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Old 02-03-2012, 01:33 PM   #1
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Default I need help

As you may know because I have posted about it before, I am 'parenting' my sons best friend who turned 16 right now. I love him like my second child but his grades in school have NOT been good. I finally talked to the school about getting a plan together for him and maybe testing him for learning disabilities. On an off chance he had already been tested, I sent an email to his grandma (who raised him until he was 12) asking about it.
The response I got, blew me away and as I know some of the members have kids with special needs I need help because I have no idea what to do or where to turn for the assistance he needs.
Below is what I was told:
I am sorry, I thought you knew about his medical history. He was born Heroin addicted in the county jail, his mother was in prison again at that time. We did not know about his birth until he was 3 months old and she was released. He had foster care the first 3 months of his life and had to go through withdrawal just like any addict because his mother still used during her pregnancy. We got guardianship when he was less than a year. When he was 2 he was still tip toeing when he walked and he had frightful reaction to any loud noise, motorcycles, vacuum sweepers, blenders, he would run covering his ears and hide. I had him tested and he was diagnosed with Cerebal Palsy, problems with walking and tip toeing, Tourets, his licking things and darting eyes. Autism being aware of people and objects around him. We went through extensive physical therapy 3 days a week for two years. He improved greatly, but the one eye will always be weak. It is not a "lazy eye", it was explained to me that the cord attaching the eye to the socket was too long. He could have had surgery to correctm but there was the possible danger of over correcting the eye and then it would have been in a fixed position, so I decided to not have surgery. Matthew has always struggled with "continued practice" he can do it now with you but when he gets home he tries to recreate his thoughts, and they do not always line up. His memory is not consistent. I always used a check off sheet to help him stay on task, tho the sheets often disappeared....I had extras. He was very withdrawn as a child. people would speak to him and he would walk pass them, part of the Autism, he just did not see people . So we would practice looking in front of you and who was around in your surroundings. At times he would not even notice his pet jumping up and down in front of him. But like the other obstacles we worked on them and most he has outgrown, the only reason to welcome puberty in a teenager! Matt could use extra help if he is struggling again, frustration builds in just normal life let alone if you have hindrances
I did know about his mom being a drug addict but had NO idea about his medical issues. I just do not know how to help him or where to turn. I am almost in tears.
Please if you have advise, I need all I can get.
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:54 PM   #2
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I have no advice for you but I hope someone on here has.

I just wanted to say that I admire you for what you are doing. You must be a very special person.

The only thing I could suggest is maybe starting with his family doctor? Perhaps he or she could point you in the right direction for a specialist or a support group with parents facing similar issues.

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Old 02-03-2012, 02:13 PM   #3
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You are doing something great for that child. I am not in the US and don't know what things are like there, but maybe the school he is attending has some way of guiding you here, because disabilities in general are the state's resposibility --at least here in South America. You could also try to track the doctors and specialists who worked with him before, because they could send you his records for you to continue with the treatment. Just don't dispair... Having had the kind of family problems you speak about, having you in his life is the best that could have happened to him. I have a friend whose dd has autism, and she has come to accept that she cannot do for her everything she would like to do: the state provides a lot of help --psychologist, neurologist, etc.--, but those expenses which are extra, such as the speech therapist, she cannot afford, and she has come to accept that she will have to make do with that which is available for them. So, my advice is: track his medical history, ask for help at school, and be patient. You are doing a lot already!
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:55 PM   #4
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You are an angel in his life. You might even start with the school nurse. He or she might be aware of some resources in your community.
"And that's how Beowulf rolls"~ my DD
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Old 02-03-2012, 03:12 PM   #5
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Thank you all for your support. I did send the information to the school principal and spoke with him on the phone. He said it is a process but they will begin with testing him for learning disabilities and move on from there. I told him whatever he needed from me to just ask, I am in uncharted territory here and have no idea where to turn.
The thing is, he is a very normal teenager. There are obvious physical signs such as the lazy eye that I can see but this information does explain quite a bit about his school issues. Really hoping the school can hook us up with some services to help him.
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:19 PM   #6
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i work for a school district...and i also parent a son with special needs - ADHD with autistic traits...in order for the school to offer services, you will need to show documentation that he has a diagnosis of some sorts - autism or whatever...that's where his medical records will come in handy, find those and there should be a diagnosis in there, set up a meeting with the school and show the diagnosis...it will save you SO MUCH time rather than starting from scratch

also do you have legal guardianship or some sort of power of attorney over the child? his doctors will need to see that before they can release any medical information...and the schools may need to see that as well..if you dont have that, it's well worth your time to get it taken care of in court in order to provide help for him

its' wonderful that you've taken him under your wing and can advocate for his special needs
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:42 PM   #7
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Its amazing that his medical/educational issues aren't already in his school record. He could have been classified much sooner. However, that you state his grades have not been good makes me ask is this new or has this always been? If always been, I am surprised testing him has never come up from the schools themselves - and if it is recent, then he's done well thus far. As the prior poster stated, the school should, can, and will help. Get all the records you can, be they medical or from prior grades/schools. Good luck and God bless.

Is that your final answer?
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Old 02-04-2012, 03:44 PM   #8
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Oh my... sadly, I don't have any advice to give, but I wanted to send out some for you and the boy. He's so lucky to have you in his life caring for him.
~Made of star stuff~
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