Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Free Therapy

It's been quite fascinating learning about our children's diagnose, a kind of free therapy. for instance, i learned that autistic children sometimes make use of a weighted blanket at dinner or sleep time - that it's comforting and heko them feel secure. So i've lately been adding extra blankets on the bed (this doesn't work in the summer) and been sleeping far more soudly. Or when in a meeting with our daughter's neurobehavioralist, he asks "Who lived in a house with boxes?" my wife quickly raises her hand, remembering the constant moving around they did when she as growing up. Or when he asks "Who uses lists as a coping mechanism?" and we both quickly raise our hands. Even though the sessions are about her and how she's doing at home or school, he will often drop these massive nuggets that are just so helpful to us. Like how Lori and I have different levels of tolerance for clutter. Lori's coping mechanism is to spread things out - it allows her to survey and know where things are. Mine is to consolidate into action piles.

And it makes sense because when it's time to attack an action pile, then I spread it out so that I can survey it, which at work manifests itself in two interesting ways - a box-lid of stuff i'm working through and the extreme measure of sometimes completely ignoring a thread in email if there starts to be too many people talking all at once - I have to wait until I can set aside some time to go through all of them (sometimes printing out all the emails) and synthesize a summary of everything I know and don't know so that I can go and get the gaps filled in and understand what needs to be done next. It is a coping mechanism that has really served me well in most case, except when the matter is more urgent and I'm begging to be able to step back and be left alone to look at the bigger picture and understand all the players. That must be a bit of aensory overload.

But this has all been beneficial to us - Lori's adopted some new techniques that has allowed her to spread things out a little less (file folders, etc.) and I've learned to be more careful about how I move piles of things (coupons, receipts, recipes) to protect the sanctity of their arrangement and relationship to one another. Mid-week, the dining room table is often Grand Central for stuff in and out - from mail to clean laundry - so we're always looking for space to work and so these realizations about each other have just made that all the more harmonious.

I know he prefers to work with children, but man, if we could send the children to a friend's house and then have him come over and just hang out with us for a few hours we'd learn so much about our own quirks and coping mechanisms and brains. But for now, we'll just have to be content with being alert and observant and picking up every lttle nugget that falls our way.
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