Aaaaaaand Action!

Once I had what I felt was “the answer” it was exactly like the day I realized that I was an alcoholic. “Okay now, how do I ‘fix’ this?”
The answer: I hit google like a mad woman. I found out so much information that I just started printing stuff out and putting it in a notebook..
I went over to Barnes and Noble and started checking out their special needs section. I found a book, 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Aspergers. I couldn’t find my highlighter, so more than a few of the pages ended up dog-eared.
I read about a need for more protein and calcium, so we upped those. We cut out cereal for breakfast and because we raise chickens he started eating eggs every morning for breakfast, and started drinking more milk. I watched him after eating different things and noticed that blue dye is a HUGE no-no for him. Candy has all but been banished. We used to have a cupboard where dessert items were kept, now, unbeknownst to him there is a bag hidden deep in my closet where any and all sweets go. When he’s earned something, I go in my room, lock the door, and emerge with his treat.
I thought really hard about the sleeping situation. My husband was getting kicked all night and was grumpy all day because of it. Since Keylime got up so early no matter what, I knew he’d have to go to bed earlier…it was just a matter of me getting off my butt, hitching up my big girl pants, and seeing that it happened. First thing to change was bedtime went from 9pm to 7pm.
I usually read to him, but they were always kid books with pictures. And it was with the light on…he liked soft music playing, so what I started doing was putting on the music, turning out the lights and reading with a booklight from big books with no pictures and keeping my voice a monotone. To date we’ve read several Mark Twain (including A Connecticut Yankee), several Charles Dickens,The Arabian Nights (the Sinbad stories were his favorite), The Wind in the Willows (twice), The Phantom Tollbooth, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Robin Hood, Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, and we’re about to start Around the World in 80 Days.
At first I would sleep with him because I realized he still needed the cuddle, but after a month my back was killing me. I realized he needed something to swaddle him. I’d read about the weighted blankets, but you have to know the proper weight for the child. An amazing alternative presented itself when Costco started selling those gigantic bears.
The way Keylime sleeps: He lays down, I put his light blanket on top of him, then the bear goes on top of him, then his heavier blanket goes on top of the bear. He’s snuggled, he’s safe, and he can breathe.
Then, I started looking up alternative remedies for Aspergers, (because when you don’t have health insurance, forget about being able to afford a prescription) and I stumbled onto Bach Flower Remedies… http://www.bachflower.com
A lot of people have heard of Rescue Remedy to help when you’re feeling anxious, but not too many that I’ve found (even in the Aspy community) know a lot about the rest of the remedies. So I typed in “Bach Flower Remedies for Aspergers” and found Cherry Plum. Then I went on Amazon and ordered the book Bach Flower Remedies for Children. I highly recommend it to any parent, whether their child is on the spectrum or not. Keylime currently takes three, three times a day in his juice. Cherry Plum-which comes recommended for Aspergers and helps control the tantrums and to think clearly, Willow-helps with resentment and bitterness, and Heather- that helps with empathy and caring about what others have to say.
The beautiful thing about the Bach Remedies is that there are no side effects (and they’re available alcohol-free online or can be found in health food stores). If it’s the wrong remedy it doesn’t work and there’s no change. For Keylime, it was like magic.
I also got a book called The Defiant Child A Parent’s Guide to Oppositional Defiant Disorder. I had read that other things sometimes piggy back on Aspergers and I really felt there might be some ODD in there. Then I called the clinic and explained the situation and asked “What do I do?” They gave me a questionnaire to fill out. I got one to the horrible first grade teacher, our EF-the teacher we turned our work in to once a month, and I filled out the 3rd. The doctor assessed him, and once I turned in all the papers it was just a matter of a few weeks.
The thing that terrified me to be perfectly honest was that the tests would come back and it wouldn’t be Asperger’s, that it would come back perfectly normal…now that I’d started to treat him “as if” and look at his behaviors as those of an Aspy I found myself develop an obscene amount of patience. I was calmer, I found the humor more, and the real miracle? He felt the change in me and I know that helped the change in him. I was terrified that the doctor would tell me my guess was wrong.
I also got ahold of the local public school to see if it might be the right fit for him. I knew the public schools would be able to give him things that I wouldn’t, and I also knew he REALLY needed the socialization (and I needed a break). He and I went on a tour and the thing that struck me was that even though there are over 600 kids at that school, the principal knew every single child who came up to her on the playground by name. I explained our situation and that we were awaiting formal diagnosis. She understood and he started public school the week after Christmas vacation was over.
He was way behind, the was no doubt. His first grade education had been completely erratic, and we struggled to catch up. His public school teacher was absolutely amazing and she and I agreed from the get go that unless a miracle happened he would need to repeat first grade, his reading was too far behind.
The day we got our diagnosis I cried.
People were telling me not to feel bad, that a lot of children have Aspergers, that it’s nothing “I did”…
I told them “no, you don’t understand, I’m absolutely relieved.”

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One thought on “Aaaaaaand Action!

  1. I haven’t gotten an official diagnosis for my 7yo yet, but after all the research I’ve done I would say I’m 99% certain he’s got aspergers. It explains SO much! And I felt the same relief, the same “patience” wave came over me too!! It has been amazing the difference in our interactions. I can finally enjoy my son for who he is (most of the time that is! I still get frustrated when he refuses to listen or I’m too tired to be able to treat him with calmness), but its been a world changing thing here!

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