Sam. Conqueror. Overcomer.

On the 15th May 2009, Samuel Christian made his way into this world...two month's premature and in severe respiratory distress. Within hours, Sam was diagnosed with Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome - a very rare congenital disorder, of which little was known. The diagnosis together with the immediate challenges Sam faced to thrive became our core focus and it was with joy and thankfulness that we eventually brought Sam home, after nine weeks in the NICU.

As time pressed on, it became obvious that Sam's development was falling behind that of his RTS peers. Shortly before his 5th birthday Sam underwent a brain scan and it was confirmed by a paediatric neurologist that in addition to Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome, Sam also has Cerebral Palsy related to his premature birth, as well as Autism.

This blog chronicles our journey through these challenges...
SAMUEL - COMPLETE IN GOD
Our world has crashed, been blown apart.
This can't be happening....why us? Why now?
Your fragile life shaken before it could barely start,
How do we get through this...please, Lord, tell us how?

Drowning in our sorrow, waiting for answers that just don't come.
Our baby "special needs"? It simply can't be true!
The heartache overwhelms us, we're left feeling cold and numb.
The diagnosis tells us little - these children are so few.

But then we finallyget to touch you, to see your precious face
And all the heartache and questions fade, replaced with love and pride.
It's obvious from the very start you're showered in God's grace,
And with His love and guidance, we'll take this challenge in stride.

When once we couldn't pronounce it, Rubinstein-Taybi's become our norm.
When once the future seemed dark, we now welcome the journey as having an RTS angel brings lessons in unexpected form.

Our world has crashed, been blown apart!
This IS happening....to us.....right now!
We've been blessed with a gift, so precious from the very start. How do we get through this? Here's how.....
By believing in a God, so merciful and great,
By trusting that He's right beside us as we journey through the narrow gate.
By believing His love for us is not determined by a human frame,
By trusting that we draw Him near by merely calling His name. This precious baby we asked God for,
Prayed he'd be perfect and complete.
And, as Samuel means "God hears", He's laid His answer at our feet.

(Nicky de Beer : 27/05/2010)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lost in Translation

Perhaps a more accurate heading would be "Lost in Interpretation" but it doesn't quite grab one the same, does it?

Either way, the way Sam interprets information sure is fascinating. When I was sort of groping around for behaviour guidance, I introduced a naughty chair as a means of discipline. And then loaded a pic of it onto the iPad together with the other items relevant to Sam's life, as well as to all those beautifully professional hand-drawn books Sam has a habit of dragging out of the woodwork...particularly when we're going out in public. Next to the naughty chair was a little poster displaying which possible actions would have landed that smurfy little posterior in the chair and what the acceptable alternatives would have been, eg. smacking vs soft touch.

Well no sooner had I added them when I had to remove all the pics because Sam would be happily flicking through them, minding his own business, until a pic of that darn naughty chair popped up. Then instantly his hand would go out and slap whoever was within range...slapping meant naughty chair and naughty chair meant slapping.

By now it's become common practice (with all children) to reinforce positive behaviour as opposed to focalising negative behaviour, eg. don't throw vs please put down softly. Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? Except when the 16yrs of parenting prior to needing a more attentive approach to a child with communication challenges was filled with "No's" and "Don'ts", those allegedly-detrimental statements always seem to run a kickbutt race to the finish line that is my mouth! #thehorror

The other problem of course is the very simple fact that, when finished with something, the more natural process seems to be to throw it down instead of putting it down, well for Sam anyhow and, from what I can remember, a few of Sam's RTS siblings have/had a tendency to do the same. For this reason, I very seldom take the iPad with in the car and, on the odd occasion I do, it is only when there will be someone sitting next to Sam at the back. Up until last Friday that is.

About to leave home for a particularly long wait outside Meg's school, I passed the iPad on the table just as I was wondering how I was going to keep Sam occupied in the warm car. A quick back-and-forth of "Should I, shouldn't I" ensued and before I knew it, Sam was in his carseat and being handed the iPad.

DO NOT SAY "DON'T THROW!"
DO NOT SAY "DON'T THROW!"
DO NOT SAY "DON'T THROW!"

"Sam, when you are finished with the iPad, ta for Mommy"

"DO.NOT.THROW.THE.IPAD!"

WHAT??? WHO SAID THAT???

Well, before I had the chance to pounce on the sneaky scoundrel who'd dared utter those words (in a remarkably similar voice to mine, I might add) , the iPad was out the still open door and hitting the cement floor with a stomach-curdling CRACK!

Mom's reflexes    :  0
iPad repair place :  3

There very nearly wasn't a 3rd round for the iPad repair place with more pressing issues needing attention, but Sam's granny came to his rescue by offering to see to the costs. And, with today been the fourth day without his electronic appendage, frustration and lack of understanding why he could not have his iPad, reached an almost unbearable high and saw me getting walloped on the forehead with a wooden hammer during occupational therapy.

Mom's reflexes   : 0
Bump on noggin : 1

Hmmmmm...perhaps it is I who is lost in translation!

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