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Darcy's Journal

Food for thought

Food for thought

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Joseph has been incredibly obsessive this last week. He had been with my in-laws for 4 days and last week was, as I expected, kind of a horrible adjustment back into life at home. Time with the grandparents is just really overstimulating to him and he really does not know how to shut down or take any time out to reset himself. So, last week was bad, but I really expected it. But I thought he would get better after a week and I was really wrong. This week he has been worse - prone to horrible meltdowns with every transition, crying constantly and obsessing like crazy. This week's obsession is building an electric fence. We could keep friends here for playdates forever, we could keep the baby away from the legos, we could keep the dogs in the front yard, etc. What can I build the fence out of? How many batteries do I need? Where can I get wire? It's been maddening. yesterday Matt and I told him we are not talking about electric fences anymore. It's just too much.
We went to the beach with his social skills playgroup today and his psychologist remarked that he seemed particularly wound up. We discussed what's been going on and I told him I was really worried - that I hadn't seen behavior like this since we started occupational therapy a year ago. He gave me some good suggestions for helping him regulate a little bit and then gave me this to think about:
"Is a child in your family allowed to be on the spectrum, because that's where he is and sometimes you're just going to have to meet him there and talk about electric fences for 10 minutes."
So, that's been really ringing with me tonight. I've always struggled with the balance between accepting Joseph where he's at and helping him learn how to interact with the world around him in a way that will help him have satisfying and meaningful relationships. When do we push and when do we accept? It's a tough question.
  • It's okay

    You know Darcy, you are doing a great job of balancing pushing with accepting, whether you realize that or not.
  • (Anonymous)
    Oh my goodness I can relate. I think maybe we should get Joseph and Lily together (despite the opposite coast issue) because she's an intense questioner. She doesn't hyperfocus (well, occasionally) as much as a kid who is truly on the spectrum (I haven't sought a diagnosis for her. Friends and family do have their opinions. I have my suspicions. If she's on it, she's at the mild end and seems to be getting the accommodations she needs) but she needs to ask complex and detailed questions until you think your soul has left you and your body will burst into flames from the tedium of it all. There isn't an object she's come across that she doesn't need to know the detailed history of. (when were kaliedescopes first made? Who discovered them? What were they for? Are they made out of different materials? Why can I never see the same thing twice? Do all countries have them? Why not all of them? Why do you think people in the Sudan don't have kaliedoscopes? Whats happening there? Why are they killing each other? How long has the war been gonig on? Was there another one before it?

    etc. etc. etc. and all rapid fire while you're trying to drink a cup of coffee. If we got them together, she could ask him questions about electric fences all day long and maybe we could have some tea in peace.

    -Sue M.
    • LOL Sue. I think they'd be quite a pair. We'll have to make that happen someday, I think.
  • I have a LJ friend with a child with Aspergers. She talks about this dilemma quite a bit. Would you like it if I tried to connect you?

    (and btw, I think you're doing a great job . Also - I think that every child has their quirks that parents have to decide if/when they "indulge" them and if/when to try to end/change them. With Sadie, sometimes I have to ask myself if this [insert behavior x might be a product of her [as yet undiagnosed] sensory issue [and thus make me worried] or is it just a regular phase of growing up, etc? )
    • Yeah. I think that would be good. I really need to connect with some other parents. I think I hesitate because he is really mild (right on the line with the Aspergers and not even officially diagnosed) and I don't want him being on the spectrum to be "what we are about" or all I focus on, but I also think I need some input from some more experienced parents WRT this issue.
      If you want to look into sensory stuff, everyone is going to tell you to read "The Out of Sync Child". I am going to tell you to skip that and check out "Living Sensationally" and then, if you feel like there are sensory issues to address, check out "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun" which is a book of fun activities that double as great OT for children who need a little help with their sensory regulation. I just pick it up whenever I'm at the bookstore and grab a couple of new ideas of things to try at home. "The Out of Sync Child" is good if you want to get an idea for the breadth of issues that can be considered part of sensory integration disorder, but I think that reading it just kind of depressed me without actually giving me any helpful information. So there is my two cents for you on that. =)
  • Oh, my goodness, yes, that must be SO hard. You want to embrace him for who he is but you also want to help him be all he can be. You're doing great, you're seeking help and information and all, and I know you can do it; it's just going to be hard, and I'm sorry. <3
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