Sunday, July 28, 2013

Kreed's changes

For the last six or seven months it's been tough around here. Kreed tantrumed daily and tantrums bad enough that he had to be restrained to keep from bashing his head in or biting his hands until they bleed. I used to be able to take Kreed everywhere with me- any store, any restaurant and he was awesome. He was engaging. He was funny. He was beginning to put more complicated thoughts together on his device. Then it was as if it all vanished in thin air. Gone was the happy child, gone was my little buddy, my wingman. We all just sat all day and waited for the tantrums and trying to find some good in the days. Even when watching his favorite movies you would hear him get so irritated and begin bashing his head in his knee trying to break something. He was just plain miserable. His OCD began to get out of control, which is why we could go no where. Every day he wanted french fries or Five Guys. Every. Single. Day. He would wake up and throw the biggest tantrum you'd ever seen. I am a behaviorist, so I never gave in day after day. If he ever was in a good mood and we did decide to get the food, it would start the cycle all over again and it was never enough. Even if we just went to Five Guys, he'd want it again and again within a few hours of each other. One day I humored him, trying to see if he would ever have enough of it and I took him to get pizza that he requested, then he asked for Five Guys, so then I went there. He couldn't even finish his french fries (because he was full) so we left and he started the cycle again, pizza, five guys etc even though we had just gone!

He would pick any checkered pattern in his environment and point to it (it meant five guys because that place has a checkered decoration on the wall). If he saw a game at the store with french fries or hamburgers, or even pizza, the tantrums would start. Everything would trigger him. And not just little triggers- full on fifteen year old boy tantrums where when he's mad, it's like he's a 250 pound man (even though he only ways about 125!!). Even when I would give him another place to go other than his trigger places he would cry because he wanted them. He was just miserable. Plain and simple. No matter what we did. I put those places on schedules, we removed them completely, we went there every morning- nothing ever worked because nothing was ever enough. His brain was completely stuck. Here are some pictures of those dreary moments.

He was just not happy. So his mom and I went on a journey to try and find someone that would help him. Again, we exhausted every behavioral intervention- you name it, I tried it. And consistently. I can't even tell you the horror stories we went through trying to find someone to help him. His mom documents some of it on her blog as well, Let Go & Run Free. For now, just know after weeks of searching and trying to get help, finally one doctor agreed to help. Kreed is incredibly complicated with his medical diagnosis as well (seizures, immune deficiency, SCAD (metabolic disorder), hypothyroidism...just to name a few) and so many of the doctors didn't want to help because of the liability. Oh geez! This kid was suffering! So finally with the doctor that agreed to help, we talked it out, decided on a course of action.

And, it was like magic. We had the kid back! His OCD has faded away and what's left has been a happy, healthy boy! No self injury, no tantrums. He has replaced it all with hugs and kisses. He is even more aware now than ever- he is talking on his device more, he is wanting to be more social than he was before- he's just "back" and better than ever! We love it. It was such a long journey for him. There will be many more updates from now on. Before, I could barely record videos because there was just nothing but anger and irritation- all due to his severe OCD. It's like he was stuck and blocked and couldn't get his brain to move past it. My heart feels so sad for this boy. Now it's like his whole world has opened up and he is happy again. He's so happy he keeps requesting to have a party!! How funny is that?

Here are a few picures showing the change- you can even see the new awaress n his eyes.

And my personal favorite photo below. It's just such a miracle and so wonderful to have him so aware again and even more so and not be shackled to his OCD. It really and truly was his severe OCD that got in the way and made him so miserable. Now he is smiling every day, has no problem going and and doing stuff and is just thrilled every day. He can even be told "no" now and have it not be the end of the world. He just moves on no problem. In fact, now he wants to know "why" if I tell him no. Once I give him an answer he moves on. I just love it. Love him. Can't wait to document more of his progress. Check out his youtube: Kreed's Videos to see some of our videos there.
Love this boy. Love being a part of his world.

Friday, July 26, 2013


I will write a longer post soon. Kreed has been awesome lately and has come so far recently and I want to talk about it in more detail and more pictures and videos. Most of all, it's so thrilling to see him so happy every day. Warms my heart.  

More to follow. Enjoy the mini posts below. 

Love this

Kreed's growing so tall. Love this picture. He's been so happy recently. So thrilled for him. He had a great speech therapy session today and is making more progress on communicating with his device. So proud of him. 

More happiness

Who this happy kid? Been a while since we've been able to successfully go shopping!! He's doing so much better. Couldn't be prouder. He used device while out and asked for what he wanted an accepted no if he couldn't. Beyond thrilled. So proud of you little buddy! #

So happy

That's how we roll. Boy is happy!! Don't know why but i'll take it. So we were having a love fest. He loves to touch my teeth when we hug. Don't know why lol but makes for some funny pictures!! 

Why is this kid so happy?

Why is this kid so happy? He wrote on his device "get sprouts chips" HA! Awesome. Took some prompting, he kept saying chips over and over. So I said from where so he goes get sprouts chips. Love it! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Service Dog

Over a year ago Kreed visited his O.T.'s farm and she had lab puppies. For the first time that I've ever seen Kreed was interested in an animal. Normally he just ignores them. So we got to thinking and researching. When it comes to Kreed if he is interested in anything we will make it happen. Service Dogs are expensive and a huge undertaking with wait lists and all kinds of things when going through a company. Also Kreed would not grow up with it, rather he would get it as an adult already and Kreed was actually afraid of larger dogs. 

After much consideration and research I realized basically they use applied behavior analysis to teach the dogs. Considering I was extremely proficient in these procedures, we decided perhaps I could do the bulk of the training and raise a service dog from a puppy. Pretty much after we made that decision, we took Kreed to the same place the O.T. had gotten her lab within the next week. We were lucky and she had just had a litter ready to go home. We took Kreed and she brought up the first few puppies and they were cute etc. Finally she brought up the last two puppies. And one was his. I knew it instantly. Kreed's mom Carie new it instantly. The puppy just looked up at us with his eyes making eye contact and holding our stare. And when he was put down, he instantly crawled onto Kreed's lap and Kreed started petting him. And so we knew. There was no other consideration. He was Kreed's. he knew it and we knew it. We did do some temperament testing that we had been instructed to do for future service dogs and he passed perfectly. So little puppy Cinna came home with us. We named the puppy Cinna after the Hunger Games character for the qualities we had hoped he would emulate. 

Ad so began Kreed's life with Cinna as a puppy to now adulthood. Kreed has never been afraid of dogs again since having Cinna in his life. Cinna grew up with Kreed and so all of his movements and sounds have never phased him in the least. Cinna has always seemed to understand Kreed was different. Cinna was never a hyper puppy and learned commands quickly and was growing into a fine young pup. The amazing thing is so many things Cinna does for Kreed he does without being told. Cinna will go to Kreed as soon as he hears him upset- never taught but reinforced definitely by us. He tries to stop Kreed from harming himself, he will bark if Kreed gets too intense and Kreed has understood that to mean he needs to calm down. Cinna will also apply pressure to Kreed when he is upset to calm him down. 

In fact the other day I was cleaning his bathroom and I heard Kreed upset but also heard Cinna. Apparently Kreed had gotten upset and Cinna went to take care of it himself- he had planted himself on Kreed's lap and wasn't going to budge so Kreed could not harm himself. Because Kreed was trying to get Cinna off etc, he was unable to harm himself!! It was awesome. Also anytime Kreed tried to bite, Cinna would nudge his arm and hand away from his mouth. It was so amazing to see Cinna doing all of this without being told. He recognized Kreed's increased anxiety and frustration and stopped a tantrum. I was so proud. 

I finally began to take Kreed on my store outings with Cinna to finish his training for Kreed's bolting. It went like a dream. The best was Kreed actually held onto Cinna's handle!!! Which kept him busy and focused. Ad when Kreed tried to bolt, Cinna held his ground and I'm teaching him to lay when he feels Kreed pull away. Kreed never tried to bolt the rest of the trip which is a rarity. I felt a lot safer with Cinna there working with Kreed and proud of Kreed for walking Cinna with the handle. 

All in all Cinna has added so much to our lives and Kreed. A few months after we got Cinna we also got another lab, this time a black girl lab. We did this for many reasons and its not always recommended to get two puppies at once but she has been great. Cinna loves and adores his sister and really seems to make him happy when he's not working. Kreed can get intense and having his sister Kindle allows him to just be a dog when he's not working and she also happens to be my awesome sporty lab who dock dives and does agility- my outlet haha. She also loves Kreed and wants to help him through tantrums but a much different temperament. Cinna is Kreed's soul dog ha. 

Do I recommend just anyone train their own service dog? Oh no! It is a lot of work and you have to be ready for it. When I'm not working or working with Kreed, I'm generally training Cinna. A lot of time has gone into making sure he developed correctly into the exact dog we needed for Kreed. I also have extensive, extensive background in behavior- both human and dog, which made me able to understand how to train Cinna correctly. I also reached out when I didn't know how to do something to learn how to do it. So you have to be ready for the time commitment and understanding the mechanics of training some complicated behaviors. For us it was the right decision, Kreed has made an incredible friend for life and Cinna has been invaluable in helping with Kreed. Their adventure is just beginning and I'm already so proud of both of them. I'm sure I'll have many tales to tell about these two. For now enjoy the pictures!!!

Erin, a.k.a. Kreed's best friend and teacher of everything ha.