December 6, 2011

The boy who couldn't cope (when he's sick)...

Thor has been stuck at home sick the last couple of weeks and has missed out on therapy. Thankfully, he's feeling better and getting back into routine; but not before I really realized what an impact his routine makes on his behaviours. Without his set schedule of therapies and "work" he just doesn't know what to do with himself and he melts down.

With him being sick we saw the return of self-injury (punching his own face in frustration), refusal of food (we're working on re-gaining the weight he lost), and just a complete inability to deal with transitioning from one activity to another. It was shocking at times to see these behaviours come back full-force; it felt like a ton of bricks hitting me when I saw these things that we have worked so hard over the last year to overcome.

Sometimes, it's easy to see the progress and improvements he's making in therapy and forget the struggles he faces every day....but when he got sick I think he just didn't have the energy needed to act the way he's been taught in therapy (and home). His mind and body had to focus on getting healthy and there was nothing left to help him control his meltdowns and anxiety.

I imagined what it would be like once he has his Service Dog - how he would have his dog to cuddle with and help him through the times he feels like total garbage (but doesn't want pesky mom hovering - independence is a big deal when you're growing up!)

I've made a lot of on-line friends through the 4 Paws for Ability network of families and have seen how their children changed when they finally got their service dogs - I think it will be more than we could have imagined. Everyone has reported decreases (up to 100% in some cases) in meltdowns, self-injury, and anxiety....and huge improvements in their child's mood and ability to cope with day to day life. It's amazing, to say the least, and although we won't be meeting Thor's dog until August 2012, I can't wait for him to have that in his life too.


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