Thursday, September 23, 2010

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Quieting the storm

There is SO much information online and in books about Autism,  Sensory Processing Disorder, food allergies, diet, medication, therapy and on and on and on. The first impulse is to immerse yourself in it until you find the answer your child needs. I am guilty of doing this. I buried myself in research for weeks on end, reading medical journals online, joining parent support groups, reading testimonials ( you all know what I mean, the ones that have giant headlines screaming " I cured my child's Autism with (insert "cure" here) !!!"

Let me just add my two cents, based on my experiences and nothing more. Yes. You should research. Any parent would. However. It is so easy to get completely caught up in finding the "cure", that you lose sight of what's important.  I did. I was convinced that I was going to find the missing information that doctors and allergists and therapists were missing. I didn't care that these people went to medical school or had degrees or were specialists in their field. Obviously they didn't know MY son!! I was going to be Logan's hero. I was going to rule the world! Well, okay. Maybe not rule the world. But you get my point. I asked thousands of questions online and in person. I grilled everyone I came in contact with about every little thing I had read. I stopped seeing all the progress Logan was making. I was pleased that he was doing well with therapy, but now I wanted to solve all the issues. Today.  I wanted answers and I wanted them RIGHT NOW!

Fast forward a month or six weeks, to where I was so exhausted from staying up all night every night researching Logan's "cure" that I was floundering in daily life.  I owe our VERY incredible occupational therapist a debt of gratitude for his intervention. We were having a therapy session for Logan one day and he was trying to tell me about some new research he had come across, and some resources I could access online. I interrupted the man and said, " "I've already read all that. What else ya got?" With a LOT more patience than I would have been able to use had the situation been reversed, he said, "Look. You need to take a research break. Don't stop completely, but you need to really step back and look at things that ARE happening instead of dreaming about things you WANT to happen." I was shocked! I was angry! I mean, really! How dare he! Who does this man think he is?!?! And then............ reality hit. I looked at Logan who was running laps around the house to stimulate his brain in between therapy games. Wait... did I say running? Logan was running. And laughing. And babbling away excitedly in that indecipherable baby speak that makes all mothers smile. And signing because he wanted a snack. And I melted. How did I miss all this??? I was there, teaching him sign, and playing therapy games, and talking nonstop with him every day. But I still missed it. It hadn't sunken in that he was THRIVING!

I still do ridiculous amounts of research. But I frequently take breaks. Sometimes it's just a day or two. Sometimes it's a month. This last break has been a few weeks, because we have been working through the testing, doctor's visits and hospital stay Logan's last seizure created. My priorities have shifted somewhat. I still have every intention of researching anything I think will be beneficial to Logan. But I won't let that take precedence over stopping to appreciate the small stuff, like the first time he called me Momma. Or the first time he said "Puppy! Ruff ruff!". Or the first time he had ever been in a wading pool because his allergies were under control enough to go outside. Or when he saw me wearing hoop earrings last week and said, "ears peez!" because he wanted to wear some, too!

The moral of the story is, don't lose sight of the everyday victories just because you're too busy reading the latest medical journals, or magazine articles, or support forum. Take time to live. Take time to smile and laugh and appreciate.  Involve the entire family in therapies and care. It makes all the difference. The biggest step for me was to realize that I am not alone. I don't have to go on a crusade and exhaust myself in the process because there are SO many people and resources out there to help. I am not the only parent trying to find answers.

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