I saw the weather forecast….a severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for….

As much as we had been waiting for and praying for and thinking about Summer, we were not really ready to see rain in so many of the day’s forecasts. There was flooding in our neighboring town. So to say that the threat of storms has been a factor would be a bit of an understatement this year.

 To you and me it is rain, some wind and thunder…to Elizabeth and others with SPD it is a hugely nerve wracking experience. Complete with the repeatedly asked question ” the rain is done now, right mom?”  To which I answer ” Almost”, “I think pretty soon it will pass us”  until the I reach the point where, if physically possible, I would fly up to the sky and push the storm away.

SPD and dyspraxia have been a part of Elizabeth’s life since birth.  The disorders for Elizabeth showed themselves in such a severe way.  Her first Occupational Therapist told us that she was the most severe case of SPD that she had ever treated. Elizabeth was afraid of EVERYTHING…she cried all day long.  Elizabeth has been in therapy in one form or another for the two disorders since she was two years old.  Through the hard work of therapy and follow up at home. The world became a much less scary place, the hold that SPD and dyspraxia had on her lessened inch by inch, bit by bin,

In my mind’s eye, many years ago I see the letters of SPD and dyspraxia as big and frightening and as we have made gains and have seen such growth in Elizabeth, the letters look smaller, less intimidating.  They are so much a part of her and why she is who she is.

Sometimes when you see your special  needs child doing so well, just humming along (we have all had these times…short lived or not) there is that feeling, that wonderful feeling that perhaps whatever your child has is lessening its hold…that for this moment you can relax.  I know sometimes for me I will try to figure out what magical steps I have taken to make this moment happen with the sheer driving force being the need to be able to recreate it again,  But , as we all know, there is no magical order of steps, no real magical anything.  Our children are so complex in their “wiring” that there are days they are simply more organized, their systems are simply more calm and can handle things better. We can help them by doing the things such as brushing or a sensory diet etc… But magic does not really fit in.

…This storm has the possibility of producing large hail and winds in excess of….

Yes, this storm made Elizabeth very nervous, quite anxious and  truthfully she looked so much like the frightened child we had so many years ago. But because she is verbal as all get out now. She said with great irritation, later in the evening, ” So are these stupid storms done yet? They make me kind of nervous you know?!!”

I don’t want you to feel sad after reading this… Rather, we can use these times to remember that all the things we have done have made a difference in their lives.  I like to think of it like this…if she was still that frightened child she was when she was little, her behaviors and fear about the storm would not have stood out as much as they do.

I know, you know, we know these disorders our children have will be with them forever.  But we will do our best to help them succeed, to help them manage those times when the disorders show their faces again.  This storm to you and I is just rain and wind but what it is to us is our reminder that  our work continues.

That we need to be ready for when the weather alert beeps as well as for when our children just cannot handle their world right then.

.Yes it was just rain…but for Elizabeth it was so much more.

I wish everyone a peaceful week and here is to hoping for no more storms!

Michele Gianetti author of I Believe In You