06-25-2017 05:42 PM - last edited on 06-27-2017 05:54 PM by Ngaio-RO
Hi ... a while back I wrote about my 13 year old niece whose mother told her that she had breast cancer and after we told her it turned out that her mother was lying all along. A few months have gone by and my niece has since confronted her mother about her being dishonest. My sister is sticking to her story and because my niece won't believe her she has cut off all contact. Understandably my niece is feeling hurt, angry, upset, sad and rejected by her mother. From that day she found out her mother was lying she has refused to Skype her Mum which had been happening once a week. She would email her Mum but they were not answered. One she even sent back marked 'return to sender'. She was supposed to have a contact visit in September but because her mother 'disliked' the date she has refused to see her. As my nieces court orders only apply to her mother it means she is unable to see her Dad as well. Her parents are separated and because of distance we can not afford to take her to see her Dad. While all this has been happening my niece has also been bullied at school. She has ASD and is emotionally immature. We were working with the school to support her. She stopped telling us that it was still going on and we like the school considered it to have stopped. We would check with her how things were going and she lied to us and told us that it was no longer happening. Things came to a head last Wednesday when my husband went to pick her up from school and the school office called him to come and collect her from the office. As a result of her punching one of the girls who had been bullying her she was suspended for 2 days. She remains on green level while the girl who she punched has been transferred to red level the lowest level of behaviour before you get expelled. The girl she punched had been tormenting her during class earlier in the day. The bullying my niece has endured has ranged from having food thrown at her, being called BB (bisexual b****), having her school bag hidden on her, been sworn at and called sexual names that rhyme with her name. The girls she punched is one of a handful of kids that have made her life horrid at school. They have found all my niece's buttons and they know how to push every one. We are heartbroken for her. We've tried to get help for her through Headspace but by the time she gets to see them it will take about 4-6 weeks. We are going to meet the new Junior Deputy Principal at the beginning of the new school term to come up with a Behaviour Plan for my niece. We will also meet her From Teacher and her Year Level Co-ordinator. We receive the pension and taking her to see a psychologist is financially impossible for us ... does anyone have any suggestions for other avenues we could try????
06-26-2017 12:33 PM
Wow @jdbza, that is a heart-breaking story. Good on you for taking care of your niece.
I guess my experience with having my son bullied at school and then seeing him get "punished" when he tries to defend himself is that it doesn't seem fair at all. It seems it is easier to blame the victim sometimes. His school seems to want absolute proof before acting against the bullies, something that a distressed 14 year old is not able to provide.
The best thing we did was talk to the Form master, which I see you are doing. She was an old-fashioned type, and had a word to a couple of the kids involved. I don't know what she said, but it seemed to work.
In terms of Psych help, I found Headspace to be a mixed bag of good and not so good - as always it depends on who you get, which is a lottery. If you tell them you think it is urgent they might push you up the queue. Your GP can do a mental health care plan which gives you medicare subsidized Psych sessions, which you can use at a private Psych too. Only 10 per year, although there is some sort of extended plan which gives a few more (which our GP has not written for us, for reasons I don't fully understand). Otherwise we find the Psych sessions to be really expensive (although our private Psych is fantastic). We've got a health fund which pays a bit, but still: ouch! Sorry if you know all that.
The other thing we tried was to build up some relationships with other students. Invite a few close friends over for a BBQ, or take them to the movies. I guess the idea is that there is safety in numbers, if you have a wing-man it can make a huge difference. We are still working on this strategy.
That business with the mum...I dunno...she needs some help too. That must be really hard for your niece.
Hang in there.
06-26-2017 02:48 PM
Hi Lily 17 :-) My niece is emotionally about a 7 or 8 year old. When she was placed with us in 2014 it had been put into her file that when she was put in a placement that she was to never be the eldest. That the ideal placement would be where she was the youngest. I have a niece in Year 1 and a nephew in Year 3 and when they come and stay she reverts back to the same age. When we had her assessed for ASD they gave her an emotional age of 7. However we believe that we have seen some progress in the time she is with us. She is however about 5ft 8" which makes it hard. Adults approach her and expect her to behave 'normally' and when she doesn't it can be really hard.
06-26-2017 03:19 PM
Hi Schooner :-)
I agree with you - seeing her punished for the other kids behaviours is awful!
My sister has Borderline Personality Disorder which is why she behaves the way she does. My niece has an older 1/2 sister who was put in foster care when she was 3 months old. Fortunately she was placed with a family who 17 years later she is still with. My sister has screwed up her life as well and she has no contact with her. I'm at the point where I've had enough of my sister's garbage. After watching her emotionally abuse my niece the whole time she has been with us and being on the receiving end of the most horrendous abuse from her myself through emails etc we have no contact with my sister and it will stay that way. I have my marriage and 3 other children who I need to be mindful of. My sister's social worker is not happy about it although she does understand why. My niece's case goes before the family court sometime in the next 3 months for an annual review. I have no idea how the judge is going to respond to my refusing to have any direct contact with my sister. I do hope though that he throws the book at her for lying about having breast cancer. When the case was reviewed last year she told the judge that she had cancer so in my mind she committed perjury. My niece needs to have the judge tell her mother off because she needs to be shown that lying has consequences. i have a mental health plan for myself and have found that if I go once every 6 weeks that the plan will cover a 12 month period. We tried a psychologist when my niece first came to live with us and she saw her for 6 months. The aim was to help her settle in her new country and in her new placement with us. For the whole time she just ran rings around the psychologist. We didn't find out what was happening until we received a copy of her report for my nieces judge. That was when my niece stopped going as the cost was no longer being funded (I know in this forum we don't saying anything to help possible identify who we are but I hope the admins will leave this next bit in) our situation is unusual as my niece is in an overseas foster system not one in Australia. This means that sometimes we have to juggle between the laws of 2 countries.
There are times like now when I have periods of feeling over whelmed by it all ... I'm so thankful for the people here. While I don't usually comment on other peoples posts I do read them. Parenting sure has it's times when it's not easy - it really does take a village to raise a child.
06-26-2017 04:43 PM
My T2 is 14, ASD, etc. Her emotional age is 6-8. It does vary though between 3 -14 depending on her emotions.
As you would now understand these kids are wired quite differently to us. Neurologically nothing can change their wiring, some of their neurons are defunct and society punishes us from having something so abnormal that doesn't behave within the guidelines.. If you are on FB there is a site Australian ASD,ADHD etc they are very supportive.
Reading through your post your nieces behaviour is completely normal in accordance to her mothers unfortunate misbehaviour. In fact everything she does and feels is normal for her. It doesn't really in the big picture make sense lots of 1st borns are ASD, I'd be inclined to think laziness in the system by her "unacceptable" behaviour.
ASD kids need boundaries and routine, routine and more of it. They depend on you to provide it for them tenfold as they cannot regulate their emotions or many other things. Their need for security is intense - for her mum to do what she did can be worked through at her emotional age - generally they do a lot of drawing and the colours and shapes they use indicates the depths of how they are feeling. For eg; T2 started doing a lot of completely black drawings really angry and mean looking but slowly those became much calmer with pretty colours - pretty much the same now. T2 finds it hard to articulate how she feels and the frustration rises when she can't be understood. It usually starts and ends with screaming because no one cares about her.
Once she has calmed down she wants hugs and to remain safely attached to me. I took her to the Paed last week and whilst we were waiting she sat on the floor and grabbed my leg because she didn't feel safe and her chair was too far away from me. Yeah, 14!
Headspace has not worked for us due to her emotional level. She cannot understand the usual teen Q's. I have had her with child, youth mental health CAMH a community based service who have helped her mature a lot. They also have a lot of support for the carers, we often were called in to discuss our worries as well.
Being repetitive in everything you do and say will significantly help your frustration it seems that is how they learn and process everything. ASD is a term under neurological disorders, there are many other disorders in this group that she may also have normal symptoms of.
I love my girl but sometimes I really hate the disorder that she has. There is no such word as normal in parenting her.
06-26-2017 05:02 PM
@jdbza, I know what you mean about overwhelmed. I feel it too. Some days I get anxious when the phone rings, thinking "is it the school ringing to tell me that we can't do this or that"? People often say "you are doing a fantastic job", but sometimes I cannot see the progress.
If I step back and think where we were 12 months ago, when just getting to school for 30 mins was an achievement, I see we are making progress. I do wonder how many times I will have to go back a few steps and try again! **bleep** that's hard!
Your situation is really complicated. All that legal stuff on top of the medical stuff. You have my respect.
One of the down sides to our beautiful country is that in many ways we have lost the "village".
07-08-2017 09:40 PM - edited 07-08-2017 09:45 PM
Hi @jdbza, I'm so sorry to hear about your niece's troubles. My daughter has had similar experiences with bullies, and they definitely find all the buttons to push. I hope you can work out an effective behaviour plan for her with the school, and I really hope the school does it's part in helping your niece.
I am on a carer pension looking after my daughter. You can go to your GP and they can give you mental health plan which gives you initially 10 free sessions with a counsellor or psychologist.
My daughter is also seen by the CYMHS team at our local hospital. (Child Youth Mental Health Service).
My suggestion would be to talk to your GP first who can refer you.
07-08-2017 10:20 PM
I do apologise @jdbza, I read further on that you are aware of the mental health plan. Wow, you have so much on your plate, and it sounds like you are doing an amazing job! What are some of the ways you cope with all that is going on? I hope you take time for self care to keep your tank reasonably full.
Has your niece come to Australia or are you overseas? I'd just like to clarify so we're not giving you resources that only apply in Australia if you are o/s. That would be our only concern. If you are gaining support from sharing in the forums then that is awesome and we're happy to have you here.
And @Schooner, nothing personal about the bleeping *bleep*! Our system picks up certain words and makes the change automatically. You're a fabulous contributor in the forum so please don't feel like you're in trouble. (You bad boy you! Lol.) I don't think anyone from the team would've even known seeing the program picks it up. I'll find out, out of curiosity
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