Tuesday, October 31, 2006

And still there

*sigh* Second week in Orange.

Found out more details when we had our call with the therapist last night - of course Katie wasn't on the call as she is in Orange still.

They did a room check, and she had some things in her room she shouldn't have. I guess it was a golf pencil they used somewhere, and she shouldn't have had it. Then she was putting all her pencils in something - I don't remember what it was, but something she shouldn't have.

On one hand these seem to be some pretty stupid and extreme rules. On the other though, that is exactly the point. Don't we all have to live with some stupid and arbitrary rules. And the main thing is to learn to follow rules, period. And be accountable for all your choices, including when you choose not to follow the rules.

They did review her support - and she is at 18% of what she needs to do to get to level 2. That was another eye openener for her, we hope.

I just get frustrated, because she is so good at the 'program talk' but doesn't seem to do it. Bu as soon as I say that, I think back to the psychologist report, where it said that her communications skills were far above average, while the rest of her development was at or slightly below normal. So when you talk to her, she comes off much smarter and more capable than she may be in reality.

Hmmmm - maybe I need to go back, re-read the report (and finish the part I haven't read), and see if I can then step left and find a different way to work with her.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Once more in Orange

We talked with the family rep yesterday, and Katie is once more in Orange, but it isn't such a big deal this time. While not quite to the point where she is catching and being accountable for herself, she has made steps toward this. It was over a minor incident, but she did not fight it nor try to argue her way out of it. That is a huge improvement.

It was also nice that our family rep now seems to be using email - we got a brief note from Katie through her, which I responded to. I know that other schools have email for their students. Not full access or anything - they get it like twice a week, but it is so much faster than the stupid snail mail, and so much easier to just send something off quickly. But each school is different.

Anyway, I don't feel so frustrated this time, and believe she is learning. I doubt it will be her last time in Orange, but she sounds much closer to working things, and making some real progress, and that is what we all want.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

And we're back

It was a very good, and hopefully productive visit.

The logistics sucked. Our flights out were delayed, as well as bad traffic leaving Vegas, so we didn't get to our hotel until 4:15 AM. Then we had a red-eye back home, with a three hour layover in Atlanta, so we are wiped out (well I am - Diane is upstairs asleep).

Katie was completely surprised by the visit. We talked to her on Thursday morning, more social than anything else to get started. Then that afternoon we had a session with her therapist, then went to her group session. He wanted to do it a bit differently though. Usually the girls run it themselves, but this time he did.

Katie had taken level 2 on Monday, without support. She is allowed to do that, but he wanted to give her a bit of a reality check. She thought she met all but one of the requirements. He went around the group, and had each girl list the requirements, if they supported her on it, and if not, why not. Pretty rude awakening for her - as there there 3 of the 11 requirements that she had no support at all - none of the 16 girls. A couple she had full support of, a few that were a bit mixed, and the rest were generally not supported. Then we left immediately after group, but not before giving the girls a lot of hugs - most of them wanted 'mom' hugs from Diane - basically having her stand in as a surrogate for their own mothers.

On Friday morning they were running late. But we got a pleasant surprise - a couple we had been going to seminars with drove up - there were there to see their son - for pretty much the same reasons as why we were there - except their son was turning 18 soon - so things were a bit more on edge as he had a possible exit plan looming. It was kind of amazing how I could run into my focus brother there - it is such a small world and there are no accidents.

We had a good session in the morning with Katie, going over respect and not just showing it, but truly internalizing it and feeling it. We also practiced listening skills with her. In the afternoon we talked about integrity and honesty - again having a good talk. Then it was done. Surprisingly, there weren't any tears when we left (though there were when we got there!).

So now, once more, it is a waiting game. Waiting to see how much of this she internalizes and takes to heart - seeing if she changes or not.

We did see improvement with her. She is maturing a bit, though she isn't where she should be (she still doesn't act 16). She did seem to listen a bit more than on some of the phone calls in the past, which is also good. We don't see any need to change her group at this time - but then again we don't know where she would go otherwise, as she is already a the facility they send the kids who aren't moving to, and with the therapist they put the girls who aren't working with.

They liked their shirts - her therapist put it on over his dress shirt on Thursday, and wore it again on Friday.

We talk to the Family Rep on Tuesday, and we'll see if there is any change or not.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Heading out tonight

We fly out to Vegas tonight, then drive to Hurricane - about five minutes from the school, but a two hour drive.

We are still a bit nervous about this, but have at least a bit of a plan. Assuming that most of the visit is just her and us, we want to work on a listening exercise with Katie - have her repeat back what we say before she can say anything. We should be able to do this. Plus work on using the Bradshaw with her - there are no accidents that this is the homework from keys for this week. I'm printing off some extra copies of it to take with us.

We don't have internet access in our hotel room, so I won't be bringing the laptop for once - one less thing to worry about. So I'll have to wait to update until we get back.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

No Call this week

I got a message from the therapist today - we aren't going to have a phone call tomorrow. No big deal, as we will bit seeing him and Katie on Thursday. It sounds like he wants to structure the visit a bit more, as he wanted me to email him as well.

Both Diane and I received letters yesterday from Katie, talking about her last stint in Orange. God, I hate snail mail. Almost everything in the letters was what we had already gone over in the previous phone call. That is one reason why I don't write as often as I sometimes feel I should - everything I try to say gets crossed in the slow mail. And with about a three week total turn around time it is so difficult to have any kind of ongoing conversation in the mail.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Weekly Call

I talked with the family rep last night. She understands our frustration that Katie is not working. The interesting thing is that on the 'come clean' a couple of weeks ago she didn't quite beat her old demerit record - only scoring 730 instead of beating her high of 800!

We talked about my apprehensions on the upcoming visit. It looks like most of the time will be just Diane, Katie and me by ourselves, to work on some of the issues. One of the main things I want to work on is getting her to actually listen. Nearly all the time, when we are on the therapy calls, she will go off on something, then Diane or I will say something, and then she will continue on as if we hadn't said anything at all. There is a simple exercise where you need to repeat what was said each time before you can add anything that I feel we need to do, repeatedly if necessary.

It may also be very relevant that we are doing Effective Communications right now. There are no accidents.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Working again - maybe

We had a special therapy call last night, and Katie was out of Orange so on the call. She says she is going to work with one of her roommates on a lot of her issues - especially having her point out when she is not working. I confronted her with this, wondering how this was different than what she had said every other time she got out of orange.

I have a call with the family rep tonight, so I'll see what she says. Diane won't be able to be on that call unfortunately.

We also had our first keys family call for this round, and after everyone updated on how things were going, we talked about the situation.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Support Group

We have a very active parent support group in our area. It is a nice opportunity once a month to get together with people from the same area, who are or have been going through the same thing.

This month we volunteered to host it. Unfortunately, one of the parents down south son, who graduated the program a few years ago, was killed last week in an auto accident. Because of this going on, and probably helped by the fact that the weather yesterday was simply beautiful (and yet they say it could snow by the end of the week!) we only had three people show up for the meeting. It was still good to connect, and gave us a chance to get to know one couple a little bit better.

We talk to Katie's therapist again tonight - I don't know if Katie will be on the call or not - that depends on if she is out of orange. And then we talk to our family rep tomorrow night. Right now I'm more than a little concerned about this upcoming visit. I don't want to reward non-working behavior on Katie's part. I also don't know what we would do with her in the school for several hours at a time. I'm concered about the visit not being structured. We are going to try and bring that up with the therapist tonight.

We got him a cute tee shirt as well from What On Earth Catalog, as well as a sweatshirt for the family rep. You can see them here and here. Since the seminars deal with the 'Magical child' within each one of us, we thought those were quite appropriate for them.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Making Arrangements

Well, we have our flights to go to the school and visit Katie. We leave after work on Wednesday the 18th, and then have a red-eye back Friday night, giving us that Thursday and Friday to be in Utah. At least there are lots of flights in/out of Las Vegas (the nearest decent airport), though it a couple hour drive from there.

I'm a bit apprehensive about this visit. We are looking to see what we need to do with Katie, whether it be to keep her as is, change groups (which would mean changing therapist and family rep), or if we need to change facility altogether. Changing facilities worries me, as there aren't any others that offer the therapy that this one does. However, being realistic, how much therapy is she getting if her behavior is so out of whack? Can they really work on issues at this point?

We did get an interesting letter the other day; it was the first one EVER (in over a year now) where she had mentioned any of the other girls there. That in itself is a very good thing - it starts to show that she is finally being a little less self-centered - possibly opening up and realizing that there is more in the world.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

New Blog

Welcome to our new blog site. I've had some issues in the past with the free web space provided by our ISP, so I figured I'd move this to a more 'permanent' free site. And this allowed me to back date the old posts, so the archives are all consistent.

Everything from the old site should be here, but I have it archived as well just in case.

Now to just get this to default to the correct time zone (it defaults to pacific, and I'm in eastern).

Back to Orange, yet again

Well, we talked to the therapist on Monday, as normal. Katie is back in orange again. She had so many write-ups that he couldn't go over them all. It sounded like she just went nuts - things like "Disrespecting peers - 70 times".
So, her therapists wants us to come out and review her progress in person. I'm apprehensive, to say the least, about this, as part of me feels that it is rewarding her for bad behavior. We may end up switching yet again to another therapist/group, and will review all the alternatives, including changing facilities. The problem is that there aren't any other facilities that offer the therapy the they do, the rest just do the behavior modification.
I hate the thought of all this time and money (and at $4200 a month, the money is not insignificant) and not having her get any better. But worrying does no one any good, so we will take it a step at a time.
In other news, we just completed our third Keys seminar - Effective Communication, and are the Mom and Pop (our family is named SODA - so yes, I'm the Soda Pop!) for our keys family, and we are hosting the local support group meeting this weekend as well. Along with the band boosters I don't seem to have time to turn around.

8:39 am edt