Today has been a very, very, very long day full of many, many, very obvious displays of difficulties with staying on-task and many, many, many questions about the music retreat (tomorrow til Wednesday evening; I received a bursary!) and the Queen and the news-reported tornado watch and intermittent hail we've been having today.
At around 8pm: "I don't want to go to the retreat and I don't want to go to the high school and what if the Queen can't leave Manitoba because of the weather and are we really going to have a tornado? What if we have a tornado? I just want to stay home tomorrow."
Thankfully, one of his respite providers had offered to have him at her place during the retreat, so I took her up on her offer.
On the one hand, it would have been a wonderful experience for my son to be surrounded by half a week of music and musicians, even if it meant he would just be relaxing in the background and reading his books. He would have truly benefitted from the experience. On the other hand, with his anxiety being so obvious and given past adventures when his anxiety has shown itself the way it did today, he may have ended up having a meltdown at the retreat or possibly for a few days after the retreat. (It will also be less stressful for me with regards to accomodations, since retreat accomodations are single, university dorm rooms with bathrooms down the hall. I've been hoping he wouldn't be doing any night-time "exploring" while others are sleeping. The accomodations are also quite a few blocks from the retreat rather than in the same building, which meant travelling to our destination each morning and the possibility that my son wouldn't feel like going on any given day. Since this would be new ground for my son as far as not knowing anyone else who will be attending, it would have made for increased anxiety as far as meeting different people and sleeping on his own in a different place, etc., etc., etc. I'm always hopeful that he'll be able to manage something new if he has someone he knows well to be there with him. Sometimes he handles new situations amazingly well but usually it's because I am there as well as others he has known for a long time and with whom he feels comfortable. Sometimes he handles new situations amazingly well then goes into meltdown mode sometime during the situation or afterwards. Sometimes that hopefulness totally backfires.)
It's always tricky to know which way to prepare my son for something new. Most of the time, if he knows in advance it causes his anxiety to rise. But I don't like the idea of springing things on him as we're on our way either. I have to say though, the latter usually "works" much better.
At any rate, I am very much off to bed.
This blog was initially set up as a means of communicating with my son's team. Since then, I've heard from other parents with similar stories. If you are living with challenges or journeying alongside someone who is, you are not alone. There are many of us. I'm a single adoptive Mom (http://richesofsimplicity.blogspot.com/) of a young man who lives with many abilities and many diagnoses. We have journeyed together through many challenges and a few adventures over the years as my son has tried to find space in this world that makes him feel more comfortable, an attempt made especially difficult when living with Attachment Disorder, PDD-NOS (Autism), Developmental Coordination Disorder, ADHD, prenatal substance exposure, etc. Some of the strongest elements used in this journey have been music, visual arts, therapeutic parenting, team-connection, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, communication skills, community-building, continual lifeskills training, and elements of Theraplay. (Click here for some written resources.) On this journey, there is laughter and tears and growth and hope. The greatest of these is hope.