Thursday, May 1, 2014

On being the LCD

Meaning, lowest common denominator. See, I remember some stuff from math class. I just justified my education. Now if I could figure out how to calculate the tip on a restaurant bill, I'd be absolute genius level.

DH and I are the LCD. And so are you, if you're a special-needs parent. You're the one who knows everything there is to know about your child and your child's diagnosis, and what's worked in the past and what hasn't, and which medication your child is or isn't on and whether that's the second or third medication you've tried. You know the names of all his doctors and his OT and his teacher. You know her favorite book and her favorite color and what she's thinking about when she melts down. You know how he does in karate class or how she does in ballet. Everyone else knows a piece, a part, one thing. You know everything. You are the lowest common denominator in this equation.

I was reminded of that fact when kiddo had a bad time last week and got himself suspended from the bus for a day. He likes to be first off the bus. Several times he's pushed other kids to get in front of them. The driver was worried a kid would fall down the steps. I get it -- it's dangerous. Kiddo shouldn't be doing that. At the same time, I get kiddo -- he's not trying to hurt anyone. He genuinely didn't realize he could hurt anyone. He just wanted to be first. When his mind is locked on a thing, it's difficult to get him unlocked.

Fortunately the 504 coordinator gets that too, but it didn't prevent the suspension. Kiddo was also more defiant all week, talking back to us, more sullen, refusing to do things when asked, and more hyperactive than usual. Which is why I yanked him right off medication #3 and he's back on #1, which seems to have calmed things somewhat. It's not a perfect fix -- he's still hiding under his desk instead of doing his classwork -- but his usual sweet personality seems to have more or less emerged.

DH and I were displeased about the suspension. Sure kiddo should be punished if he does something wrong. But kicking a kid off the bus for a day is a bit more like punishing the parents, who then have to rearrange their work schedules to account for it. Also we would've been less aggravated if it hadn't taken 10 days to find out about the first infraction. What are we supposed to do at that point?

US: "Hey, kiddo, remember 10 days ago when you pushed a kid on the bus?"
KIDDO: "Huh?"

I mean he's lucky if he remembers what he had for lunch that day.

Anyway. DH and I requested a meeting with the school, to complain about the lack of communication and the lack of info we were getting about how he was doing. It's a good thing we did. One of the assembled officials had no idea we'd been trying a new medication. Another one was unaware that kiddo's social skills group had ended for the year. A third had revised his behavior chart but never sent along a finished version, so he was working without one. (Apparently kiddo has been doing fine without a chart, so we're leaving that one alone.) The assumption had been that we didn't want daily updates on kiddo's behavior, when actually we very much do. It seemed like everyone had a piece of information about kiddo, or about his accommodations, but DH and I were the ones who knew the most. And if we hadn't requested the meeting, possibly the officials would never have shared their information with each other (or us). 

We are the LCD. We make sure everyone is aware of everything. Because teachers and doctors, despite the best of intentions, are not going to be able to help kiddo unless they know everything they need to know. Ultimately, always, it's up to us to make things happen.

Kiddo really does seem improved this week, so here's hoping he keeps at it.

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