Today was a special day. Not only is today the first day of spring but today was H's first visit home from respite.
On Thursday Rob and I attended H's therapy session and the focus was on H coming up with positive alternative to screaming when she gets mad. She seemed to not like any of the suggestions that were offered to her and could not come up with any of her own. Rob and I were very disappointed that she seemed unwilling to work on making things better for when she came home.
The therapist suggested that I create a situation that would normally upset H when she was home on her visit today and then work through it in a new way. I did my part and pushed some issues with her. She became agitated and was about to blow. Then I got some paper and said, "Let's come up with some other things you could do." That did not go over too well. "I'm to mad to do that." "That's a great place to start. We'll make that number 1, 'Tell mom that I'm mad.'" We added some others like taking deep breaths. All the while I am astounded that this is actually working. I suggested that she splash some cold water on her face. She looked doubtful but went to the bathroom and did it. The look on her dripping wet face was priceless! "I feel better!!!!" I explained that that was why they call it "cooling off". She told me how hot she gets when she is mad and that it felt better. There was a calmness that came over her. It was the first time she had actually done something different (something she thought was "weird") and it worked.
She signed the back of the list and then shared it with the rest of the family. N wanted to sign it too. The rest of followed his lead and signed it as a show of support for H and also as our commitment to follow the same list of alternatives of things to try when we are mad as a family. Pretty cool! I'm not thinking this is the solution to all of our problems but it is a baby step. H is so happy that she actually got mad and made a better choice than screaming. She saw for herself that she can make better choices and it really did work. I am so happy for her.
I told her that today is not only the first day of spring but a day of new beginnings for her.