When Little Man began to be challenging, we looked for all kinds of ways to rein in his behavior. We truly believed we were just not parenting him well, that we needed to be more consistent, more strict, more on our parenting game. Nothing really helped. The tantrums continued. The meltdowns still came. Sleep was non-existent. He was rigid. He was obsessive. He was stubborn and defiant. We were exhausted. We blamed ourselves. Then, three years ago (almost to the day), he was diagnosed on the spectrum. Relief! Or so we thought. Now we had an answer, a reason for him being the way he was/is. We had a name for it. We had a path laid before us. Along with his ASD, he also carries the ADHD and ODD diagnosis. We chose to medicate the ADHD, and saw some immediate improvement, at least as far as focus, attention, and hyperactivity was concerned. Sleep continued to elude us. Tantrums still occurred. Meltdowns still were a part of life.
Two years ago, he lost weight between check-ups. We tried one allergy medicine said to also help increase appetite. We stopped it after two weeks, noting absolutely no difference. Last year, when his wheels came off at school, we tried an anti-anxiety med. He became suicidal. We quickly and safely weaned him off of it. Two weeks ago, I ordered a weighted blanket for him to the tune of $150. We’ve read and heard weighted blankets can help with sleep and just anxiety in general. The blanket arrived nine days ago. He loves it. He likes to sit under it while he watches tv or plays on his iPod or DS. Thus far, he has climbed into our bed in the middle of the night just as often as he did before the blanket arrived. I’m not giving up hope it will help, but that leads to this post today.
I feel like we keep looking for the miracle, magical cure for what ails him. I keep thinking we will find little fixes for each issue, and then he will be fine. He won’t cry every afternoon at school. He won’t freak out when our schedule changes unexpectedly or suddenly. We won’t have honeymoon periods followed by total disasters. We can travel and not worry he’s going to lose it. I can take him to the store and not have that fear in the back of my mind he’s going to melt down or lash out at any moment. I would be able to breath.
There are tools that help. With therapy, medications, occupational therapy, resources, weighted blankets, comfort boxes, Jaws, posted schedules, breathing exercises, and behavioral work, he has and will continue to improve. But I have to remind myself there is no miracle cure. He’s not ever going to NOT be autistic. Knowing that does deflate the hope somewhat. It’s what makes me the most sad about all of this. It’s the one thing that can completely break me. There’s no miracle cure. No magic pill. No blanket, no stuffed animal, no band aid that makes it all better.