Saturday, May 7, 2011

Teen Update

3 teens in the house....URGHHH!!!!  Yep, that's how I feel some days.  I'll be honest.  It's not all roses raising teens.  Let alone teens with certain issues.  Thought it was high time I do an update on my teens.  The good, the bad and the ugly of it all.  So, here goes.

Irina is now 18 yo.  That is her chronological age.  Her mental age & social age is obviously a great deal lower.  That has become an issue lately for her and us.  Irina has really realized just how different she is from others her age.  Irina wants to try to take the driving test again.  So, she's going to study a little more and try for a 4th time next week.  Remember, this is regular society, not special ed.  There are no accomodations made for people with disabilities when it comes to driving tests.  Hence, why some times they have to study so much harder than the rest of us and take it a few more times.  Doesn't mean they are going to be worse drivers.  Most actually tend to be more over cautious.  Shoot, there are some drivers out on the road w/ normal intelligence & abilities that have NO business on the road whatsoever.  We want to help Irina reach this goal of a little more independence.  Being able to drive would be a huge step for her.  Don't know who wants it more...me or her.

School is still not going well.  Just a waste for her to go at this point but w/ less than a month, she goes.  She even told me they gave her "fluff" grades.  I said how do  you know.  She said b/c I was given 100's for work I didn't even turn in.  Yep, way to teach our kids values public schools.  Now you know even more why I want her out of there.  Irina is working on her health.  She knows she needs to loose weight.  Knowing it and doing it are two different things.  I try to get her to do stuff w/ me.  As, I'm trying to loose too.  I work in the yard gardening every day for about 30 minutes. I also walk once a day.  Would love to do it twice but unrealistic w/the things that go on here and working during the day.  yana even tries to get Irina to walk w/ her.  I've gotten to the point where I think I will make it mandatory she walk the dogs once a day.  That way, to her it will seem more like a chore than exercise.  Sounds crazy but think it may work.  Doc ran all the bloodwork and she's fine w/ everything.  Just needs to lose the weight.  She tells me to tell her to stop eating certain things or remind her.  Remember, FAS kids do need that external brain thinking.  However, when I remind her, she gets really mad at me.  I have decided to have her write notecards of what she wants said when she's eating something she's not supposed to or not exercising.  I will hand them to her.  It will be like coming from herself instead of me.  It's worth a shot.  She used to be the peak of fitness and health.  It was sad watching this happen to her this year.  However, I do know I can get her back to good health over the summer when she's not in school.  She loves to swim.  In the summer, I do 50 laps a day.  Not as hungry and tend to lose weight.  Think I can make it work for her as she loves to swim.

Irina's social life continues to be a struggle.  Again, not uncommon with FAS children at this stage in life.  Not all but a good chunk of them.  Irina will benefit greatly from the new kids coming home.  She likes to play the mother role and keeps telling me how much help she'll be when they get home.  Praying that happens sooner rather than later.  We'll see.  Irina really wants to get a job.  I want her to get one too.  She will be limited in what she can do but we will still search for sure.

Medically, Irina is fine.  She did get dx'd w/ GERD and acid reflux recently.  Now takes medicine for that.  Her sinus stuff is still an issue but ENT said it would be okay to wait for another surgery.  She's had two sinus surgeries thus far.  Looks like her nose must have been broken at the orphanage at some point causing her some major issues.  Her nose literally whistles at times and sounds like a dog squeak toy.  Doc said it really isn't anything that is harmful to her so that's good.  Otherwise, Irina is doing okay.

Irina is in good spirits considering everything that has transpired this year including the added stress of our "situation."  It's been very hard on her.  She is looking forward to going to the mountains this year and doing some things in the summer.  Me too.

Maxwell-- Max is 16yo now.  Max is actually doing well.  He had his driving permit but the DMV took it away due to the stupid school.  Let me explain.  In this state, if grades are not up to par, you lose your license or permit.  EVEN if you have a disability in said subject.  URGHH!!!  I don't expect special treatment for Max but I do expect common sense.  Max has a severe, severe learning disability in math.  Simply put, he can't do it.  Not saying that lightly either.  So, you would think they either 1) wouldn't put him in math in high school or 2) put him in some type of remedial math.  But oh no they don't do that.  The stupid admin puts these kids knowing full well they can't do math in Algebra b/c it is required.  Even Max's teacher said he tries so hard but there is just no way he can get it.  They said he must fail Algebra 2 times and then they'll let him take any other class and count it as math.  Umm, hey stupid school people, how about doing that from the get go since you know for a FACT he can never do Algebra?!  So, all this has down is brought his self-esteem down.  He tells his friend all the time how he wishes he were smart for once.  Nice Johnston County Schools.  Real nice way to treat students who try but have learning disabilities and special needs.  So, Max has the double whammy of feeling bad about math and having the permit taken away.  He can't get it back till he passes math which he never will.  Calling DMV to see how they handle these situations.  I hate for him to never be able to get a license due to a learning disability in math.  Anyone else have experience with this, please let me know.  Thanks.  Now, first semester he did bad in more than one area but that was due to them not following the IEP.  Long story.  Once on track, it's been going great w/ all other subjects.

Max is doing odd jobs around the neighborhood.  Mostly yard work and that's what he loves to do so that's a good thing.  We're going to hire Max at the house as our resident handyman and yard man. Pay him for it.  Just can't afford to tote our three teens to different places for a job w/ the cost of gas.  This will be a good compromise and still allow the odd jobs here and there as well.  Max hangs out w/ a friend of his but Max is still more of an introvert.  That's fine by us.  Max still has a huge passion for art. And, he's good at it. Trying to expand his knowledge and talent.  Not sure where his love of art will lead but all we can do is encourage it.  That's what we're doing.  Trouble w/ a FAS and ADHD child w/ a love of art is completion of a piece.  Many of his works go unfinished.  He's getting better about it but still an area that needs work.

Max is very healthy.  Still on the same meds and they seem to be working well.  Not changing anything.  Thank goodness.  Max has been mad lately about having to move out of his room to one that has more kids in it.  The plan IF we stay in this home is to convert the garage to a room for Max and Bojan.  But, that takes time and Max knows this.  Plus, if we're going to move, it would not make sense to do the room conversion.  Time will tell what we'll do.  Max wants to stay in school next year so we'll let him I think.  So, socially, he's adjusting a bit better which is wonderful.  He's a good kid and we seriously can't complain.

Yana--  Oh geez, lots to say here, especially, after a RAD rage earlier this week.  We'll start with school.  School is going okay.  She struggles greatly but doesn't like to admit it.  We are going to have to get honest with her soon.  We've really been encouraging college and such with her b/c all these years I truly thought she'd go.  However, after seeing what she knows this year and knowing she can not write or spell very well, I think it would be a reach.  We of course are still going to encourage her going to college but at this point, I'm not sure it would be the right fit.  Don't know yet.  Will know more after 9th grade.  She's in 8th.  Has an IEP in place.  However, as with many kids w/ FASD, there are gaps in her learning.  In addition, Yana came to America when she was 8.5yo and started school at 9yo.  So naturally, she'd be behind.  However, I do like the fact that she is highly motivated, does her own projects, and for the most part stays out of trouble at school. 

Yana does not to admit she has any issues which I totally understand.  But, after this week, I think she is becoming more aware of them.  Takes time as children with mental health issues get older to understand how they effect them and others around them.  We address this with all our kids as they hit the teen years.  Always been open about FASD and what all it means.  However, haven't used it as a crutch either.  My kids are expected to have goals, values, and do things like everyone else.  Can't stand it when they say I can't and they know that.  Yana does try and I must say I appreciate that.  She too wants a job which we'll be working on.  Since Max is set on the job situation, we will focus on Irina as she's older and then Yana.  Yana is 15 and we'll let her work at 16yo.  She's excited about taking the driver's permit test.  I think she can sign up for the summer course.  Not sure. 

Yana is in great health.  No real issues.  She is trying to get back to jogging everyday.  She is going to try out for track and cross country in high school.  I think that would be awesome.  She and Alex are the only ones to really show an interest in sports in school.  Bojan is interested in band.  Max is all about art.  Nik is into art as well.  Alyona hasn't quite found her niche yet but it's still way early. 

Anyhow, teens are doing decent.  All want a job which I think is wonderful.  Hey, motivation is half the battle in teens & sounds like we have that one on our side.  All are coming to terms with each of their disabilities and what that means as a teen 7 becoming an adult.  All still possess that teen attitude that isn't quite going away yet.  URGHH!!!  All are healthy except for Irina who is working on losing weight.  All are excited about the new kids coming home believe it or not.  Well, sometimes Max isn't b/c of the room issue but that's to be expected.  All still have hopes and dreams.  All the teens are pretty good compared to what some of my friends have to deal with.  Parenting 3 teens is not the easiest but we're doing it and will try not to lose our sanity during the process. 

1 comment:

  1. Has Yana tried a program like Dragon Speak Naturally? It is a wonderful program that you train with your voice and it will type what you say as you are saying it in a Word doc. You do have to learn some of the commands to do grammar things. This program or one like it would help her with college.

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