Alternatively this post could be titled, “how many apostrophes can I use in one title” hahaha. Anyhow as I sit here post breakfast with a nice cup of tea on the first morning I’ve really had for myself that didn’t involve driving all over town I thought, HEY I haven’t told anybody how Elijah has been doing in this crazy month and a half so maybe I better play catch up with the blog.
Seven weeks ago we set out for the big cross-country drive/move from Miami to Denver. With Elijah and the cat in tow, my-inlaws in the car ahead of us, and a car bulging with snacks, entertainment, diapers and spare outfits we plunged forward despite our fear that we were setting out for a four day nightmare of continuous screaming from both cat and child. Turns out we had nothing to worry about. Elijah was a dream to drive with, completely different from our previous experiences. Of course we still had frequent stops to change diapers, stretch our legs and grab a bite to eat, but it definitely was not the ordeal we were dreading. We only had to break out the Elmo “Singing with the Stars” video twice throughout the whole trip. So now we’re slowly getting settled in Denver. Elijah is temporarily in one of the Jewish day schools here but will be starting at a school that caters to special needs children as of the end of August. Seth started his new job and is truly loving the new hospital and I’m getting settled in at the store I transferred to and running errands like crazy trying to get everything set up in our new home.
So yeah, there have definitely been a few changes in Elijah’s life lately. And one of those changes, which is probably partially a result of all the upheaval and partially the result of normal developmental changes, is that he’s throwing tantrums with much higher frequency. I was pretty much at my wits end. There doesn’t seem to actually be a book on the market that addresses discipline for toddlers with developmental delays. There are plenty of books for older children with developmental issues, and plenty of books for typically developing toddlers and older infants, but nothing that addresses the unique combination of the the physical capabilities of a toddler and the mental understanding of an older infant. I was honestly ready to apply to Ph.D. programs in developmental psychology just so I could write the stupid book myself. But then I lucked out.
Back in December or January the National Fragile X Foundation posted a study on their website being conducted at the MIND Institute at UC Davis for children with fragile X over the age of 2 who weren’t speaking. We were lucky enough to be chosen for the study and it turns out as part of the study one of the things they help with is addressing these challenging behaviors that typically result when a child doesn’t have proper communication tools. We were just there last weekend for our very first visit and since beginning to implement some of these strategies I’ve already started to notice a turn-around in Elijah’s behavior. I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to talk about before the end of the study, I will check in and find that out and definitely post if there’s anything I’m allowed to say, but the strategies aren’t anything wildly new, they’re just modifications of existing protocols that make them more relevant for Elijah’s age and developmental progress. But it truly has been a blessing. I’m not saying the challenges are gone, but at least I’m learning some tools to deal with them and don’t always feel quite so helpless.