We have our youngest daughter’s return home coming in less than 48 hours. We spent today having a brief therapy session regarding her communication style, social anxiety issues and what we hope will work when she returns.
Cognitively the therapist believes she processes verbal information at about a 4 year old pace. We want to do some neuro-psychological testing to see cognitively where she’s at- the trouble is, our youngest believes this testing is on a pass or fail basis. We just want to see if there is something in her thinking process that causes her to stay stuck and resort to aggressive behavior because she doesn’t believe anything else can keep her safe.
We may have to be more visual in terms of our reminders if we sense that she’s getting agitated. We may have to take her out of situations very quickly when she doesn’t feel safe- even if it means that we remove everyone in our family from the outing. We have to make her life stable and have everyone gain a sense of comfort before I think she’ll be able to gain trust in everyone again.
It’s tough to think in different terms when we’ve been facing such chaos and turmoil for a long period of time. But we need to work on making everyone understand that if we can’t use our words, we need to figure out an effective form of communication without resorting to negative action. I think what happens to my youngest is very simple: a small feeling magnifies itself when she thinks about how she’s handled life based on past experience. She views our cues as parents, panics and then explodes.
So slowly but surely she’ll come to understand the ways to communicate effectively. We may have to reintroduce a form of sticker charts to work on a few behaviors we want to improve along with rewards that entice her to stick to her coping skills. The in house therapy will continue, and we may be able to get additional support for services through my main medical insurance.
The main point is, we never will give up. Our oldest is worried about her level of attention and care. She’s enjoyed being the center of attention, and I can’t blame her. We need to savor the days when everyone is in good space, and also recognize that each of them are individuals with their own individual wants and needs.
But I can’t focus on what I don’t have. I need to take the steps to show my family I can provide the guidance and support to thrive, and allow them to still make mistakes and realize that they will survive. It’s so easy to whine and complain and much harder to just go at things from a different perspective. There’s always help available, and if it’s not the right help, seek out others who are experts in the field. I take in what works and give praise to even the little changes in life.
I can only imagine how my youngest wants to be leading a better life. I think she puts a lot of pressure on herself to lead a perfect life or to an ideal my wife and I have set up for her in her mind. We’ve tried to let her know, we don’t want a clone of us- or of anyone else. We just want her to settle in, accept love and enjoy being in a family. From there we can grow together. Stay tuned for more as the events of our lives unfold.