OK a year ago today we had N to our house for the first full week of time with us. She helped me make the Thanksgiving dinner and was generally compliant with directions and requests. We did not get to bring her back on time due to lake effect snow at Hillside, so the week turned into 10 days and I was not unhappy about this at all.
So a year later here are somethings for me to share and remember when I get frustrated with behaviors and attitudes that I still sometimes get. Yes I know she is a teen…..
-The first four months she was living with me, she would regularly physically attack me and require me to physically intervene. It happened each time she had her menses and while it was predictable it appeared that there was no way to stop it. Months five and six we had to call the state police because she had actually managed to hurt me and she got a free trip to the hospital for a psych eval. Months seven to eleven, almost twelve, no physical aggression at all.
-First six months were a lot of yelling and “I can’t” when it came to expressing feelings. Months seven to eleven, almost twelve “I don’t want to talk about my feelings now I will later when I calm down.” Comes to me later to discuss them. Yes huge I know, even the therapist meets with us minimally now because she can and does discuss things with me.
-First three months “I can’t read”. Now she is reading at a first grade level and with prompts working harder on both her writing paragraphs and sticking with reading books. Instead of refusing to sound menu items out when in a restaurant, she will try to sound them out and use context at times to help her figure it out.
– First six months, specialized school for children with behavioral issues. Last three months, contained classroom at the local high school. No behavioral issue reported to date.
-Came to me on five different medications. Now takes one Prozac.
-At first she was unable to discuss anything not movie related when having a conversation. Now discusses what she is doing or has done. Will mention movies in the theater she has seen and struggles but does not fight about limited television watching. It can be a hot button but she can be talked down now and prepped for more positive results.
So it is not all sunshine and roses but I promise she has made a huge amount of growth. We are struggling with social cues, boundaries when talking to people we don’t really know and how to make friends but given her limited opportunities in the past much of this can be expected.
WOW kiddo has grown and I am super proud of her.