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Don’t Say NEVER-Medication is now part of our lives

It was Yaakov’s freshman year he tried out for the high school soccer team and didn’t make it. We noticed some depression happening, and his anxiety was becoming evident in his daily life. Even teachers were complaining about his behavior.

We felt he needed to be involved with some sort of activity, and he didn’t like high school track. I had heard that a local competitive soccer club was still looking for players. He played for the team several years ago but we have removed him from the team when they were short players for a team. As we were driving to his tryouts he tells me he wanted to play for Heritage Soccer Club, so his skills would improve so he could make it onto his high school team.

When we got to the field he panicked! The panic was bad, worse than what I ever I had seen in the past.  In the past, we always had coach/teacher/friend  there that could step in and allow me to walk away. Taking me out of the equations was typically enough to jump start him. Yet, there wasn’t someone there that could offer him or me that support.  I’m was trying to get a run in around the track,  so he can do the tryouts and he’s yelling at me don’t make me do this mom don’t make me do this!  Yet, on the way there he had told me he wanted to play so he could get on his high school team.  And to be honest I yelled at him and used language towards him that I don’t do with my kids. I told them I was tired of his bull shit  and we are always putting so much extra time in with him and it obvious was a waste of my time when he wasn’t grateful for all we have done for him. Somehow or another I use the word hell in there. Another words I was not helping him be successful and I myself had a massive meltdown and this may have been the first one towards him ever. (I have meltdowns, but they are in the shower were no one can see me crying. So, he doesn’t know how much I struggle with dealing with certain situations with him.)

His dad and I been talking about doing something for his anxiety, but we had no idea what to do. The tools that been working for years were no longer working and the next step was medication.  After seeing him paralyzed with fear knowing how much he loves soccer I had to make a decision.

The coach later came over and told me that Yaakov has enough skills to play, but there is probably a better fit for him.  He told me to go ahead and take him to the following day practice with a team that was older, but a little less aggressive and see how he feels about it. The next day Yaakov was excited about being able to tryout and that the coaches saw that he could play will enough to be successful to tryout. But, that all changed when we got there and once again like the day before he started melting down. This time,  I left the field to go run I came back forty five minutes later and he had not moved, but this time there was no coach to help him get over his anxiety. I told him to come to the car told him I’m done trying to help support him and that  we are going home we will pack up his computer and he won’t be playing his video games and computers anymore. I know it’s harsh and I knew once again it was anxiety but I also knew he needed a big push to get him out on that field. He started crying he asked me to pray with him. I did, and then I sat in the car and cried as he went back out in the field.

After tryouts the coach came over with form and said he wanted Yaakov on the team. With the coach standing right there I felt it was important that Yaakov to say he wanted to play, so if another meltdown happen it was clear Yaakov want to play and I wasn’t making him. So I asked him, “do you want to play for Heritage?” He said, “yes.”

As we left the field,  I told Yaakov that we’ve been considering putting you on medication for his anxiety. I asked him,  “how do you feel about that?” He asked, “what does that mean and what will it do?” So I explained,  “when things are bad and we use our tools like prayer, like hugs, taking deep breaths, and everything that has worked in the past is no longer working you possibly need more. A couple of these tools maybe medication and even some therapy.  I also told him that fear,  being scared, and nervous is all natural.  As  a Christian, I believe it is a way for us to check in with God and ask for help. But, with that being said when your anxiety is so bad and you can’t function God has given us other tools and that is having good doctors who can work with your symptoms”.

As all of you guys know of for my past post this was very hard for me because I’ve been so against medication for my children. Yet him hitting his teenage years,  I’m realizing that he needs more tools than what I can give him,  and my own fears cannot control his life. So another words I had to do exactly what I’ve been telling him to to do trust God and move on and get him help.

We did put him on medication and he’s been on in about 3 months now and I can honestly say it made a huge difference in our lives. It wasn’t too long after we put him on medicine that we lost his dog. And though we thought he was going to have a huge meltdown and there was a big possibility that the police would have to be called he said what he had to say,  he cried and he is moving on. In June he had to have surgery;  don’t get me wrong he was nervous, but he went in there with quick prayer and faced what was coming and did a wonderful job. I guess what I’m trying to say is there is a time and a place for medication and I’ve always thought that for other families. But it was very hard to accept that same reality with my own son. Yaakov cannot tell any difference, but with less meltdowns and less anxiety attacks our house is a little bit calmer. Yaakov is a little more at peace.

Lastly, I want to make it clear this not a blog post on preaching, or trying to put my beliefs on others. It isn’t how AiN staff or board members feel, but the writer’s own thoughts.

AiN Recieves $450 from Pleasant Hill Rotary Club

AiN received a $450 grant from the Pleasant Hill Community Rotary Club for a pop-up tent for our Special Events! Thanks to Joyce Blom, who put the grant request together!

All in Need plans on serving 50 special needs children and their siblings at our Trunk or Treat in 2017 and 45 children at our Cookies with Santa event.

For these children, attending holiday or other community events is so challenging that they may choose not to participate at all. Some children with special needs are unable to wait in line, or lack the motor skills to coordinate picking out candy from a candy bowl. While others cannot tolerate wearing costumes or do not have the language skills to say “Trick or Treat” or “I want ____ for Christmas”. All in Need Trunk or Treat and Cookies with Santa allows children to be able to participate in the same type of popular community events as their typical peers, but in a safe and nurturing environment that supports their needs.

 

Thank you, Pleasant Hill Rotary!

 

Photo taken by Allen Vinson

Welcome Home Zeus!

It wasn’t even two days after we lost Sam, our beloved pet, and Yaakov came to us and said I cannot make it without a dog.  Our neighbor offered to allow Yaakov to have cuddle time with their small dog. I offered it to Yaakov and he said, “the dog is too small. I need a big one that is heavy to lay on me to get my input out. I want a German Shepherd.” I told him we would start looking.

I told him we would start looking knowing Yaakov had always used Sam to help deal with his Anxiety and deep pressure for his sensory needs.  We started the search with local German Shepherd resuces. Then we found out ARF (Animal Resuce Foundation) had a German Shephered. It was five years old. I was hoping for a two year old dog who would be able to be around for Yaakov. The dog wasn’t adopted out after a couple of days, so my husband asked me to take the boys to see it. We walked into ARF and the German Shephered was there, but he had a room mate with him who was also a German Shephered. I asked to meet both. The first one, who was the five year old, wanted nothing to do with the boys. Just the ball! So, I asked to meet the second one, whos name was Rojo and we were told he was two years old. Rojo, came out first licked Austin hand, then mine, then Yaakov’s, and finally sat down in front of us and leaned against us. The three of us looked at each and said he is it.

We were not fond of the name Rojo. So, I said to the boys sepereately, you and your brother both like Greek Mythology. Why don’t we give him a Greek god name? ” They both said, “Zeus!”

So, Almighty Zeus became our new family member.  It didn’t take long for Zeus to bond with Yaakov. However, he isn’t the cuddler that Yaakov needs. We are working on that!  Zeus seems to fit into our active home enjoying two long walks a day. Working on getting him to be able to run with me. Loves playing in the kids pool!

They aren’t best friends yet, but you can never replace your first pet. The relationship will continue to grow and Zeus will soon be an important part of Yaakov’s daily life. Though it was a little fast to replace our Sam, we are thrilled to welcome Zeus into our home!

 

 

No Medication For Our Son!

Our son’s original diagnoses was pediatric bipolar and because of the diagnoses and what seemed to be extreme self-hurting behaviors we had decided to put him on medication. Let me explain, when we put him on medication it was one of the hardest decisions of my life. I was always against medicating children. Yet, when your child is trying to jump out of moving cars, run into the street, and all he keeps saying is I want to die. Then you turn around and he is scrubbing a spot on the floor​ for an hour, I was at a loss what to do. We tried many different cocktails, but nothing seemed​ to work for him. During his Kindergarten year another diagnoses was added to his records along with Bipolar. He was also diagnosed with Aspergers.

March of his kindergarten year was a living hell. There was academic placement issues. We couldn’t get the cocktail figured out. The doctor had put him on Lithium and after a blood test had us increase the dose. The first night after raising the dosage he showed signs of lithium toxicity. We rushed him to the hospital. At that point, my husband and I made the decision to remove him from all medication. We were questioning the diagnoses of Bipolar by this point. After reading about Aspergers and hearing further information on Sensory Processing. We were pretty sure the behavior we were seeing: trying to jump out of moving cars, run in front of cars, and pushing me down stairs all had to do with overstimulation. With a new doctors help we tapered him off all medication understanding if he indeed did have bipolar we would have to be put him back on medication.

The first year, we spent time building trust with him. So, if he said he was done and ready to go. We left or removed him from the situation. It didn’t matter if we were visiting my friends and family, on a playdate, or even somewhere fun with his brother. If Jacob, my husband, was around one of us would take Yaakov and other would take Austin, his brother. This way Austin wasn’t always paying the price.

As time passed, we saw that he didn’t need medication for Bipolar but really was suffering from Anxiety. Yet, after the last experience with medication I didn’t want to go that route. We had a huge support system. Coaches, teachers, friends, and family would help us in dealing with his anxiety. So, we had been able to give him the tools to be successful!

As time passed, I was gratefully that we didn’t have to put him on medication. With that being said, it wasn’t that we didn’t have meltdowns we did! Medication just didn’t need to be a tool for the meltdowns. We talked through the anxiety and we pushed him to be successful even when he didn’t think he was going to be a success. Through this experience, I recognize there is a time for medication, but I also believe research is very important. The doctors hadn’t asked me the right questions. Before trying to jump out of the car, how long were you in the car? 6 hours. Before he bit you and didn’t let go what were you doing. We were driving for hours and hours. He was getting more upset and wanting to jump out of the car. If these questions were asked we would have saved ourselves and Yaakov a lot of heartache and fear.

Pleasant Hill Community Grant Recipient 2017

AiN received a $500 grant from the Pleasant Hill Community Foundation for our upcoming Trunk or Treat.

All in Need plans on serving 50 special needs children and their siblings at our Trunk or Treat in 2017. For these children, attending holiday or other community events is so challenging that they may choose not to participate at all. Some children with special needs are unable to wait in line, or lack the motor skills to coordinate picking out candy from a candy bowl. While others cannot tolerate wearing costumes or do not have the language skills to say “Trick or Treat”. All in Need Trunk or Treat allow children to be able to participate in the same type of popular community events as their typical peers, but in a safe and nurturing environment that supports their needs.

This year, we are adding carnival games to the nights events! Nate Klug, a young man who is 15 years old and lives with ADHD, who is talented leather maker, and is learning how to work with wood designed and made a fishbowl game for AiN!

The intended benefit is to expand All in Need’s current special event programs to serve more children and families in the local community. As an underserved population with limited community supports, children with special needs and their families will have greater opportunities to participate in the same types of events as their typically developing peers. Gaining the foundation in which they can move towards participating in the community based events which offer no support.

Thank you to the grant selection committee.

Saying Goodbye to His Best Friend and Companion

Saying good bye is hard for everyone. Watching Yaakov have to say good bye to his best friend and lifelong support was horrible to watch.

We adopted Sam from a rescue in Oregon when Yaakov was 3 years old. Sam was a hound Shepard mix. Was very protective of his family especially his “boy” Yaakov.

Moving to California we had to give him away, but after living down in East Bay we were able to find a place where we could get an animal again. Instead of rushing out and getting one. We asked if the people who had taken Sam would be willing to give him back to us. Thankfully they said yes and our family was reunited with our much loved pet.

It didn’t take long for Sam and Yaakov to become buddy buddy again. You would tell Sam to go lay down with his boy and he would go find Yaakov. If you said where is your kid he would go locate Austin. Jacob would hug me and Sam would go crazy barking.  He never took food off of a plate even if it was left in the middle of the living room on the floor. He was will trusted with human food, and even more so with Yaakov and Yaakov’s mood swings. He sensed when Yaakov was upset and he would go locate him and allow Yaakov to pull the 75lb dog on to him to help him ground himself. If Yaakov was just upset and asked Sam to get in bed with him the dog would lay down next to him until Yaakov’s mood would improve.

Then Friday early morning Sam woke up throwing up in the middle of the night.  He seemed happy enough as we cleaned the mess up. In the morning, I noticed that Sam had made it out to the living room but didn’t eat breakfast and didn’t want to go out. When I got home from dropping off the boys and by 9:30 am he barely was picking up his head. My husband came home and make him chicken and rice and was able to get water down him.

Saturday morning, Yaakov had a soccer game and I decided to stay home just to make sure Sam was okay. As the day progress he seemed like he was improving. Yet, my gut feeling was he will not make it truth the week.  By Saturday evening, he wasn’t going outside for enjoyment, but he was getting up and going outside to go the bathroom.

Sunday, Yaakov had another soccer game and Austin stayed home with Sam and gave him water every hour. When we came home Sam couldn’t stand anymore, so we knew it was time to take him in and say our goodbyes.

It was hard on all of us, but extremely hard on Yaakov. Losing his dog was causing massive anxiety and he used his dog to help control the anxiety.  After laying Sam down.  With tears running down Yaakov face he said to me, “they killed him”

But, he was my best friend……

 

Concord Sportsman’s Club Supports AiN 2017

Concord Sportsmen’s Club hosted another fundraiser for All in Need, Family Support (AiN). this year their skeet shooting brought in lots of people to enjoy the weather and fun.  This is the fifth year Concord Sportsmen’s Club has hosted this event for us, and it was wonderful to see so many returning faces.

April 15th happened to be a very busy day for AiN’s Executive Director, Autumn Green. AiN first was there to greet people who were participating in the fundraiser and then AiN had they monthly respite event, Revive.

Thanks to Concord Sportsmen’s Club, AiN received $1,292. One of my girl friends won the grand prize. A new shot gun.

As always, this particular fundraiser happens to be one of the best and the Green family loves going out there each year. Thank you for another year of support!

Rain or Shine the Egg Hunt is On

April 8th, the AiN volunteer team started at 7 am getting ready for the mornings events. The morning started out beautiful with blue skies. Even with that they setup three pop-up tents because rain was in the forecast.  Volunteers who came out were AiN volunteers, AiN board members, Event Sponsor Pam Green, and College Park Interact Club.

Over 1,000 plastic eggs and 29 Easter Baskets were ready for 29 children to join us at our 4th Annual Some Bunny Loves You Egg Hunt!  Just before the kids showed up the skies open up and the showers came down.

As the egg hunt started there was break in the rain and all the plastics eggs were hunted. We saw the kids sharing with each other and encouraging one another.  Some of the kids had so many eggs their baskets were over full!

Each child was able to receive an AiN basket. Load with summer toys and Spring toys.

The the event was cut short due to weather, but there was plenty time for puddle jumping and hugs!

Thank you to our event sponsors!

Pam Green

Also a thank you to SMPS Family Fund!

SMPS Grant Awarded for 2017 Special Events

All in Need, Family Support (AiN) serves families with special needs children, ages 18 and under, who live in the East Bay area. AiN offers support in a nurturing and learning environment that promotes social interaction and gross and fine motor activities, all in a sensory based atmosphere.

Their “Special Events” are held several times throughout the year for the entire family to enjoy. These are age appropriate activities, offered in a mainstream setting, allowing for kids to participate in events in a safe and positive atmosphere. Whether enjoying decorating Cookies with Santa, exploring for eggs and prizes at the annual Easter Egg Hunt, or dressing up in the costumes and participating in safe and fun trick or treating at Trunk-or-Treat, these events are a unique and fun way for kids and families to get engaged. Because it is so important for families to share their stories and support each other, these events not only encourage friendships among AiN Children, but offer an opportunity for parents to network with other AiN families.

AiN was award a grant from SMPS Family Fund for $4,000 this month.The money is to be used for their special events program.   Funds will be used for:

Egg Hunt-The goal for 2017 is to serve 50 children with the goal of stuffing 1200 plastic eggs and giving out Easter Baskets valued at over $10! We plan on offering face painting, lawn games, and coffee and bagels to encourage more time to visit and build network within the special needs community!

Easter baskets will be filled with sensory activities and spring toys/games. These toys and games work on their gross and fine motor skills, for example: jump ropes, catch, baseball, coloring books, slinkies, and coloring crayons.  While  Easter Egg will be stuffed with sensory toys like:   small stress balls, ooze, bendable creatures, and sticky hands

Trunk or Treat-our goal  is to serve 60 children giving a chance for children to practice saying Trick or Treat with 30 community members or business owners. We also offer a dance session, carnival games,  and rent
a popcorn and serve Jamba Juice.  We would like for this event to encourage families to stay around longer and network with one another and also give children a chance to work on social skills they will need to develop: like taking turns, standing in short lines, and other social awareness skills.

Cookies with Santa-we hope to serve 60 children in four 45 minute sessions each with 15 children.  This allows children to develop skills like taking turns and sharing. During this event each child will get a chance to visit Santa, Mrs. Claus and an Elf as well as make a craft, decorate cookies, and enjoy a Christmas Sensory Activity. We also supply hot cocoa, coffee, bagels, and muffins for families to enjoy while networking with other families.  Usborne books for gifts from Santa, and each child will take home a stocking.

We are excited that SMPS has chosen to support our events another year!

If you would like more information on AiN programs or how you can support AiN visit their webpage at www.allinneed.org.

Egg Stuffing Party 2017

March 30th AiN founder, Autumn Green, hosted a Egg Stuffing Party! Thank you to College Park Interact Club, AiN volunteers, and Pleasant Hill Chamber Ambassadors together we were able to stuff 1,200 eggs and put 29 Easter baskets together for the upcoming 4th Annual Some Bunny Loves You Egg Hunt! Thanks to our local community’s dedication to families, we are able to continue to enrich the lives of children while encouraging family.