Monday, August 22, 2016

Why My Son Doesn't Play With Your Child

    It is tough parenting a child with hidden special needs, especially when those needs involve brain damage to the extent that it prevents the child from thriving in a typical childhood setting. 

   Ever since our problems with CYS, I battle a paranoia that someone will misinterpret our parenting and report us. After you have been reported once, your trust in fellow man has been broken. As the saying goes, "Trust is something that isn't easily fixed."

  Dean told me to view it this way, "If Joseph had diabetes we wouldn't allow people to give him candy because it could make him very sick. Attention from others interferes with the ongoing attachment struggles Joseph has. Candy could make him physically sick if he had diabetes, attention can make him mentally/emotionally sick because he has attachment problems." That example has helped me keep things in perspective more than once. Putting your arm around Joseph or giving him a hug seems like such a small thing, just as a piece of candy can seem like a small things, but the effects can be devastating.

  Joseph cannot handle very much stimulation before he either melts down or gets into trouble. The other day I was trying to think of an example to explain his disability in this area. This is what I came up with; "Emotionally healthy people have a 5 gallon can of antidote for over stimulation. What we don't use one day can be poured into the next days can, thus allowing us to have a day packed full of activities and not overwhelm our senses. Due to his FASD Joseph has only 2 ounces of this antidote and he needs every drop of those 2 ounces just to make it through each day. Playing with his siblings can take 4 ounces of antidote, attending a party requires at least 3 gallons due to his brain damage. As he has only 2 ounces to begin with, his supply is quickly depleted and his sense's begin shutting down or he goes into an all out rage. Even this wouldn't be so bad, but he needs several gallons of antidote to regain his equilibrium after such an episode. Sadly, since he is already running on empty he doesn't have any reserve. 

   So when you see us keeping Joseph by our side, this is part of the reason why. Children with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) usually have good days and bad days meaning, sometimes they can do a certain task and the next day they may not have the mental/physical ability to do the very same thing. Sometimes I can tell Joseph to put his school clothing on and other days I have to lay it out for him, perhaps even dress him because he simply is unable to do so. The more we allow him to become over stimulated, the more bad days he has. Playing on the slide with a group of children may seem like a small matter, but for a child who suffers damage to the part of his brain that regulates his emotions, it may be enough to bring about several "bad days." 

    It is hard to know what is best for Joseph. Do we allow him to participate and have several rough days, or should we keep him calm thus allowing him to enjoy the rest of his week. Thus far the answer has been to do a little of both.

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