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Henry Star of the Week

I meant to write this post last week and things, you might know, have changed slightly now! But since going back to school in January Henry has just been in such a good place. So happy and contented.

We walked to school a couple of weeks ago and he actually said ‘I don’t have anything to worry about it’! How amazing! It’s a state of being I can only dream of!!

And it got me thinking – why he was in such a good place?

I know this is hard to pinpoint as we still do several approaches, like most families, to help him maintain and further his progress, and of course he himself deserves his credit. But just thought I would share a few of my thoughts as they might be useful for other families just starting off or families with children that have a love of control!

We do a HANDLE programme and we have gone back into the playroom with more purpose since September although not massively but enough I this to help Henry balance the demand he faces.

In HANDLE we have been working quite a lot on integrating both sides of the brain*. This is something Henry has always struggled with for example riding a bike is still not really accomplished and things that require moving body parts in isolation and copying movements is still tricky (although seeing his mother at aerobics might explain why that us!!). The more I learn about the brain,  how we use our left and right sides,  how we can strengthen and develop new pathways so that messages don’t always go straight to the amygdala part of the brain and cause the flight/fright mode and how plastic the brain really is it makes sense how Henry could learn to cope so well with changes and disappointments and worries better than he ever had before.  Cognition I think also has a lot to do with his developed understanding and ability to rationalise.

My attitude is also definitely more relaxed about his worries like I say and I do now have the belief that he CAN do it and although I have to remind myself hopefully he no longer feels those ‘ohhhh noooo’ vibes from me. We do have a huge impact on our children and although we often think we are being calm and believing our body language can tell a different story!

We’ve also changed his diet slightly and following some real helpful advice from a nutritionist in November we mainly swapped rice milk for coconut milk and started to use ghee instead of dairy free spread and use it to cook with his sausages and chips. It is interesting that she said that saturated fats support brain function and anxiety and the adrenal gland, which controls the fight/flight instinct, feeds off cholesterol which we get from saturated fats (please excuse if my explanation wasn’t technically correct!!). So although most of us are trying to avoid saturated fats it may be that some of our children really need them. I did wonder whether it would have helped Henry if we knew this information when he was as controlling as he used to be. Children who are controlling are constantly on the edge and it doesn’t take very much, as we know, to send them into meltdown and fight/flight mode so it makes sense that they would use their cholesterol much quicker than the rest of us. Henry has been the calmest I have ever seen him. He was even going to sleep without any fuss. He is obviously absolutely no where near as controlling as he was, in fact I’m not sure I would use the word controlling to describe him anymore, but he was in a high state of anxiety the majority of the time. It may be worth trying out if you are in the throes of sitting in the dark or on settees with no cushions and not being able to touch anything or even look at them in the playroom or take anything in. Everything is a combination and I know no child is the same but you never know!

Not being lazy about adding Epsom salts to the bath regularly as well and adding vitality super green into his juice (although I know some children will not tolerate this, it’s taken us 6 years for Henry to tolerate it) but I think that has helped him too. I had got a bit slack with that too lately and I noticed that his dark circles are back under his eyes so I’ve slapped my hand and started being more organized again!

I’ve also implemented a tv ban in the morning before school on weekdays and the kids have just about come through their period of grieving for their loss! I know Sonrise advocate removing the tv but this has always been a step to far for us, especially for my husband! It’s been a few months now and Henry colours and reads now instead and i think it has definitely contributed to a calmer environment which leads to calmer people, myself included! This is probably something we should have done a lot earlier, maybe one day I’ll summon the courage to ban it after school…ooh I can hear my children’s gasps from here!

The past few days the anxiety has shown itself again so i know there’s no magic cure, and i know there are lots of other things out there you can try aswell. As usual it’s back to the balancing act and tweaks and self assessment. Except this time I am taking lessons from the good times rather than the bad. Because as we know, whatever you focus on undoubtedly gets bigger…and that really is the truth x

* if your your child does suffer from seizures you do have to be careful with certain integrating activities so getting professional advice before would be advisable just in case.

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