These last few weeks have been full-on in the Russell house. It is going to be a busy end to a big year. And the strain is beginning to show, especially with Gilbert.
He has had an extraordinary year. Everyone who knows him knows how hard he has worked this year. We have pushed him and pulled him and he has met the challenge every time.
We have gone hard with him this year because we knew he needed to be pushed. He needed to be worked harder to challenge him, to move forward. We knew he could do it.
But it’s time for us to pull back and stop pushing.
Dandylion at sunset

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Gilbert is tired. He is having trouble going to sleep and comes to us at various times each evening complaining that his brain won’t stop. That it’s too busy. Worse still, that he hates himself because he can’t stop thinking.
He is anxious as his best friend doesn’t want to do some of the things they have always done together. Rituals that have defined their friendship. He is confused, thinking his friend doesn’t like him anymore as a result.
Gilbert is stressed about the impending changes going into the new year. He is staying in the same classroom but he will have a new teacher and for him any change is terrifying.
And he is worried. We are embarking on our first overseas holiday next month when we travel to New Zealand’s North Island for 10 nights. He can’t understand why we need to go away for a holiday. Why can’t we holiday at home where it’s comfortable instead?
And that’s only a list of the things that I know he is worried about.
We want him to be happy and comfortable but to also have the chance to do and be everything he can be. It’s a very fine line and finding the right balance is tricky.
Which is why we find ourselves in the place we are now. We have pushed and have to now fall back to give him the chance to recover and regroup.
To help him, we are embarking on a number of paths. We recently met with a planning officer from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and are currently working on a plan to support him for the next twelve months.
There is another occupational therapy assessment on the horizon to identify his updated sensory needs and find ways to give him more support at home. And we are commencing with a psychologist to work on some strategies to help address his anxiety and quiet his brain.
It’s not going to be easy but we are hopeful we can get through this year and get him to a better place.
Then, perhaps we can see whether he is ready to be guided forward again. This time, with less stress and strain for everyone. Especially for my extraordinary boy.
IBOTing for the first time in a long time with the most excellent Jess!