Michael never ceases to amaze me with how well he copes under pressure, albeit a few tantrums here or there. The stress last week was due to worry about upcoming blood tests. Michael was getting ready to have his first set of blood work done. His pediatrician had noticed that we had never done blood work, and was concerned about ruling things out due to his very aggressive behavior in the fall. I had been so happy that we had not had to worry about up it until this point. Explaining fasting and what happens during a blood test is hard for any kid. But take a kid on the spectrum who is very anxious and scared of losing control and you have yourself a dilemma. Like in many other cases though, I am a lucky woman. I have very dear friends in the community that told me about a private service that will come to your house and do the tests. It is expensive, but thanks to Dad’s insurance we were able to manage. I was dreading taking a hungry child to the hospital for blood tests, especially as it was his first time. If we had had to do it, I know we would have managed. Still, I was so grateful for this option. And other than a challenging Friday night, Michael had his tests done Saturday morning at our house at his and our leisure without worrying about being late for school.
It went very well. I wrote a social story that we read the last two days of last week, he had his strategies in place to cope. He wrote them out on the social story page. I was so proud of him. And we’re lucky that he’s a kid who never eats breakfast right away so between having an 8:00 am appointment and getting up at 7:00 am, he managed well. After the test was done he even forgave the technician who he complained “pinched me.” He asked if he could come and babysit him!
We all have to face our fears and do things we sometimes don’t want to do. That was Michael’s big thing. But why do I have to do this Mommy? I heard myself in him. There have been so many things I have not wanted to do, to speak of, to face. But now I am starting to push myself with my version of a social story. Looking at what’s coming up, writing down or troubleshooting strategies, and really, really thinking to myself, what’s the worst thing that could happen? I need to face it and move on.
Exceptional Parents, how often have you seen your child tackle a fear and been enormously proud of them? I’m sure it happens several times a day. You are your child’s best cheerleader, right? How about doing the same thing for yourself? How about cheering “you” on when the going gets tough. We all have days when we need to do those proverbial “blood tests” and want to be anywhere but. It’s important you face those fears, find ways to deal with the stress, and grow from the experience. When you do, you’ll be a happier, more secure individual and parent. Good luck with your troubleshooting. Until next time.