Taking time off from job to help your ADHD child?
My son was diagnosed ADHD/anxiety several months ago. We recently began evaluations for an IEP, and between the school meetings, doctor and counselor appointments, it's been pretty crazy. I work full time, and so far, I've been able to flex shifts at work or take vacation time (we don't get separate sick time) to cover the missed work time. My husband does a lot of the shuttling back and forth because he has separate sick time he can use, but for most of the appointments it's important for both of us to be there. Because of the anxiety, my son also misses quite a bit of school due to physical symptoms, and my husband usually ends up home with him on those days, but all the time he is taking off is making him fall behind at his job too.
In today's meeting with the psychiatrist, he told us that there is probably more than ADHD/anxiety going on. Bi-polar is one option being considered, as are other medical issues, atypical seizure disorders, etc. So now we'll be scheduling appointments for complete physicals, blood work, EKGs, etc in addition to all of the other regular visits and meetings.
And... this week his counselor gave us some really great ideas for setting up some strategies at home with organization, reward programs, etc. This is all good, but it takes time, and we honestly can't find any more of that right now! We were a busy family even before all this started, and we have two other kids who have after school activities and all of the routine stuff families do.
And the timing couldn't be worse, because I just got a new boss, who is much less understanding than the old one. She doesn't like the idea of flexing time, but it still isn't completely off the table. Even so, neither option looks good. Since I'll probably be spending 4-6 hours a week at, to, and from appointments in the next few weeks, my options are:
1. Use my vacation (which I don't get much of) and therefore have much less of it to use as quality time with the whole family in the future. The other problem with this is my workload will still be the same, but I'll have less time to get it done.... or...
2. (If my new boss allows) flex my hours, which means I'll be working late almost every day. At least I could get my work done, but I won't be home much for my family in the evenings, and this is a time when my son (and my other two kids) really need me there.
Something's got to give. I started realizing how much this is affecting my entire family when I canceled dentist visits for two of my kids because we just don't have the bandwidth to fit them into our schedule. I'm also putting off my yearly physical. And this week I told my daughter that she couldn't join an after school activity that I would have normally supported, just because I'm afraid I will be working late to make up hours and won't be able to get her there and home.
I'm hoping once we get a full diagnosis on my son, and the IEP in place, things will slow down, but I can't keep up the pace for now. Since I'm not happy about working late or using vacation time to make up the missed work, I want to try to get FMLA leave for my son's appointments. I've been researching FMLA for ADHD on the internet, and it sounds like a lot of it doesn't qualify. But most of the cases are people who just wanted to leave work early to help their kids with their homework and stuff. This would be for appointments with doctors, school, when he's out of school with anxiety symptoms, etc. I know it will be unpaid, but since time is a tighter commodity than money right now I'm OK with that.
Has anyone been able to do this successfully? How about with the IEP meetings? Do you think I could cover those as well? How about time spent with him to follow up on the recommendations with the counselor (organizing, creating calendars, etc)?
I plan on talking to my HR person next week, but in another bit of bad timing she's away at a conference this week... ha! So, thanks for any ideas in the mean time!
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