Friday, March 1, 2013

Another One Bites the Dust

About three weeks ago, our wonderful resource teacher shared with us that she'd found something that helped stop or at least shorten Ryan fits.  She shared it with us and gave us what we needed to implement it at home.

Thankful for something that seemed to help calm our guy, we jumped on it.  It was simple, something we could do with some effort.  It was good for us, too.  It gave us a way to respond that was easier for us to handle; easier for us to keep calm as well.

We've been given so many of these types of ideas that I've lost count.  Every time we are appreciative and implement whatever it is to the best of our ability.  For a while, the new trick will work.  But almost as quickly as it begins to work, the helpfulness dissipates.

This last trick involved holding a sign that said, "We only hear kind words with talking voices."  Every time he started to scream or melt down, we were to hold this sign and ask him to read it.  You'd be amazed how well it worked for a couple of weeks!  Soon as he saw the sign, he'd read it aloud and stop.  Ah, lovely.

After a few days, he started to yell "NO KIND!"

Then, as I goaded, pleaded, bribed, and otherwise desperately finagled him into writing his spelling words, I finally got the note in his planner from school.  I knew it was coming.  I'd hoped this would be the answer to helping him calm himself.  But no, it was only a short reprieve.

And now his dear, sweet resource teacher has joined the ranks of we who don't know what to do now.

This does not mean that she has given up.  I know that she does her dead-level best with these kids, that she loves each of them and will do whatever it takes.  The problem comes when you don't know what it takes.

It's not enough to control the behaviors.  It's something that we have to get to the core of somehow.  To find the source of his frustration, anger, confusion.  Something has to be causing it.  There must be something we can do.  There must be SOMETHING.

I want to know what makes him scream in the middle of perfect quiet, then say, "don't scream."

I want to know what makes him pretend to burst into tears at one particular intersection on the way to school, only to immediately go back to calm.

I want him to be able to tell me, "Mom, I can hear the lights in that store humming and it's driving me bananas.  If you make me go in there, I'll likely lose it."

I want to hold my screaming, hitting, frightened boy and tell him that mommy will fix it all.  But I can't lie.

Mommy can't fix it all.  Mommy doesn't know the cause of it all.  And frankly, the cause being "autism" isn't comforting a bit.  The diagnosis has served as a ticket to services to help us help him, but it also hangs in an ominous cloud over our heads wherever we go and in whatever we do.  It's in all our plans, from taking a family vacation to going to the corner store or playing in the yard.  It plagues our boy, and since we love and adore our kids, it plagues us too.

Navigating in this journey is tricky at best.  This morning, Mom and I decided that it's like trying to learn to swim in a hurricane with someone shouting instructions from the shore.  There is help out there, but good luck getting to it.  There is an answer, somewhere... there has to be... but it is vague and more elusive than the proverbial needle in a haystack.

In about an hour, mother and I will load Richie and Maelynn into the van.  We'll pull up in front of the elementary school, and out will come a bouncing, humming, stimming little boy who knows that Friday is "NO homework" and that tomorrow, as I told him this morning, "School is on a break."  I'll drive him the 50 minutes to ABA at Baylor, where he is working on transitioning calmly from one activity to another.

We'll all wait in the hall, with the kids playing with the things I've packed in what we call the activity bag.  On the way home, he'll yell "no homework!" at least once from the back seat.  We'll have pizza and movie night, and hopefully there will be no melting down.  Last weekend, he screamed at me for 30 minutes while I tried desperately to remain calm, all over a trip to the park.

I don't know the answer.  I don't know that he'll make it the next few hours without screaming and beating his head, dropping to the floor to kick.  I don't know that he will make it without another one of these episodes this afternoon and evening, and I don't know that he's made it without one at school today.

But I do know that I will hug and kiss him goodnight, if he will let me.  I know that I will keep feeling around, trying to find a way to help him overcome.  To be happy.

In the meantime, this is what helps.

"Fear not, for I am with you; 
be not dismayed, for I am your God;  
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  ~Isaiah 41:10

Thanks be to God for his hugs in print. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm so sorry this has been so hard sometimes. Praying for you!


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