Group Therapy

Jonah went to his first day of Group Developmental therapy today, and I cried a little while driving there. I could just imagine it.
They would rip Jonah off me and he would cry for an hour and a half, feeling like I abandoned him.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Yes, he hid behind me, and yes, he had to be pulled off my leg and carried in the room. But after sitting on the teacher’s lap for five minutes, he was fine. Actually, he was better than fine. He was amazing. He played with toys, did puzzles, lined up for gross motor, ran and played, sat for snack, talked, sat in circle time and sang and did the hand motions. The classroom has a camera in it, so I was able to sit in the waiting room and watch everything that was going on, and I could not believe my eyes. He smiled. He laughed. He talked to his teachers. He loved it!
After therapy his head therapist came out and told me she was so surprised with how well he did, especially since it was his first time at group therapy.
I am so proud of Jonah!
In other news, Jonah’s autism evaluation has been moved up to May 14th…so I’ll be freaking out about that for the next few weeks.


Head or Heart

Two rough days have sucked the life out of me.
We were doing so well with bedtime. The last two nights he has refused to get in bed, stay in bed, lay in bed, and quite frankly, I’m so tired of repeating myself.
Leaving the house has become a massive challenge. He cries when we put on shoes and socks. He cried about going on a walk today. He cried about a tree that we passed on the walk.
His speech is starting to slur again and I’m having a hard time understanding what he is saying, except when he is screaming no at me. I understand that.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that he no longer wants to eat? He has been skipping breakfast, eating a handful of fruit for lunch, and either crackers or nothing for dinner.
But worst of all, he is doing more and more repetitive behaviors. Two hours in the backyard scooping up dirt in his hands. An hour rolling balls of play dough back and forth on the table. An hour of being rolled back and forth on the ball. In and out of the swing all day. Sitting on he he couch fingering the weighted blanket over and over. Lining up balls and cars. Hand flapping.
And my reaction? I want to cry and scream and tell all these therapists to get out of my fucking house and leave us alone. You want to know what I’m seeing?
Three weeks of NO therapy at all, and we saw amazing improvements.
He went to a group therapy on Monday and another therapy came to the house on Thursday. So if this is all because of therapy starting again, what is next week going to be like when he has Speech on Monday, Behavior on Tuesday morning, Group on Tuesday afternoon, school evaluation Thursday morning, OT on Thursday morning, and Group Thursday afternoon? Is any of this even worth it? Because right now, at this moment while I am sitting in a chair in my children’s bedroom ready to cry, it doesn’t feel worth it at all.
The behavioral therapist told me, “He is allowed to have good days and bad ones, just like us.” And you know what I wanted to say to her?
“Yes, he is allowed to have a bad day, but what you people don’t seem to understand is just by you knocking on my door, he becomes so fearful, anxious, and stressed that YOU ruin his day. I ruin his day by taking him to the loud, crowded store. You ruin his day by asking him to look at you. I ruin his day by asking him to wash his hands or put on socks. So no, he isn’t allowed to have bad days, he is forced to have bad days by us. And quite frankly, what would happen if I just stopped? What if I just didn’t force him to do the things that bother him so much? Who cares if he doesn’t EVER touch shaving cream? I don’t. I don’t care if he ever plays baseball or is prom king. What I care about is right now. What is happening to him right now that is causing him to stop progressing and go backwards?”
Instead I shook my head and smiled, because I the end, I’m just his mom, not a professional therapist. I’m just the woman who carried him, who nursed him, who was the first to notice something was happening to him, his advocate, the one who walked away from her career so he could have everything he would need, the one who uprooted her whole family for better services and schools, the one who is here every second of every day without break. But what do I know?
And when I think about how hard all this is for me, I look at Jonah and try to think about how hard all of this is for him, and I can’t even imagine.
My heart is telling me to read the signs and see that something is bothering him, and the only change since all this progress are these new therapists.
My head, on the other hand, says to wait it out. It’s new. It’s scary. And he will adjust.
My son is hiding under a blanket, because sometimes that’s where he needs to be to feel comfortable.

This morning, amidst crying about the walk and a tree, we stopped at a hamburger stand on our way home from our walk. 11am I ordered my boys ice cream cones. The woman behind me looked at Jonah and said, “Is that your breakfast?”
After reading above, you can only imagine what I wanted to say to her.

A new Jonah

I have no idea what happened. Prior to the move, Jonah was horrible. He stopped trying to communicate, had tantrums and meltdowns multiple times a day, and lots of aggression.
The first night in the house, he started saying two word phrases. A week after moving, three word phrases. He had a two week break from therapy with the move, and he has been so happy, talkative, and calm. He tells me what he wants. Meltdowns are at an all all time low. And Jonah, the kid who has severe anxiety about being around other kids, was outside playing near the neighbor kids.
I’m left questioning if this new town drugs the water…because I don’t understand any of this. But I love it. This move was worth every single stressful moment because of what it brought me: Jonah. Don’t get me wrong, he still has many issues, and everything is not perfect, but the change I have seen in him has been amazing.