Today we still have issues with the school. I would like to share an e-mail I sent to her teachers, Principle(s) and therapist.
It's been very hard for to enter any situation that may have conflict. Due to my own diagnosis this may take awhile. One thing I will say about myself is I advocated for my 2 older children. I had many meetings with administrators, teachers, etc....screaming matches, threats and just a requirement to make sure they were following my sons 504 plan. Not special Ed mind you, just "considerations"...like having 2 extra days to get homework turned in, etc....
I don't know how to address the bullying, you'll notice I only skirt that issue. I've never seen such a dysfunctional situation. The school has punished these kids, taking away a multitude of events (2 Dances cancelled) My daughter is one of the kids that doesn't get in trouble. Of late my Straight A/B student started failing and getting D's. Started in February. She's been called a slut on Halloween (she believes a teacher over heard it) She is called a crybaby as much of her struggles still cause her tears. Isolated, made to feel different. It amazes me that we make confronting a bully such a big deal. You may have to face them, everyone knows, etc...We are still a long way off/ So, here was my letter
I assume everyone knows everyone else, except for Jess. That is Jordan's therapist.
Jordan's grades began dropping at an alarming rate, I believe starting in February. Around that same time, it appears the school was struggling with the behavior of much of the 6th graders. Events began to be cancelled, overall there were several things that occurred that left things feeling slightly out of control. In no way is this a representation of any ill will towards the staff at Roseland...I can only imagine how hard your jobs are with our ever changing society. So I mention the above for the sake of what I say next.
Jordan has been in therapy since 3rd grade. She has been diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety, clinical. Meaning its not something easily controlled and affects her greater than it affects most people. The PTSD is a diagnosis we barely accept for our military and most people struggle to accept that a 12 year old can have PTSD.
Between age 4 and 3rd grade, Jordan experienced at least 6 life changing events. Two deaths unexpected from her 2 aunts she was close too. Losing her grandmother to a massive stroke. We moved, Dad (I) lost a job, and the list goes on.
Perhaps the greatest thing she experienced was her Bi-Polar sister arriving from Florida. Carla knows Bianca. The turmoil this created was hard to describe unless you have dealt much with bi-polar, manic. I imagine this is of interest to her 2 teachers as she has befriended a replica of her older sister. Our house was captive to Bianca's mood. The police were called several times including one when Jordan was crying and we had to lock ourselves in our room while Bianca banged on the door.
Even while writing this e-mail, I struggle with society's view of mental health. It leaves me (my problem) feeling defensive, like I have to "prove" something. Truth is she is 12 and has spentnearly half her life in crisis.
Jess is the 3rd therapist that has given her this diagnosis.
I'm no expert on PTSD and can only speak to what I observe and what I have heard. To me, it feels like PTSD is different than most other MH issues. There are triggers that immobilize someone. While the reaction may differ, I don't doubt the trigger is the key. I also believe Jordan will get better.
So what does this have to do with her grades? Well, after much talk (to Jordan and without her) my wife and I realize her trigger is when she is in a situation that is, or feels, out of control. Chaos, loud arguing, yelling. It "stops her on a dime" It immobilizes her. She struggles to function.
I believe some of her anxiety is related but I also think that it affects her in a way it doesn't affect others.
Again, please believe I don't blame anyone here. Mr. Weiler and Ms. Tapko and Ms. Roberts have been great. I know she feels a sort of admiration for Mr. Weiler and appreciates when she can come do her work in his office. What I hope each of you gain here is a better understanding of how this affects Jordan. We have a long relationship with Ms. Tapko, her involvement in our son's life...turned it around. While HS was just too much...and as Ms. Allen told us...it was pretty fast paced and you had to keep up. Joey now works at Jose Peppers and he is a different person. Confident yet a great kid with no hidden agendas. He has Aspbergers but is learning how to navigate through life.
I believe Jordan needs a 504 plan. While I fully expect her to do her work...its pretty obvious to us (Jess, Michele and I) that when she is triggered she freezes, and she hides it. Jordan has struggled to feel accepted. Some of that is our financial situation and some is she is just an old soul trying to survive with a bunch of unruly kids. This is the reason for most of this e-mail. Because she is leaving Roseland we don't know how to initiate that process. We had Joey evaluated for 6 months but he did not yet have a diagnosis, with Jordan's diagnosis does that eliminate the need for a longer process? I hope between Ms. Allen and Mr. Weiler we can figure that out.
I want to leave you all with a thought. I want each of you to look at the most stressful, chaotic moments in your own life...then focus on how it affected you. Did it affect your affect (Wasn't that cute lol) did it immobilize you, did you stop on a dime...even for a moment. Did it spiral you into a genuine belief that life doesn't get better, the cards are stacked against you, etc...
Now imagine that happening most every day of your life