Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Small Doses

My son was diagnosed with Autism in 2007, and he has since made really ASTOUNDING progress. Some will argue that he may have been misdiagnosed. I disagree. I think we just buckled down and did the work, 27 hours a day, 10 days a week, round-the-clock therapies and carry-over got us to where we are today, with the 6-year old WONDER of a kid we now are so blessed to have in our lives.

Case in point: We live in a busy, bustling NYC environment. There was a time when a fire truck whizzing by used to send our son into a full-on, wild tantrum, from which he found it nearly impossible to climb out, and self-soothe into a peaceful state for at least 1/2 hour or more. I heard about this "Bounce" (Spectrum Connections) set of DVDs, requested them from the library, watched them WITH my son, and WE developed a new plan for these events. When the loud noise would send him into a frenzy, he would say "Break!", and throw up one hand like a stop sign, entitling him to a tight hug for as long as he needed, until he could regain his composure. I didn't care how crazy it looked, frozen in a hug on the street until he was calm again, because I could feel his racing heart gradually slow down, and he was able to tell me when he was ready to resume our activity. Over time, his need for this decreased, and even now, approximately 2 years later, a loud siren will happen, he will look over at me, whispher "Break", and smile, knowing he no longer needs the hug. If I stop and feel his heartbeat, it still races, but he has learned to cope, and now accepts that it will pass.

He is extremely energetic and highly distractible. Despite his highly ADHD behavior, we fought to get him into a regular school for kindergarten in a co-teaching situation (some disabled kids, some not), and he has thrived! His teacher is truly impressed with his progress, and despite her not being allowed to suggest that we medicate him, shared a story of medicating her own ADHD child in an "FYI" (wink, wink) sorta way. She explained that tiny doses could be prescribed to start, and we could gradually find what could work for him, to get him relaxed enough to participate calmly with the other children in a more predictable way. I got it. No, we didn't medicate him. By the end of the school year, he understood what was expected of him, and had achieved his/our/her goals. Beautifully.

The process has been like eating an elephant. Making wedding dresses was great preparation for raising my son... No, really... It was!

If I were to try to make "a wedding dress", I could get trapped in the size of the project, and the work, staring at the dressform, wasting hours, fearing failure, the magnitude of the garment's importance, the pressure of the deadline, and end up procrastinating. Just horrible. This is why I have to think, "Pattern, cut, muslin, fit, fix, cut, sew insides, sew outsides, zipper, buttons, hem..." Small doses gets it done.

I make lists. If I can check each item down a list as I go, it becomes doable, and remains enjoyable! Nothing feels better than to complete a gown for a happy bride.

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