Wednesday, September 4, 2013

From No More Melt Downs to Traumatic Tornados

Just about every day I think, "Oh, I will sit down tonight when everyone else is asleep and post to my blog."  Then life happens....and what do you know, it's a year later.  So, I've decided to give this another go.  I hope that if you are struggling or have a child who is struggling on the autism spectrum, that this blog helps you in some small way.

Almost 3 years ago, just after our youngest son was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, we moved from Moore, Oklahoma to Alabama.  We discovered that there are tremendous resources here in Alabama, or at least tremendous compared to what we knew about in Oklahoma.  We (actually, we usually means me) set out to find every therapy possible for our son.  I bought and read every book I could get my hands on.  We tried therapy on horseback, yoga, applied behavior analysis, bio feedback, counseling, and I even put together my own program for sensory therapy.  Life was finally good.  There were no more melt downs!  Our son progressed so rapidly, in April of this year, we thought we might be able to take a break from some of these services.  Then, the bottom dropped out!

The community we once called home, Moore, Oklahoma, was devastated in May by an F6 tornado.  The elementary school our son had once attended, Plaza Towers, had been wiped out.  Lives were lost.  Fortunately, all of our friends were safe.  But that was little consolation for our son, who wore his Plaza Towers shirt for days on end.  I would like to say he took a few steps back after this traumatic event, but that would be an understatement.  He took a nose dive!  We were back where we were two years ago, at best. 

I was devastated!  I honestly can't yet describe the pain or the anxiety I felt for my son.  We had to start over with overcoming his anxiety when it came to crowds, lights, some noises, certain fabrics and clothing, outings and activities, anxiety management and coping skills.  We stopped counting melt downs.

One thing I discovered is that knowledge is everything!  I started re-reading books, ordering books, reading new books and researching.  One of the books I felt helped the most was, "The Out-of-Sync Child" by Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A.

We began some new therapies and re-started some old ones.  We stopped one medication and added new supplements.  We began the year homeschooling and started adding activities and outings, gradually.  I discovered that everyday is different and offers both challenges and blessings. Some days, like today, there are a few more challenges than others.  I hope to share some of these with you.  And perhaps, I will even come up with some workable strategies.

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