Thursday, February 9, 2012

"We Can't Help You"

Image by renjith krishnan

These are words that every alphabet soup parent dreads to hear.  Is their child really that challenging that they've managed to stymie even the experts?

Apparently so.  We were told this last week.  E. has been in counseling for months to help with a specific issue (Soup of the Day:  PTSD).  Unfortunately, the protocol were all developed with neurotypical kids in mind and nobody seems to know exactly how to help a child with Asperger's.

Here's the problem:  The protocol and programs that the counselors follow to treat this issue involving repeated minor exposure (talking about the situation in general followed by talking about what happened to the child specifically) with the idea being that the child's reaction to the trauma will eventually be minimized.  At the same time, other issues such as guilt and anger are addressed and tools are given to help the child cope with those emotions.

E. was having nothing to do with it.  As is usual for a child with Asperger's, bringing it up would cause him to completely fixate on it and it didn't matter what type of technique was used to help him replace the negative and angry thoughts, it would end up in a major blowout, usually involving hitting, kicking and cursing.  His extreme reactions have brought him to the Children's ER twice.  I've been afraid to leave him with the counselor because she is a tiny thing, smaller than he is, and I'm scared that he's going to hurt her.  I'd rather have him pound on me than take it out on her, as painful as that is to admit.  They've actually had to call security before.

So last week, the counselor asked to meet with me and the hubby, without E.  She told us that at this point, she's concerned that continuing to make him come to the appointments is just retraumatizing him, and that's the last thing they want to do.  He has the tools, and when he's not triggered he can tell them to you, but once he's triggered they fly right out of his mind.  She wanted to emphasize that if he wants to come talk to her, she will always be there and available to him, but making him come week after week was not going to be helpful.  She's going to be in touch with Carrie, E.'s counselor for all things Asperger's, and she's hoping that Carrie will continue working with him on the tools, outside the context of the trauma.

I was hoping that this counseling would help him deal with the issue better, but it looks like it's a no-go for now.


  1. Soooo discouraging to hear those words! BUT--I think the counselor is smart to recognize that it's not helping and that another avenue needs to be pursued. Frustrating to not have an avenue to turn on;), but better to stop now and assess rather than 10 miles down the "road", huh?

    1. I agree. I guess I feel a little foolish for putting so much faith into it, but I understand why it didn't work and why it would be cruel to continue. I'm glad she was able to recognize her limitations.