Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Gabe's wearing his Dinosaur...err...Crocodile costume!!!! Yahoooo! Candy is Gabe's ultimate reinforcer, besides Fritos.
Beautiful Boo is representing the magnificant and magical unicorn.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Shake it off

I feel like a wet dog, stopping to shake off all the water from my coat. The anxiety about the future was keeping me from moving forward, my coat felt very heavy. Now, I just want to go and play. Maybe a good game of fetch, followed by a nice rest on a pillowy bed. Ahhhhhh. This dog's done with the days of mated, smelly coats. I can't promise I won't get wet again, but today is a new day and who knows what the future may bring? Gabe has proven to us again and again that the unbelievable is believable and a cookie is not just a cookie.

Check out THE CHUB FILES to see just how far Gabe has come.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Not Just "Nope" Anymore

Today I was scared.
I haven't been this scared since Gabe's initial diagnosis. We have only until December 20th to get his noncompliance under control. After that it just me, no qualified therapists to manage the behavior at school. Twice monthly meetings with a Behavioral therapist and me the rest of the time.

For two hours this morning ,Gabe refused everything while at his ABA school. This is the same school with the same therapists that he has loved for over a year now. He would not comply with anything or anyone. There was screaming, crying, thrashing, restraining.....
As I watched threw a curtain, Gabe was removed to a private room to de-escalate, all I could think was, What can I sell that would enable him to come back to this program in Janurary? What am I willing to do to see that he is able to receive the therapy he needs to be able to work through his noncompliance successfully? My first thought was figure out a way to empty all of our retirement accounts, at a penalty of 34%. It still would not be enough. Then I looked down...and I noticed my wedding ring. What use is it to have something so beautiful resting on my finger while my son needs help so desperately? I started calculating what a pawn shop would give me. I tried to think of anythng else that we have of value....jewelery, antiques, bonds? My most valued possessons are my family. There isn't anything else.

So, that left SD's parents, whom we swore we would never ask for money again. Swallowing our pride, we accepted their money for this last semester and made that promise. I wondered if they would notice I no longer had a wedding ring? That all our accounts were empty? That Christmas this year would amount to presents to them, but none for us? I started to get resentful and angry, not just at them but the school system that would see this as a perfect opportunity to medicate Gabe's undesirable behavior, the insurance company happily shaking hands with Big Pharma while another "client" is sent their way and at myself for not being able to give my son everything he deserves. I was so beside myself that I could'nt cry. Our path had changed so rapidly before my eyes that I felt like a stunned deer standing like an ass in the middle of the road while head lights were coming closer and closer mumbling, "They're soooo perty!"

I'm scared, I'm lost and to top it all off, broke, not a dime in my pocket to make the changes that need to be made.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Files Have Been Opened

It is still a work in progress, but the following is a link to my other blog dedicated totally to Gabe.

The Chub Files

Let me know what you think. Thanks...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What Happened To Fall?

This picture was taken fall 2005

It seems that every weekend this fall has been taken by bad weather or sickness. Rain and Boogers. We're anxious to get out and enjoy all the great things about fall, orchards, pumpkins, doughnuts, cider, apples, corn mazes, leaf piles, bugs, gardening.... Last weekend was nice, one of those days was spent cutting down two of our trees due to disease. What amazed me was that the tree that looked bigger was actually the smaller of the two. Boo and Gabe loved jumping from stump to stump. Our neighbors and us have lost five trees so far to this disease.

I wonder if today will be a better day to finally go get SD's pumpkin at the pumpkin patch? Boo, Gabe and I will be going to the Orchard to get ours this Friday. But, sadly, it sounds like the weather maybe raining and cold again. Gabe also has a cold with a wicked cough. It seems that now that he is older, the colds go straight to his chest. We use a nebulizer a few times a day. He has surprising raised his white flag and allows us to use it for five minutes on him every five hours. His breathing problems at birth may have finally caught up with him.

Wow, this post is as exciting as the weather outside!

There's just not much going on.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Hey! Over Here Super Daddy!

A couple nights ago, while laying in bed, SD (Super Daddy) turned to me and said,

"So, next semester we will be putting Gabe into "Public School S" in the district I teach in?

I paused, "Ahhh....No."

"Really?" he answered surprised.

"I'm not touching a public school with a ten foot pole in regards to Gabe. Not gonna happen." I swiftly turn the page to my current Newsweek.

"Huh. How come?" he gently asks.

I must admit that the last time we discussed Gabe's educational future, we had come to the conclusion that "Public School S" would be beneficial. In the last few months, I have withdrawn even further away from the idea of public school.

So, I began with this, "Special Education is anything but special. It is not fair and it is not appropriate, in fact, it is hardly anything at all but a day care to drop your child off at while the district reaps the funding, leaving those children without adequate services or services at all. IEPs serve only to keep parents complacent with the idea that they are helping, when in fact, it is not a partnership. I refuse to be part of the charade." Then I got off my pedestal. (I don't mean to offend anyone with the decision they made regarding their child and the public school. This is just where I am at with the public school system of which we are forced to work with in Michigan.)

"OK. Sounds good. What are the plans then?" He looked over at me again.

I felt bad. How would he know what I had been thinking. He has always been supportive of my ideas, knowing I have spent many sleepless nights thinking about every possible solution. If only he had read some of the many blogs I read each day describing the struggles, feelings of hurt, disappointment and anger from parents after an IEP, letter from the teacher or administrator that dismisses not only them but their child with a blink of an eye. He would've known that I was no longer in the spot where I left him standing.

"After Gabe's ABA School ends at the end of December, I was thinking of continuing to send Gabe two days a week to his current private preschool that works specifically with speech impaired children. Three Days a week, we would continue Gabe's ABA Therapy at home with me teaching. He would also return to speech two days a week. We could do more enrichment activities, like storytime at the library, playing at the park and just spending time together. Gabe and I missed out on that due to his early diagnosis and early intense intervention with ABA Therapy. " I said looking back at SD.

He put his Harry Potter book down on his chest, and replied, "Sounds like the best plan for Gabe."

Thanks for meeting me over here SD. It's kinda like the furniture, you never know where it will be when you come home.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006


With all the facts in place, I have to admit that there is a slim chance we will be reimbursed. They have set so many road blocks. Each turn I took, they had meticulously laid a foundation that breeds failure for coverage. There was nothing that we could've done, not a referral, nothing, not one single thing that would have lead us to receiving coverage for ABA. Every path lead to the following roadblocks...

-No coverage for out of network mental health provider, referral or not. Has anyone found an in network ABA Therapist?

-Even if Gabe's school agreed to work with us and become an in network provider to work with BCBS's separate company (our great plan *sneer*, hands over all mental health claims and services to another company) it could take a year before they are considered in network, long after our claim has expired for reimbursement.

-Let's just say for agruement that hell froze over and BCBS reimbursed us for Gabe's ABA Therapy....The maximum we would get from our plan would be $2,000 per year out of the $24,000 that we have already spent this year alone.

- I found out who the mysterious case manager is....It's BCBS's solution to not having to deal with Mental Health Care. It is a company rather, that would work with the mysteriously unavailable in network provider that delivers ABA therapy services at a sweat shop pay rate. Where are those people?

-So, I thought I would then send Gabe to an in network psychologist that would refer him to an out of network psychologist (His current ABA therapist) and then happily receive my long over due rate of 90% unlimited services due to medical necessity and a happy stamp on my beautiful referral. Nope. My Mental Health Care Plan does not accept referrals for out of network doctors according to the service rep. The language in the contract is vague at best.

-BCBS.....You are sneaky. Those execs must be paid very well. How do they sleep at night knowing what they know?

That is to name only a few of the sordid tidbits left for us to pull our hair out on.

Where do we go from here?

- New plan.....New focus - Can't say what...but it's juicy. Will it work..not sure, but it's worth a try

- What's funny..not so much in a "HaHa" way, but more in the pinch the cheek and say sweetly, "You're so silly BCBS!" As parents, we will invest all we have in our children, no matter the cost or time. This whole appeal doesn't put me out, it's such a small thing on my to do list, but it's there and my child matters. That's where they fail....our love and dedication will surpass their need to draw out appeals, send irritating letters, because in the end I still have the drive to do what's best for my child and they will have even more parents like me cramming their faxes with paperwork. So there....

- I know I am right. Everything I believe about what I am doing is right. I don't need an insurance company to validate what I already know is valid. I have already won.

Just a few thoughts for today....

Friday, October 06, 2006

Just A Few Words Before I Can Peacefully Start My Weekend

Autism is not a mental health disorder.

Say it with me BCBS.....



And again...



Maybe with some more practice.

Why do we have to pass a law that would state the obvious?