I met with a friend this morning who has a child with a mental illness. I was able to tell her a ton of things that had helped us as we went through the battle to get services for our kids. It got me thinking about all the things I never really wanted to know. In the last ten years I have had to learn the following things that I never really wanted to know · How to SMRT a child (get them qualified for Medical Assistance based on a disability instead of your income); · How to apply for welfare (long story); · How to use an EBT card to buy groceries (same long story); · How to deal with law enforcement in a number of different ways; · How to admit that your child is in "Need of Protection or Services" in an Admit/Deny hearing; · How to follow a service plan in order for your parental rights to not be terminated; · How to address a judge in a court of law; · How to find out if your child is in jail by looking at the internet; · What an IEP meeting is and how to advocate for services; · How to get an appointment with the best psychiatrist for your child; · How to find a therapist and get your kids in regularly; · What PCAs, respite, and CADI waivers are; · How to navigate a PCA assessment so that your kids qualify for the hours they need; · How to communicate with your child's guardian ad litem; · The best way to have a relationship with your child's Probation Officer; · What Rule 25 is and how to qualify for it; · How to find the best Chemical Dependency Treatment options and secure them for your child; · How to work with a court appointed attorney who knows less about the legal system than you do; · How to finely walk the line between being a good advocate for your child and appearing cocky and uncooperative; · How to find a child who doesn't want to be found; · How to deal with a child who is suspended from school; · How to respond to false allegations delivered to professionals by your children; · The meanings of the acronyms PTSD, ODD, PICA, ADHD, ADD, CD, LD, GAL, FASD, ARND, and many more; · How to medicate children who aren't compliant in taking their medications; · How to restrain a child safely; · How to clean smeared feces off of walls without getting grossed out; · How to successfully get a transfer approved to another school for your children; · How to drive with six arguing children in a dirty mini van with the DVD player blaring and the cell phone ringing; · How to get a job for an 17 year old with a juvenile record (even if they don't take it) · How to get a job for an 18 year old with an adult record (even if they don't take it) · How to listen to the same phrase 147 times without losing your temper; · How to get holes in walls repaired cheaply (or how to live without letting the holes in the walls and doors bother you) · How to be hit without hitting back; · How to remember to clean the toilet seat without sitting on it every single time; · How to advocate in staffings for children in residential treatment; · How to live with 237 unmatched socks in your house on a consistent basis without going nuts; · How to attend with hope discharge ceremonies from juvenile detention facilities; · How to discipline a child without using rewards and consequences because they lack cause and effect thinking; · How to keep posessions safe from a child who steals consistently; · How to maintain hope when life seems hopeless, how to remain full of faith when nothing looks good, and how to persist curageously when there is no end in site.
My poll this week will be to see how many of you have learned how many of the things that are listed. I also encourage you to add to my list by commenting. I know I"m leaving many out. Maybe I'll add to my own list as I think of them.