Friday, March 8, 2013

Fiona is restrained

I should know today  which weekend Fiona is staying overnight.  That is good news.  Unfortunately, she also had to be restrained yesterday, which is the bad news.  I worry so much for her. The Great School in the City does not do the kind of restraining that I know happens in other facilities.  And they have lots of other options that go into play first.  Students can go to their own room, go to a staff member, go to one of the myriad time out spaces (which are so cool my other kids all want to play in them when we visit) go to the expressive arts area, meet with their counselor etc.  I am honestly probably forgetting some of the ways that they try to help kids handle their big feelings.  They also know that restraining does not emotionally help Fiona at all.  If I held KC or Lissa or Rob and prevented them from doing something, they would struggle briefly and then fold in against me into a hug.  For Fiona and for Chet, restraining triggers deep, primal fears so it is something to be done only when the risk to others or themselves is very high.

The school will still let us plan the overnight as we had been. We don't need to postpone at this point.   Jane and I have been working on some different ideas of how long and in what ways Fiona can work to earn the overnights.  The original goal set by the school was 30 consecutive safe days.  She did do that once.  More typically, she can make 3 weeks but not 4. I think the school thought that if you could do 3 weeks, maybe we could help her grow to 4 weeks.  Not working quite that well.  This month, Jane and I privately agreed to the 3 week idea and that is how she earned the visit. Fi has such little sense of time that 3 wks is the same as 4 to her. I suggested an 80 per cent of the month safe behavior goal. This would mean that if she had a restraint or a problem it was not starting over at the beginning, just making sure that there were as few as possible. I think for kids that have t rouble self regulating that lots of consecutive days of anything are incredibly difficult.

But it makes me worry for the future.  I know that other places are not as elastic in their thinking as the Great School is.  I strongly suspect that just about any group home we find will not put up long with the type of behavior that Fiona exhibits when stressed and dysregulated. Since when raging she is also strong enough to throw a 220 pound male off her, puts a certain level of fear into the equation for anyone working with her in those situations as well. I don't want her to wind up in a jail cell. I don't want her to be homeless. I don't want her to be in a state hospital.  And yet, I know any or all of those scenarios could ultimately play out for her.  It all feels so random and I  feel incredibly ineffective.

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