Having a Child with an Intellectual Disability WHILE Dealing with Your Own Mental Illness

My Beautiful Teenager

Although EVERYONE loves Kie, they only mainly see the lovable side of her. She is a beautiful little girl with a beautiful personality. She makes you smile and has an infectious laugh, but that’s not all there is to her.

As stated many times, Kie has a moderate intellectual disability.  She is now 14 and gets her periods.  Well, it seems that on this particular day, my daughter had a little too much PMS and a ton of sass.  I have gotten into it with my daughter before and had to use restraint holds on her since she was tiny (and she is very strong).  However, this incident ended up being a lot worse than anything I have been through with her.

Maybe I should give you guys a little background before talking about this particular incident.

Getting the Diagnosis

My daughter has been to two daycares in her life. One was a lady that we knew from the Kingdom Hall.  Well, Kieyah hit my best friend’s son with a toy and there were some other incidences (involving me) where I believe the owner felt that no one was safe around us (I read the report, one incident talked about how I reprimanded her granddaughter for reprimanding MY daughter.  Her granddaughter (probably like 7 at the time) doesn’t own the daycare but I digress).  Kie was kicked out of said daycare at around the age of 2 or 3. When she was kicked out, it was suggested that she get evaluated.  She was evaluated and they put her into an Early Childhood program at my elementary school.  She went to school there for a while and went to a new daycare with a very nice lady who had no problems with her.

For a while, we knew that Kie was a little different.  Finally, I actually got her evaluated at Kennedy Krieger for autism.  I remember it vividly because it was a sad day and I blogged about it on my daughter’s blog (yes, I have a blog for her which talks about the ups and downs of being a mom with a child with an intellectual disability.  I need to update it more often but you see how much I don’t really update this one much).  They evaluated her in 2014 and you can find that story here Kennedy Krieger Visit In essence, it was told to me that she would reach the intellectual age of 8. It rocked my world.  It changed all the plans that I had for her.   It changed all the plans that I had for me.   In that blog, I speak about the moratorium that parents have to take when they find out news like this.  A lot of people tell you to fight and how it’s going to be okay, but sometimes it’s just NOT okay and we have to accept that fact. In addition to that, her deadbeat father called her a “retarded ass child”, that’s in her blog too. The mental anguish that a parent goes through after getting this diagnosis is hard to explain unless you have experienced it.

Although she already had an IEP, we then added the report from Kennedy Krieger to her IEP.  So she was 9 when diagnosed with this intellectual disability. With the intellectual disability (which I will refer to as an ID from this point on) comes a lot of other comorbities that a lot of people don’t really know unless they care to know or have a child with special needs.

Kieyah’s Quirks

Kie has a lot of quirks.  There was a time when she didn’t like to wear pants because of the texture so I could only get her pants from one place.  Even when I got the pants from there, she found ONE favorite pair out of five for her school uniforms.  This is very tiring  (and expensive).  There are many others but add to that being a teenager and it’s just the perfect storm.

Many children with different types of autism also have to have a rigid schedule. If one thing is out of place, it just ruins the whole day for them.  This is something that has to be learned by parents along with just picking your battles.  My mom usually likes things a certain way so it was hard for her to learn this.  We lived with my parents until I was about 35 for a little support.  It was hard.  In picking my battles, I have let that child go out of the house in mismatched clothes. I sure have.  You wanna fight someone and delay leaving the house over something petty?  Nope.  If no one is dying from her choice, let her make it.

Violence

Now I’m sure some of her issues were passed down from me but I can’t be sure. What I can say is that she has always been a strong child and had meltdowns.  I will just tag her whole blog here because there have been times where I didn’t leave my house because I didn’t want her to have a meltdown and embarrass me in public. When you see kids falling out and having tantrums, sometimes it’s not about them just being “bad”; it’s about them not knowing how to process certain things.  You can’t BEAT that out of them.

One day at her swimming lesson, I actually got my boob pulled out in public (I have nice boobs so it’s okay) because I was fighting the child to get her to the car.  I later took her to a child psychologist and we learned ways to help her transition from one task to another without incident and it worked.  Let me just post her whole blog here:  Kieyah’s World.

I have had parents come up to me and applaud me for not going off on her. After that pool incident, a guy did come up to me and say that I handled it well. I had to let him know that I really had no choice as she has special needs.  Because many people usually like to assume that you should just beat any child and don’t know the difference between a child with special needs and a child that’s just showing their entire butt.

I can tell you that I literally still have scars to this day on my face from clawing and on my arms.  A friend of mine went with us to the National Harbor and she got to see it firsthand.  At first, my family didn’t seem to believe me with how my daughter was acting.  Many thought that I was just not disciplining her correctly (basically, I was a failure as a mother) and questioned anything I did with her.  When a child with special needs is mad, they get some strength that I can only assume is from God to keep them protected from frickin predators. I believe this to this day.  My therapist said that if she ever got to heaven, she was going to ask why kids with special needs were so strong.

Anyhow, let me tell you about this incident that happened about two weeks ago.  I was told to write about it because a lot of people really don’t understand the things that parents with kids with special needs have to go through. And my story (so far) is NOTHING compared to the stories that I have heard and the pics I have SEEN of the damage that these kids do to the household, their parents, etc.

And Then the Fight Started….

Mind you, we are in quarantine. With that said, there are a lot of changes. These changes are hard for anyone but they can be harder for children with special needs which is why you have to try to maintain the schedule that they had in school. The week distance learning started, we had this fight.  Now the fight might seem stupid, but, if you look at it from both sides, you will understand both sides of the incident.

I was in a meeting with my job as I was in training at the time.  My daughter asked (in the morning) for Doritos.  I usually have her eat some sort of fruit in the morning.  Also, one minute she is all about not eating junk food and the next she is all about eating said junk food that she says is wrong for you.

Anyhow, I told her she couldn’t have the Doritos. She got mad, threw the bag down, went in her room, and slammed the door.  Cool, right?  No.  I’m still in a meeting and I start getting texts.  She does not really know how to spell so it was just constant emojis and symbols.  What did I do?  I went and took the phone thinking that I could get some peace.

Phone taken.  The end, right?  Nope!  She decided to start yelling mean things about me (I’m still supposed to be in the meeting).  Now one of my triggers has been activated.  I do not like for someone to keep talking when I have left the situation.  I guess she didn’t know that.  I went in the room and told her to stop yelling and that I was in a meeting. She laughed in my face.  Another trigger:  You are undermining my authority. I am your mother, working my butt off homeschooling you, trying to stay sane, and trying to pay bills.  We started tussling because she thought it was a game and she will laugh in your face.

Now, I don’t know if I said this or she heard it somewhere.  She could have heard it from me but I don’t say “You son of a bitch!”  She started repeating this while we tussled. I couldn’t get her to restrain her as we were between the bed and the wall.  When I got her down on the bed, she started using her Taekwondo moves.  And, as a parent, you can’t punch your child like some broad on the street, so I got some scratches.

Part of me was proud of her for defending herself but the other part of me was frustrated because I could have ended the fight very quickly if  was just a mom that didn’t care about stomping their own kid.  In the end, I had to drag her outside to the balcony. Now, she tells everyone I locked her out there. I did not lock her out there.  I just had to get her out there so she could calm down and get some air and to keep her away from me because I was five seconds from doing some damage that I didn’t want to do to my flesh and blood.

I informed my sisters of what happened and my oldest sister was worried and told me to call my mother and have her take her. I couldn’t call the police because…. COVID and I wouldn’t want to put her in a position like that.  So I called my mom and asked her to come and take her.  My mom came over and helped her pack her things and she was gone.

My best friend called me after she got my text and I was crying on the phone because I felt like I could have done some damage, I was extremely angry, and I was just really in a place I had been in the past when I had gone to do damage to someone.  So she had to go.

I informed my supervisor of what happened and he told me to take a break.  I went and took a nap.  My dog was in another room with the door closed.  He was stressed out but he would pick my daughter over me.  It was why I got him in the first place.  I also had gotten my daughter into Taekwondo so that she could defend herself. While she was doing so, she stated “I’m defending myself.”

All I knew was that I needed her away from me.

But then she was gone.  And I missed her more than anything.

Coming Home

I wanted to get her the same day but it was determined that we needed a break from one another.  I came and got her early the next morning and gave her the biggest hug I could give her. Any time we have a disagreement, we talk about our feelings, why we felt that way, and how to change things so that it won’t happen again.

I purchased a punching bag that I have used. We talked about anger and what makes us angry.  We acknowledged what happened and told one another we loved one another. I love that little girl to death and I know that what I experienced was out of the norm for her.  I also understand that my story is NOTHING like the stories that I hear in the groups of moms to special needs children. For that, I am thankful. But I really want people to know that raising teenagers is hard but raising a child with special needs can be a lot worse because you truly have to hold back.  As a mom with a mental illness, this could have been worse, especially on my part but, as my best friend pointed out, I had restraint that I didn’t have before and I should be proud of myself.

This, like any of the stories on Kie’s blog is a learning experience.  We both have feelings and triggers. We both have PMS. We both have problems expressing ourselves sometimes.  But we have to learn to respect one another.

We took a walk to my mother’s house with the dog on Saturday and we held hands, talked, hugged, and talk about how much we loved each other.  She would like to go for more walks (without my dog) and we can do that.  It will help me with my Fitbit steps and it will get her some air.  This quarantine is really hard on everyone but we can’t let it ruin some of the most important relationships.

The bottom line is that the both of us need to respect one another. I don’t care if she is a teenager, she deserves respect and to be heard.  In hindsight, we were both wrong but we will learn from this so that, hopefully, this won’t happen again. Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

Published by tallgirl79

Blogging about life. Well, my life. As a black, bipolar, mom to a teenager with special needs, well, there is always a story to tell. From my aversion to having a man to my weird experiences while trying to avoid people, it's all there. Being me is.... different but it always makes for good blogs.

3 thoughts on “Having a Child with an Intellectual Disability WHILE Dealing with Your Own Mental Illness

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: