A Spark of Hope

I tried a third school, a church school, with no better luck.  He continued to have problems, I kept getting phone calls, I kept having to leave work to come get him.  He lasted three days before I decided I couldn’t leave him in that place.  I watched the “teachers” putting some children down for a nap and how they were interacting with the kids appalled me.  I knew I wouldn’t bring him back to that place.  There had to be another option, my sister had used an in home daycare with my niece, but they lived across town.  I had a flash of asking to move in with her so we could use it also but I knew it was unrealistic.

I started looking for in-home daycare’s with fewer children and therefore less sensory overload.  I literally started asking every person that I knew, in hopes I would find a lead.  I interviewed a nanny and was prepared to pay more money than I could really afford, but in the end, she wanted even more money than I could pay.  I found a lady willing to watch him, I wasn’t totally comfortable with her but I felt like I had my back against the wall.  I was having to leave work too often and I didn’t want to get fired and I could keep looking for someone better.

While I continued hunting for somewhere to leave my child that I liked I also reached out to a mother in my Mom’s group.  She is a Physical Therapist and I turned to her for advice since I thought his behavior was sensory related.  She said I could bring him in for a free unofficial evaluation.

I met with her on a Friday and told her Nate’s story.  How he was a head banger when he was a baby.  How he crawled at 4 months and walked at 9 months.  How he was always go- go-go.  How he chewed his shirts and pulled off little pieces of his diapers when he was in diapers.  how he would spit out a mouthful of food if I happened to miss that there was a tomato or onion mixed in.  How he wouldn’t try new foods.  how he only wanted to wear “comfy pants.” How he would literally have a meltdown if I didn’t dry my hands after washing the dishes if I turned to help him and touched him with wet hands.  How he never wanted to sleep even when you cold tell he was exhausted, even when he had been a baby.  How he struggled severely at school.  How he struggled with transitions.. . . I went on and on.

She listed to all I had to say and she told me, “Oh yes, He has Sensory Processing Disorder.”

I was relieved to have an answer.  I felt hope.  I had a diagnosis.

Now, what the fuck is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Finally, a step forward on a very long, very hard and tearful journey towards helping my child.

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This is the Third Post in SPD Series.
Read Post One Here: The Day My World Came Crashing Down
Read Post Two Here: Trying to Move Forward and Getting No Traction

Trying to Move Forward and Getting No Traction

I frantically searched for a new school to place my child in.  I found a Montessori school with a huge outdoor space and a low child to student ratio.  It looked like it could be a nice place so I decided we would give it a try.  I thought 17 students for 1 teacher was way too many so I specifically sought out a place with a lower student to teacher ratio.

I knew my son struggled with transitions so I warned the teachers and school personnel about it.  To say adjusting to the new school was a struggle is an understatement.  His first day was rough, but he survived. . . barely.  I got called on Tuesday to come get him because he had hit another child.  When I came to get him I was swarmed by the entire staff.  We talked about my son and his history.  I talked about how he was a head banger when he was little and how after a certain teacher had left his previous school he started to fall apart.  He struggled with transitions, and on and on.

They gave me some advice and I left feeling a little bit better.  I had known the first week was going to be a rough one.

It didn’t get any better.  The next day he continued to struggle.  He hit the teacher, he ran outside and then lost his outside privileges, he hid in the reading corner and tried to hide behind the bookshelf, he cursed.  They separated him from the other kids to calm down and he ate lunch with their behavioral specialist.  This behavior continued through the week.  He was not adjusting at all.

Then it came again… on the following Monday, this school told me that my child was too disruptive and that they thought I should look somewhere else.  They told me my child’s behavior was defiant and the fact that he couldn’t look the adults in the eye when they were trying to talk to him was atypical behavior.  They made me feel like a shitty parent with a deviant child who had behavioral issues.  I knew my child had some issues, but I didn’t believe they were behavioral.  As I slowly pulled pieces together from his experiences in school together, I began to believe my sons’ issues were sensory related.  I felt he became easily overwhelmed by all the transitions and switching of teachers and activities. I felt like he went easily into sensory overload.

In the week he had been at the school I had tried to make him a flip book of the different transitions to try to help him and I was surprised at how many there were.  Start off in the main room with all the children, move to the classroom, circle time, snack time, outside time, lunch time, nap time in a different room, snack time again, circle time again, move into the main room for pick up.  That is an awful lot of transitions for a child that doesn’t do well with transitions.  And honestly, I was just figuring out exactly what that phrase “struggles with transitions” meant.  Actually seeing how many transitions our children make at school kind of floored me, I could only imagine how all the transitions made my child feel.

I called my therapist friend.  We talked, she reassured me that most of his behavior was normal child behavior.  I recalled a conversation we had had previously about eye contact. and how we had talked about how some children don’t look at adults in the eyes because it can feel very threatening, but it’s not atypical behavior, she remembered and agreed.  Together we ruled out a diagnosis of Autism, even though using some techniques that work well with autistic children all worked well for him.  She agreed he probably fell into the category of Highly Sensitive Children and we talked about sensory overload. . . We decided a lot of his behaviors could be classified as normal, but you could definitely tell there were some issues there somewhere.  She didn’t feel like it was behavioral related, we kept coming back to sensory…I felt less like a shitty parent after our conversation, but my stress level was through the roof.  What was I going to do with my son?  I couldn’t quit my job because we need the income.

This was the second stumble of a step on a very long, very hard and tearful journey towards helping my child.

To be continued. . .

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Second Post in SPD Series
Read The First Post Here:  The Day My World Came Crashing Down

Puzzled

It felt like my world was falling apart
I kept trying and trying
But I couldn’t even start
To pull it all back together again

A million pieces
laid out on the table before me
So many colors I couldn’t see
What the picture was supposed to be

On instinct, I reached out
For help from a friend
Who put things in perspective
And set me on my way to mend

Pieces were missing
From my puzzle of life
That’s what was causing me
All of the strife

My problem has now been identified
And I can breathe a sigh of relief
I no longer have to hide
All the feelings of failure I’ve kept inside.

The road will be long
Filled with mountains and hills
But just knowing
Provides me with so many skills

And new friends have been made
To share in my new campaign
As together we lift spirits
To ease each other’s pain

And my eyes have been opened
To a brand new world
There is such beauty in pain
It’s a double-edged sword.

The future is less blurry
The colors are more bright
The puzzle slowly comes together
There is an end in sight

So, lend a hand this coming year
And place a puzzle piece
It’s only with the helping hand of friends
Our blessings will increase.

© 2016 -LRFB

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If you like poetry, check out more of my creations here.

You Are Not Alone. . .

It seems like there has been an unusually high number of people I know (including myself) that have been through some particularly rough patches this year.  2015 has not been the most kind and generous year. Overloaded with obstacles, chock full of unexpected challenges, and crawling with chaotic changes, 2015  is giving many people a run for their money.

I am here to tell you, you are not alone in your struggles.  The cosmos has delved it’s hand into many pockets and is letting loose mayhem all over.  It reminds me of the short lived tv series Constantine and their battle against the “rising darkness.” So too, 2015, has let loose it’s own rising darkness.  But in truth, there is always light in the darkness and if you don’t lose sight of this, you can find it. Frequently it will be small flickers and flashes of light that let you see enough to keep hope alive.  At times it will be a steady stream of light that really lends a hand to leading you out of the dark.  Look for the light.

One of the more recent changes I made in my life was to try to be more positive and I have found that if you try your hardest (because for so many of us positivity is anything but natural) the ebb and flow of positivity increases in your life.  You find the light when it starts to get dark and can sometimes pull yourself out before you get submerged.  Or you can reach out to the light.

When you are going through a rough time ask for help!  Utilize your friends and family when you are having a tough time.  Find just one person you can pour your heart out to even if it’s a stranger just so you can release some of the weight of your burden.  Write it down, get some of it out of your system.  Find a support group be it online or in person. Because I promise you there is at the very least one person that will help you if you ask and pull you out of the rising darkness.

On the flip side, if you know someone who is going through a rough time, check in on your friend to see how they are doing.  Offer help when you can.  Do little things to lift peoples spirits.  Send a card or a gift, a text or an email or an actual phone call.  (Do people have verbal conversations anymore or just via text?) In any case, just let them know that you are there for them and then remind them, again and often.  Be someone’s light and pull them out of the dark.

To all my loved ones and everyone going through a rough time. . .  I love you, I’m praying for you and I am here if you need me.  Let me shine for you.

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