About our Daughter

I am mother to four wonderful daughters, ages 17, 19, 21, and 23, and wife to the greatest husband on earth. God has given us a special child to raise one who was diagnosed with early-onset bipolar disorder at the age of seven, though she showed signs of it from the age of fifteen months. She also has ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder (sensory seeking), Dyslexia, and Non-Verbal Learning Disorder-NOS, all typical comorbidities for a bipolar child. In spite of the trials, she enjoys lacrosse, running (finished her first marathon in October of 2014!), and reading and writing her own books. I will share with you the many joys and sorrows we have faced and will face in the future with the hope that you may find better understanding about this mental illness caused by both chemical and structural abnormalities in the brain. I desire that you will be encouraged by this blog if you are also dealing with a bipolar child. Thank you for reading and sharing in our journey.

How Did You Know She Was Bipolar So Young?

I wrote a long explanation of how we came to this bipolar diagnosis in a child so young under my post of March 19th of 2009. If your child or a child you know bears similarities, please seek out a good psychiatrist and don't wait for "things to get better." Often they will simply get worse, and the longer a child is unmedicated, the more damage their brain can accrue. Early diagnoses and treatment are key to providing these children with a chance at a successful life later as a teen and an adult.
Never change, start or stop a medication without the approval of your child's physician!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Off Topic: Divest Yourself of All Vacation Homes Before Filling Out College Financial Aid Forms!

This advice is sort of tongue in cheek, but seriously, we have encountered an unexpected problem in applying for financial aid for college.   A few years ago, my husband's dad turned over the ownership of a small cabin in the Shenandoah to both my husband and his sister.  He did this because he was trying to protect his few financial assets and apply for Medicare to pay for his wife's expensive Alzheimers care.  All was fine with this arrangement until I went to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) last week and realized that even though we own this cabin in name and have never actually used it since our honeymoon, we had to list this fully paid for property as an asset on the form.   We are entitled to half of the potential proceeds from this little outdated shack in the woods should we sell, so I had to list half of its value, which we could, in theory, use for college.  Ugh!  So our EFC (expected family contribution) that came back from FAFSA was much higher than it would have been had we not owned this property.  The FAFSA doesn't look at the value of your primary residence, only secondary homes and bank accounts.  Lesson learned is we should have thought about this situation earlier and asked to sell the cabin back a few years ago, as my husband's dad has been too incapacitated to use it himself--it just sits there collecting dust.  Oh well, can't change anything now, but we might try to sell the cabin this summer to avoid this problem next year when we have to apply for financial aid again.  Let this be a word to the wise in case you might inherit something of this sort in the future!  The good news for us is that the GI Bill will pay for most of our daughter's college expenses, so we are going to be OK, a real blessing especially now that my husband has been unemployed for half a year.

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