The Colors of a Melodie

" What I'm going to tell you, will change your life." In my experience those words are usually followed by a "come to Jesus" moment.  What I heard next confused me for a minute. "Have you ever heard of Sensory Integration Disorder?" That's when we heard a story that gave us hope.

Melodie is five years old. She has Sensory Integration Disorder. Let me back up just a bit so you have a better idea of what that means to us. 

When Melodie was two, she started acting as all two year olds do. Testing boundaries, having temper tantrums, potty training, you know, normal two year old stuff. Melodie progressed to three years old and I was told by many people, "Oh the terrible twos are nothing, just wait till she turns three." My first thought was " oh great I barely survived two." But really how much worse could it get. I figured I had just had a harder time dealing with it because I was pregnant and emotional anyway. Shortly after she turned three, Lilly was born. Things would get better. 

They did not.

We started to notice that her tantrums were extreme. We tried time out. We tried spanking. We took toys away, we took privileges away. Nothing made anything any better. 

This was also about the time Melodie started waking up at night. 

I started hearing things from friends and family and daycare teachers about how busy she always was. And looking back on it she never did like to sit still long. But she was three, all three years olds are busy people. 

She was so funny, and so smart. We started letting her learn to use a computer, play around on video games and just in general buy toys that were out of her age range because she understood them.

I have always had people question me about her age, she is tall and skinny, and has an amazing vocabulary. When she was three people thought she was 5. 

I couldn't for the life of me figure out WHY this great, funny, super smart kid wanted to make me tear my hair out. tantrums, defiance, lack of impulse control, and the list goes on. Family members wanted me to ask her doctor if she was just hyper active, or what, but something seemed a little off.

So I finally did when she was about four. After explaining to her doctor in great detail what was going on, I was told "Well you just let her win", EXCUSE ME?!?!? When I am on the floor holding my child to keep her from hurting herself or anyone else, and I am in tears, her father is all but in tears, and we haven't slept in two nights...NO ONE HAS WON ANYTHING!!!

I quickly found another doctor. I was not going to be treated like a lazy parent, who just wanted to turn their kid into a vegetable. In fact any time I brought this to a doctors attention, I would lead with " I do NOT want to medicate her."

I quickly found Doctor Freedman. And oh how I heart her. She was from out of state. That worked for us sometimes, and at other times it meant I had to do more leg work. I knew that Catholic Family and Child Services offered Behavioral Counseling, and that's where I wanted to start. 

During our first appointment with Dr. Freedman, Melodie was being her normal self. Climbing the walls, jumping up and down on everything. Once I got her in my lap I was headbutted a few times. Just another day. 

We started on the road to Medication and Behavioral Counseling. Over the last year and a half we're been told she had ADHD, Aspergers, and that she was just hyperactive. 

Last summer was a really rough summer. Melodie decided many many times that she did not want to take the medication. One afternoon, my husband came to pick her up ( she came to "work" with me) and give me a bit of a break. She tried to jump out of the car while he was on the highway headed home. 

That's how we found out there is little to NO psychiatric care for kids in our state.

So we took everything CFCS was willing to offer us. We played the medication game, Melodie attending her counseling, and we seemed to manage the best we could. 

When school started the fall of 2011 Melodie wasn't 5 yet, my co-author was homeschooling and I really wanted her in school. We decided to enroll her in an Alternative Learning Experience, or A.L.E. I didn't feel she was ready for traditional public school, this allowed us to feed her brain and not hold her back a year due to her birthday. 

I quickly found that she was much smarter than even I gave her credit for. She finished Kindergarten in about 4 months. Scored in the 99th percentile on her standardized testing and was reading at grade level 1.3.

With the school year coming to an end I realized I needed to make some decisions for first grade and what we wanted to do. My mom was working with a newer A.L.E. program that offered us a bit more.

My co-author and I attended the informational meeting, then met with an enrollment adviser. I had concerns about Melodie being in class with other kids for workshops, and what would happen if she had an "episode" while I wasn't there. She is the one who spoke the magic words " What I'm going to tell you, will change your life. " 

I called her doctor, made an appointment and we were on our way to finding Katie. 

That's where we are now, We've had an intake appointment and one therapy session, I am convinced that Sensory Integration Disorder was the answer we were always looking for. But before now, we never would have known where to go or how to help her. 

A list of current Medication we hope to stop or reduce.
Focalin XR twice a day - allows Melodie to focus 
Clonidine - For sleep
Melotonin - For sleep

We have nights where Melodie doesn't sleep, or only sleep a few hours. We have days where we can't really go anywhere because it's all too overwhelming for her. But now we have hope, now we have Katie, now we have an answer. 

This is where Melodie's story starts, and I hope you'll join us in our journey to showing the world what fantastic children we have. 

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