First of all let me give you a little background on me and Kaelob….
Three and a half years ago I was 9 months pregnant with a busy 2 1/2 year old little boy who desperately needed more social interaction with children his age rather than adults. At this point Kaelob didnt even speak. Well, I should say he didnt speak English. He had his own language that was very colorful and interactive, but incredibly unpredictable and impossible to decipher. Literally THREE days before going into labor with Haylee I placed Kaelob into what I thought was a wonderful preschool and trusted them to help him learn to communicate and interact socially with his own age group.
Fast forward a year or so later he had gone through three different preschools because of behavioral issues. He was throwing tantrums, refusing to cooperate and follow directions during the structured learning time…. he was unable to communicate his feelings to his peers and teachers and made poor choices to throw tantrums or physically throw things out of frustration because of it. He began to regress behavioral and it scared me immensely.
Immediately I got on the phone and internet and found a non-profit organization called C3 (Children’s Care Connection). It is a local program funded by the Children’s Hospital in San Diego. There was an incredibly LONG wait to be seen but it was WELL worth the wait. I brought him in and a psychologist did a quick test to determine his initial diagnosis. He did not cooperate and in fact started throwing a fit and refused to even acknowledge the lady was speaking to him.
Following this meeting we were connected with another non-profit program called Home Start… This program was AMAZING. A social worker by the name of Laura came to our home and used a technique called PCIT (parent Child Interaction Training). I watched videos and got paper handouts and even had homework! The first four or five sessions were during the kids nap time and was just Parent training. During the week I committed to 15 minutes of ‘special playtime’ a day with Kaelob. This is not to say that I dont play with him at other times during the day but during this 15 minutes he was allowed to make the rules, pick the game and be in charge (for the most part). There were rules I had to follow such as not asking any questions or giving commands. I had to learn other ways of communicating with him and saw the benefit of this process. I learned how many times I said no, dont, stop as opposed to positive remarks. Also I learned how to respond to his behavior with out always having to say Kaelob no, Kaelob dont, Kaelob do this, Kaelob do that….. a lot of it was speaking in the third person or almost ignoring him and he would then pay attention or follow directions because he wanted my attention. It was trickery, but it worked….but also very exhausting to constantly gear my mind towards this method of parenting…
Along with this program Kaelob got a referral for an occupational therapist who worked with him on his fine motor skills and Sensory. a few months into this therapy he refused to cooperate and would even go as far as running out of the office into the parking lot. The therapist refused to treat him. Kaelob was also tested down at Children’s hospital and has even seen a Neurologist and had a blood test to make sure there was nothing neurological or biological going on. all those tests came back perfectly normal. His test with the psychologist down at Children’s Hospital came back as a”working diagnosis” because at the time he was only 4 and they will not diagnose ADHD or most other behavioral disorders that early. the “working diagnosis” was enough to get Kaelob into a city pre school and have an IEP (individualized education plan). For Kaelob this was a HUGE step forward. An IEP not only will allow him to get resources and help in school but it forces the schools to work with him rather than just kick him out. They HAVE to help him and work with me in the process.
during ALL this Kaelob was also seeing a psychiatrist doing play therapy and what not. It was a husband and wife team so I was also seeing the wife to work on patience and my own behaviors as a parent. Not to mention in the evening I was able to take three different parenting classes. I learned SO much from these classes (which were free and provided through the C3 program as well) I learned a lot of tools and techniques to help myself handle Kaelob’s behavior and understand a lot of it. I felt empowered and well equipped to deal with anything that came my way as a parent.
Through all these various programs, classes, therapists and what not I have received mixed opinions about whether or not Kaelob truly does have ADHD. This is fine because honestly I see results in him over the last few years in response to the tools ive been given for ADHD behaviors. Wether or not he actually has ADHD he is obviously responding well and thats all I could hope for. At some point I know I need to take him back down to get tested before his 1st grade year is over.
Also over this last year I have struggled having this wide range of information and a husband who feels he has his own way of doing things. I am learning that just because I have been through ALL this over the years with Kaelob I am not always right. What I have learned is not neccessarily the BEST way to handle him, or the only way to deal with him. That truth hurts…especially when I unexpectedly collide with it. It is SO hard for me to admit that because of ALL the time and effort Ive invested into being a positive parent and helping my son through this time in his life. To have to realize that I dont have to coddle him or baby him or hold his hand through everything is incredibly hard. Thats when I was hit again with the reality that I grasp on to these parenting techniques for myself as well as for him. I clutch on tightly to these strategies because its the only way I can try to control his behavior/the situation. Again an issue I am learning I need to let go of. Sure there are times he might socially or emotionally need a little help but I definitely need to learn to let go more than I do. I need to stop being afraid of the unknown, of how hell react or respond, if hell get upset, if hell understand…and let him just BE him…. and more importantly show him that its OK to be himself.
I can only hope that while I am working so intensely on myself right now that he will reap the benefits as well. As I learn to control my emotional reactiveness he will learn from my example. I hope that as I let go of trying to control his relationship with Eric that they will be able to bond and grow a healthy loving supportive relationship in their own way, not mine. As much as this truth hurts, I am trying desperately to look at the beautiful possibilities in the future. This collision is one I feel that has helped push me forward rather than knock me down.
Praise God for helping us see the Truth and guiding us through the process of accepting and dealing with it.