Eight hours in the car is a lot longer than it used to be! Our trip to New Jersey was a whirlwind that I am still trying to process but other than the long ride in car it was all good. Oliver and Sam were a-maz-ing on the ride. Seriously, they did better than I did. I kept whining about how long it was taking. How my legs were falling asleep. How I thought it was only going to take five or six hours. How stressed out I was because you, Nik, drive too close to the next lane. Or because I can see the speedometer and we really don't need to be going that fast! Yeech. How did I get this way??
BUT, our appointment with Judith Bluestone was very interesting. Here's the thing though: I have to kind of suspend my in-grained, culturally-induced belief in the medical model of health, which as we all know has it's problems when it comes to giving us an understanding of something as complex as autism. So that shouldn't be hard, right? I mean this is coming from someone who gave birth at home, far from the reaches of the medical profession. And also from someone who was once "healed" by a kind of "medicine woman." And from someone who keeps a Worry Monkey on her desk. But still, for some reason, I find it difficult to put traditional practices on the same playing field as western medicine. And the HANDLE approach is very much a mixture of many traditional approaches including homeopathy, reflexology and massage. All of them are explained in terms of what we know about the central nervous system and the brain. And all of the recommended exercises aim to get at the causes underlying behaviors. They aim to organize the input that the nervous system and the brain are receiving.
So we now have a list of about 15 different activities, including face tapping and skull tapping, that we do throughout the day in an attempt to help regulate and organize the way Oliver's system deals with various sensory input. I don't know if it is working but it isn't hurting. And here is this: Oliver has slept through the night every night since we started. And once, when he woke at 4am I was resigned to a very early morning until I thought: wait, how about those massages? And I did them. And he fell asleep again within 15 minutes and slept until 8:45 when I finally woke him.
As I say, I am still trying to process it all, but overall I am very optimistic about how this program will work for Oliver. It's a funny world we live in, we know that buildings can make us sick and people who laugh more live longer. So who's to say what good a little face tapping can do?