OK so I ended my last blog with the beginning of Kindergarten 04-05. Autumn did not do well this year. She often would throw her papers across the room, end up under the desk, and totally shut down. I received calls constantly, often she was sent home. At one point the principal asked me if I could keep her home 1/2 days to which I said I would lose my job if I did that. During this year the school was in transition and all the classrooms were double-wide trailers which means that EVERY transition (lunch, gym, library, computers, etc) meant the kids would have to walk outside. This was much too much for Autumn, for example one day the kids were coming in from lunch. It was raining and Autumn decided she was done for the day. She sat in the rain in the middle of the walkway for 30 minutes refusing to move. Another day she hit and kicked her teacher. Every time I picked her up from school she would be under a desk with her shoes off. One gloomy day I showed up and she had 4 adults holding her down, she was hysterical. My aunt who is also a teacher at the school came down to try to calm her but when Autumn would get in that mood it was like she was in a trance . . . no one could get through to her.
She started individual therapy this year, I really wanted her in the Therapeutic Nursery (group therapy) but my insurance would not pay for it. One day at school Autumn told her teacher's aide that she wanted to die and she had a plan. She said she would sit in the road and have a car hit her . . . my heart sank after that phone call. This was our first trip to Crisis. By the time we got to Crisis Autumn was herself again and was smiling and calm. They didn't do much but at least it was documented.
Autumn then started her first year of summer camp at Summer Hill. I knew the first day would be tough. It was raining so the kids could not go outside. She cried when I left and I was a nervous wreck. I had an important meeting at work and I forgot to bring my cell phone in the meeting room. When I got out of the meeting I had several messages from camp and one from my brother-in-law John. Autumn had flipped out at camp during the first hour. They removed her from the other children and put her in the office. While in the office Autumn wrapped an electrical cord around her neck. They could not contact me so they called John. John picked her up and brought her to the emergency room to be seen by the crisis unit. I met them there. By then Autumn was calm and smiling. I was a mess. I cried the entire time. The social worker was great but of course there was nothing they could do. Summer Hill told me she could not come back.
When we got home that day I could not stop crying. I called my insurance company and fought with them for benefits that covered group therapy and I won. My life as an advocate had begun. I called both my pastor and youth pastor. They both prayed with me. I started the prayer chain at church and told everyone I knew to start praying. The group of intercessors also started praying for Autumn. That day I felt the Holy Spirit enter my house and sit with me and Autumn. Autumn would pray ever night for God to help her control her body. The rest of the summer Autumn went to the daycare at my work 3 days a week and my mom watched her the other 2 days, it was an answer to prayer and I was able to continue to work full time.
She started the Therapeutic Nursery in June 05 and graduated in June 06. Her therapist Vanessa was awesome. I went to the parent group therapy sessions as well, my therapist Aura was so great. I learned how to parent Autumn and most importantly how to discipline her so that she can grow and feel secure. Autumn learned how to deal with her emotions and how to act in a group situation. This therapy took Autumn through her Kindergarten year of 05-06. Because she was a September baby I chose to have her repeat Kindergarten, it was the best decision I made.
In 2005 she began to see her psychiatrist Dr. Edwards. She is an awesome doctor who I owe so much to. Autumn was finally diagnosed with ADHD and started the medicine Adderall. This diagnosis did not come easy. This is the trail of specialist we saw before she was properly diagnosed:
Child Psychiatrist #1- said she did not have ADHD
Neurologist- said she was angry and violent but not ADHD
Audiologist- tested her hearing just in case
Allergist- tested for all food/environmental allergies that often cause behaviors
Child Psychiatrist #2- child study team, said she was ADHD
Child Psychiatrist #3- Dr. Edwards gave her the diagnosis of Attention Deficite
Hyperactivity Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder
She continues to see her psychiatrist every 2 months for medication monitoring. This year she received an additional diagnosis of PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified), which is a type of Autism. This has helped her get the services she needs. Her insurance now pays for weekly sessions of Occupational Therapy where she works on all her sensory issues. She also takes weekly Therapeutic Horseback Riding lessons.
Autumn is a work in progress (aren't we all?). She is my diamond in the rough. I can't believe how far she has come. I use to cringe when my cell phone rang because I though it would be a teacher or principal on the other end telling me I had to pick Autumn up because they couldn't handle her behavior. I no longer cringe because those phone calls never come. Time outs use to be as long as 30 minutes with Autumn screaming, crying, and kicking until she was too exhausted to fight anymore. Today I have not had to put her in time out for months. Autumn now knows how to control her emotions. I'm not saying it is perfect around here. If you don't know Autumn and don't realize that sometimes she doesn't want to talk you might get offended or worse it might push her to lose it, but on most days you will get an answer to any question you ask Autumn.
There is so much more I could write about Autumn but for now here it is . . . plain and simple.