Christmas Dilema 2015

So…. Your 11 year old decides to ditch daycare for a week -all the while pretending to be there even texting you at the “proper” time when she gets home like she’s supposed to (as IF you wouldn’t find out) about 3 weeks before Christmas when you already bought her an iPhone for doing SUCH a good job getting better grades than she has EVER gotten in her life after starting Middle School. 

Do you give her the phone or make her wait until her birthday in March?

I just don’t think I can do it! I think she is just gonna HAVE to wait and prove herself for a while. 

P. S. If this is what she’s doing at 11, what the HELL am I in for at 15. 

Pray for me! 

~me

Meds or no meds?

There is a major debate in the Autism community about medicating your child. While I am not a formal researcher nor claim to have a medical degree, my experience with this debate has been first hand. 

Just recently, For the umpteenth time, unintentionally got into one such debate. I simply answered the question presented by another parent of a child with Autism. She asked, “Do you medicate Steve?” 

I have now pondered this question for the past several days. Is that a fair yes or no question? This is really bothering me. 

We in the community KNOW that if you know a child with Autism, you know ONE child with Autism. So can you ask such a blanket question and on top of it, is it okay to relay your disdain for the answer when it doesn’t agree with your feelings?

I do medicate my child. I do so not because he is Autistic. I do so not because I am a lazy parent and would like to make even a few hours of the day easier on myself, as some have suggested. I do so because for MY son who also has ADHD, it is the best thing for HIM. 

I recognize that we got VERY lucky. The first medication we gave my son worked like a charm. No side effects, ample results. When he is on his medication he is still himself but he can hear better. He listens, he learns, he participates, he is MORE. Just MORE!

So yes, I medicate my child. 

I also recognize that medication is not for EVERY child. I don’t know every child. I know MY child. I know a few children who have been through HELL trying to find the right medication (s). Cocktails of multiple drugs, dosing, stimulants by day, racing minds and bodies by night, are all regularly in the mix. 

Much like the rest of the debates in this country I wish we could all just accept that another may have a different opinion than you do. That doesn’t make that person better or worse than you, just different. 

Let’s keep trying to respect one another and not shut down the discussion simply because we do not agree. 

~me

This road again? 

Have you ever been on the road to somewhere and you have NO DOUBT you are going the right way. Just cruising along then WHAM something smacks you upside your head and you realize, 

 
OH CRAP!  I am going in the complete opposite direction than I need to be! 

So, you get off at the next exit turn around and start heading back, trying to find where you took that wrong turn. Only now you finally wake up and realize you were heading the right way all along you just didn’t give it enough time on that road. Well? Have ya done that?  Yeah me too. Like a lot. No I mean A LOT, A LOT!
This is what it is like raising an autistic child. 

Watching my son the past few days I see “extinct” behaviors magically appearing again. Some that have been extinct for years! (While I’m here can I say I HATE the term extinct. No autistic behavior is ever extinct…. Dormant…. Definitely! Extinct, NEVER! So from here on out, I am calling them dormant behaviors! Phew, got THAT off my chest!” )

I watch the behaviors and suddenly, I am back on that same road again. Traveling the same stretch of highway I swore I had already driven past…. Twice! Or was it 3 times now? I don’t know, it is all such a blur. 

The lining up of cars and pictures in a precise (and very clear to him) order. The W sitting, the irrational flying off the handle at the slightest trigger. The obsession over a preferred toy. All of these had gone dormant, years ago. 

This summer I spoke of the seismic shift in my son. And now, it seems to have shifted back again, but why? Can we ever know the why? Especially when nothing seemingly has changed. Or has it. 

You see to the neurotypically minded folk, nothing seemingly has changed. Ahhhhh, but something has. My son no longer has an aide. 

Steve graduated the program after 2 years and 5 months of intensive ABA therapy. At times as much as 40 hours a week. The seismic shift happened. He was self regulating, he was asking for help from adults when he needed it in social situations. The aggressive behaviors stopped. He was trying new foods regularly. He was articulating his feelings and needs. 

As time went on little things started to re-emerge. One day about a month ago the fit was so bad that I had to pull the car over, get out with the keys, and lock him in until he calmed down. That was the day I emailed our old therapist. 

She reminded me to go back to the basics. She reminded me that I know what to do. I know how to do what is needed. She confirmed that  we, my son’s father and I ARE on the same road again but told us to recognize we are not back to where we started. She reminded me of all the GOOD things that are still happening, things that have “stuck.” 

Sitting here tonight I realized… She is right… I did have to turn around, but at least this time I didn’t have to go ALL THE WAY HOME before I figured out where I was, and how to move forward. 

Six months. It’s only been 6 months, to us, that was a minute ago, to a child who at nine and a half still has NO concept of time, he’s been “good” long enough now he wants the one:one attention back. He even said, I guess it’s time to call my aide back. When I explained that he can’t get that aide back, she had moved on to a new job supervising now, the fit grew even stronger. Then I heard her voice in my head, “You’ll know you are doing it right, when he try’s to raise his bar of behavior and you see it happening and know WHY it’s happening.” 

Now…. There are some bad times. We had a couple of them today. However, I no longer have a bad life where I feel like I am drowning, gasping for air. 

There has been a lot of progress for all of us. Yet I know, there will always be more to learn. There is never a dull day in the neighborhood. At least I’m back heading in the right direction, I just need to give it a little more time. 

~me