Monday, March 7, 2011

Tough Decisions

The hardest thing about Hassaan's diagnosis is what to do to help him.  Sometimes there's just nothing you can do except be there.  Other times you're called upon to advocate for your child, because if you don't, you know that no one else will.  Then there are the times where you come off looking, quite honestly and bluntly, like a bitch (or insane) because while your child looks normal you know he's not and the people that you're dealing with refuse to acknowledge that there's a problem or put the support in place necessary for him to succeed.  Fortunately for me, we live in a small enough community where this hasn't really been an issue.  And then there's the biggest part - what can I do to help my child like himself?  To help him succeed?  To help him be able to function in life in a positive manner where his behaviour doesn't immediately turn those around him against him?  

The first thing I've done to help him is be his advocate.  To put in place whatever it is that I can do to help him.  This includes working with his day camp co-ordinators to make sure that he had a buddy if necessary on his bad days last summer.  All I had to say to the co-ordinator was "Hassaan's having a bad day and needs someone with him" and it was done.  It also meant getting to know his group leaders well so that we could communicate with each other as to how the day had gone or how the morning before drop off had gone so they knew what they were in for, or so that they could pass on the message to whomever was picking up the boys at the end of the day so they knew what they were in for before I picked them up (usually my parents).  This communication can be invaluable on a bad day.  That way, you're prepared for whatever might be coming your way.  When you're not prepared and it has the appearance of coming out of left field, Hassaan's behaviour can lead you to have a negative reaction, which doesn't help the situation.

I have become an advocate for my son with the school system.  He has an awesome teacher this year who's very regimented in her routine, which for an ADHD child is wonderful.  She also takes care of any issues herself, within the classroom, so Hassaan has only spent one time in the office this year instead of the many he did last year.  I advocated for him to have this teacher this year (she was Hammad's teacher the last two years) and will advocate for whichever of the first grade teachers she also recommends for next year.

Harder, though, was trying to figure out the rest.  Finally, after much thought and prayer, last Wednesday we started Hassaan on drug therapy as well.  I've cried now because I wish we'd gone this route before.  My little boy is finally shining through the disorder.  Our house is not a war zone.  He no longer spends multiple moments a day calling himself dumb, stupid and idiot.  You can have a conversation with him and he can now pay attention.  Bedtime is no longer the major battle within the war.  He takes initiative now to do things like go and clean up the playroom.  The house is not in chaos.  Hassaan is now truly fun to be around.

This is not to say that there are still not bad days.  Or horrendous days.  Yesterday would qualify as the latter.   It was a bad day from start until nearly finish, though the last two hours of the day weren't so bad.  I had things thrown at me, scratched, kicked, hit, bit.  I had to do a modified bear hug on him to keep him from hurting me.  I was told I was stupid and an idiot.  I was also told "I hate you more than God!  I love God!  But I hate you more than God!"  Which went round and round until I finally stepped in and said "do you mean you hate me more than you love God?"  To which he screamed "YEAH!  THAT!!"  It took all I had not to laugh.  He was so far gone at that point there was just no quick solution.  Things started to be thrown when I placed him against the door and told him he couldn't move his bum from the door.  He slid to the floor and started pulling things out from under my dresser and throwing them at me.  Nothing actually hit me.  They just landed on the bed where I was folding socks.  The bright side to this is that the dresser that I really didn't fancy getting down on my hands and knees to clean out under was now clean underneath.  (You have to find a bright side somewhere!)  Later on, once he was calm, he was embarrassed.  But when he's that far gone, he can't stop himself and no one else can stop him either.  He remembers what he's done later, but during the rage, he's just not there.  

But you know what?  Those bad days are so much easier to handle now that they're not EVERY day.  The sweet little boy is able to completely shine through now - not just be a little glimpse of sunshine behind the clouds.

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