Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Refined thoughts

At some point when Elijah was in my belly or shortly after he entered this crazy world (probably due to his heart condition), a lack of proper bloodflow and/or oxygenation caused the pathways in the right side of his brain to become injured. Because the brain is an amazing organ and because our bodies have an incredible way of finding other avenues to make things happen when circumstances aren't ideal, alternate routes were created in his brain. Imagine a detour. You follow those annoying orange construction signs around twisty roads that are way out of your way. The process requires extra patience, energy and time. When you are back on path, you are flustered, tired and you want to scream at everyone around you.

Instinctively we have always known that Elijah does not process the world like the rest of us do. We have always put him to bed early, knowing his brain has needed extra rest. We have always tried to minimize overly-stimulating situations whenever possible because his eyes begin to glaze over and he appears totally exhausted. When we received his Nonverbal Learning Disorder diagnosis, all of the above was confirmed. We know that Elijah reaches his "limit" MUCH sooner than the rest of us do.

You know that point you get to occasionally when you have pushed yourself too far? You start bumping into walls, you want to yell at the people you love and you cry about the littlest thing? That is your LIMIT. Once you get there, you know you've pushed yourself beyond your means. You need to back down and get some sleep. Not work as hard. Relax for a few days. Take it easy. But for most of us, it takes MONTHS of pushing our limits to get to this point. For Elijah, it takes way less than that.

Elijah has reached his limit this school year already and we are becoming concerned. Full days are too much for his brain to handle at this point in his little life. In the past week he has been throwing objects in class, yelling at his teacher and being inappropriate with his peers. He has reached his limit and he is doing those things all of us do when we have reached our boiling point.

In the past year we have tried to address many different issues, assuming they were main contributing factors to Elijah's struggles. We have focused on sleep and anxiety mainly, assuming one of those might be the main contributor. After many doctor's visits and way too many tears, we now know that over-stimulation is the culprit of Elijah's struggles. When too much is expected of him and he has to process large amounts of information for extended periods of time, he reaches his boiling point. At that point he can no longer control emotions or his behavior and he wants to make everyone around him mad. I don't blame him. I know that feeling and it's awful!

Dan and I met with the key members of Elijah's school team this afternoon. They are AWESOME. They love and care about him and they genuinely want him to succeed. We suggested that we cut Elijah's school days back a couple days/week, but they offered other solutions. We expected this. They are willing to make adjustments in Elijah's schedule to help him get through the school day in hopes that he will not become completely overwhelmed.

For a four-week trial period, Elijah will receive multiple "breaks" throughout every day. He can go to a safe place and have free time. There will be no expectations. He can rest, have a snack, read or play. Dan and I are willing to try this, but we know that ultimately Elijah is going to need to spend less time at school. We'll jump through the hoops in order to keep him in school, but we know what is best for our boy. We will see how the next few weeks go! Maybe another miracle will happen?!

THANK YOU for peeking in!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Megan!

I am not sure if you have tried this but maybe you can encourage other ways for E to release his frustration like screamng into a pillow... It is very liberating:). Also, I am not sure if this helps but as far as getting half days for Elijah, maybe one of his doctors can type up a letter stating that their is a medical necessity for this half days. I hope this helps!

All the best,
Maggie J.