Sunday, August 3, 2014

Beaten up!

We're in a unique place with Abby. 
She can be totally awesome... Laughing, smiling and engaging all while grabbing, pinching and pulling hair.  It's hard to totally enjoy her because you don't know when she'll strike.  She can go from zero to crazy in mere seconds without any warning.  Her aggression seems to come out of nowhere 90% of the time.  The other 10% is an obvious tired, hungry or "let me in the kitchen so I can eat" thing.  The eating is another matter but also related. 
She wants food in her mouth ALL THE TIME!  She's always sought it, but now she hunts it with a vengeance.  She is relentless in her pursuit of food in her mouth.  She constantly seeks food to the point of...
taking it out of the trash
(Yes, I just threw up in my mouth too)
I've never been kissed & hugged more from my big girl, or beaten up more than I have this summer!
Because she's so great and engaging, we've kind of narrowed down some of our biggest needs with her and it seems to all be sensory related.  The trick is finding someone who is a sensory specialist like we saw several years ago in Hudson, WI at the Special Children's Center. 
A little background to our new home in the middle of nowhere (medically speaking)...
I honestly had low expectations because "all things medical" have been sub par (in my book) thus far. 
I know Andy would disagree because he is the positive one and... I am the "realist"... remember? :)  The truth is somewhere in between us... most of the actual doctors/therapists we've seen have been good, but the systems that surround them are... (what's a non profane word?.... POOR! Sure, that's nice but you can fill in the blank with what I was going for, right?).  The staff, facilities, etc. are like going back in time.  For instance, I've left somewhere in the ball park of a dozen messages for our pediatrician's office begging them in the kindest way possible to make the referral (unfortunately necessary) to see the sensory specialist.  I finally got a human on the phone in July, after trying to get Abby to start in June so we could work on it this summer while I'm with her ALL THE TIME...
See... I like the skin on my body and she likes it under her nails... this discrepancy of need causes a lot of grief around our house. 

Millie got in to see the OT first because she's a baby and they get babies in faster because of early intervention statistics.  I understand that but... Abby's grabbing was ruining my summer.  Okay, that's a little dramatic, but for the most part... true!  Once Millie got in, they quickly got Abby in...
I might have asked if they had any recommendations for restraining my 13 yr old in the car... 
Come on!  That's brilliant and you know it!  It's not like it wasn't the truth.  I have scars and bruises to prove it!!!!
Get this....
The therapist at the clinic in Hartsville (smaller town than Florence... 40 min away) in the middle of nowhere (that's my description) actually knows the OT gal we saw in Hudson, WI and has done some teaching with her! 
In the words of Tim Hawkins (comedian), "You freaks need a punchline for that!" 
Seriously!!!!!  Let that sink in!!!!  FREAKY STUFF!!!!
... or God... just saying
This gal was the first therapist who wasn't scared of Abby.  I didn't need to peel Abby away from her so she could shout some random ideas at us safely from across the room.  She sat next to her and said, "Oh... this is common... we can figure this out."  She started throwing sensory ideas at us, but we were stunned silent...
HELLO!!!!  You had me at common :)
I might think "common" was stretching it, but she said it! 
She also accurately stated that Abby was "using those around her for her heightened sensory needs."  All the changes in Abby's life didn't make that big of a difference because her world is a small circle right around her. 
We need to find ways to calm her "fight or flight" instincts and simultaneously teach her to obtain her own sensory needs... Squeezing her hand correctly or giving her a few snacks might've been enough at one time but not anymore. 
Now that we've properly identified the problem, I feel hopeful we can come up with a solution :)
We're trying some "tapping" protocol (it sounds crazy to the unsensory seeking crowd but we've done brushing, swinging, spinning, etc.... so not much would surprise us).  Andy usually takes a bit longer to get on board as he thinks it's too "voodoo" like and politely smiles in his "your crazy" way, but
at this point I'd do just about anything, and I know he'll get on board once he sees some results.
The tapping combined with some "cranial sacreal" (I took a parent workshop on that in Hudson... they do similar stuff) is to start calming her.  She's either eating her books... yes, if you're new here, I did say eating, making her cause/effect toys produce noise or pacing from one room to another in search of food or someone's flesh to satisfy her needs. 
So... we have something to go on... YAY!!!! I'm not as energized by her suggestion to make a sensory board for Abby yet because...
I'm tired. 
I'm worn out. 
I've been beaten up by my 13 yr old and my "extra" I have left after each day is not energized by concocting a sensory board.  I don't feel creative or energized to do it.  I do believe she has a valid idea and it may work, but it does seem just like that...
I'm not as enthusiastic or optimistic like I used to be.  I'd tackle a project in no time years ago, but... 
I'd appreciate prayers for the wisdom to know what to do and the motivation to bring it to fruition....
Our goal is still to have Abby live in our world with us so...
I'll let it sink in...
pout for a bit (not proud of that)
and then pray my mind clears and my creativity abounds to produce something that will work!


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