Professor Media Matters

I am a media professional with 6 years as a TV producer and reporter, and college professor in the field of Communications. I am also a Conservative with a passion for pop culture. This will be my attempt to put the "me" in media. It will be my take on movies, TV, books, magazines, newspapers, the Internet and all that is the worldwide media.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

SELF-REGULATING SEIBER

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, I am posting a devotional from my book about my son, Parker's Story: Essays on Autism and Awesometism.

KEY VERSE:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

ESSAY:

            A relaxing massage, a long nap or a nice hot bowl of creamy clam chowder. Those are the luxuries we may treat ourselves with when faced with a stressful situation. We resort to a method of rest and self-regulation, perhaps.

For autistic children like my son Parker, self-regulation is a not a matter of luxury but of necessity. With the inability to process his emotions and handle the multiple stimuli careening around him, Bubba frequently resorts to self-regulating behaviors. Like many with autism, Parker will self-regulate by running wildly through the house, flapping his hands in constant motion. This is a sign that he is happy about something, but excited, and needs to process some energy. Another common self-regulation tool for my son is to sit on the floor and flip a book. Endlessly. Something about the repetitive motion and sound and monotony are soothing to him when he feels overloaded. It is not uncommon for him to flip the book from back cover to front cover for 45 minutes straight. Yet another self-soothing behavior stems from Parker’s love for numbers and counting. He will recite digits over and over and invent games in his head that allow him to focus on numbers.  One night we were shocked when, at the age of four, he calmed himself by counting to 100! (I know, he’s a genius. J)

Now that he broke his leg in an at-home incident involving the dog and a wet kitchen floor, these self-regulating soothers have been stolen from him. He can’t run or jump. And with his burdensome cast it is almost impossible to get him down on the floor and back up. Instead, he spends the entire day sitting. On the couch. On his wheelchair. Occasionally on the toilet. Sitting. All day. I can see the frustration. His go-to soothing tools have been taken from him. His body has no familiar way to process the change, the commotion. He cannot tell me what he needs. Together we have not entirely figured out a new way to help him self-regulate.

He does rock his body now when he sits on the couch. Big swinging motions with a firm hit of his back on the cushions. I worry that he will hurt himself but also know his body needs some sort of outlet. Some way to process all that has happened. We so take for granted that when we are stressed we can go shopping or exercise to relieve the stress. For many, including my son, escaping the stress of life is not nearly as easy. Not nearly as common. I can only hope that God is helping him rest and self-regulate in ways that I cannot see or know. He is a trooper. I do know that.

APPLICATION:

            When my son broke his leg his life changed dramatically and I felt hopeless. Ask yourself in what areas of your life do you feel hopeless. It might be your finances or your love life or your health. Those are the areas where God can step in and provide you peace and rest. Give those areas of your life to Him in prayer. Then do your best to set aside time to relax.





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