Very Few Resources

In my profession, as a public school teacher, we go through training every year for suicide prevention. “Take every threat of suicide seriously”…. “call mobile crisis”…”it is a cry for help”…

This week, Brother was the one threatening suicide, and performing preliminary acts of self harm. I did what I was trained to do. I called mobile crisis, I called his therapist, and finally I just took him to the local emergency room to be “evaluated”. Here are the results…mobile crisis gave me three phone numbers to call for help. One was no longer a working number, and the other two were specifically for foster children…

The therapist’s office had no answer, so I had to leave a message during normal business hours. I did hear back from the receptionist about two hours later, with a message to take Brother to the hospital. This is their protocol whenever a client states that he or she will commit suicide.

The emergency room was yet another adventure. They tested blood and urine for drugs, and put us in an empty room for the next seven hours. We had to wait for a social worker to come and evaluate Brother. This process was helpful, and at least we came up with a plan for the next 24 hours. Brother held himself together, aside from some anxiety and tears which he kept under control. The social worker was pretty certain that he has autism, even though I shared his diagnosis (which is not autism). She gave me some numbers to call to try to obtain a behavior therapy specific to autism. None of the referrals I was given, serve children in our area. She also told me to call my insurance company and get referrals for this therapy. I did that, only to find out that insurance won’t approve the therapy without an autism diagnosis.

There is just no answer. I’m not sure why we bother to reach out for help. I don’t know that I will again, unless the person has already passed out from attempting suicide. Spending hours making fruitless phone calls was not helpful. Brother already has the most intensive outpatient therapy offered- once a week.

School is another issue- the person who was advocating the hardest for Brother has retired. In her absence, school administration has decided that they don’t want to follow the behavior plan. As a result, there is no support for Brother at school without inconveniencing someone. We are working on this with the school….actually, we are battling this with the school. I am so sad that I have spent the last twenty years advocating for students who have various disabilities…and our schools still remain full of leaders who don’t believe that these students belong in their public schools. It is disheartening. I hate to give up the battle, but it only hurts Brother to have this happening- he already feels like he isn’t wanted there. They don’t hide it well.

Change will come…

~AoA

6 thoughts on “Very Few Resources

    1. I have posed that question to my colleagues. Many just pull their kids from school and homeschool, rather than try to get the schools to meet the needs of children with mental illness. Since I have worked in the special education department for almost 20 years, I know firsthand how thin everyone is stretched. ADA and IDEA do apply, but if the school won’t comply, it takes due process with mediation and hearings.
      I am about to the homeschool point. I think our team had just a couple more things to try before going that route.

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      1. I agree with homeschool. You have more than enough skills and a large part of his morning anxiety could be channelled into preparing lessons. It’s going to take a lot out of you, but you can give him no school is willing to give. Can you home school little AOA also or is she more social in school. Homeschooling both is a huge job but look at the huge job you have everyday.
        Look at the stress in your life everyday before your morning even starts. I pray for you and the kids. It’s a tough call.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oddly enough, when I talk to Brother about it, he doesn’t really want to homeschool- he wants to go to school and not be triggered. I am trying to teach him that he only controls his own reactions, not other people. ..some life skills missed. Of course, it would help if the teachers would follow the behavior plan.
        Little AoA does better socially at school than Brother.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m glad she’s come out of her shyness. The great thing about homeschooling is it can change, not a all or nothing. Maybe Brother could learn those skills thru other situations and when ready return to public school. Unfortunately teachers have no incentive to spend the extra time if management isn’t behind the plan.
        The kids have come a long way without him in their life and no doubt that growth will continue.

        Liked by 1 person

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