Imported from our family blog
January 27, 2009
“We were invited over to a families house for Dinner on Sunday. We are going to start trading off every month and they did the first month. I had to ask about some ingredients for Abby’s diet. Mark, the dad, asked me a few questions about her health and then told me to remind him before we left so that we could get a number for a nutritionist he knew. This is exactly what I have been needing. I have been going online myself and looking for new ways to get her nutrients that she has been missing out on. I am not an expert at all and have been trying to figure things out myself because what we offer that she can eat, she wont eat. I am hoping the nutritionist can help us some more.
Later on during the night, it came up about Zack’s Autism and he was asking me some of the signs Zack shows because Zack has been doing good with communicating to strangers lately. He is a speech therapist for Early Intervention. We started talking about some of the issues we have with Zack, the ones I have mentioned a little on here. With Zack needing us to say things or he will have a full blown tantrum. Every time we drive by Zack’s school he shouts and shouts “There’s my school, There’s my school.” If you don’t respond in a way he wants, he will lose it. This happened the other night. I kept telling him “Zack we hear you” because I sometimes get worried about these rituals that get created so quickly and so easily. You don’t even know saying a certain phrase to him one time will suddenly become life or death to him if you don’t say it from here on out. I didn’t want to say what he wanted to hear (“Yeah, we see your school Zack”) because I wanted to start breaking this new routine. He lost it and was still freaking out at home for quite some time. I brought this up to Mark and other instances like with him needing the fan on, or the garage light turned off(when it is automatic), his dog re-positioned, ect. For the first time since we have started this path with Zack, I got some great ideas and direction on how to help Zack. He explained that instead of jumping to plan B (Saying a completely new phrase when we pass by his school) we start with one word, something that Zack can handle. Take a word off, add a word, pause for a second before we respond, ect. Constantly change it up so he knows it is okay to say different things yet do it in a way that is gradual and tailored to him. I told him about the dog and he seemed a little baffled and said give me a minute. He started showing Abby how to play a game and in maybe 3 minutes he gave me the best advice. Instead of using words, which is what Zack will cry for hours for, we silently take his hand and move the dog, and the next time we just put our hand on his and see if he does it himself. He is taught non-verbally that he can do these things himself when I was using words to have him do it himself. When I say these solutions, they seem so straightforward but we got up to a point and then we couldn’t go forward. He said it is hard to break the verbal routines.
We went for dinner and when we left I had something so unexpected. An answer to prayers. Someone that might be able to help me with some of Abby’s minor problems, and some new, very inspired ideas, to help us with Zack’s problems. The Lord works in mysterious ways.”
You never know when you are going to help someone by giving them sound advice. This was life changing for our family. Changing up the routines for Zack eventually lead to eliminating them. It is definitely not an overnight process. It took months and years to get to where we are now. The first time we met Zack’s Autistic Teacher, when he was going into the program, he commented that he could tell I don’t parent Zack like he is Autistic. He said a lot of parents make excuses and allow behaviors because their child has been labeled “Autistic” or has been diagnosed somewhere on the spectrum. Within 5 minutes, he could tell a difference? Zack (as you can read above) had issues, years of issues, that were extreme for kids his age. I was shocked that the teacher even picked up on these things so quick. After him explaining, I was more shocked at the idea of not pushing Zack to be better or to grow and overcome these things.
I look at all 6 of my kids and see that each child is unique. They have similarities and some are a lot like me or like Kevin, but every one of them has had (or still has) issues that we have had to work through. I am baffled at the idea that I wouldn’t make an effort for one of my kids just because they had a good reason for their behavior. Just because the behavior is to be expected, doesn’t mean it is okay. It also doesn’t mean that it will never get better or they will never overcome this. We are living proof that it does get better and they can get past this.
Make sure to get help from professionals, they are trained to help come up with solutions that will help you. Seek answers from the Lord, as he knows our kids the best. Answers might come as a thought, or someone might say exactly what you needed to hear. My motto is :NEVER GIVE UP. Whatever the problem, never stop trying. Do the hard work it takes to help your children grow and overcome their struggles.