We got the results of James' Psych Eval on Thursday. They basically said what I've been saying all along. It's reassuring to have it there on paper, to know that I'm not just making it all up, to have it "proven" I guess you could say.
The report does lay a lot of light on things. But it also brings doubt and many questions. Going on and doing things as we have been, while in some cases is perfectly OK, but in others it's just not going to work. I have doubts now. The report tells me James has difficulty processing spoken word. We kind of knew that before anyway. So I'm left wondering how much I'm saying is actually getting through to him.
I'm sitting here wondering what it is he can do and what he can't do. How are we, as his parents supposed to help him learn and grow? How does this information change everything that we've been doing up until now?
Some of the big questions Jason had for me are things like "How do you emotionally connect to a child who won't/can't give that connection in return?" "How do you keep reinforcing the positive interactions when those are so far and few between because the child is so angry and negative that all interactions with him take on that light?" I don't have answers to those questions. I don't have answers to my own questions. Things like "How do I help him understand the why of things when he asks when it really seems like it doesn't make a difference to him?" "Why should I bother explaining anything to him when all it boils down to is that he just wants a reason to go against what I've asked or expected him to do/say/behave?"
Jason's parents were here for dinner yesterday. James had it out for Jason all evening. He was full of snide comments and hurtful remarks. My understanding is that James doesn't understand the emotion behind those remarks, just the fact that they get a reaction from Jason. How do we teach a child like this to try for POSITIVE reactions instead of the constant negative ones? How do we teach him that the positive reaction is much better than the negative when all he wants, it seems, is some kind of reaction? Jason told me that he was very embaressed by James' behavior yesterday. James got angry/upset and being told NOT to sit on his grandmother the entire time she was here. He really didn't care WHY he couldn't do it, what mattered is that he couldn't.
James feels very starved for attention, or so it seems. He MUST be involved whenever Jason or I are paying any kind of attention to one of the other kids. He becomes very angry/hurt/discontent when he is told that he is not included in the interaction. He becomes irrational. Telling us that we are mean and horrible and that we hate him and that no one loves or wants him. From what I understand, even though these are very "emotional" responses, they are not fueled by emotions at all, but by the fact that James has learned that statements such as those will receive a reaction from Jason and I.
How do you teach a child who feels he MUST be the center of attention at all times simply because he believes that is how it should be to share his time with his parents with his siblings and to do so without pouting and fights and purposely hurting others? How do you teach a child that he can not take his frustration and anger out on his younger siblings just because they annoy him or are in the way of what it is he desires? How do you help him understand that phrases like "It's good you are punishing Izzy because that means I won't have to reatliate against him" and "I hate Jayden, she is stupid and annoying, and I don't care if I hurt her, she deserves it" are NOT acceptable. It seems that as far as he is concerned, as long as HE feels it's ok, then that is all that matters.
James and Jayden were playing today. I think they were wrestling. James held Jayden down and pinned her arms to her body. He then twisted his hands and her arms to the point that it was VERY painful for Jayden. When Jayden came to tell me that this had happened, her arms were bright red. She also had a couple of newly formed bruises on her arms. I told James that he needed to stand in the corner. I showed him the marks he made. I told him that he could not do that. He knows that, because of CPS coming in and out (again, thanks to James) that while we can "hit" him we can not leave marks. I told him that him leaving a mark on Jayden is like us leaving a mark on him and it is NOT acceptable. I don't feel it made an impression. I think he took the info and let it fall off of him like water drops.
To add insult to injury, Homer doesn't believe that James could be so "messed up". Everything I say needs to be taken with a grain of salt simply because I can not be believed. Why would I make this crap up? Why would I state that things are this difficult if they weren't? Wouldn't it make sense to exult the good over the negative? James is a very smart little boy. His wiring in his brain makes him a very difficult little boy as well. My ex has NO clue about it either. His wife runs a daycare. Apparently, that is his base of expertise. NOT raising James on a day to day basis, but the fact that they handle some "difficult" kids every so often. I gave Homer the name and number of the psychiatrist that did the evaluation. I told him that he can call and get the results. That Homer can talk to the guy and ask any questions he wants. That he can get a copy of the report probably. And yet, I have a feeling that Homer still will not "get" it. Oh well, I'll set Homer aside in my worries. His incompetence is no longer something of my direct concern, thankfully.
The positive to all of this is now we have a definitive answer. It's in black and white. We can apply for SSI for James. We can continue to get services for James that he needs. We can take what we have been given and find the ways to make it work for all of us.
Prayers and blessings everyone. I hope that you are able to take what is going on right now and find the positive in it. After all, without the positive it's just too depressing to worry about.