My Story of Two Special Need Children                         
by LITTLEMA           

          I title my story two special need children because I do have one son Matthew who is bipolar and my other son Dustin is  ADHD. I know Dustin is not bipolar but I could not tell this story without including him, some of the history of Matthew deals with both of them.


          Both of my pregnancy for the boys were planned c-sections. Both boys had what I thought were normal lives. It wasnít until Matthew was two years old and Dustin was five years old that I became sober. I wonít go into this to much, this is a subject I have written about in my own story, but I know how it does effect the boys.  When I first became sober I had DSS (Dept. of Social Services ) in my life. They were accusing me of neglecting all three of my children. I would have no part of that. It took my quite the few years to admit that my children were neglected because of my drinking/drugging. This is something I will live with for the rest of my life. This is also something I will help my boys though for the rest of there lives.


          So here we are Matthew is two and Dustin is five they are starting therapy. Well Dustin does talk therapy and he does OK for the next couple of years. Matthew is put into play therapy. Ever see a two year old in play therapy? I still to this very day find it ridiculous. There was no point to this therapy at all, at least for Matthew and myself. I never pretend to say or think for anyone else. At this time Matt had not been diagnosed yet, they were trying to tell me he was ADHD I always knew he wasnít. He never showed any of the signs his brother did, and when his brother started on medication for ADHD he did a complete turn around. So on we went. I just kept Matt home with me for the next two years I worked on getting his brother settled in school learning the SPED Dept. and all the laws I could, so I could make sure he could get the best education possible. This would all pay off when Matt started school. Of course I didnít know that then. I worked really hard to make sure Dustin had an I.E.P. that would work for him.


          Well now came the time to send Matt to school. He did go to headstart, but I was always with him so the problems were always small nothing we could not handle. He had his times believe me. He hated sharing, he would become violent towards others, and he started throwing major tamtrum fits. So when I sent him to kindergarten I donít think I was prepared for what was about to happen. My child was really changing right before my eyes all the thing I just stated before are now ten times worse. He has added to this flipping tables, attacking the teachers, the children were so scared of him. I was always at the school. Matt was always being sent home. The Special Ed. Dept. keep telling it was a behavioral problem there was nothing they could do. The only way they would let Matt continue in school was for me to go with him everyday. This is when I last worked. This was 1995. So for the rest of the year of kindergarten I went to school with him everyday. I had asked for a CORE evaluation be done on him, but when you live in the city things can move real slow. It took almost a year to complete the testing everything came back that Matt did not need services in the academic field his testing was normal to superior. This really did not surprise myself or my husband Matt was a very smart child. His problem was that his behavior got in the way of his ability to learn anything. The SPED Dept. tried setting up a program for Matt at the school he was in. This program they had set up was for the SPED teacher to check in with him everyday and to have a therapist check in with him. This program did not last long. Matt some how made it to the middle of third grade at this school. They the school were at there wits end with Matt they did not what to do anymore then I did. So it was decided that we would put Matt in a residential school. During this three year period Matt was to be hospitalized four times every time he was put in a hospital he was given a new diagnose. He was also always put on new medication. Once they put him on Clonidine the poor child could not stay awake if his life depended on it. I weaned him off it. It was his last hospitalization that doctors diagnosed him bipolar and started him on depakote.


          The residential school we put Matt in was about a hour and half away from our home. We made this trip every weekend  and twice during the week at night. This began to take a toll on my whole family including Matt. He was not happy we had put him this school. We really thought we were doing the right thing at the time. Later we find out what a big mistake we had made. For the first few weeks we thought things were going pretty good. Then after being there for a couple weeks Matt began to regress. He was urinating in his sleep and they would leave him like this. He was eight years old he had never done anything like this before. He also started doing the same thing while he was awake there was just no rational reasoning for this and as before they the residential school would leave him like this. I complained many times. One night I showed up unannounced and I found Matt in his room wet. I lost it. I packed his bags. Told the glorified baby-sitter to go the person in charge because it was the weekend. I signed him out against medical advise needless to say they filed what we call I fifty-one a. It is a form to report neglect to children services. I really didnít care I was taking my son home. I dealt with DSS when they came, DSS left me alone.


          Now I have my son home but no school, so back to the SPED Dept. they put him in our local alternative school he spent the rest of grade three in there. He also did grade four in there. During all this time Matt has been in therapy he has been seeing a pdoc.. and he fights with his brother so bad. That is were the history of two of them is. Matt has also been on numerous medications. He goes though the trails and errors just like us adults. Matt finds he does not like the weight gain from the depakote so the put him on tegretol he tolerates this medicine fine loses the weight and is stable. Matt made it out of the alternative school. I will admit I was scared to death when they told me he was ready to move to a regular school. I was thinking dear god here we go again. So fifth grade has come Matt is in a special class for children with behavioral problems they call it a EBDB room. From there he works his way out to the main stream class rooms there are four main classes. I am VERY PROUD to report that Matt started this fifth grade school this past Sept. 2000. To present March 2001 he got back three main stream classes. He has only one more to go. He is so proud of himself. He beams when he comes home from school most days because he is doing so good. He also has the EBDB room to fall back on when he needs to. Now donít get wrong he is by far no angel he still finds time to get in trouble, but you know he not throwing desks and he is not going after the teachers.


          My biggest problem is to find a way to get this behavior at home. In school everything is structured for him and he need that in his life. That is what keeps Matt focused. When he is home the structure is gone no matter what I plan. I can not give him all my attention as much as I would love to. I have Dustin to contend with too. So Matt has no structure at home, Dustin is hyper, they are at each others throats and Iím in the middle. Living with two boys with special needs, very different special needs is a hard thing to do. The fighting, the swearing, the chasing each other though the house is enough to drive oneís self crazy. People seem to think sometimes that bipolar and ADHD is the same thing and when I try to say or tell different Iím not believed. I should know one would think.  Oh well!!! Thatís life (lol)  I live with one of each. One son Bipolar, one son ADHD, one husband adult ADHD, one gorgeous daughter and I love them all to pieces. By one recovering alcoholic/drug addict Bipolar mom.

Prayers & Hugs                                                                                           BrendaW





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