Friday, July 17, 2009

Update From the Wolf Den

Last night I was up too late working on a piece for a Portland area family magazine, focusing primarily on our decision to move Wolf down to CHYC and the resulting ramifications.

As I clickety-clacked away on the laptop, it occured to me that perhaps this story is a bit more unique than I had originally thought. While Yukon and I were in the throes of painful parental decision-making, the ultimate outcome simply seemed the right thing to do for the right reasons, and the fact that the facility was a few thousand miles became secondary.

Of course we wish the State of Alaska provided resources for its own children, many of whom hale from villages so remote that parents/relatives of CHYC students cannot visit but once per year, if at all. We wish there was adequate and positive psychological/psychiatric care for children with such disorders as Asperger Syndrome, Bipolar disorder, ADD/ADHD, etc. beyond the minimal programming school districts and some support agencies provide. We wish there was another way, but right now it does not exist, so here we are.

CHYC is the only residential school that treats children/teens with Asperger Syndrome on the West Coast; another is in Texas, and if CHYC is full, children from Alaska go there. I keep telling the Clinical Director at CHYC to come on up and set up shop in Alaska, and I am only half-teasing.

One thing I wish we had was a more cohesive network of parents/caregivers from Alaska who have children in CHYC; a support system is crucial to the continuance of positive care for our kids even as they are away from us. Unit Director and I have been discussing this possibility; my background as a support group facilitator might come in handy to set something up, perhaps at minimum a casual meeting night.

Our circumstances are a bit different from other families who are facing the challenges of Asperger's; a combination of care needs and care availability was the driver in our difficult decision. But our love for Wolf and our desire to give him every possible opportunity for success isn't unique. We are parents, and like most parents, we simply look to what is right for our kid, even if it is difficult or out-of-the-box of "normal treatment".

But, then, I've never been one for traditional anything....

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