So lately OCD has been the big thing in our family. Michael’s aggression has gone down in a big way. Dad and I are so proud of him using his strategies, talking about his fears, and asking for help. This has made all the difference for him and our family. It has also meant that Michael has been able to see the strength he has behind all his challenges, because no matter what, our kids do have some control over their behavior. They must be able to see that and know that they are in control. That is important that all of us have that input, including our kids.
The thing is OCD is a tough thing to battle and learn to live with. We have always known Michael had it. I’ve felt it in my bones since Michael was a baby, and prayed I was wrong as it is not an easy thing to live with. I had ABA therapists tell me to stamp it out immediatel when I spoke to them of my suspicions when he was five years old. I myself have found nothing redeemable about it. Autism is a gift in so many ways as is ADHD. They simply mean a different brain or way of seeing the world. Anxiety. Well, heck. All of us have anxiety, exceptional brained and neuro typical brained. But OCD? It seems to be just another stressor with nothing redeemable. I know we could look at it as “attention to detail,” or “focused”, but more often than not, it borders to the obsessive and takes away from so much enjoyment. When Michael has been in its clutches (and Dad and I with him), we’ve often felt so discouraged and stressed. I’ve done my best to stay positive and use strategies like his Educator and psychiatrist have said, such as “stay focused on the task,” and “breathe through it.” But sometimes it is not as easy as that. A new medication we are trying for OCD will hopefully help, but in the end, I know as with everything else, it is remembering the child behind the challenges, the human being, that will help him and us learn to live with this latest challenge. Michael is Michael and will always be the unique human being he is. Dad and I have to remember to nurture his confidence in his coping, stress management and abilities, so that he knows that no matter what he can do it. I know he can do it. I truly believe that no person is given more than he/she can handle . God helps us all learn from our challenges. Michael is no different and neither are Dad and I as his parents. I also know that with time Dad and I will see the gift of OCD and what it brings to Michael’s life.
Exceptional Parents, are you battling new issues with your Exceptional Children or are you facing ones you knew were there but did no want to contend with? Either way, take heart. Your child and you are stronger than you think. Devise a plan of action to hande personal and family stress. Find ways to regroup individually and together, and in time you will see that you will be able to handle anything that comes your way. Remember, growth often happens through difficult moments for all of us . Until next time.