Thursday, February 16, 2006

"Summit" update...

I know I keep saying this, but our "village" is the best in the whole world! I'm still processing yesterday's meeting with B's school-based team, but I do know that it came at the right time for all of us. Along with C & me, there were 5 teachers/therapists gathered around the table to discuss how best to help our kid- & therefore everyone around him- best cope with his changing needs. It was a very intense discussion & I was very glad that C & I had sat down the previous evening (over Valentines chocolates & champagne- how civilised!) & made preparatory notes. As I suspected, everyone had been noticing the changes in B's behaviour & was looking for new strategies. We brought the group up to date on B's "toolkit" & the language we have been using to talk about the OCD thoughts (so we can be consistent), as well as new ways of diverting him from them. We shared that B himself has been complaining that his usual strategies for coping with the "thoughts" are not working any more, hence his recent neediness at home & at school. We shared incidents of newer behaviour, including a return of some perseverative stuff we hadn't seen since the Tourette's became apparent last summer, like whacking himself in the head, & a newer behaviour that B terms "getting stuck" which seems to precede serious meltdowns. I have been having a terrible time getting a handle on the "stuck" mode (& was making things worse :( unfortunately) but C has figured out some successful strategies- essentially a massive redirection/distraction- that I've since tried & had success with. As with many of B's less-functional behaviours, we see these things at home before they occur at school, so we wanted folks to be prepared... It was nice to see that everyone agreed that he's maturing & really feels like a nearly-ten-year-old emotionally & cognitively. He's also made good progress recently with social interactions with his peers.

Getting down to solutions, we talked about how to help B cope with the "noise" from the OCD thoughts that makes it difficult for him to tolerate ambient noise (like when the class is brainstorming or strategising together) these days. We discussed having him use earplugs or headphones to deal with the noise problem. His teachers came up with a plan to allow him to do some of his school work quietly, away from the other kids, & still be supervised by an adult. For the perseverative behaviours, I recalled the strategy that Dr. M suggested a few years previously when B was doing the same thing (in essence, we threw soft balls at him in order to re-wire that whacking motion into a catching motion- it worked almost miraculously back then...) & I promised to dig-out the little beachballs we'd used then & send some to school. C recalled some ideas that Dr. M suggested for diverting B from the intrusive thoughts, using colour imagery to help calm him down. We also took notes on some specific questions from B's team to bring to Dr. M when we see him next week. His OT is particularly interested in suggestions for sensory integration methods that don't require a great deal of motor planning. She's tried Brain Gym & the Infinity Walk with him, but his motor planning issues get in the way of his enjoyment, & therefore co-operation.

The main impression that I'm left with from this meeting is that B is surrounded by people who love him & have his best interests at heart. They also surround C & me with their appreciation & heartfelt support. When I am with these folks I wonder how I can doubt that B will be ok :) OK, reality check- it's when faced with the snarling, sarcastic pre-teen that I really have my doubts.... **sigh** Having this support is what allows me to get out of bed in the morning & decide that I'm going to face the snarling kid with kindness & as much patience as I can!

So- the ear plugs are in the backpack for B to use today. C & B have already given the balls a try, with great hilarity. Pelting 5-year-old, pre-binocular-convergence B with little beachballs was a different experience than doing it with the present, fully-visually-clued-in, bigger & sillier B. If nothing else, it gets him up & running around, trying to get dad back! I kept biting back "Somebody's gonna get hurt!" last evening during the scrimmage... can't escape doing the mom thing :) At least he likes this sort of therapy! A bag of balls are ready to go to school, too, perhaps after the winter break week, next week, so they'll have time to figure out how to use them without causing all hell to break loose... (brave people!).


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