Last week, Graham “had a behavior”.
I put that in quotes because I never understood why behaviorists and teachers use that phrase when a violent kid attacks someone violently. It would throw me off in meetings because whenever they’d say that, my brain thought it was something along the lines of him knocking something off of his desk and onto the floor.
So for my own brain’s sake, if he does something violent, I call it what it is.
The good news:
- The frequency of Graham’s major violent attacks has reduced SIGNIFICANTLY – (rough estimate just to give you reference off the top of my head) down to only 3-4 times a year vs. monthly or even weekly in some instances.
- The frequency of the threat or risk of Graham attacking has also reduced significantly – down from daily to about once very couple of months.
Takeaway – he goes through looong stretches of zero risk/zero attack incidents. Which is a MIRACLE.
The bad news:
- Graham still attacks people.
However – really important to note that there needs to be a perfect storm for this to happen. In the past, the tiniest little thing could trigger an attack. One broken toy, one change in routine, not getting what he wants to eat were the big ones. That no longer is the case. Nope, not any more. Generally speaking, only 2 things will set him off right now. 1) placing high or repetitive correction type demands on him while his blood sugar is low and 2) broken relationships.
More on that later because it’s a doozy of a subject. Today, I want to quickly touch on people’s reactions to something like this.
If you have someone safe you can talk honestly to about these things,
can you pass their number along to us hang on to them for dear life and don’t let go!! It’s easy to feel isolated in this circumstance. It’s hard for people to be able to relate. It’s hard for people to witness or hear about an attack without wanting to solve it for you because they care about you.
Because I mostly share the stories about how well he’s doing and all of the progress he’s made, the types of things people say to me is “you’re doing such a great job”, “he’s really lucky to have you help him”, “that’s amazing, you should keep doing that!”. I rarely share the details of “behaviors” with people for fear of judgement or being told what to do in the moment by someone who is simply reacting quite naturally – “are you insane?” “why are you letting that happen?” “send him to live somewhere else!”. Followed by silence…until I share a happier story and they are pleased to be part of the happiness of that.
What I want to say to those people who are momentarily and very naturally shocked at how physically vicious Graham can be towards us is that it is all part of the process. Those wonderful and amazing progress reports I give? There was a lot of thought and hard work and personal sacrifice and injury and courage that went into that.
I told someone that my time here on this side of heaven helping a broken Graham is so short compared to my life with a completely restored Graham.
We are working to help him and he is making rapid progress that we are pleased with. Yay, God, for giving us wisdom in that. People who knew him from before can’t deny that he is a different person now.
But sometimes I get a strong urge to share the dark side. The ugliness of it. The hard parts. The scary parts. Because if I can’t plant that picture in your mind – of what it can really be like – then the isolation sets in because there’s no one who will hear the whole story, good and bad together and you only get to know half of me.
I am blessed with 2 friends, in particular, who I guess were kind of tested – not planned and not intentionally! – in how they would respond to seeing pictures and actual video footage of last week’s attack. I admit, I held my breath, not knowing what they would say. But guess what? Nothing but support and acknowledgement of the insane work we’re doing and I even got a little help out of it. 🙂
They are with me in taking the good and the bad, because it’s all part of a process.