Thursday, October 3, 2013

First Therapy

Today was Woodchuck's first immersive therapy session at Sensory Kids, LLC in Portland. It's a decent drive from the house and just getting there was a fiasco. I forgot my wallet, something I didn't realize until I got into Starbucks and ordered his cake pop and had to leave empty handed, the second meltdown of the trip and we were only 15 minutes into it. As we were going into Dollar Tree to look for fabric baskets he wanted to bring every one of his trains; my gently telling him they would be waiting in the car when we got back and it would be quick did nothing to ease his anxiety. He cried and screamed a couple times though I let him take three trains (making it hard for me to hold onto him). He quickly calmed down once we got into the store, but they didn't have what we were looking for.

Next stop was Starbucks, and since the line was 15 cars deep I decided to go in. This was the first huge meltdown. He wanted to bring every one of his trains again, but since he would be carrying his milk I had to make him leave his trains. He tried to fling himself on the wet pavement, only I had his wrist so he ended up bobbing up and down wildly flailing and shrieking like I'd knifed him. I tried to let him work it out, people in the parking lot staring, but it became clear he wasn't going to settle down so I had to resort to a stern "that's enough!" and walk into Starbucks. It was only after I ordered everything that I discovered I left without my wallet. Sometimes I wonder where people's humanity is, he was shrieking for his cake pop, clearly very distressed. While I don't expect handouts or special treatment, I also know were I that barista and my customer was a visibly pregnant, frazzled mommy who had forgotten her wallet I would have at least given the kid the cake pop. Maybe that's unrealistic, I don't know.

So I have to go tearing home, get my wallet, go back to a nearly cleared out drive through line at Starbucks only to discover Woodchuck has fallen asleep in the backseat. Typical.

We of course, in spite of the setbacks, got to therapy way too early and he was all over the waiting room not wanting to sit still or maintain one activity longer than a couple minutes. Cue contractions, what a joy. I finally had to just go into the observation room with him, shut the door and let the tantrum ensue because I couldn't keep running after him. I feel like such a jerk mom when I have to force something on him I know is going to cause a big meltdown. Thankfully there was no head banging or slapping, but he did throw himself on the floor and start screaming.

His therapist came in and therapy started. My PTSD that I'm starting to work through makes it difficult for me to let people take my son away from me, especially someone I don't know. Hell, I have trouble letting Woodchuck's own dad take him to the park five minutes away for fear he's going to pitch head first off the play structure and break his neck. This is how my PTSD rears his ugly head.

Anyway, today is just a "get to know you" session. Even though there was no real therapy happening, I sat in that room behind the two way mirror and I can't help it, the tears start flowing. I am so hopeful this will help, but I'm also a jumble of other emotions thrown into it: "what if his sensory patterns are so ingrained he can't overcome this?", "what if this doesn't help him talk?" (Woodchuck has Apraxia), guilt that I don't know how to help him, guilt that everything that happened during his birth is not only my fault but why this is happening to him. And so the tears come. I'm sure some of it is the pregnancy hormones. But it's legitimately all that other stuff more than anything.

(...yes, that's me sniffling because I'd been crying, sue me...)
I watch him through the glass go from thing to thing to thing, overwhelmed with all the things to do, not focusing on any one activity more than a couple minutes. But he's okay without me, something that wouldn't have happened a few months ago. He is joined at my hip, my little wart, even showering alone is impossible, bathroom breaks alone are impossible (if I shut the door without him, fuggedaboudit, your ear drums will rupture from the shrieking...)

She eventually had to just take him into the smaller gym because there was too much stimulus for him. Not being able to see where he was and what was going on was slightly nerve wracking, but I was actually proud of myself that I was able to handle it and didn't flip out. For some reason knowing that this is what they do and they can handle Woodchuck's issues puts me at ease more than in other situations. I think that's much of my anxiety is worrying people won't be understanding of his behavior; being on the other side of the equation now, I try to not be so judgmental of those kids that freak out in public places-- I'll side eye the parents if they do nothing to help their child and make the rest of us listen to it ad nauseum, but I don't immediately jump to thinking "what a brat", because I now know it may not have anything to do with that. Unfortunately most people have no understanding of this, and so I'm sure most people do look at Woodchuck mid-meltdown and think he's a brat. It bothers me a lot, but eventually I rationalize it that they just don't know any better and f*ck their opinion. Most of my own family have zero understanding or patience for Woodchuck's disorder, why should I expect a stranger to? I haven't even enrolled him in preschool because that kind of structure doesn't bode well with The Woodchuck, but I know the average preschool worker would have zero idea how to handle him. He will, however, be starting a special toddler group with Northwest Regional Education Service District (NWRESD for short) in January and then their special Preschool specifically for sensory kids once he's three. That will help give him some autonomy from mommy, and Bean will be born by then and that will give us some bonding nap time.

And so we're here. I hope Jen can get a nice rapport established with him and we can see some real progress here. His goals for therapy at this time are:

*Lengthening and Strengthening Attention Span (this will help with his speech therapy immensely)

*Transitions (or how to handle them and not have a meltdown- this is his biggest struggle)

*Bedtime Routines (at this time he has to be touching me to sleep, he is unwilling to sleep in his own bed)

*Self Regulation

*Body Movement (Woodchuck HATES movement he's not in control of, especially swings and he's very unsure about uneven surfaces, high surfaces or new places-- he's pretty scared of big play structures at this time, won't go across bridges, etc)

*Textures (especially slimy textures, which will help with his ridiculous eating habits)

I think that's enough for now, you deserve a cuddle and a cookie if you got this far. More to come!

1 comment:

  1. you! Lol you are so strong and i found myself crying while reading this, seeing so much of Brody in this. Its painful, this mothering...but you are more awesome than you know.