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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Special, Even in the Special Needs Community

Even in the "special needs" community, Mark and I have often felt "special." This past week has proven that feeling much. Teale was enrolled into a day camp with all special needs children this past week. Two of the five days, transitioning from us, to staff was not very pretty. Teale has always had far more behavioral outbursts with Mark and I, than with others. Her connection to us is strong and often with children, the worst behaviors are with those they feel the safest with. Having a daughter with severe intellectual issues, just exasperates this. What goes through Teale's head is anyone's guess, her rages don't always seem to have a rhyme or reason. Sometimes we can tweak it out to be caused by miscommunication or anxiety or exhaustion or even an illness not yet detected, but more times than not, we are only guessing. Teale was sixteen years old in December of last year, she is approximately four inches taller than me and far outweighs me. The inability to use her right hand is both a Blessing and a curse. I have often felt she would probably rage less, if the frustrations of only using one arm and hand were eliminated. I have also thought, thank God I only have one arm to protect myself and others from. When Teale rages, she has no filter and often goes after anything and anyone who is in her way. The attacks on me have been very scary and violent as she has aged. I have been fearful for myself and "our property," because I am not always able to predict her next move when she goes into these rages. She recently got me pretty good on my face, close to my eye. My eyes are often my number one concern, trying to keep myself safe, when she is angry, can be like wrestling a grisly bear. I often try to have a hands off approach to Teale's anger, but only if or after I get her to her "safe place." We have established our living room couch as the safe place for Teale's rages. If I can get her there safely, she often can calm herself. As you might imagine, getting her there is not always easy. We have the living room set up pretty simply, there is rarely much she can grab to chuck at me, once I get her onto the couch. Unfortunately, as I've said, life is unpredictable with Teale and we are not always vigilant about keeping the safe area, safe. An instance that happened recently started in our kitchen. Teale and I came home from a fun Birthday party for her girlfriend. Leaving any gathering or the end of any event is a horrible time for Teale. She does not transition easily or well at the end of something. Goodbyes are very difficult, I can not even begin to tell you how many family gatherings, parties, festivals, etc. we have "run from, with our tails between our legs," as Teale's behavior suddenly hits a wall. Anyway, as I said, we had just left a really fun Birthday party and true to form, Teale was very much on the edge of a meltdown. We arrived home to Mark and my son, Beau cranking on lawn work, Teale ALWAYS wants her Dad, so she got more edgy when I told her he needed to finish what he was doing. Then it happened, we walked inside to find Gwenn and her friend making cookies, in what Teale thinks is HER kitchen. Teale gets possessive over rooms in our house, for years and years it was the living room. She would meltdown if we came home to a sibling in the living room watching TV or on the computer. She would yell at any of us to go away, stop watching her TV or just wanting to sit on a couch in the living room. We tried for years to teach her that the living room was for everyone, we had several behavior specialist into our home to help us, yet, nothing ever really worked. Now it is the kitchen she thinks she owns, she sits at the kitchen table playing on her iPad and often growls at, gets angry at or starts to meltdown with family members being in "her space." Coming home to Gwenn and her friend, was the straw that broke the camels back, so to speak. She starting amping up and I knew I needed to get her to her safe spot on the couch before it went really bad.   (to be continued...)