Wednesday, July 8, 2009
From the Wolf Den: Cover Story
Every one of us has a Cover Story; coping skills we have used to manage our lives since childhood. When life deals us a blow, big or small, we use such skills to work our way through and hopefully come out the other side a stronger person. Cope. Deal With It. Adapt.
Coping skills are vital to our survival, and their success or failure depends upon our willingness to choose appropriate ones and to use them even when it would be easier not to. For example, taking a long run or listening to soothing music, expressing our emotions verbally or drawing out frustrations on paper; all are appropriate choices when we are under emotional "attack".
Children with Asperger Syndrome have trouble coping with life in general, and the staff at CHYC, from Day One, establish appropriate coping skills which are then factored into daily life. The hard part is getting the kids to use them. So many are already using coping strategies that are not appropriate; from alcohol use to lying to violent temper tantrums, they are simply ways the kids have found to mask the real hurt. Constructive or appropriate, not so much.
Wolf's cover story is headlined by his virtual shut-down when a painful situation or topic is introduced. It is indeed a visible reminder of how far he has yet to go. The coping skills developed over a year ago are still present, but they are choice #2when they need to be #1. Covering him like a thick blanket, the negative coping mechanisms overshadow the positive ones, while the staff, and we, work like anything to remove that layer.