Psychiatric Hospital #2, Days 4-6

I spoke with the hospital therapist about Javan’s delusuons, and as I expected he had not been talking with her or his doctor about them. He’s very smart and doesn’t want them finding out about his plans. They’ve since gotten him to talk about it a little, but the therapist was pretty surprised and dumbfounded by how good Javan is at avoidance techniques. I could only smile and nod in understanding when she was telling me how he expertly deflected her attempts to get him talking. I’m telling you, he may struggle in school, but the kid is smart.

Our family therapist session went well and was actually really helpful. The therapist has spent time with Javan every day and has a good idea what he needs to work on. She’s talked with him about his violence at home and he’s told her that “it feels good to hit my mom.” She gets the feeling that he really doesn’t understand that his actions can hurt others. She feels like his hitting and other violent acts are driven primarily by sensory seeking due to his autism. So what we can do with that, she says, is when we see him escalating towards violence,  we give him sensory input before things get intense. We touch him, try to get him to play physically with us such as in a tickle fight or throwing and catching a ball. We stop whatever we’re doing, be it school or the dishes or whatever, and we focus immediately on giving him sensory input. I need to plan and create sensory activity throughout the day, much as mamy moms of preschoolers do. Sensory bottles, shaving cream, sand, that kind of stuff. It sounds like a lot of work, honestly,  but it also sounds valid and worth a good try.

She also told us not to try to reason with him about why he needs to stop or do a behavior or why we need him to calm down, because he’s just not thinking on that level. That’s still sinking in and I’m still struggling with that and how it might play out. On the same note, she feels that Javan would not benefit from any sort of talk therapy, such as the psychologist appointment that the last hospital set up. Since every other type of therapist that’s ever seen him gives up after two visits, I think she’s got something there but we’re going to try it anyway because I’m stubborn. And because we’ve met all of our insurance maximums by now, so we’ll pretty much be trying it for free.

Our regular visitation last night went pretty well, but as the therapist had noted earlier in the day, he did seem much more irritable. As I explained to her, I feel that this is most likely due to lack of sleep. They keep the kids on a fairly rigorous schedule and they aren’t leaving him enough time to rest. She’s going to try to let him take longer or more frequent naps during some of the less important daily activities.

Javan also relayed that they’d been watching scary, violent movies. I talked to the head nurse about movie choice and was told that just that day they’d watched “Jurassic World” and “Transformers.” I’m sorry…WHAT!?! We explained that that was a likely contributer to Javan’s irritability as well and that he should not be viewing such violent content. The nurse was…unmoved. He said that he doesn’t want to punish the other kids due to one child’support sensitivity. I replied that I don’t think it would be punishing the children to have them watch non-violent movies. He explained that they don’t make the kids watch the movies and the child can always choose not to watch. I retorted that if you offer the kids chocolate cake for every meal, but don’t make them eat it and leave them the choice to eat healthy meals, they’re going to choose chocolate cake every time. Still no reaction other than a slightly pitying look of judgment for being such an overprotective mother.

Well, looks like I’m going to be “that mom” after all. Those movies are rated PG-13. There’s absolutely no way that mentally ill 5-12 year olds should be watching them. Period. The administration will be answering to me about this situation Monday morning. I expect an impedance plan of action. None of this will affect Javan this visit because he’s set to be released Monday or Tuesday  (YAY!!!), but since everything else about this hospital seems pretty perfect (including the nurse I had this interaction with, even though our opinions differ), I’d like to make it our hospital of choice for the future and I’d like this issue resolved before any future stays.

On a lighter note, below are some pictures of some of the artwork Javan gave us. Being a homeschool mom, it was really fun for me to see work he did without me.

Here is a feelings book he made:

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We laughed when we saw YouTube on there. He really does love it. And it’s the best intrinsic reward for learning to spell that I’ve found yet.

The next one is the main verse of a popular new country song.

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And my favorite, this paper bag puppet of Rosco. The back says “Javan’s service dog Rosco” on his nametag.

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We got a call from a very happy Javan tonight. He said, “Hi! Guess what?!! IT WAS PIZZA NIGHT TONIGHT!!!” It was so good to hear him so happy. He gave us his love and we gave him ours and assured him we would come visit tomorrow evening. His grandparents were with us when he called so it was a sweet bonus to get to hear him talk with them as well. We’re so ready to get to hug and kiss him tomorrow!

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