Wednesday, December 16, 2009

behaviorist


Ray can actually "take her on" and still get in her face the next morning with his arms around her neck and his sweet little face in hers and say, "hug-gy Ab-by, Ab-by hug-gy." Can you believe it?

I really love the behaviorist we've been consulting with for Abby, but every time she comes over I feel so overwhelmed! She has a lot of really great stuff that I never even considered. The idea of training Abby's behaviors largely like a puppy's rather than a child never crossed my mind, but in reality we can't shape her heart they way we do our other children because it just doesn't register... and maybe never will. We have to train her like Pavlov's dog... reward and punishment. So, we are trying to extinguish certain behaviors like hair pulling, scratching and pinching because it's just not socially acceptable for a child her age to walk up to perfect strangers and pull their hair. I wish I was kidding, but it's become more than awkward when she does it to people we do know let alone a perfect stranger.

It's become really exhausting, especially as of late, because it's just so constant and irritating. She has to be isolated from the babies or watched constantly or she will attack! I feel like I've been the main event at a wrestling match after just getting her ready for bed, and I'm her mom who loves her desperately! It's been like a switch lately that she can turn off and on. Okay, it's mostly on, but we do have occaisional peaceful moments before a strike! I found myself on the floor with her the past few nights restraining her with all my might just so she could do a breathing treatment. She's decided she doesn't want them unless she really can't breathe which would be fine with me aside from the fact that she will have breathing problems if she doesn't get one and her para will be attacked at school in the event of her not breathing so well. It's me or Ethel... It actually crossed my mind that if the father (priest) at school saw her during one of these episodes he might perform an exocism, and I wouldn't even mind. When she loses it she has so much hate in her eyes that it is frightening, not to mention painful when she digs in her nails or teeth. It's almost humorous to see myself in the mirror after she's finally in the bed. I look like I've been attacked! Hair pulled in all directions (if not on the floor), scratches and blood oozing from exposed skin and sweat beading off my forehead. YIKES!

So, I like the gal who comes to help us, but I hate discussing all the behaviors because talking about them make them so more real. I have to deal with them. She has a lot of good ideas, but even the ideas can be frustrating because anything we try could take months for us to see any results. It's so very slow going with her. She takes so long to catch on to what's going on that we often wear out before we really know if it would work. I have a list of "TO DO'S" or "TO TRYS" and a bunch of ankle biters at my feet demanding my attention. Today is the overwhelmed stage. I pout at the reality that this is something we need to keep hitting hard; what we've been doing isn't working; we have to step up our game. Give me a few days and I'll gear up and attack it, but for now I will pout. It's okay to cry... as long as you stop :) We'll plan, put theory into practice... over and over again, and something will stick at some point. Endurance is the name of this game.

"Training" Abby is unlike any other parenting task I've done. My brother said it best when he was here over Thanksgiving, "Okay, I'll do it, but it really makes me want to cry." With my own tears welling up I shake my head and say, "I always want to cry, but it's what is best if we want her to live in our world..."

1 comment:

  1. I know how it feels to have a long "to do list". I love ideas from therapists and specialists, but it always leaves me with homework I really don't want!

    I also can relate to the frustration of things not sticking, and change happening so slowly. Sometimes I make the analogy with slow progress in my child and slow progress in my own spiritual life and wonder if this is how God feels about me?

    Just thoughts.

    ReplyDelete

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