Autism Watch: 2007

Smile, Nod and Pretend

Posted on: February 3, 2011

I had an IEP yesterday afternoon. Lately, these IEPs have been pretty standard — we know what’s going to be discussed, we laugh a little, we agree on further services, sign the attendance sheet, and leave with the IEP paperwork to review once more together, at home, before we sign. Pretty simple, especially given that our school is up-front and offers services without hassle. Dh couldn’t go with me, and I wasn’ t worried; I figured I’d be in/out in less than an hour and we’d go on as usual.

Just when you least expect it….wham, the punch to the stomach.

First, the teacher came in to meet me early. I like the teacher, she’s good for him, and I trust her, so when she laid out several issues he’d had yesterday, I believed her. Then she started talking about Tuesday…then Monday. Then another teacher came in and added to it. Then the special ed. director/teacher concurred as she’d seen it. They were very nice about it all, and their approach was fine. It was just that the information, the surprise of it, was a bit…overwhelming?

I know my son has social and behavioral issues. I love him to pieces, and we work daily to fix things and help him improve and learn how to be independent and function in the world, but when you hear there are more issues, or things are worse, it’s still difficult to hear. That’s when I got butterflies and started to do the smile and nod. It wasn’t a ‘how funny!’ smile, but a ‘yes, I’m listening, thanks for sharing’ kind of smile. The kind of smile that signifies I’m holding together just fine, and am rolling with the punches. Inside, I’m sighing and wondering what the heck just happened.

The questions came, and I didn’t have any good answers: had there been a recent medication change? (No, he’s on no meds.) Had there been a dietary change? (No, we eat primarily homemade healthy food, same as always.) Had we noticed any change? (Yes, we’d noticed a few weeks ago that he was more active, his attention span was shorter and he was having more mood swings and control issues.)

While I already knew he was hyperactive — ADHD often goes hand-in-hand with autism — and I knew he had social issues, to hear that he’s now acting out in order to fit in, that he’s trying harder to manipulate situations in an attempt to control his environment (not necessarily to be devious), and that he’s showing lack of focus, lots of fidgeting and difficulty getting and staying on task, well, it was a lot to hear.

New and increased services are in place, and we’re working with the school to be sure we’re consistent and employing the same tactics and strategies at home. Bigger picture, we’re revamping his diet, which is a real challenge as he already eats pretty darn healthy. We’re working on solving his intestinal issue, trying another round of anti-yeast protocol, and seeing what we can do to decrease his level of activity as well as eliminate his headaches…all without medication.

Not sure where to start, but away we goooooooooooo………..

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