Navigating life with a teenager….who happens to have bipolar disorder

Posts tagged ‘Sensory Processing Disorder’

Diving Off the Deep End of the PEER

 

I found out recently that people in my life, both friends and family, feel that I am a bit of a know it all.  I could have been offended at this knowledge, but surprisingly, I wasn’t.   I personally don’t think anybody could be a true know it all, but I did think I knew a lot……….a lot about myself, my life, my kiddo’s life and our journey.  I knew these things because I had opened my mind and embraced my ability to learn.  This week I tested that ability and embarked on an adventure that would drive me to seek a deeper understanding of myself and my willingness to use that knowledge to help others.  Over the course of the week I learned more about things I thought I knew and I learned about things I didn’t realize that I didn’t know.  Most importantly, I learned about sharing my experiences in an effective way, instead of an intrusive ‘know it all’ way.

willing to learn

 

One of the beautiful aspects of the state of Georgia is that it’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities is one of the pioneering agencies in the field of mental health services…..specifically, in Peer Support Services.  For many years there have been adults working in the position of a Certified Peer Specialist in the fields of mental health and addiction recovery.  After years of advocacy for both families and youth, there are now emerging groups of Peer Specialists that are specifically centered around youth living with these challenges and parents of people living with these challenges.  This week I joined their ranks and completed my training to become a Certified Peer Specialist-Parent.

What is a Peer Specialist?  We are people who have ‘been there and done that’.  We are people who can use all of the knowledge we have gained, the experiences we’ve had and, most importantly, the emotions we have felt to provide support to others who are walking the same path.  We are the people who will ask “How are you?” ……and then listen to the answer without hesitation or judgement.

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At the beginning of the week, I felt strong in the knowledge that I possessed all of the skills I needed to be the best Peer Support Parent possible.  What I learned, after lots of tears and self reflection, was that I don’t need to have all of the answers…… I don’t need to fix everyone around me…… I should simply be there when they need someone who understands.  I also learned that I have been drowning myself in service to others, always feeling that just because I have the ability to do something means I have to.  It was eye-opening for me to realize that I can take a breather from other’s lives to focus on myself and not feel guilty……..and that’s ok.   I didn’t learn this from the curriculum,  power points or exams…..I learned this by walking in the door every morning to 20 people who understood me before they even knew me.  I learned this by having virtual strangers sincerely asking me about my well-being every morning.   I learned this by having these strangers become caring friends by the end of the week.  In my daily life, I have a wonderful ‘mom’ friend who gets me, I have supportive friends at NAMI who get me, but having this large group of peers surround me and envelop me in kindness and understanding every day this week was a life changing experience.

As parents of special needs kiddos, we live our lives for our children and families first…….and then we love to educate others about what we know.  I have been doing this in an effort to make this world a better place for my child and others like him.  For a long time I felt that I was fighting this war alone.   I didn’t realize that by doing this to the extent I do, I am stretching myself thin.  I know I spout about self-care to others often, but I rarely follow my own advice.  I find it funny that it took me taking a class in an effort to help others to teach me to help myself.

Just goes to prove that this world is full of things that I don’t know. So I thank my teachers this week, all of my peers who taught me that’s it’s alright to care for myself and opened my eyes to the fact that I’m not in this alone.  I have warriors by my side.  Alone, I might be able to change the world, but I will burn out quickly.  As a group, we can give each other strength and a little bit of relief that we can take on the world together…….and go so much farther in our efforts.

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16 Steps Forward, One 17 Foot Drop Back

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A Light In The Attic

face-your-fears

 

When we moved to the south three years ago, there were definitely a few fears I had to face.  I was up for the challenge and excited about what lay ahead,  but being the northern girl I am, there were little thoughts nestled in the back of my mind about what I was getting myself….and my child into.

First came the big fears.  My son, CJ, had a hard time being accepted by his peers….and by adults, for that matter…..when we lived outside of Albany, NY.  Would he have trouble with this southern move?  My husband and I are progressive thinkers in the matters of life, love and faith.  How would WE be accepted into this more conservative society?  It didn’t take long for those thoughts to be quieted.  Within months, CJ had found a couple of true friends and my husband and I had become a part of a wonderful circle of very accepting people.

Then came the silly fears.  Georgia has big bugs….and snakes….and tornadoes.   I have to say, I have not seen one snake near our home since we lived here (I did see one in the lake down the road, but it was far enough away that it didn’t even phase me).  There has only been one bad tornado….and it was about fifty miles away.  The bug thing I am still working on.  Two and a half years since we moved into our house and I still have not ventured into the attic for fear of an encounter with a brown recluse spider. In three years I have learned to face my fears of the unknown (well, most of them anyway)…..and this week I triumphed over another one….home schooling my son.

Since elementary school CJ has struggled with being in a classroom.  His anxiety has gotten so overwhelming that he can become physically ill….nausea, vomiting, chest pains.  He was afraid to let teachers know that he understood the work because he didn’t want to be called on.  If a teacher reprimanded him in front of the class, he carried it with him every day.  His struggles with his learning disabilities and sensory processing disorder has hindered the learning process….especially when he has come across teachers that don’t understand working with challenges. This has all been a part of living with bipolar disorder.  This has all been part of our lives since the first grade.  This has all been a part of our lives until we decided enough was enough.

In June, my company was forced to do some layoffs…..me being one of them.  I seized the opportunity to change some of my life goals by starting my own company.  I did so with the assumption that my son would be attending the private school we enrolled him in last winter.  Little did I know, on his first day of school that would all change.

We knew going in, that this was a Christian school, but I specifically asked what views they held upon enrollment.  I was told that the curriculum didn’t hold any specific point of view and that they had students from all faiths attending.  They held up to that for winter and spring semesters.  Not so much this year.  On his first day, CJ was told he was a sinner by his history teacher because he believes in evolution and that the world is millions of years old.  He also got in trouble after that history teacher said God wrote the bible and my logical thinker son said…”Um, no. The followers of God wrote the bible…..that’s why each book is named after them.”.  Later in the day he encountered his new biology teacher who literally struck fear into one of his classmates as she reached across the desk to hit him with a yard stick.

As soon as CJ got in the car at the end of the day, he told me what happened and said, “I am never going to be able to speak in that class because I am sure I will be hit eventually”.  Looking through my son’s notes that day, the only thing on a page from that class said DO NOT SPEAK….underlined five times.   Needless to say, he was a nervous mess.  That night, he woke up from a severe panic attack,  sweating, crying and shaking.  It took him a while to calm down and get back to sleep…….and then he woke up the next day the same way.  The next time I dropped CJ of at school, I remember thinking “School should never have to be a place you are afraid of.”.

By Wednesday of that week I had a long conversation with my husband.  What if I tried to home school him?  I know we had attempted on-line schooling before, but what if I created a curriculum that spoke to him? So, I embarked on a new adventure….trying to build the right curriculum for my kiddo.  Something that would teach him life skills as well as academic ones. Something that would engage his interests while educating him.  Something that would make him want to learn more.

CJ and I had a long conversation about it and I set forth the rules we would have and the schedule we would follow.  We determined to keep the same school schedule he had at the private school, four days a week of class and Fridays would be set aside for any catch up work or course work to help him understand something he is struggling with.  He would also be expected to pick some type of community program to volunteer with.

This week we started.  As before, I had fears going in.  I began with quite a bit of nausea, myself…especially because I didn’t have a whole lot of time to figure out which curriculum program we were going to use….so I created what I call a Frankenstein program…..  little pieces of different programs and some of my own.  I wanted to start by September, so we began with five subjects instead of the six I planned.  I am still working on the curriculum for history and will add that in the next couple of weeks.  This year, our subjects are Oceanography, Popular Literature(focus on comic books and manga), Sign Language, Accounting/Economics and Life Skills (my answer to Home Ec).  Each day I allow CJ to pick which subject he wants to start with.  Our classes are a mixture of reading, lecturing and hands on work so I can see how he learns the best.  He has not made one complaint.  He has completed every task I have set before him.  He even woke me up early on Friday asking me why I let him sleep too late because he wanted to start school.

After the first couple of days, I heard CJ on a telephone call to his grandmother.  He made a comment that struck me.  He said “I understand what I am learning because when I ask a question mama takes time to explain instead of just reading the same thing a second time like all my other teachers have done.  I mean, if I didn’t understand it when you read it the first time, how is reading the same thing a second time going to make it any better?”.  Because he and I are one on one, I have the time to explain things in detail to him and to answer all of the questions he may have, which is something his teachers never had time to do.  I think this will be the key to our success.

So, we are only one week in….but it has been an amazing week.  I wonder if it’s about time I faced another fear and venture into the attic….maybe I’ll leave the light on for a while first, just in case.

light in the attic

The Choice is Up to You

Suffering

This past weekend, my husband and I attended an advocacy training class hosted by NAMI.  At one point in the training we were read sample stories, letters and emails in an effort to learn how to be more concise when reaching out to others.  One of the sentences sparked a short debate within the class, it was a simple sentence….and one I use often “My son is living with Bipolar Disorder”.  When we were asked what stood out to us in the letter, I cited this sentence because they used the word living instead of suffering.  The word suffering has become all too common within the mental health community and there are many of use that would love to ban it all together.  There were others in the class that did not agree and stated that by erasing the word from our stories, it lessens the struggle we have all gone through.  Here is why I no longer use the word suffering in my son’s diagnosis:

My son has wonderful days. Most of the time, he is a happy and healthy 15-year-old boy.  Is he different? Yes.  He has to take multiple medications daily, he has to see doctors more often than most, get blood work done more often than most, and he needs to recognize when he is in a situation that may cause him lose control of his emotions.  These are all things he is learning to do very well……better than a lot of teenagers, if I do say so.  Does he have days when he struggles; when the highs and lows of bipolar disorder are so overwhelming he feels out of control?  Of course, that is the nature of the illness, but I feel the good days out-weigh the bad.

I believe true suffering is a choice not a diagnosis.  I have met people diagnosed with cancer, living with the horrible symptoms of their illness every day, but looking towards life with a positive attitude…..I have also met people with cancer who choose to let the symptoms control their life and their mood.  Same illness, same symptoms, but different attitudes had a huge effect on whether or not they emotionally suffered. Mental illness is no different.

People with mental illnesses have days where their world can be turned upside down…….and their families have those days, too.  It is how you pick up and move on to the next day that determines if you are choosing to suffer through the illness or live with it.  I have made a point of telling CJ that he is not bipolar, he is diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  The illness does not determine who he is or how he is defined.  Only he can determine that.  In the same sense, the illness does not determine whether he is suffering or not…..that choice is up to him.

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NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness – a national organization that advocates, educates and supports people with mental illness and their families. For more information go to: https://www.nami.org/

Unlocking the Senses

sensory

I have come to the realization that I talk about sensory processing disorder (aka sensory integration disorder)quite a bit in this blog, yet I have never really explained what it is.  I know it sounds simple and straight forward…..it means our senses don’t work properly….but do you know how that can affect our daily lives? With our kiddos it can cause behaviors that we just don’t understand.  I came across a mom at a recent event whose child had sensory processing disorder and after talking for a bit, I found out that she didn’t even know what that diagnosis really meant.  I try not to get clinical on here….I am not a doctor.  I am just a mom who has lived with a child with sensory issues since the day he was born…..and I have done some research on the topic.  So I thought I would tell you what I know and how it’s related to my kiddo.

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Growing up we were taught that we had 5 senses; sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.  When it was first suggested that CJ had sensory processing disorder, I thought that it was a no-brainer….of course he did.  He hated loud noises, I had to cut tags out of his clothes, his socks had to be turned inside out, he didn’t like his hair brushed…..he was the pickiest eater ever.  As he progressed through elementary school, these issues seemed to get worse, so I thought I would read into it a bit.  I was astonished at what I found out.  They LIED to us……yes, our kindergarten teachers that taught us about the 5 senses were lying. Ok….well, maybe they weren’t completely lying…..but they didn’t teach us everything.  There are 3 additional senses that I did not know about.  I am going to give you a run down of all 8 senses, their technical names (in case there are doctors out there confusing the hell out of you) and some of the challenges our kiddos face if they have challenges with that specific sense.

1- Visual – This, of course, has to do with our eyes….how we receive light and other visual stimuli. If your kiddo has a visual sensory challenge, bright lights or sunlight might be a problem for them.  Also, flashing lights….especially strobes, can send them into a tailspin. I have a friend who has challenges with light due to chronic migraines.  She uses low watt Christmas lights all over her house. That might help your kiddo, too.

2- Auditory – This is all about sound….but not only strength of sound, it can be about how that kiddo’s brain receives certain tones.  Basic challenges with auditory disorders can be problems with loud sounds.  I once read that you know your kiddo has SPD when their mom always has ear plugs in her purse….or has mastered the ‘flush and run’ in public bathrooms (these are both items I can check on my list).  When he was younger, my son hated the sound of the vacuum cleaner.  I would have my mom take my son outside the house when I wanted to vacuum. This also went for days I wanted to mow the lawn.  As he got older, I found that if he was in control of the noise, he was ok with it.  Once I taught him how, vacuuming was one of his favorite things to do…..you know, before he became a teenager that has an aversion to house work. Back on topic, though, sound is only part of auditory disorders.  The other part is how our kiddos hear things.  There may be certain tones and sounds that their brain just doesn’t process correctly.  It’s not that they don’t listen to us….sometimes they just simply can’t process what we are saying by how loudly or softly we are speaking or even how we are forming our words.

3- Olfactory – This is about the sense of smell.  This can be a challenging one….especially if you enjoy eating out. My son refuses to go into a Subway Sandwich shop because he doesn’t like the smell of the bread baking.  He loves the smell of things baking at home, but there is just something about that Subway bread he can’t stand.  When he was younger, he wouldn’t want me to light scented candles around the house. Even now, I usually run a scent by him before I buy it. There are some kiddos that have the opposite problem, they have an under-sensitive olfactory system. This can drive parents nuts, especially when it comes to hygiene and cleanliness.  This is not to be confused with smelly teenager syndrome……they can smell it, they just don’t care.

4- Gustatory – This all about oral senses and taste.  This really could be called the chicken nugget syndrome.  I don’t know what it is about those things….but so many kids with oral sensitivities will only eat chicken nuggets.  I once suggested to my son that he should write a blog all about chicken…the best franchises to eat them….the texture of the breading…..the spices used etc.  For years, my son was a chicken expert.  He has since become quite the foodie….but it took many years for that to happen.  This is also one of the sensory challenges I personally have.  Mine has to do specifically with texture. Unfortunately, there are many fruits and vegetables that I just don’t like the feeling of in my mouth. Onions, for example…..I love onions.  The flavor is wonderful…..but to get a big piece of onion in my mouth makes my skin crawl and will ruin my appetite for the rest of the day.  When I cook, I use big chunks, so I can get the flavor with out actually eating it.

5- Tactile – This is all about how we physically feel things, touch.  I have pictures of CJ when he was little, sitting on a beautiful green lawn, holding his hands up.  I have another one of him sitting in a pile of fall leaves, crying….with his hands up. And still another one sitting in snow….with his hands up. You get the picture.  He didn’t like the feeling of anything  that was in extreme contrast to his world. He loved the satin edging on his blankie, he loved to grip soft rubber toys….anything that was smooth.  If it was rough or contrasting in texture at all, he just didn’t like it.  To this day, he prefers to take a bath than a shower…..he used to say ‘the shower spray is pokey on my skin’.  An interesting analogy I heard about tactile disorder was to imagine a cold winter day, your heat isn’t working, you have to take a shower before work…..you step onto the cold shower floor, with the cold water pouring down on you feeling like little bits of icicles on your skin.  This is how tactile dysfunction is for our kiddos.  Everything is attacking them like a cold icy shower.

6- Vestibular – This is the sense of balance.  Do you have a kiddo that falls out of chairs for no reason?  Do you have a kiddo that can’t ride a bike….even with training wheels?  Do you have a kiddo that falls up the stairs? If so, that kid probably has vestibular challenges. This can be a hard one to deal with….and frustrating for a kid that just wants to fit in.  For the sake of full disclosure….CJ is the kiddo in every scenario above.  The hardest thing for him to deal with was riding a bike.  All of his friends would go bike riding and he just couldn’t do it, even with training wheels. By the time he was 8, he was starting to get ridiculed about it.  One of the things that I read helps with this is a trampoline.  It helps to adjust their internal balance.  I thought it was worth a try, so I enrolled him in gymnastics.  In about 6 months, he was riding that bike.  To this day, bike riding is one of his favorite things to do.

7-  Proprioception – This is all about the sense of space……or where their body is in conjunction with everything else around them.  The easiest way I have of explaining this is the line at the grocery store.  Do you have a kid that doesn’t understand that they are so close to the person ahead of you in line that they are practically hugging them?  Does your kiddo constantly get in trouble in school for touching his/her classmates in line (this is mostly for elementary school students)? They may not know how close they are to that other person.  Their sense of space…..or how much space is between them, may be skewed.  This one….along with vestibular challenges, tend to be the sensory issues that get kids in trouble most at school, especially for younger students.  They may be considered class clowns or a total clutz.  Either way they get laughed at by the students and reprimanded by teachers for something they are not in control of.  This can wreak havoc on a kiddo’s confidence and self-esteem.

8- Interoceptive – The trickiest of them all – this is the sense of what is going on internally.  I once read an explanation about interoceptive disorders being a comparison to a traffic jam.  The brain knows what it wants to do, but can’t relay the message to the rest of the body.  This type of disorder usually comes about in something called a sensory motor disorder.  One of the motor disorders that is really misunderstood is called dyspraxia.  This can effect the fine motor skills. As a part of this dysfunction, my son has something called dysgraphia.  This pretty much means that writing is a challenge.  Truthfully, it has taken many years of practice, but his hand writing still looks like a 2nd graders. It also takes him a long time to write one sentence.  This has hindered him in so many ways throughout his education.  His frustration with his writing has effected every class in the past(with the exception of technology classes).  Even though I have the use of a tablet/word processor written into his IEP, very few teachers actually read his IEP or follow it. Interoceptive disorders, specifically dyspraxia, tends to be the one that effects a child’s school experience the most.

For many of these sensory challenges, especially in younger kids, they don’t know how to deal with their body’s inability to react the way they want it to, so they end up frustrated and most often, having a tantrum.  The way I used to explain it to teachers was, imagine you were working at the computer and regardless of which key you pressed, it would just freeze up and you wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything…..would you be frustrated? This is how these kids feel when their brain doesn’t send the info to the rest of their body….like a frozen computer.

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Statistically speaking, 1 in 25 kids has some type of sensory processing disorder.  That’s 1 kid in every classroom……yet most people (especially teachers) don’t even know it exists. Kids with SPD are also very often misdiagnosed with ADHD. Doctors have a really hard time separating the two…..especially because a lot of kids with ADHD also have SPD. This also goes for people with  mental illnesses, neurological disorders and traumatic brain injuries. Sensory Processing Disorder isn’t even recognized as a true diagnosis….because it doesn’t have an ICD-9 code …..which is the bible of medical diagnoses. Because of this, when attempting to get evaluations or treatment by an occupational therapist (who most often deals with SPD) it is not covered by insurance.  When we were attempting to get my son’s first IEP, it was years before his bipolar diagnosis, so they gave him an ADHD diagnosis, because it was the only way to get him help in school.  They really need to recognize SPD as a true disorder of its own so more kids and their families can get help.  We also need to educate our educators so they know what to look for with these kids and can find better ways adjust their learning environments.

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For parents of SPD kiddos, it can cause frustrations because we don’t know what is sensory challenges and what is simply bad behavior. The best thing I ever read was The Sensory-Sensitive Child, by Drs Smith and Gouze.  They are both moms of kids living with these disorders.  Reading that book not only educated me on the senses, but opened my eyes to how I reacted to my son’s challenges.  I was no longer quick to reprimanded him or punished him for things that were beyond his control.  I, instead, looked at each action and tried to determine what caused it before I reacted to it.  I then learned what his triggers were and how I could help him in a positive way by teaching him coping skills. In the end, it changed our relationship for the better.

Walking On Eggshells Will Just Hurt Your Feet

walking on eggshells

 

In the past few months, I have been coming to the realization that I sometimes revert back to the ‘eggshell’ behavior of my past.  Not all the time, but in certain moments, when I know the kiddo is in a bad place, I have been letting him have his way.  Why have I been doing this?  I am not sure.  Maybe it is because I have been trying to get my own head on straight lately. Maybe it is easier than dealing with a blow up.  Maybe I have been trying to be ‘nicer’ to help repair the rough relationship he and I fell into while he was trying to home-school last semester.  Whatever the reason, I am over it now.  I am tired of tiptoeing.  Just to prove it, I had another one of my ‘meanest mom in the world’ moments a couple of weeks ago.

Since starting his new school in January, our mornings had been getting worse.  He was refusing to wake up and get ready.  The private school he is attending only has a 4 day school week….but he was missing 1 or 2 days every…. single….. week.  In the state of Georgia, it is the parent’s responsibility to make sure their child is complying with the school attendance law.  If your child is absent a specific number of days, they call a meeting.  If they continue to go miss school, parents can be fined (or go to jail, although I have never heard of that actually happening). In CJ’s case, his medical issues can be brought up in the initial ‘meeting’ and they drop the whole thing.  For kids that don’t have medical issues, the only way to take the consequences off of your plate and hand them over to your child, is to file a complaint against them yourself.  I kept thinking about this over the past few months.  CJ was turning 15 this month….I thought it was about time for him to have to take legal responsibility for his poor decisions.

A couple of weeks ago, after a particularly manipulative morning argument, I told CJ that if he did not go to school that day, I would be heading out to the courthouse to file papers.  He didn’t believe me……so he stayed home. Since I work from my home office, he didn’t venture out of his room all day.  When I logged off my computer, I called out that I was running an errand and left the house quickly.  I drove straight to the courthouse and filled out the paperwork needed….I didn’t want to stop anywhere in between, I wanted to maintain my determination. They gave me a court date and I headed home.

While I was driving home, I got a call from the bonus kid to pick her up from school.  When I got home, and Megan was with me, CJ assume that the ‘errand’ I ran was to get her.  He had a ‘know it all’ smirk on his face when he said “Ohhhh, that’s where you went”. I replied “You know exactly where I went and your court date is on the 12th”.  I never saw somebody’s face change so quickly (and given that I have a bipolar child, that is saying a lot).

He spent the next couple of weeks thinking that he was going to miss his birthday because he was going to jail.  My real mean mom moment came when I didn’t correct him. Up until the day of his hearing, I let him believe that there was the possibility of him going to juvenile hall. I knew that this hearing was just a part of an intervention program that our county had put in place….but I let him think otherwise.

The judge was soft-spoken, but tough.  CJ shook through the entire thing and promised, emphatically, that he would most definitely go to school……and he has. Last week marked the first time all year that he got up and went to school every day. It also marked the first week in years that we didn’t fight every morning.  He got up early, got dressed and was out the door on time every day.  He knew that manipulating me or fighting with me wasn’t going to help him…..it was out of my hands now.

As parents of kids with disabilities……any disabilities….we sometimes forget to step back and ask if the ways we ‘help’ our kids are really helping them at all or are they hurting them….and us, in the long run.  When CJ was little, his developmental coordination issues hindered him from easily tying his shoes.  I thought about it and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t a big deal….it wouldn’t hold him back in life.  When all else failed, there would always be slip-ons.  I need to start doing that again….in every aspect of his life.  I need to start looking outside our house again and help him make decisions from the world’s perspective….not my mama bear, over-protective….sometimes, over-exhausted point of view.  Knowing that refusing to go to school would hurt him was an easy one….but there are other decisions that we make on a regular basis that aren’t as cut and dry.  For kids that deal with bipolar disorder, the slightest thing can send them into a manic tailspin.  Should I not say something that might upset my child?  Should  I not push him to clean his room or take a shower because he will flip out about my ‘controlling’ him?  Should I let him live with is illusion that the world revolves around him?  Those seem like easy questions to answer, but when you live with a child that could snap at any moment….it isn’t as easy as you think.  My answer to all of those………he is eventually going to have to learn to live by society’s rules. Society will not walk on eggshells for him…..why should I?

 

 

Sharing Spaces

I have learned something about myself this week……I don’t like to share.  You would think, being raised with a sister just a year older than me, that I would be good at this sharing thing.  She and I went through our childhood having to learn how to share a room and toys.  Although we argued…… a lot, I think we both came away with some life lessons.  I have found that, as we age, some of the lessons of our youth fade away.

The past few weeks have been challenging ones in our household. My son, CJ was determined to drop out of school. With the help of some amazing administrators, we were able to work out a new schedule for him that combines some classes at school and some online.  This gives him a little down time during the week from the stressors that affect him at school.

My biggest challenge was that, while he is working on his online classes, I will also be working from home.  Due to the fact that he has focus issues, I have decided to set up his computer in my office. I have a large desk/craft table in my office and we are now working on opposite sides of that desk.  This means that there is additional noise during my work day, random singing and talking and constant fidgeting.

Over the past 2 years that I have been working from home, I have been spoiled.  My office has been my refuge.  I even painted it lilac to make sure it remained the ‘girl’ space in this house. My days were peaceful  and quiet.  I could get my work done with few distractions. I could play music if I chose…..what- ever music I wanted to hear.  I could keep the thermostat at my comfort level and adjust accord to my mood.  You see? Spoiled.  This week that all changed.

I have found that CJ is more comfortable working this way since he doesn’t have the stress of  dealing with other kids or classroom anxiety.  The challenge is that, once again seeing to his comfort and making sure that he can accomplish school over-all is disrupting my comfort.  This is something that all parents face……it is definitely something all parents of special needs children face.  Unfortunately,  I have found myself a bit resentful this week.  That is not a good feeling to have.

I will try to work on this feeling and I will try to make this situation work, since it seems like the best solution for my son…..but I don’t think it will be easy for me.  I will have to dig deep and find compromise in me and hopefully he will do the same.