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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tips From The Mobile Therapsit

I want to share a few things we learned from Braden's MT (mobile therapist - someone who provides therapy in your home). The MT had him pick a color for "mad," "sad," "scared" and "worried." She kept track of the feeling/color combination in her planner where he couldn't see the information. When she came for a new session she would lay out the four colors he had chosen and tell him to draw a picture. He always picked the color that went with how he was feeling at the moment! If he was feeling angry the picture was drawn with a blue crayon, when he was happy he chose the yellow crayon. So even though he couldn't always tell us how he was feeling beyond "mad" we could discern his emotions by the color crayon he chose. At the Empowered To Connect Seminar they told us mad trumps all other feelings. If they are worried, scared, sad etc. their actions will always come out as anger. Miss Sharon taught Braden that he can have several feelings at once something I never thought to teach him as I assumed he would know that. For instance you can be excited about going to school but you may also feel a little scared and worried about how the day will go.
   For a long time we didn't know what was wrong with Braden and tried pretty much anything that we felt would benefit him. He could be awful for me during the day and when Dean came home he would pull his "sad little boy" act. Dean tried to be extra loving and patient with Braden when he was home in an attempt to get close to him. Braden took this to mean that dad was on his team, not mom's.  One day Braden's therapist had him draw a picture of our family. He drew Dean and himself really big, his siblings smaller and mom laying on the floor. The therapist interpreted the drawing for me. Braden felt he was equal with Dean but mom was someone to kick around and walk over. After talking it over, Dean pulled Braden aside and said, "From now on mom and I are a team, when you give mom a hard time, I will take care of the problem when I come home from work." Almost overnight Braden began giving Dean the "RAD" treatment, defiance, willful disobedience, antagonizing him, nonsense chatter. The therapist also told me it is not wise to have a child who has RAD sit between his parents, something we often did especially when we were away to keep interference from non family members and triangulation to a minimum. The next time Braden attempted to wedge himself between Dean and I, Dean calmly told Braden to sit on the other side of him. You could see the wheels turning in his mind, mom and dad are onto that tactic time to try something else. That something else was asking lots of questions, anything to keep the parents from talking together, he needed to have the focus be on him.
   I use Braden as an example in various scenario's to give people a picture of what it is like to live with a child who suffers from RAD. Most of the examples are negative but that doesn't mean we never had good times with him. Granted, they were few and far between but we love him because he is our son and we believe God placed him in our family for a reason. One happy memory we have is from a short vacation we took to Chincoteague one summer. Braden loved the ocean. He would squeal with glee when the waves rolled over him. Dean and I stood on the sand and just watched him. Dean said, "I think for once Braden is truly happy!" Braden wasn't able to enjoy presents because he felt he didn't deserve them and if he accepts something from mom and dad that might make the bond begin to grow. The ocean was one gift we could "give" him and he could accept it without reserve.

Children on the beach 2012. 
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