This week is technically a vacation week in our house but when it comes to managing our child’s needs, we never really have a week off. Today, we are going to see a new consultant and I am both apprehensive and excited about the potential outcome. After meeting with so many therapists, social workers and doctors, I continue to look for different types of intervention or guidance that is more fitting for our family and in particular for Charlie. Of course, speech and occupational therapy and medical expertise are all a critical part of the plan but the fact is that none of these services seem to help with how our family enjoys every day events or experiences and I personally believe it is critical that as parents Jeff and I learn how to make the most of our family time together. Now that we have another son, it is even more critical that we ensure Charlie’s needs and wants do not always overtake our family unit. I came across Relationship Development Intervention® in my research and it is often called the “missing link” in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders. It is a cognitive/developmental program that teaches parents how to guide their child to desire and succeed in their environment. It is a well-documented, research based program that teaches parents how to guide their child in an ever changing, dynamic world.
Okay that is all a bit formal and technical for most of us but simply put from what I understand this type of intervention is more about living everyday life as a family unit to create and generate the type of behaviors that empower both parents and the child. I don’t know much more than what I have read online and through the welcome packet from the consultant but am definitely interested to hear more at our initial meeting this afternoon.
Then comes tomorrow with the dreaded ENT evaluation. I say dreaded because Charlie absolutely hates the doctors and really dislikes anyone checking his ears which of course is the entire point of the visit. Last month we had 1 DR, 2 nurses and me all holding him down, it was awful. This is something I know most parents face and is not atypical with kids and DR visits but I am usually left sweating, exhausted and stressed following the appointment. But, I am excited to go because I have a strong feeling that we are going to find out that we need to have his tubes replaced and yes this is a good thing! I have always sensed that Charlie’s hearing created many of the challenges he has and the last time we had tubes put in, we noticed an incredible increase in his speaking and his behavior improved greatly so I am all for replacing the one that has fallen out if it means he will hear better and feel better.
I often worry that maybe we do too much, seek too much advice, go to too many appointments in our efforts to help Charlie. I am concerned that other people think we are obsessed with finding a “silver bullet” and perhaps we should just let him be and see what happens. Sometimes I want to throw in the towel and just let go of all the evaluations; but I have seen personally the significant progress that has resulted from many of these interventions and so we keep on keeping on. It is doubtful that one perfect solution exists but that is okay with me. As parents, we just try to learn as much as we can about helping Charlie and take what we feel good about and sometimes dismiss the advice or guidance we do not feel comfortable with. We had such a wonderful, normal holiday with Charlie that I started thinking I was imagining all of the “atypicality.” He really had fun, got into Christmas and loved the parties which was very rewarding and gives me a glimmer of hope that he is starting to perhaps grow out of some of these issues. Then again, we have good days and bad so for now, we will take another small step and just see how it goes.