When we moved to Arizona, we never expected T to have the difficulties that he has had. He has been a loving child whose triggers were slow to become aggressive; he was more emotional than physical. With all the preparations we took to ensure a nice, smooth transition and move. However, this move did not go as planned and T began to be physically aggressive and very depressed. We took the next steps to help him through this time with medication and CBT (cognitive behavior therapy).
School was another ball of wax. He wanted to go to public school instead of being homeschooled as he has been for the last 5 years. This was both a stress and relief for me. However, this transition was a tough as I had thought it would be, even with preparation of the teachers. The staff simply did not understand the complexities of autism and my son.
This past school year has been just as complicated, yet the staff in the different school handled it much differently. The staff that works with him directly is diligent about honoring the behavior plan and adapting it as needed. While it wasn’t a stellar year, it was still better than the previous year at the previous school.
I am hopeful for the upcoming year for multiple reasons. I expect the staff to continue to honor the IEP and behavior plan and the continue working with me and my assistants. I expect the psychologist to aid in re-arranging his medication schedule to enhance the improvements made already. I expect his CBT therapist to work with him to identify triggers and practice with him using his calming skills. I expect the speech therapist to work with him in speech patterns and breathing. I expect his direct support staff to work on his life skills and social skills.
Here is the New Hope. He started a new therapy. He went to occupational therapy that performs neurofeedback. It was so cool and I totally geeked out! It is EEG neurofeedback and he gets hooked up using two clips on the ears and one on the head on one side and one clip and one on the head on the other side. The therapist says the machine only records the brainwave patterns and these sessions is like holding a mirror up to the brain and having it correct itself. Think about looking at yourself in the mirror and correcting your posture. The music that plays in the headphones during the session dictates the brain’s patterns. There are four sequences and the third one has slow quiet music. During that period, the brain is doing the most work; retraining how the synapses fire. It was really really cool! I am stoked to see the effects of this therapy!
So far I’ve seen T be more active in his decision making. He still has birthday money left and was attempting to decide what to purchase (Skylanders, Disney Infinity, or something off the cuff). He chose one thing and stuck with it; he did not decide to blow his money and be sad about it later. The next day, he surfed eBay and GameStop online until he found a different way to get what he wanted and saved money. I am so proud of him! Also, this morning he didn’t get on the computer but did his morning business including a shower without being told!!!
The only issue he has had since his session is disagreeing withe me what constitutes “screen time.” I believe screen time is screen time. He wants to argue and say that his VR time and WiiU time is not screen time. During the summer and we are working with this new therapy, screen is screen.
A New Hope. A calmer, less physically aggressive T. A young man who sees hope in the future. A young man who can identify his wants and needs and set goals to achieve these wants and needs.
Love this kid. I’ll do whatever it takes.