Musings of a Marfan Mom

Silver Lining

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We had an interesting appointment with M’s occupational therapist today. When she arrived he was 10 minutes into a tantrum because I’d made him come in from the car. It was one of those fits where you’re torn between laughing at the ridiculousness of the face your kid is making (like a howler monkey) and crying because the tantrums just. keep. coming.

As I’m trying out different tactics to get him calmed down before we’ve wasted his whole therapy session (ignore him? ask questions? apply deep pressure?), the therapist began to PRAISE him.

“I know it’s hard to see because you’re the one at home all day dealing with this, but he’s got GREAT coping skills!” she enthused. “Even though he’s over-stimulated right now, he can still tell you no to things. He’s calling Mommy and inching towards you, which shows he’s trying to calm down. Try picking him up and holding him tight. See now how he keeps pulling your head on top of his? He clearly knows that deep pressure is going to help him.”

I have to admit: I’d never thought about tantruming having a skill set. In my mind, tantrum = inability to cope. I really appreciated having her perspective. Just goes to show, if you look hard enough there is a silver lining for everything!

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6 Comments

  1. OK, that is a great story. What a great therapist, to be able to pull out some hopeful tidbits from a hard moment. Love that.

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  2. I remember reading Temple Grandin’s story and she said that being squeezed or held tight calmed her when she was having problems. And that was the strategy she used on cattle to calm them in the stock yards and prior to slaughter. In fact, she had constructed some kind of bed/squeezer for herself that she would get into and close down onto herself for self treatment (my mind is picturing something like a tanning bed, but like a mattress).

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    marfmom Reply:

    Yes! I read about Temple in college. They now have those types of machines for kids on the spectrum to use. I saw one in an online catalog yesterday. They’re super $$$ for home use but I wonder whether the center M is going to start at will have one or something similar. I have a lot to learn!

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  3. So inspiring. What a great perspective.

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  4. I love that story. It’s so great that you have someone to give you those insights in the moment. All kids do have their own brilliance.
    P.S. thank you so much for participating in my giveaway!
    Plus, I might not have found your blog otherwise. I really admire you for handling all you have to deal with with such grace.
    I had never even heard of Marfan before I got here.

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  5. Being the mom of 5 I can so relate! What a great new way to look at temper tantrums!

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