March 28, 2015

Keep On Keepin' On

Oh the woes of Brandon's dance class.  The first week of class, he was a ROCK STAR!  I was so proud of him!  The second class was a total debacle, which you can read here.  He was despicable.  Remember when I said I don't get embarassed by Brandon easily?  Well, that second class was a nightmare.

Ever since the second class, I wake up on Saturday morning and debate whether or not I'm going to take him to dance class.  These are thing things I think about:  What's his mood like this morning?  I've had a long week.  I just don't want to battle him again.  Skipping one week isn't a big deal, right?  Yes it is.  Skipping a week could throw him off even more, and we could have a repeat of the second class.  Then I would really be kicking myself for skipping.  I really shouldn't skip dance class.  A good mom would grit her teeth and battle through it.  Yes.  We're going.  I can do this.  I'm a warrior autism mom.  I can take the punches.  

I convince myself, and pack us up to get to dance class.  We haven't missed a class, but I go through these thoughts every week.

Week after week I struggle physically and emotionally to get Brandon to meet the goal I have set for him with this dance class.  His goal is to participate in dance class without hand over hand direction from me.  It's that simple.  I don't expect him to get all the moves down perfectly, to be the star of the dance recital, or to even be in a dance recital.

Look at these dance moves.  

You can see him doing the moves right along with Gru..right down to doing the splits.  In fact, he has several Just Dance Kids choreographies completely memorized.  If you turn off the TV and just play the sound, he's got it covered.  

He knows what to do at dance class, but his behavior gets in the way.  Yes, my child has behavior issues.  This is not because I let him get away with everything.  If I were you, pre-Brandon, I'd be rolling my eyes.  He's got to be being reinforced somehow if he continues with this undesirable behavior.  Nope.  Not so.  I do not give in.  It's just an issue we struggle with.  He is not violent, but he sure throws a doozie of a tantrum and he hurts himself.  He wants to do what he wants to do.  He thinks this is his world, and the rest of us are just living in it.  Must be nice to be King!

Today's dance class was a night and day difference from the second one.  I sat with all the other parents while Brandon participated in dance class!  His teacher provided him significant assistance, but the fact that I did not have to be on top of him to keep his act together is tremendous.

I sat there against the wall next to all the other parents and felt an overwhelming urge to cry tears of sheer joy.  I didn't know what to do with myself just sitting there watching.  It was so peaceful.  "Am I really just sitting here just like all the other parents?"  It was an incredibly welcome break.

Reflecting on all of this, I am proud of myself.  I pushed forward.  I did not give up.  As much as I wanted to skip dance class for myself, I went anyway.  Consistency is so key with Brandon.  I do not claim to be the perfect mom or the perfect autism mom.  These things don't exist, anyway.  Someone could use the same strategies and techniques I use with my child and yield different results.  All I can do is the best I can.  If I am doing any less, not only am I do a disservice to Brandon, but also to myself.  Right now is the time that I really have to put in the hard work so that our lives are a bit easier in the future.

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds." - Orison Swett Marden

I am feeling pretty good about myself today!


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