Thursday, March 30, 2017

Keep on ticking (haha, I couldn't resist!)

Luke's tic continues to tick. Not much has changed with it but I've noticed that it doesn't bother me so much anymore. That's not to say that I'm not concerned enough to do something about it--just that I don't lie awake worrying about it anymore. Life has indeed gone on.

Luke is doing well too. He is back to school pretty much full time now and working hard on getting caught up. We continue to go to appointments but I've narrowed it down to three doctors: the behavioral therapist, the neurologist, and the "herb doctor", who is helping us get his immune system and brain function better support.

I find the behavior therapy really interesting, probably because it relates to what I'm learning in dog phycology. (Yes, it is the same as people!) Dogs learn from association, so there is a lot of different ways to teach dogs: classical conditioning and operant conditioning (among others.) There is also counter-conditioning, which is teaching a dog a new behavior to replace an old behavior, such as, instead of a dog jumping on someone when they walk in the door, they learn to go to their place instead. So instead of the doorbell signaling excitement that someone new is coming, it instead signals the dog to go to their place.

Behavioral reversal does the same thing: it counter-conditions the person to replace their old behavior (the tic) with a new behavior (maybe a relaxation exercise.) The biggest thing is that the person has to be aware of the "urge" to tic so that when they feel the urge coming on to tic, they can do something else instead. Luke hasn't learned a new behavior yet, and the therapist said it's going to take some hard work from Luke (and a lot of time to accomplish), but it can be done! It gives me hope.

So you might say that I enjoy going to behavioral therapy more than any other appointment. I sit and wait in the waiting room, but I sit and wait, knowing that a behavior that has caused lots of pain and stress is being fixed. So I sit and wait with content.

That is all for now. Just wanted to give an update on Luke's progress.

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