good day today set up second tour with Clayton and ice cream social

So today was good. Had an awesome nap and then hung out. David the admissions director wrote us this morning. We scheduled a tour for Friday at one thirty. Jess and I can’t wait to meet as many people as possible and hopefully see the rooms, ones with and without bathrooms.

Just so thrilled with how well this is going!

At thre there was the monthly ice cream social. With real ice cream not just the cheap cups.

I had two bowls of strawberry and even stuck my face in the bowl! Wish we could have taken a picture of that. Jess says I’m a chow hog!

Anyway other than that not much. Sadly can’t meet with Jonathan tomorrow. He had to take an unexpected day off. Wonder if some resident reported him so he has to be away for that mandatory time period. You never know. It really makes me mad when he and other staff are falsely accused. They know the investigation will turn up nothing but I’m sure having to do it many times must really wear them down emotionally.

Over heard on the phone Wednesday about court coming up for someone. Maybe it’s that.

I’m just grateful he did contact me. I sent him an e-mail copying Shemiah confirming the time so everything is on record. That will be my procedure going forward so there are no doubts about me “not communicating as much”

Anyway we set it for Friday at ten thirty. Which will make Friday a very long day but I’m sure productive.

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quiet day and general update on my mom

Hey everyone,

So today was pretty low key. Jessica from Clayton put us in touch with David the admissions director who does tours. So hopefully we’ll hear from him soon.

As this week goes by odds are it will be next week that it happens.

That’s ok. I know it takes her awhile to get back to e-mail, but it’s clear when she is on the computer she responds fast. Which makes me wonder how much the staff have to use the computer lab that residents also use.

We also did ask if there were elavators. Because we literally couldn’t walk all those stairs. I guess they have one which is better than nothing.

So yeah.

Realized I didn’t update you guys on how things are going with family stuff.

Forget when this exactly happened but they did sell the house. The couple from the cape with the mother in law loved it. So they have til the 25th of January to leave.

Better news they know where they’re going temporarily. My mom’s long time friend Annie has a condo in the next town. That’s perfect. Two bedrooms one floor Lucky allowed.

So that’s positive.

She went to this first doctor on the hip. He wasn’t the really stupid guy who wanted to put plates in her body. He was very thorough. He says he doesn’t know how my mom is walking/ has the strength in her legs. That she needs both hips done, and she needs them done before she has her back done.

So she says it’s gonna be like a year til she has all her surgeries.

But at least she’s taking care of herself. I don’t think she has any choice anymore.

The only exciting thing today besides backing up my files since computer gave me a scare, was seeing Shemiah.

Will do another post on her including her information.

So yeah good day.

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had the meeting with Jonathan

Hi everyone,

So I had the meeting. Was so anxious and if Shemiah hadn’t talked me into it saying it was essential for my treatment, I’m not sure I would have taken the risk that he wouldn’t show up or more importantly, that Jonathan would have gotten his act together in that moment. He has a lot of respect for her which is well deserved. Will make a separate post about that her but she’s done quite a lot over the past seven or so years.Written articles, wworkd wwith a variety of people just really established herself. I sense both from him and her that there’s really a sense of them being equals. Not someone like Anna cowering in situations and acting like a puppy begging for help.

So that’s impressive. I also have the sense in the back of his head he knows Shemiah has his number, or at least that I sense she knows she has. He can’t play these mind games on deflecting blame and get away with it. And I think he got a taste of that when they talked because she basically reprimanded him for what he did.

So I have a really emotionally strong caseworker where going forward if he doesn’t do what he says he’s going to she’ll be on his back very quickly!

So was very restless last night and today. But I took Jonathan snowlepoard, and brought him to see his birth dad. (the person a stuftie is named after is their bio parent in the play world of Sammy)

I got down there and he said something like what do you want to talk about. I wasn’t sure going in what feelings I’d have first. For today it was a lot of sadness, just sadness that this happened to me, sadness that he’s not aware of a very destructive behavior pattern in himself, sadness that wwe have been here so many times before.

I expressed my hopeless feeling that I honestly didn’t think we’d ever meet one on one again. At the loss of such a core therapeutic relationship for me. I said absolutely everything I wrote last night so won’t restate it all.

Probably talked for 20 minutes straight. Want to say it was shorter but i know time just slips away when I get going. We paused a few times laughing over the whole anna disaster, saying how good Shimiah is, describing how stupid patel was.

Other than that it was calm steady validation and patience. Just his energy. I knew he’d do this and it was such a relief to just let out my feelings in the one place, besides with Jess, that I know is safe.

He said how he knew it was so hard for me to do this. And that’s what he loved about our relationship is that we often just go past the surface stuff to the heart of things.

So after a long confusing winding amount of talking here’s his unasked for explanation.

After I came back from the trip the first couple months went by and I heard nothing from him. There was one day when he asked if we could meet and I said ok, and he set something up for the next day. He never showed or made any contact or anything

Another month or so went by. And I was getting really depressed. And everyone but Jonathan, was really worried. And Jess thought well just get her in front of him once and for all. I think she tried to schedule a meeting and I said no.

And I wrote him an e-mail saying why.

No response. Meanwhile, all this time I know that often more than half the time he’s not even in the building. That literally many other staff in his own department couldn’t reach him. And that Monica as the assistant director as basically gatekeeping for him and managing th traffic floow.

So It’s not like I didn’t know what was going on in general. Then he heard thee first time about that I might be interested in seeing Sandra. And he apparently, which really gets me, put all that together and took the leap that I was fine and didn’t want to keep meeting because of his lack of consistency (which he admitted to, and said I was “preserving my mental health” by doing so. And that basically it wasn’t an issue.

So like I said totally unasked for explanation. I think a lot of it is crap thinking about it now. Ya know how you can be talking to someone and they’re so convincing and you’re like ok I get it! And then an hour later you’re like umm this person just talked their way out of the whole thing.

So yeah. I’ve asked/ demanded/ pleaded for explanations before and others have been very similar.

So he asked what I wanted to do. If we weren’t actively working on moving, and my very strong conviction that I absolutely need the strengths and healing qualities of our relationship for the transition, I would just say forget it. Sandra can have fun cleaning up this mess.

But I know the healing that goes on whenever he is actually in the room and I need that support as much as I can get.

So we talked a bit about Clayton. We talked more about my fears around my illness “playing up” as the british wwould say! It was a good overview of getting his calm very empathic perspective. A challenge we‘re both worried about, and I appreciate his honesty, is that people at whatever place will not understand me. And try to put me in their box. And then I’ll feel a huge pressure to conform to their mold rather than being myself, because I feel so threatened in that environment. And then I shut down my feelings and ptsd gets a million times more layered.

So that will be interesting. But it’s realistically something I’ll face anytime I switch professionals/ interact with people where I want/ need to try and just be me. Although I will say just from communicating with western MA folks I have found like four choices for therapists, a possible peer counseling program based on teaching listening and emotional expression, a movement class, the RLC, and who knows what else!

So odds are actually better that I move out there and get more of what I need because these people are just operating from a totally different mindset. But we’ll see. I know like with the trip, it took a long time of intensively going over everything in my head and out loud, expressing the emotions until somehow everything came together and I just did it.

I know I have that safe place w within our relationship. I kno he can guide me through my strongest emotions and most intense thoughts. I just don’t know or trust that these healing experiences will happen with any kind of regularity.

So I had no idea about setting a next appointment. I just waited for his move. Like all times after a long break, where we talk things out and come to an agreement, he’s very certain that thurrsdays at ten thirty will be a “magic time” when he totally won’t be busy!

Yeah we’ll see. He even said he would consider today “just a discussion” and he’d meet Thursday. I have a feeling he’s trying to be extra attentive so I’ll trust him again or can’t say he’s not trying.

Sigh. Any therapist would see huge problems with how he’s handling this. And knowing it’s not an isolated thing, that he treats other residents and even staff the same, with these false promises and no change in behavior, makes me feel not alone. But I’m telling ya if this is how he’s gonna “build a better program” it’s gonna run itself into the ground. The inteligent clear eyed people will not put up with it.

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Will actually be meeting with Jonathan tomorrow so many mixed feelings

So Shemiah has barely been working with me two weeks and she worked a miracle! She got Jonathan to meet with me! She quickly learned the secret to catching his attention, apparently if you catch him off guard walking somewhere or in the basement he’s more likely to talk. And funny enough he will stand there and talk if he has the time, yet if you tried to have him sit in his office or call him instead you wouldn’t get anywhere. She thinks it’s a personal quirk of his.

Anyway she totally said all the right professional stuff. She said that he had to address our relationship as he left it so abruptly and I needed to know that he’d be in my life, and how, or not, before moving forward.

She didn’t set up the meeting. But I knew a week before that she was gonna do this. So I confidently walked up to him when we chanced to see him and Monica talking, and said Shemiah recommended we meet, which has a whole other feel to “I want to meet.” And we set up a time for tomorrow. Jess and I both stood there while he talked through putting three alerts in his phone. Assuming he doesn’t turn his phone off, which has happened! He should get alerted. Assuming he doesn’t totally ignore the alerts, which has happened! We should meet.

I know meeting is the right thing to do on a lot of levels. First in the interest of following my life story he does need to know how the trip went and how things are with family. More practically, if we are in fact moving in the next months he needs to know to do a lot of a variety of stuff from helping us make sure all our stuff is sorted out, to paperwork, to hopefully making some supportive phone calls to staff.

On an emotional level, in order to move forward with a new therapist I need to work with him on what happened. And talk out what seeing a new therapist would mean for me and try to figure out how much emotional support I might expect from him in that transition.

I have a lot of hurt around this, in fact I’d go as far as to say that the abrupt four month break in our relationship was somewhat traumatic to me. I lost my main professional support person with no warning and was left hanging trying to get what support I could from Anna, which in many ways was like trying to get support from an immature child. And I had Jess of course. But you need more than one person, and the point of living here is getting professional support. Because I have so much trouble opening up and trusting many people, especially professionals, with my emotions I had no other outlets I felt comfortable exploring.

After a time I stopped hoping he’d reappear and shut down. Hence the depression. Med change put me back on a relatively even keel but not having him there has always been at the back of my mind. The talk of whether to seek out another therapist and going back and forth has been unsettling. Having Anna literally say the situation “made her cry” did not help matters. I couldn’t share the depth of my own loss, and anger to someone who was flooded by her own emotions.

I really am grateful Shemiah c came when she did. I probably would have been spinning in this circle for however long. Likely, as I have been planning, left without reconnecting with him. To me, even with the meeting scheduled, he still feels like a ghost, barely interacting with us residents, and I know staff. I closed down the possibility that I’d have an emotionally connected conversation before I left. And that it would be up to the next therapist to sensitively handle the effects of what happened. Which I’ve had to do before with therapists, and it’s not uncommon for one therapist to have to basically clean up another therapist’s mess.

Shemiah’s conviction that this meeting is a “check in” rather than “ closure” or on the other hand, restarting therapy, helps lighten things a little. She hasn’t seen my emotional self though. With him and me alone the rules are always say whatever you’re feeling no matter what. So I’ll likely yell and cry even though I’ll be taking an ativan.

In the past I’ve talked to him, and hadn’t really known how his response would be to my anger. For a long time I thought it would push him away. And it took a long time to get through that. Then I got so mad I was gonna try and see a new therapist, a year ago. But he always gave calm rational responses about why he hadn’t been in contact at all while validating my feelings.

The responses while professional at the time, don’t really mean anything because his behavior isn’t changing. Shemiah and I talked about how truly unaware he is about the effect his total disconnect with anyone/ anything but the current situation, he has when stressed, has on people. And if he knew he’d feel terrible. She said on some level he does know and feels shame and that makes him avoid the person/ situation even more. Which makes sense.

So I know what his response will be. And I’ll say so. I know why he stopped contact with me. And I know it’s not just me he did this to.

I have compassion for him and his humanness. I wish he’d be open enough to ask for help like he’d want anyone else to do. He’s said before he’s never been in therapy. I wish he would.

He needs to know this. I don’t trust him. My friend Danielle, my former abnormal psychology professor, said once that trust isn’t an across the board thing. You can trust someone as a friend who’s a good cook, but you wouldn’t want them anywhere near your checkbook/ taxes. You can trust someone to be there emotionally not to help with housework.

I can trust Jonathan to be a solid clinician, with a lot of knowledge, and a lot of skill at connecting with others when they’re in emotional states that many would just have no idea what to do. He is c reative, and persistent and a wise person, role model and guide. I can trust that tomorrow he will listen to everything I have to say help me let out my emotions and try to be as understanding as possible.

I don’t trust him to see me in a week or even two. I don’t trust that if we set up a time he’ll be there. In some ways I’m worried, realistically, that in the middle of our meeting he’ll get up and do something like answer the phone and be distracted.

He’s been the core support person in my life and there’s a huge area where I don’t trust him. And it’s about being consistent and communicating honestly. And he can’t do that. And I know why but I’m still extremely angry and hurt, and feel a great sense of loss.

I don’t expect him to be perfect. I’ve made so many allowances for this behavior, and even balmed myself/ tried to back off in ways because I didn’t want to put more on him knowing his job.

But I can’t accept his word and move on. The result is I either manage the mistrust by not having any positive expectations of him behaving differently, and so keeping quite a degree of emotional distance something not natural in our relationship. Or he does the hard work of re-establishing trust which would take time patience and a real change in behavior. And knowing that it would be a bit rocky in general in the relationship. Not just the specific mistrust but from just plain not seeing each other for a long time. Like if you see a friend who moved away years later and you want to just pick up where you left off but you can’t at first.

Sadly I have a feeling the relationship will go in the first direction, with minimal expectations of him through the transition to a new facility, or ongoing should we stay here longer than anticipated. And with Sandra/ Shemiah continuing to help me process it all. Though there’s huge value for me in getting my feelings out directly to him and knowing he can take it. Keeping all that in especially the anger I know has contributed to my depression. That’s not just a clechae myth about anger and depression.

Will let you know how things go. I’m sure you’ll hear me screaming from your corner of the world!

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Awesome night last night: art fair and part one of tour at Clayton House

Hey everyone,

Last night was amazing!

We went to Clayton residential home.

To recap their website is:

www.claytonhome.org

So it was quite a trip! First of all like I said the other day I wasn’t even sure we’d be going.

But anyway we got all ready. So happy both Jess and I took PRNS.

So the ride was like a half hour to forty minutes late. Thank goodness they gave plenty of time. That set my anxiety sky high. Then we had traffic city going over. It was slow and just OMG! Didn’t think we’d have any time to do any kinda tour once we finally got there.

When we did the art fair was in total full swing. The activity room on the first floor was totally full. I do not do well in crowded places with a lot of noise.

So we stood in there for like a minute and then found Jessica. Was so happy to see her after four years! We were joking about how every so often I “remind her” that I want to move and then don’t.

We met the assistant director and director of nursing, Kris and Mani.

So the first floor basically has: a small reception area. The one nurse’s station. The activity room. Computer Lab. Dining Room. Some offices we didn’t get a chance to see. And I think that’s it.

We didn’t get a chance to meet the clinical director because she had gone home. We did meet the admissions director David. Who said to just have our caseworkers send over a packet and we’d do some more talking and it likely would be no problem! He was very nice.

We met Spencer from activities. And I think a couple other activity people I don’t remember. I

honestly don’t like activities much. I don’t like board or card games. Or much tv or movies that others like. I think it’s my autistic self. Like have heard it’s common that when you’re autistic you don’t like follow the crowd or it’s hard to. Like you don’t get the importance, or really value, watching/ doing something for the sake of being social in and of itself. Or so I’ve read. So anyway. My little tangent on activities.

But they seemed really nice. We finally got to sit down in the dining room which was small. Way less noisy than the hallway but still noisy. They don’t have any other choices like grilled cheese or hot dog or anything, if you don’t like the two meal options. Then again it’s not like they have that here. I think Margaret Manor said they did. But anyway. It’s the same as here people just get their food. Not sure if they have a card system with different diets. One thing we noticed generally is that there weren’t any people on walkers. Which was good as there was more space to walk. Also people actually moved out of the way when they saw you coming!

So I asked about the whole money thing. Me continuing to be my own payee thing. And she totally was like that’s ok! Total weight off my shoulders. So don’t have to worry about losing my bank account.

We asked about nursing. Like I said only one nurse’s station. Nursing is 24/7 like here. Half the alphabet is at one window and half at the other. I guess you just stand in line at whatever time. Not sure they call people. Oh she said you have a facility wide phone in your room that can call you/ you can call extensions. Which is better than call lights that never get answered.

She said they do have a self-medication program. Where if you show that you know what your meds are/ can take them safely I guess you can avoid the line somehow? Not sure if it means you can take your meds to your own room like for each day or what. They have I think two or three RSAS, what they used to call CNAS per floor all the time.

The Dr.s here for psych are Patel, LOL no! and this guy Clare. He works at St. Josiphs. So Jess and I both want him.

Forget who are medical doctors. She said Sha, but don’t know if it’s a-sha or bk-sha or some other sha. That’s a popular name!

No female doctors boo!

So we moved on to case managers. There are 15. They work from seven in the morning til eleven at night seven days a week. Then there are always three crisis workers present. The crisis unit is on the fourth floor I think, towards the back. It’s if you’re getting unstable/ in crisis, duh, and they give you more attention and care. But actual attention not sitting in an observation room watching people talk about their “homegirls/ boyfriends” or watch daytime tv!

They have 30 groups a week! Skills based stuff. Women’s young adult, and probably men’s groups. Art therapy and music therapy, by licensed therapists!

I asked if they had a process/ psychotherapy group, she said no. But maybe the women’s/ other groups are more support/ check in based. Just something less skills based to lighten things up is always good. They have cooking! They go to the store and everything.

They have a points system. You decide your goals for the week and point values for things. Then you earn your points and you can buy things at the incentive store. Residents help run that. Some work in the computer lab, in activities, in the library. They can basically find a job for anyone. So that gives you cash. You’re also put in raphils for different groups on attendance. So yeah lots of easy cash!

The peer support specialist is named Helin. She comes once a week to do WRAP. So that’s cool. They have a licensed therapist on staff. And interns that others supervise. I gather most staff there have masters degrees and are working on getting licensed.

There are four floors. About 60 single rooms on each floor. We didn’t get to the floors, which I want to see all of, so can’t really describe til I walk around them. I guess there’s a tv room on each floor. Most rooms have a bed, desk, dresser, closet, and randomly, a sink but no toilet or shower. Most rooms. There are some, I don’t know how many that do have bathrooms with showers. Should we move there I will be working to get one of those rooms. Not sure I’d feel comfortable living in a room without a bathroom but we’ll see. I guess they do have public showers and I’d imagine bathrooms. Again didn’t get to see that.

What else? Oh pets! Found this out at the very end but want to say it now. Jess happened to ask about pets. I didn’t expect anything to come out of it because I know most facilities don’t do that other than the occasional therapy dog. But she said no. They have four Guinea Pigs! I couldn’t believe my ears. My ears almost fell off my head when she said residents can have their own pets! Someone has a bird, two different people have a cat each, and someone has a hamster. I was like OMG OMG seriously?

Jess of course was like I want a ferritt!

It would take a whole lot to be able to do that as it should. As a matter of fact Sammy being her excited self, I wrote up a whole in depth proposal for a group around pet preparation and care. Not that I know that much about pets at all. Even though we’ve had a bunch. Wish my cousin Erica were there. She loves animals and has had a total zoo!

But anyway obviously budgeting, cleaning, and the emotional/ mental maturity/ stability to care for a pet would be huge. Hence the preparation model I came up with. I caught myself using “we” in what I wrote then was like wait I haven’t even moved there yet! Then I’m like oh well Jessica won’t mind.

They probably do have their own system. Just didn’t get a chance to talk about it.

Oh and with cleaning. The place smelled awesome. Even if you had a totally clean activity room, if you had the number of residents from here in there it would smell disgusting in like five minutes. There it didn’t at all. I was like OMG these people shower!

We asked on how often housekeeping is here. She said someone is there 24 hours a day. But they only clean the rooms once a week. Not happy about this I asked kinda joking if we could clean the rooms. She’s like yes!

LOL I soo will learn to clean though only because I hate mess! Like spills junk on the floor dirty bathroom. I’ll be chasing Jess around her or my room with a push sweeper thing so I don’t electroqute myself LOL!

But yeah learning to clean won’t kill me.

So I was very impressed!

Now to the fun. We went into the art show when the music therapist, Casey, did her performance. And it was a totally competent music therapist leading her group. Like just as it should be. She was confident vocally and on her guitar. They did a song they changed the lyrics to, a common music therapy trick. They sang well and more importantly had a good rapport with her. I was impressed!

Similarly I had a little talk with Angela the art therapist. There was actually a fair amount of stuff I could touch. Really good jewelry, not cheap beads for the most part, keychains with cool stuff on them, and she said she does sculpture and yarn work. So she won’t subject me to endless “drawing” as if that’s helpful.

Right away I asked Jessica if I could see Casey individually. She said they didn’t have that set up and she only comes once a week but we could see. I was just impressed they had them at all.

So we said goodbye with the promise that our next visit we could have a more relaxed leisurely tour and a meal! We had another long ride home with a pickup downtown. But it was worth it totally. Told mom about it all and she’s like when can you move in! We haven’t gotten there yet! But did write Jessica today about possible next week plans. Though Monday and Tuesday are out for us.

Thanks loyal readers for reading my long exciting ramble!

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almost didn’t get ready for Clayton art show but pulled through

Long day! First, my phone was being totally weird. It wouldn’t connect calls at all for like a few hours.

Last night I wrote Jessica about needing a rough idea of the start and end time of the event so I could book the van. Unfortunately she never responded til very late in the day. I later found out she’d been at a all day meeting. Considering the chaos we’re in with the state here, I totally understand.

Sadly though this left us to try to figure it out on our own. The two front desk people we finally got ahold of had absolutely no idea! They could have just transfered us to activities but I guess tried to track down someone from actitives . Who both times gave different answers on when the show ended. By this time I was very frustrated and with a headache. I was not feeling positive about my first interactions with people there but it is the front desk people who often don’t know much and don’t have good people skills.

At this point it was getting to be like three. The longer you wait to make a trip on paratransit the less spots they have open. Finally got the e-mail from Jessica. Saying about the meeting. She said when the show had no end time so we could leave when we wanted. And could probably talk with her and the team at some point. At this point it was headache central and I((was exhausted and ready to jst call it a day with this.Which is often something I do when trying out something new, or just trying to go anywhere. Planning and dealing with changing plans is so stressful. It’s also hard for to make clear decisions about like to go or not.

Anyway Jess and I decided to just call pace and see what times they had. So you know this place is like an hour from here. With traffic and pick ups and drop off it does need time to get there. So wasn’t surprised by a four thirty pick up. We decided to leave at 7:30 wwhich will get us back at a reasonable hour. It’s really a rare experience me going out to do something at night.

I’m back to being very excited about going! Just seeing everyone milling around and relaxed will be a great way to see how the place really is. And hopefully we will have time for discussion/ questions. Really do want more of an in depth tour like if possible going into someone’s room or an empty one, seeing the shower situation (don’t think bathrooms have shower/ tubs!) and other things. The more times we go the more we’ll get used to the place. I’m feeling very positive at the moment in spite of the rollercoaster of emotions around getting us there.

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seeking donations so I can buy a couple christmas presents for friends/ family

Hi everyone,

Have thought and thought about whether to put this out there. Have decided to and if no one can help/ I get no response I totally understand.

I’d really like to buy some Christmas presents. I have a friend who has been homeless for many months. She’s in a safe place finally but does need some essential as well as comforting things. Would love too get her something small under $20.

Would also love to get Jess something, but don’t tell her LOLl! Again would be under $20.

People say make stuff if you can’t buy but my art stuff is all o o old and in storage and I suck at making crafts on my own.

I know so many are in need of this, and many deserve/ need it way more than I do especially with kids. If I could donate to them I would. And I hate with even the increase in what we get a month there still doesn’t seem to be enough. Or maybe we just don’t know how to manage the new amount. We were so good at it before!

Anyway below is my paypal link. Like I said only if you absolutely can.

https://www.paypal.me/Nelson627

Thank you so much!

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book review: Happy Kids by Cathy Glass

Hi everyone,

Recently finished one of Cathy Glass’s not fostering related books. She’s tried out some different styles, has a few novels done some crime novels under a different name, and wrote two self-help books. Happy Kids, Happy Mealtimes, and Happy adults.

I had asked her about getting these on audible especially Happy Kids. The publisher said there wasn’t the market for it, wwhich makes no sense. As there are so many parenting books out there. Eventually they saw it that way so it was recently published.

The idea for the book came from readers asking her exactly how she manages her foster kids”challenging behaviors” as it’s called in the uk, aka behavioral problems.

You can see from reading the books some of what she does. That she sets a clear routine, very firm and consistent boundaries, and punishments/ time out for unacceptable behavior and verbal praise for good behavior.

All these ideas are expanded on. The very foundation of her method is what she calls “ the three rs: request, repeat, and reassure/ reaffirm, and then give sanction/ punishment).

It surprised me that even with babies she expects them to follow her boundaries/ requests. In getting a baby to sleep after feeding, she says you put it in its crib, therefore requesting it go to sleep. Reassure it by cuddling/ burping, but not by taking it out of the crib. And repeat the process.

I don’t know I guess it’s better than letting a baby cry itself to sleep, which she does not advocate, but just seems kinda weird to me saying you’re making a baby follow your “request.” And believing it actually will.

So she goes through all the years of a child’s life through young adulthood, using the request, repeat, and reaffirm/ reassure. By the end I was so tired of hearing that!

So she goes over things like using it for tantrums, not following directions, school issues, chores and any other life issues. Punishments for her are usually things like stopping allowance, though she says foster carers in the UK can’t do this, taking away a toy/ game for a set amount of time, and time out. Which is some quiet time away from the family, and not a rigid “super nanny style” time out on a naughty chair/ step/ spot.

She has other ideas in the book like “the closed choice” Where you get the child to do something by breaking it down into two choices both of which would get the outcome desired.

For example, a child who has a hard time getting his bath/ getting ready for school, could be asked “do you want your bath before or after dinner?” or “do you want to get dressed before or after breakfast? Do you want to start with putting your shirt on or your pants?”

This gives the child a feeling of control.

One thing I dislike about the book/ her method is this almost arrogant attitude that it always works quickly. That “rarely” does what she’s using not work after a few times, and a child settling into this way of life is so smooth.

She also takes a chapter to talk about various mental/ behavioral health diagnosis a child might have and again states rather overconfidently that even with these often brain/ trauma based disorders, the behavioral approach still works with respect to the unwanted behaviors that are a part of the disorder.

For example, she believes that with ADHD taking away added sugars/ dyes and using her approach is enough to get things under control usually without medication. Similarly with autism, though the method needs to be modified to meet the autistic child’s need for routine, multiple explanations, short phraises and otherwise it still works. The same for bipolar (though brain based and often not in the child’s control,) Oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder (very serious disorders with a combination of biological and environmental factors).

What really got me was when she said that attachment disorder can respond to this approach. She did accurately describe AD, and the importance of specialized therapy to help the child bond to their caregivers. But she did maintain that the behaviors like rages, the need to be in control, stealing ETC do respond to the three RS.

This is actually from what I’ve read, and even in her own books not the case.

If you read Daniel Hughes, Nancy Thomas, and Karyn Purvis, you’ll see that they all emphasize (though their approaches are very different) that behavior approaches do not work for these kids. They have no idea how to be in relationship with anyone at a basic level. So praise does nothing for them. They also feel such shame inside that seeing a parent angry/ punishments make them feel like their bad people. In Daniel Hughes building the bonds of attachment it was put well when he said something like reinforcers for these children are things like being in control, getting those around them upset, lying, stealing ETC. Until they feel safe and understand cause and effect none of these behavior plans will work.

Furthermore, in Damaged, the reason Cathy struggled with Jodie, and she said so many times, was that Jodie was not motivated by praise, or punishments. Because of her undiagnosed at the time attachment disorder. It was only when going to a therapeutic unit that specialized in this including I would imagine therapeutic parenting, did she really improve.

Her next book will be about Cathy having a girl with attachment disorder in her home. We’ll see how that goes. Maybe since writing the book she’s read up more on the subject. Now there are a lot of resources out there not previously available.

I guess if someone had not the slightest idea how to set up a healthy lifestyle for their kids this book really shows the basics. But if you already know this, it’s very repetitive and annoyingly overconfident that this works so quickly and smoothly. I also wish she had used the names/ situations of foster kids in her books as examples rather than generic boy and girl names. Even better she could have used stories from her kid’s lives since her kids seem to never get in trouble! At least if she used examples from her memoirs it would make people curious and those who haven’t read might read the books.

Overall I find her method too simplistic and she’s too confident that it will work pretty much all the time. One thing she does emphasize is that if you’re using other parenting methods that are working to keep doing what works. As I said if someone is totally lost/ has gotten off track with structure and dscilne this book wwould be a good start. Otherwise would not recommend.

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Clayton Residential Home art fair thursday and hopefully Tour

So here is the post regarding the good news I got by e-mail.

When I was struggling to get in somewhere in November of 2013 only three places came to see me. The first was Clayton House. Jessica, the admissions director at the time, (now executive director) was awesome! Great about the blind thing, great about the cutting. I would have moved there except I wasn’t so happy about no internet, at the time there wasn’t any at all in the whole building, and they didn’t have a bed open.

Then of course Greenwood came and that connected me to here.

Well Jessica said I could talk anytime and she kept her word! I’ve talked with her probably once or twice a year for the past four years. She’s been great with going with the flow of my at times really wanting to move there and it just not coming to anything. A couple times in my I hate Albany moods I did write her about this. Last year I tried to have Kat move there. So this year I wrote her asking about the art fair. They so value expressive arts, probably like one of the few residential places in IL LOL!

So every year they have a fair where they have refreshments, sell their art, and do some kind of performance, sometimes, dance, drama or music. Depending on who they have working as a therapist. They don’t have the money for all four modalities but if they have legit one or two that’s amazing in itself!

This year they have a music therapy program. I encouraged this one of the years and even I think sent her a link to the music therapy association.

I wrote her the end of last week saying how Jess and I were, I did introduce my relationship with Jess, and the possibility of us both moving at one of those similar conversations. I said why we want to move at this time.

Below is some of the reply.

We (Jessica, the clinical director and admissions director) were part of a demonstration project for over a decade preceding SMHRF and this project- SubPart T- included many of the provisions found in the new SMHRF guidelines. Additionally, we’ve been incorporating many of the things found in SMHRF for a long time now and are well-established. We offer Peer Support, WMR, WRAP, Art Therapy, Music Therapy and Individual Psychotherapy. We have 16 case managers for 215 residents, so each case manager works with 13-14 people, even though the regulations demand a much larger ratio. We have a Crisis Unit that’s been operating for four years and as such we’ve been able to help people in crisis avoid unnecessary and/or unwanted hospitalizations. Lots of good stuff going on over here that is well in place

So you can tell why I’m totally overjoyed at this! As I’m sure are all my peer support working/ resonating friends!

Here is their website and fb page.

www.claytonhome.org

https://m.facebook.com/ClaytonResidentialHome/?refid=46&__xt__=12.%7B%22unit_id_click_type%22%3A%22graph_search_results_item_tapped%22%2C%22click_type%22%3A%22result%22%2C%22module_id%22%3A1%2C%22result_id%22%3A422765921093837%2C%22sid%22%3A%221b028e8e562e65901330c113b98be36e%22%2C%22module_role%22%3A%22ENTITY_PAGES%22%2C%22unit_id%22%3A%22browse_rl%3Aae9fff344aeb3f6fd7eeae9a8ffcf1fc%3Ac1%22%2C%22browse_result_type%22%3A%22browse_type_page%22%2C%22unit_id_result_id%22%3A422765921093837%2C%22module_result_position%22%3A0%7D

note: I gave the ap link. Facebook regular site does not get along well with my screen reader. So I can only access stuff on the mobile site well. If that’s not your thing go on the regular site and search Clayton Residential home.

We wrote her asking if we could have our long awaited tour/ question and answer time that day. If not we can do another day.

Known downsides of the place:

I believe they do now have a computer lab and wifi in the activity room. But nowhere else. So no internet in our rooms! This would be a huge deal for me!

Last I checked the single rooms had very small bathrooms with no shower. So it would be a public shower. Yuck! Just not my thing like at all!

Those are the big things. Having a single room would be interesting. There’s a danger I, and anyone, could isolate there. And I’m so used to having a roommate Jess in particular I bet I’d be very anxious. Jess says it would be nice to have a break even from me LOL!

So we’ll have tosee. Oh and it’s like an hour away on public transportation from where Jess sees her therapist. I do not want anything to get in the way of that. One of the other places would only be about twenty minutes away. So it’s really something to consider.

We’ll just have to see. The huge pros are the peer support and observing how all that works, at least in IL I know every state is different. The caseworkers have more of a reasonable caseload which means more time with them. And in house psychotherapy. And hopefully real music and art therapy! It really seems like Jessica and the others mentioned truly know their stuff.

I’m soo excited for Thursday whether we do the tour then or not. Want the tour to be at a day and time where we can see the most staff even if it’s just saying hi, and when people can really have time to answer questions. But we’ll see. Beyond excited!

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Awesome first meeting with Shamaya

Hi everyone,

Today was good. Busy. Had to see Dr.Patel for a follow up supposedly from the med change. Well since it wasn’t the regular c.n.a getting my breakfast by the time they called for people to come down I had to wait to eat til after. Which I hate doing! Going downstairs especially in the morning. So was kinda agitated. Eventually when I got in thereit was literally a five minute appointment. She never asked about the Lamyctol, or my depression which really doesn’t surprise me as she never did before. She did ask if I lost weight which I have am now 132 as opposed to 138 or so. She asked if Iam still taking ativan as a prn which duh I am!

That was literally it. Had breakfast, took meds and had a long nap. Woke up to Jess reading me an awesome e-mail regarding one of the places we’re thinking of moving to.Will put that in a separate post.

So that put me in a very good mood. Chillaxed on facebook. Ombudsman Callie, former caseworker, came to chat. Nothing really interesting there.

Then Shamaya came. We had an awesome hour meeting! An hour with a really insightful emotionally present totally caring woman. She has so much insight and skills from her therapy practice. She’s very open and so just herself with nothing to hide.

We talked about everything under the sun. Mostly Jonathan stuff. She totally agreed with me about his lack of awareness around communication and like totally ignoring people when stressed. She said, he, and many men LOL, handle being caught about something by getting embarrassed and avoiding the person. So when he is aware of it he’s too embarrassed to own up to it/ reconnect. Hence why, maybe, he didn’t invite/ tell us about the IHOP trip. I appreciated that insight.

We talked about all the misunderstanding therapists I’ve had, and how that’s made things worse. She even went as far as to say that some therapist’s assumptions about a person are so strong that the person starts to develop symptoms that wwern’t there in the first place.

So on the Jonathan front. We went back and forth about whether it was practical and emotionally worth pursuing working with him again. She said she thought a meeting would be good. Not a definite closure, more of a hey we haven’t checked in in months kinda thing! And just see where that goes. I talked about all the safety I’ve felt in our relationship and how I know I can say anything to him. But that this not taking responsibility for just not communicating with people thing, he’ll likely never change on.

Another step forward was talking about a new therapist. I’ve been debating whether to reach out to a new therapist especially where new places have therapists. She said ifI feel I need it now then it’s worth doing.

She doesn’t know Sandra at all though she plans to. Someone she really does know is Dr. Chaban. She’s one of the two therapists that’s come here for many years. Previously she only took medicare, now blue cross Medicaid takes her so more people can see her.

Here’s her website:

http://chicagoclinicaltherapist.com/dr-chaban/

So I’m very interested in seeing how this goes.

Though my annual care plan is Wednesday she said not to stress about going. In fact, she’d rather me not go as she’s still looking at my chart and things. She said a better care plan will be had in a few months when she really knows me. She said she can check the boxes but that’s not nearly as important as knowing the person.

She said for clients that do see Dr. Chaban she works very closely with her and not only do they both see you once a week but they also talk together about your care so everyone is on the same page.

I was very refreshed and uplifted about our meeting. I teased that maybe I’ll stay here for awhile to keep working with her! She laughed and said whatever works.

At least I know I have a solid caseworker, and now maybe therapist, for the time I will be here. That hopefully can be a safe predictable place in the midst of all the facility changes.

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