006 at 09:18 AM.

 
Old 04-22-2006, 01:50 PM   #6
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Re: Would you recommend having your own child "diagnosed" ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenGone
Ruth - were any school persons (counsellors or others) ever consulted about your diagnosis? Did they make any accommodations whatsoever ?
This is where the difference that 40 years of mental health progress can make comes in.
I was NEVER diagnosed correctly until I was 30 years old.

I missed the last two months of eighth grade, all of my freshman year, and all of my senior year in high school.

There was no in between for me. I was either too "sick" to go to school, or I was there doing great socially & academically (i.e. Nat'l Honor Society) until the next crash.

I think that's totally stupid giving an adolescent girl a male therapist.
Duh!!! I had a psychiatrist when I was 13 who was a man old enough to be my father - only older. Like I could talk to HIM????
And, the truth is that there is nothing that therapy could do for me. I didn't have a problem that talking could do anything about. I had a physiological chemical imbalance.

For almost 10 years now I just get a new Rx from my GP - no shrink, no therapy.
And I'm luckily a good lithium responder and I am especially fortunate to be functioning as well as I am - considering that I have:
Been so manic I was psychotic
Have been so depressed I have been catatonic
Have had shock therapy
Was put onheavy duty drugs like thorazine at a young age.
Was incorrectly diagnosed for years as schizophrenic.

My problem, unlike your daughter, is that it wasn't grades that was the issue.
It was the sheer inability to function in school. I was just too sick.

I constantly hear grown-ups worrying about school & grades & getting into college.
Some kids don't get to college.
Not that your daughter won't, but what if she can't??
I think that how a person feels about themselves and knowing that they are doing the best they can possibly do being who they are, and knowing that whether they go to college or don't, there are parents who love them and are proud of them is all that matters.

IF your daughter is bipolar there is alot of control that you are going to need to learn to let go of...
Bipolar doesn't respond to anything but meds.
Eating right, setting a regular sleep schedule, limiting caffeine can all help.
But Bipolar doesn't have anything to do with therapy unless BEING bipolar has caused mental or emotional or personality damage as a result.

No one at school ever knew I was bipolar. I didn't either.
And at only one job did I ever divulge my disorder - they were asking the impossible of me stresswise. And even then I'm sorry that I told them and got an "accomodation" for my illness. I would have been better to step down to a job that I could handle given my limitations.

I don't know Ben, maybe it doesn't help that I've never been a mom and it is hard for me to relate to the protectiveness & desire to blame the world for something that is true, real, live physiological brain disorder...
heavy sigh...

 
Old 04-22-2006, 04:25 PM   #7
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Re: Would you recommend having your own child "diagnosed" ?

We have a diagnosis for my son, who is 5. They have however said they were not going to go as far to put it down as Bipolar at this time due to his age, but they were going to classify it as just mood disorder. My understanding is that this just looks better on paper. They said eventually he will get the bipolar diagnosis.

This was not the diagnosis that I was expecting at all. I wanted to find out what was going on with him before school started so that we would be prepared when school did start. We were definately blindsided. But from what I have been researching, it is better to start everything early rather than later. The psychiatrist was telling me that they are recently learning that the ups and the sudden downs (crashing) does a number on your brain and that it is really a good thing to catch early.

Anyways...has anyone mentioned to you about a 504 Plan?? It is something that is written up to help the child in a school sitting. The teachers are suppose to follow it. I'm learning about this right now because we're currently in the process of setting one up for my son so it's in play when he starts school in the fall. The school themselves evaluated him and found nothing to be concerned about. I thought they were nuts so I took it further and went to the Pediatrician, a psychologist and a pyschiatrist and all say the same thing about the mood disorder/bipolar. They ended up having to have me sign a release to be sent to the docs so they could have record that he does qualify for the 504 plan.

I don't know much info on it...(again...still learning). But it may be something to look into.

Another thing that I have been recommened is calling a group called InSource and they are suppose to help w/ getting the 504 Plans or IEPs set up so that the kids can get help in school.

Good luck!
__________________
~Jes
Mom to -
6 yr old son, diagnosed w/ Mood Disorder NOS
3 yr old daughter

Last edited by novmom; 04-22-2006 at 04:29 PM.

 
Old 04-23-2006, 05:29 AM   #8
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Re: Would you recommend having your own child "diagnosed" ?

Hey Ben~

In answer to the thread question, personally, I would say yes.

Even allowing for the assosiated flack attatched to a diagnosis.

Your daughter is clearly going through a most difficult time, not just with the divorce but with hormones ON TOP OF going to school.

I wish somebody had helped me 30 years ago.

In my opinion ANYTHING that could help her through this is a good thing. What if she turns out NOT to be bipolar but something 'easier' to treat?

Hope it helps in some small way.

Hedge ~
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Old 04-23-2006, 10:08 AM   #9
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Re: Would you recommend having your own child "diagnosed" ?

Thanks to you all for that feedback.

novmom ~ Your reply was VERY MUCH along the lines of experience I was hoping to learn from.

As fate would have it, just last night - I went to pick my daughter up from a Birthday Party. Turned-out she'd supposedly arranged for her mother to pick her up (without telling me or calling) - so as to have a friend spend the night THERE. Supposedly, my ex would be there in a few minutes. The host was a bit tenuous about a potential confrontation or conflict if or when my ex showed-up, but I was more concerned that the plan was legitimate - and so I was offered a drink (go figure) and stuck around. During the course of our discussions (over lemon drops), it came out that their older child had been diagnosed ADD, AND the subject of a 504 came up. Oddly enough, whereas I'd dealt in the ed sphere for years, I'd don't remember those numbers being used.

After an hour and a half - my cell phone rang. It was my ex. She wanted to know why I hadn't dropped the girls there, yet. Get the drift ? That's a sidebar - but somehow pertains.

During my YEARS teaching, I'd encouraged many a parent to demand a psych-review for consideration of "modifications". Not to disgrace or label any children, but to get them assistance and relieve undue pressure (along with modifying expectancies). Upper administration labelled me a pariah for so doing.

When my daughter was in 4th grade, and first encountered the more "inhumane" system and specific teacher (and Ruth ~ it's not just me that feels that way) ~ I went to consult - got blown off - met with the principal and was flatly DENIED any sort of evaluation. Later on, when consulting an attorney concerning divorce - that came up. HE wanted to reassign the divorce to someone else and persue the schools !!! A blatant denial of civil rights. Enough crap was in the fire, and I chose not to.

However. That meeting with the principal resulted in my daughter being very black-balled at that school... Again, NOT PARANOIA. Real as rain.

For the 6th grade - they'd transferred that grade level to Middle School. Not over logic. Over money.

Again, I taught 6th (and 5th) grades. For 17 years. YES - it was good to be strict and uphold high standards, but NO it is NOT COOL to thwart individuality and creativity just to adhere to some moronic standards - which show even less intellectual reality than plans for occupying Iraq AFTER the initial conflict.

When I approached the Guidance Counsellor THIS school year, it was again to seek psych-eval consideration. Again, I was flatly denied.

To add a real side-winder to this equation ~ some 15 years ago - the current Superintendent of this district was a colleague of mine. We know each other.

IF I go to consult HER, then again - I might create waves that can hurt my daughter.

One other thing did come up, last night.

It appears probable that as many as HALF the students (or more) in that Math class are receiving failing grades. Not due to lack of effort. Not due to lack of assignment completion. That pretty well means test scores. On confusing tests, themselves untested - covering materials not presented well or at all. I've seen the tests. They suck, plain and simple. Most adults would pull their hair out.

One of the major tenants of education USED TO BE that if MORE than a small number of students in a classroom are FAILING - then it's probably NOT the students, but the instruction or materials that need to be examined.

No offense to anyone - but it's about crystal clear that it's probably NOT the students, in this case.

I've already discussed (informally) with enough other parents, to see that there is essentially NO instruction going on.


I'm kind of gathering steam. Figured I'd first approach the school but not waste a lot of time there - getting them to FORMALIZE their exact meaning concerning mandated summer session (and reasoning, if any).

THEN, I'll probably drive straight to the district offices, and ask that (without student privacy being compromised) they compile exacting percentages of that instructor's grades to students AND perhaps even extend it to the whole school... The real irony here, is that this district is "lily-white", elitist and right at the top statistically of the state's scores. But, even that does not allow for waiver from constant improvements. And overburdening the children with beau-coup hours of nightly busi-homework.

So, Ruth - I'm not just finger pointing. I've spent countless hours trying to calm my daughter from her school frustrations AND doing the teaching to her that they are not. Unfortunately - she has anxiety. She panics. She cannot re-create in a school test environment what she can do when relaxed. She is NEVER relaxed in school, especially in a testing environment. She's like a dog that's been kicked repeatedly.

I spent a lot of effort to RELAX my own students so they could perform well.

I'm offended by the inhumanity I'm seeing.

And I think I've earned the position and privilege to voice it !!!!


novmom ~ Thanks for mentioning the 504. I'll contact the County Offices to discuss it with them.



PS ~ IS it just tenacity ? I don't think so.
12 - step programs insist that you MUST admit you're powerless.

I cannot agree with that. Any more than those retired generals are still content to keep their mouths shut.

PPS ~ I am NOT one of those "parents". My sole concern is my daughter's well-being. Decent self concept. Reduced suffering and increased potential for happiness. I couldn't give a rat's hind-quarters about college !!! Besides, at the rate our economy and job market are going - all will be "out-sourced" except PhD-level Hamburger flipping !!! So, why would I care about her and college ? If she wants to go, fine, if not, fine. Besides, in this ridiculous state, she could drop out NOW and receive funds to get her into Community College when old enough - so again - WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ? Why not relax the pressure NOW when it's so critical. Believe me - it's not the furthest thought from my mind that IF her mother would cede custody fully to me - I ought to think about perhaps France (yes, I said that) as a place to take her for a couple of years. I won't make this a twelve-page posting just to explain the plethora of reasons why.

Last edited by BenGone; 04-23-2006 at 10:57 AM.

 
Old 04-23-2006, 03:32 PM   #10
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Re: Would you recommend having your own child "diagnosed" ?

<gently spoken>
sometimes, if the core problem is Bipolar Disorder & not just the teachers, school, administration -
sometimes the answer is treatment of the Bipolar Disorder and then all else falls into place.
<with respect>

Last edited by Ruth6:11; 04-23-2006 at 03:33 PM.

 
Old 04-23-2006, 06:22 PM   #11
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Re: Would you recommend having your own child "diagnosed" ?

<also gently spoken>
sometimes a person's bloodline has a history of chemical dead-ends -
sometimes that person isn't denying the likelihood of a/the REAL disorder -
sometimes that same person would prefer to save his children from such suffrage -
sometimes I wish a magic pill WOULD cure it or make it more tolerable -
but sometimes life is just what it is.
<also with deepest respect>

 
Old 04-24-2006, 08:33 AM   #12
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Re: Would you recommend having your own child "diagnosed" ?

Follow-up thanks to novmom ~

I finally got off my procrastination, and "searched" online. It appears the "504" was an initial anti-discrimination attempt, back in 1973. It still stands, while other measures have also been added (like the ADA and what is now referred to as I.D.E.A.).

The 504 does NOT require the schools to perform IEP's.

I had been on the "inside", complying with the prescribed services. And attending IEP's.

I'd not encountered any 504's. That apparently is something which "today" is reserved for those NOT having "severe" enough impairments to trigger the full-on IEP stuff.

In those same searches, I came across numerous legal docs that emphasized how "good teachers" make reasonable accomodations for ALL students, regardless of proven impairments. That means things like modifying expectancies. And perhaps even writing assignments on the board for the students (which one instructor won't do OR repeat !!!).

THAT is what I requested, back in 2003 and 2005, along with requesting evaluation.

Both were flatly denied.

I'm off to campaign.

Those same docs also insisted it was a right and duty of the parents to advocate for their child. That means to speak up and speak out for your child. I was a student advocate as a teacher. And proud of it. In loco parentis !!!

I'll take those words as vindication.

Last edited by BenGone; 04-24-2006 at 08:42 AM.

 
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