Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
It went something like this:
ST: What kind of juice would you like? Apple juice? Milk?
M: Apple juice! (pretends to drink) Mmmmm
ST: Ooh what do we have in our basket?
M: An apple! (pretends to pick it up and eat it)
ST: Oh do we have some sandwiches in the basket?
ST: What kind of sandwiches? Tuna? Grilled Cheese?
M: Peanut butter jelly! (pretends to eat)
Me: Oh can I have a sandwich too? What kind do I get?
M: Here mama, peanut butter jelly!
ST: Oh do we have some cookies in there?
M: Yeah! (pretends to eat one)
ST: What kind of cookie is it?
The ST and I got talking and she was telling me that the student that was sitting in on her session last week (during the epic meltdown) told her she was very impressed how I handled myself and Michael during all that. Then the ST told me that she thinks I'm meant to be Michael's mom because I handle him so well. I really needed to hear that. :') <--- happy tears!
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
M: I went to school.
Me: Oh yeah? What else?
M: I go on school bus
Me: Oh yeah? What else?
M: I did circle time
Me: Anything else? Did you go to an assembly (the teacher said they went to a school-wide assembly)
Me: Did you make candy canes with the teacher?
:) This is so stinking awesome!!
Friday, December 16, 2011
It went something like this:
Me: Did you learn about trains today at school?
Me: Did you play with sparkles (glitter)?
Me: What colors were the sparkles?
M: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple!
Me: Did you also learn about cars?
Me: What did you do with the cars?
M: Cars in a circle!
Me: You played with cars in a circle? What else did you do with the cars?
M: Down the slide!
Me: Wow what else did you do?
M: Blocks build a mountain!
Me: You built a mountain with the blocks? What else did the blocks do?
M: Going so fast!
Me: Did you throw them so they were flying so fast?
Me: Did you go outside and play?
Me: After that did you come in and have a snack?
M: Yeah! Popcorn.
Me: You had popcorn? Anything else?
M: Red, Orange, Blue
Me: Were they cookies?
M: Yeah, cookies! Wheels!
Me: The cookies looked like wheels?
M: Yeah! Wheels! Tasty.
Me: What shapes were they?
Then Rory started crying so I had to stop and put him to bed. I wanted to just stay and have this conversation FOREVER! <3
UPDATE!!! I just got an email from his teacher that said this!
"That’s AWESOME! We did have popcorn! And the red, orange and blue was a fruit roll up! Yes, he did play with blocks and with cars. He also played with the train. So, he did give an account of his morning!"
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Here's a little snippet of him doing some pretend play and interacting with the family. I've tried to get some of these new little magic moments on video but they are so fast, that it's hard to capture them.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
I took this video tonight to further explain what I was talking about in my last post. Today Michael went to a birthday party for a friend of mine's son. This is our conversation tonight about it. The video is black because I was recording it in the dark as we rocked before bed. Every night I ask him questions like this to try and get him to engage in a conversation with me about his day. Tonight was actually a very good night. Most nights he won't even respond with yes, only his favorite "no way mama".
I was explaining in a little more detail to my friend about my last post as well. She said that her daughter typically will come home and she'll ask her what she did and she'll say "I don't know". The way Michael differs is he doesn't even understand the concept of you asking about the past. In neuro-typical children you could then ask details like "Did you learn about your letters?" and they will recall some of what they did and start to talk about it. Michael would probably only respond with something like "Yeah, letters" or "No way mama".
But as I was saying in the last post, he is doing awesome if you are talking in the moment. Although I did notice his conversation is very concrete. He doesn't understand abstract concepts like "that's cute", etc. For example, he will play Angry Birds and say "Oh the red bird flew so high! One pig left! We got them all! I won 3 stars!" But if you then said "What is your favorite bird?", he'd probably respond with "No way mama, my Angry Birds!" because he didn't understand what you were asking.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
In all of my thinking the past few days, I've realized something about Michael. He lives completely in the present. I know that this is part of normal toddler-hood, but by this age typically they start to understand the concept of past and future. Michael doesn't. When you ask him about something he did, he can't respond. When you talk to him about something that is going to happen, he doesn't understand. If I told him we were going to Disneyland to meet Mickey Mouse tomorrow, he wouldn't wake up tomorrow and be excited to go. He would have completely forgotten about it. And if we did go to Disneyland and met Mickey Mouse, when we left and came home, if someone said to him "Did you meet Mickey Mouse?", he wouldn't excitedly tell you his tale of meeting Mickey. Most likely he'd respond with something like "Yeah, meet Mickey Mouse". Which you might think he's relaying the tale of him meeting him, but actually that's just him echoing your words.
However, when you engage in the present with him, he's really growing. He is doing so much better at interacting and sharing. He actually asks me to take a turn when playing Angry Birds on his tablet. You can engage so much with him if it is something that is happening right now. During those times, back and forth conversation is emerging and it's amazing, beautiful, and so SO exciting!
Monday, November 14, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
I sent an email to his teacher asking how his first day was. She responded super quickly with this.
Thanks for the email-He did GREAT! He stayed a bit to himself at first…I got him interested in a couple of puzzles, and then he seemed interested in what the kids were doing. He got excited about circle and even sat with the group off and on for several minutes at a time. Snack went well too…! He took a piece of plum (didn’t eat it, but didn’t freak out) and he ate several cheese puffs. He never touched his cup and tried to drink water out of an open cup!
Michael had a great start!
I'm so proud of how well he did! :)
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
The last part of the class they had a parent panel. This was just 3 moms telling their stories and a little about their struggles with autism. It was refreshing hearing stories that were similar to mine to let me know, "Hey you aren't crazy!!"
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Last night my when I went to pick up Michael after the class, he was playing with his tablet. He was playing a game where you pop balloons on the screen. He came up to me and said "Try pop balloon mama!" Inside I was like "WHAT?! You just shared an idea with me of something you found interesting and wanted me to experience it too!" I mean, WOW!! Serious golden nugget right there!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
I went to change his diaper so we could get ready to go out and find some food (daddy is out of town and we are partying!) and he was mid poop. I told him that we were going to go sit on the potty. At first he was a little nervous, but I sat him on his little potty seat and he calmed right down. I told him to go ahead and push it out. With a little push, he went in the toilet. When that happened, he jumped a little bit because he wasn't expecting the *plop* haha but then he quickly got excited and said "I DID IT!" He hopped up, closed the lid, and flushed the toilet. He was so proud of himself!
Then as we were in the car, he had a plush angry bird with him (he is recently obsessed with that game). As we were driving down the road, he faced the bird out the window and said "Angry Bird what do you see out the window? Do you see lots of houses?" He's never done that sort of pretend play/questioning before! I drove all the rest of the way to dinner with a huge smile on my face!
I'm going to just copy it down as they gave it to me, mostly so I'll have it somewhere I can't lose it but also if you want to read it. All goals are hoped to be at this level 1 year from today's date.
Functional Sensory Processing:
When given safe sensory motor experiences, sensory supports, and strategies Michael will tolerate classroom tactile materials, hands on assistance, and hand holding improving functional sensory processing from demonstrates defensive reactions (stiffening, resistance, and withdrawal) to without defensive reaction such as withdrawal or resistance on 4/5 observations as measured by bi-monthly observations and data collection by OT
When given opportunity to participate in classroom activities Michael will follow classroom rules and routines improving ability to participate in large and small group activities from not able to, to 80% of the time on 3/4 data days as measured by monthly teacher/classroom observational data and checklists.
When given a verbal prompt Michael will transition to next activity (clean-up/stop/move, etc) improving his ability to transition from one activity to another from not able to, to 80% of the time 3/4 times on data days as measured by monthly teacher/classroom data and classroom checklists.
When given the direction "time to go potty" Michael will go to the bathroom, pull down pants and sit on toilet and empty bowels/bladder improving toileting skills from emerging (sitting on toilet a few times) to independently going to bathroom and following procedure to use toilet 90% of time as measured by monthly teacher data and classroom checklist.
When given unfamiliar or undesired food (fruit/veggies) Michael will accept a small piece of food improving tolerance for undesired/non-familiar food from gagging/refusing to attempting a lick/smell/or a tiny "no thank-you bite" 90% of time on 3/4 data days as measured by monthly teacher data and classroom checklists.
Functional Fine Motor & Sensory Processing Skills:
When given scissors and cutting project with simple 1/8" bordered shapes Michael will position scissors correctly and cut out independently improving fine motor and sensory processing skills from uses two hands/lacks correct positioning & snips only to with 75% on line accuracy on 3/4 observations as measured by monthly observation and data collection by OT.
Functional Fine Motor & Sensory Processing Skills:
When given writing/drawing implement Michael will use a tripod grasp and dominant hand to hold and draw beginning pre-writing shapes (i.e. circle, cross, square) improving functional fine motor and sensory processing skills from uses pronated fisted grasp, lacks hand dominance, and beginning copy skills to on 4/5 times as measured by bi-monthly observation and data collection by OT.
When given an appropriate classroom setting Michael will produce novel (non-echoic) responses improving expressive language from 50% of responses to 80% of responses as measured by classroom data and language logs.
When given a classroom instruction or direction Michael will follow the direction or instructions improving receptive language from 10% accuracy (compliance) to 60% accuracy (compliance) as measured by classroom data.
When given an opportunity to interact with a same-aged peer Michael will engage in a reciprocal conversation improving social language from 0 turns per conversation to 2 turns per conversation as measured by classroom data.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
This was a couple weeks before Michael's 2nd birthday. I have no idea why he was so against the card with the hat on it. But I was impressed with his matching skills! :) He's always been awesome at that sort of thing. I still can't believe how much he has grown verbally since this video though! We are making awesome progress!
Starting with the ST they spoke about some ways to help your child communicate. One of the things I found interesting was they advised to speak in statements and not in questions. I actually have been doing this for some time now. I found that for Michael, direct questions would really upset him and I could see his anxiety rise when I did. So I started saying things to him in statements and he has greatly improved behavior wise. They also said this was the best way for kids who echo what you say. That way they are not repeating a question, but they are repeating a statement. Michael echos a LOT so I was glad to hear this was the way to go with this sort of thing.
They also stated that once he starts school, it might be best for him to quit private 1:1 therapy and just go with the social ST with the school. I've had a bit of anxiety about the thought I'll be dropping private therapy once he starts school so I was glad to hear that is normally what happens and really might be the best way to go.
Next up was the OT addressing feeding issues. She had a lot of really good ideas to help with trying foods. She did a fun little hands on experience for us to understand what it's like for our kiddos. She gave us a plate with a variety of different foods on it. A few of them were ethnic Asian foods which I was not familiar with. One of them I said looked like dried up worms! This really helped me put it into perspective what it is like for a kiddo seeing a new food for the first time.
Last up was another OT that addressed other general sensory issues. She talked about self help skills and teaching potty learning to ASD kids. That info was really helpful as well.
All in all, it was a really informative class. Next week will be some other ASD parents as well as some advocacy groups, some of which will educate me a little more on the laws of the school system. I can't wait to hear that!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Just going back through old videos today and thought I should post this. This is about where his speech was at when I contacted Birth-3. They told me everything was fine and this was normal. Right. He had about 5 other "words" that were similar sounds to this at the time. He was 18 1/2 months old here.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
I think I must love to do research or something, because I could have taught the class! Seriously everything they went over in the class I knew already plus some. But I'm still glad I went and I'm looking forward to the next two sessions. This week they had a general overview from some guy (not sure who as we were late and missed intros) and a neuropsychologist. Next week they will have a ST and OT person there. I'm interested to hear what they have to say.
The most valuable part of going so far for me was the folder of resources they gave us. One of them being a huge handbook of all the autism resources in WA state.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Seriously this kid blows me away! I got an ipad a couple weeks ago and have been downloading a bunch of apps for Michael to try out. This one I downloaded, you are supposed to match up the numbers. Sometimes it will match to the number and sometimes it matches to a dice version of the number. I watched in awe as he matched up the dice to the numbers by counting in his head! Watch the video and you will see what I mean.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
For speech, they saw that we need to work on the back and forth communication more than picking up actual words so they think he will thrive with a group setting of ST rather than the 1:1 that he currently gets. I agree with this.
For fine motor, the OT said that he is left eye dominant and right handed so it can make some things harder such as reading. He was way ahead in some things such as doing puzzles and stacking blocks. She said that he does puzzles at a 5 year old level! But he has issues with sensory input and some of the instruction so they feel he would highly benefit from OT. I 100% agree with this. So they will also be helping him with self help skills, etc which is awesome!
They said that we had the option of either putting him in the autism class which is 5 days a week for longer periods or the regular special needs class that goes for only 2 days. However, they said that with his skills, they felt the autism class would be too restrictive for him. They felt that for him to build his social skills the regular class would be better. So that is what we are going to do. They said the teacher should call me and we will have a meeting to create his IEP in the next 2 to 4 weeks. Then we start school!
Monday, September 26, 2011
Now we sit around and WAIT some more! *sigh*
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I left Rory in the stroller for a minute and put his shoes on and tried to have him walk with me. He was still very upset. I figured if we could get something to distract him that would help. I found a Burger King and thought perfect, I'll get some chicken fries! He loves those things. So I get there and he's like "MAMA I NEED DRINK!!" So I grab some OJ and go to the counter to order chicken fries. The guy looks at me like I'm crazy when I ask if they have them. That must not be something they have in Utah. So I ask if they have like a 4 piece nugget. He says yes. So I say I want a 4 piece and he asks me fries or apples? I say oh I don't want a meal just the nuggets. But then he tells me they don't have them separate only with meals. So I say fine fries then. Then he gives me a bag. After I get the OJ into the kids cups, mind you Michael is screaming his head off this entire time, I look into the bag to find that the guy ONLY gave me fries! The whole point was I wanted some chicken nuggets! I growled at the guy and he finally gave me them for free.
I then tried to strap Michael in the stroller because he was not walking. As I took Rory out and put Michael in, Rory ran off and almost went behind the counter of one of the food kiosks. I caught her and ran back to Michael and he FINALLY calmed down. The rest of the plane ride he was pretty good but getting through security...phew! NOT ASD FRIENDLY!!!
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
A couple of weeks ago we bought Michael a LeapPad. He is OBSESSED with the thing. It's actually designed for 4-9 year olds but he still loves it. There is a game called Jewel Train that you basically have to figure out a puzzle of tracks to allow the train to get to the bank while collecting a few jewels. He caught on to it right away without me even explaining what to do. Version 1 had 25 levels which he learned to beat in a couple days. I bought version 2 last night which had 30 more levels and he beat the entire thing in about an hour. This video is of him doing this particular level for the first time! He amazes me how he can visualize it so easily and how quickly he completes the level!
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
So she told me that "if" he qualifies (which he has to since he has a diagnosis now!) then he'd most likely be in the special ed preschool in the mornings 2 days a week from 9:30-12:00. But they also have a special autism class that he "might" qualify for (even though he was dx with an ASD apparently that doesn't automatically qualify you???) which is 5 days a week from 9-1:30.
She also told me that school starts on Sept 7th and since his eval isn't until 09/15 that he wouldn't be starting until probably early October!! WTF?! So can somebody please explain to me why he was scheduled so late for an eval if school starts the week BEFORE? It's not like this appointment was made a week ago.
I also still have no information about the special ed bus that will pick him up. I'm assuming I can tell them to pick him up/drop him off at another location w/in Tacoma other than my home but I have no idea. Because again, I know NOTHING!
Monday, August 22, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Michael was sick and vomiting all over (seriously ALL OVER) on Monday and when I asked him if he felt sick he responded with "Yeah, I feel sick" It seems like since then the positive responses have been multiplying.
Even today when I was singing along to a game he was playing, he normally will say "NO WAY MAMA, DON'T SINGING!" but instead he said "Good singing mama, good singing!" Also we went to visit some friends and family today for a picnic and he ran up and greeted those he knew and gave them hugs! :)
This makes this mama very happy!
Saturday, August 20, 2011
I came across a thread about kids asking the same questions over and over again, driving their parents crazy and it just made me want to cry. I WISH I could have him ask me questions like that. I'm sure there are plenty of things I take for granted about my kiddos too but this one just stung for me right now. :(
Friday, August 19, 2011
Story of my life right there. Every day. EXHAUSTING!
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Today Michael was getting into this cupboard in the toy room and trying to pull out some toys. I don't normally let him in there himself and he knows that. I went in there and said "Michael what are you doing?" He turned to me and stared at me and said "Nothing!"
My child LIED to me today!!! Normally most parents try to teach their kid not to lie. But in the case of Michael he normally doesn't have the understanding to respond with a lie. So for him to do that was HUGE! I just sat there stunned for a second when he did it!
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
He came back with a total score of +6. The way it ranges is from -45 (lowest) to +45 (highest). They broke it down to:
-Classical early infantile autism (Kanner's Syndrome): Children who score +20 or higher on the form are typically diagnosed as having classical autism.
- Autistic: The average score for a child falling to this category is -2. This score corresponds to a child diagnosed as having ASD by many professionals. Children who score -15 to +19 are typically regarded as "autistic" and the majority of children diagnosed as autistic fall w/in this category. This is where Michael's score fell.
- Autistic-like: Children who score -16 or lower are generally not regarded as truly autistic; but instead, they are often described as "autistic-like," "has many characteristics," etc.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Michael is so obsessed with numbers. He's been carting around a calculator for a while now so we decided to teach him addition. He already has the early concepts down. The other day I had 2 pieces of food in one hand and 2 in the other. I had my hands split and said "How many are in this hand?" and he answered 2. Then I held out the other hand and asked him. He again answered 2. Then I pulled my hands together and said "Ok how many are there together?" He answered 4 (without counting them individually!)!
So we decided we are going to teach him how to do addition. He is doing awesome at it so far! :) What a smarty pants!
Friday, July 29, 2011
Then last night Rory was again asleep before he was (which is rare). I was putting him down to bed when I accidentally bumped his head. He started crying so I sat and rocked him on the glider in his room for a while. He sat there whimpering this fake little whimper for a while so I wouldn't stop holding him. Every time I went to put him to bed he would say "No, how about the chair again?" I decided there wasn't anything more important at that moment than holding him and rocking him like I used to do every night. It feels like an eternity since I have last rocked him to sleep. I finally laid him down to bed and he made me give him the required 100 million kisses, which I gladly gave.
Moments like those are really what it's all about. <3
Thursday, July 21, 2011
I about fell over in shock when he was eating his carrot and then said "It's a cube!" But then a few seconds later he ate a pea and said "It's a spehere!" *jaw drop* I don't know where he learned those shapes! I'm so proud of my little smarty pants!!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Anyway, I told the ST about his dx and she agreed that it fit him. We talked a little about his rituals and routines and how I struggle with when I should allow him to stick to the rituals and when I should force him otherwise. She basically said to break it as much as I can but if I don't have the energy for it that day, then that's okay. Forcing him to break from his rituals can throw off his whole day so it's very hard for me to decide whether or not it is worth it to force it on him. But it makes sense that the more we force it, the more he will get used to the idea of change and that is good. I guess I will just keep taking it one day at a time. I have actively been working on this and I do see improvement - however very slowly.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
So tonight was just a blast. When I told Michael it was time to eat he initially refused which is normal. But after a few mins he decided it was ok to go eat. When he got to the table he was mad the plate he used for lunch was gone. He got distracted from that by this dinosaur sippy that was on the table. He had this small US flag that he had shoved in the tail before but I had taken it out earlier. He was mad about this and trying to put it back in. The dino fell a couple of times and he got so upset he started throwing the cup. So I took it away and he went into a huge meltdown.
He was screaming while James was trying to watch a movie. This was annoying him so he came in the room and started yelling at him. Of course this made him scream harder. Then James slapped his hands and flicked him in the back! I started yelling at him because that was inappropriate and completely unnecessary.
Finally after forever Michael said "I'm sorry mama" and started crying and hugged me. He was calming down and started spinning the knobs on our china hutch. James then saw and got ticked and stuck him in time out. So the screaming started back up. While he was sitting in the time out chair, James was getting into a power struggle with him. I broke in and did a diaper change to hopefully reset him. It was working until I went to sit down and eat again. Michael got mad I was not standing and started to flip out. I thought maybe if I gave him yogurt he would calm down. I got it out and he was saying "No how about plate?" I finally figured out he wanted the stupid plate he had used for lunch. I took it out of the sink and washed it off. He then asked me to put the yogurt on it and he happily ate dinner.
All this was over the course of more than an hour! I'm going to die early from this stress I think!
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) is one of the autism spectrum disorders and is used to describe individuals who do not fully meet the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome.
PDD-NOS may be thought of as “subthreshold autism," or a diagnosis one can give a person who has “atypical symptomatology.” 2 In other words, when someone has autistic characteristics but some of their symptoms are mild, or they have symptoms in one area (like social deficits), but none in another key area (like restricted, repetitive behaviors), they may be given the PDD-NOS label.
In the DSM-IV Criteria for a Diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, PDD-NOS is covered in a single paragraph, which mainly asserts what it is not:
"This category should be used when there is severe and pervasive impairment in the development of reciprocal social interaction associated with impairment in either verbal or nonverbal communication skills or with the presence of stereotyped behavior, interests, and activities, but the criteria are not met for a specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia, Schizotypal Personality Disorder, or Avoidant Personality Disorder. For example, this category includes “atypical autism” – presentations that do not meet the criteria for Autistic Disorder because of late age at onset, atypical symptomatology, or subthreshold symptomatology, or all of these." 1
American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., rev.). Washington DC: Author. (Pg. 84)
When might a person receiv a diagnosis of PDD-NOS?
That will vary, of course, but in one study, researchers found that those with PDD-NOS could be placed in one of three very different subgroups: 4
- A high-functioning group (24%) who resembled people with Asperger syndrome but had transient language delay or mild cognitive impairment (such that they could not receive the Asperger diagnosis which requires no speech or cognitive delay).
- A group (24%) who resembled people with autism but who had a late age of onset, or otherwise did not meet the criteria for autism.
- A group (52%) who were autistic-like, but displayed fewer stereotyped and repetitive behaviors.
Monday, July 11, 2011
The reason he gave him that dx and not Autism is due to the fact that he has eye contact (mostly with me or other family members - not to strangers), shows me items of interest, and is affectionate. In all other areas, he showed signs/symptoms of Autism. So basically they give the PDD-NOS dx when they meet most or have significant issues in other areas of Autism but don't fully meet all the criteria.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
This is how Michael lets you know he disapproves of your singing ability. For some reason he cannot stand it when anyone sings. Unless it is a song he chooses and you are the designated singer. He likes to sing ABC's and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, but apparently I am the only one allowed to do it. I tried to have all 3 of us sing tonight and he was screaming for daddy to stop it.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
The most amazing thing happened tonight! I told Michael that he was having chili beans for dinner. Instead of just yelling "NO WAY" at me, he said "How about yogurt?" I said ok but only if you lay down and let me change your diaper. Then he laid down! I have NEVER had him negotiate with me before! You have no idea how happy this made me!!
Monday, June 27, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
When the blessing was over and James came back, we tried to get him to do some activities like read a book or have some goldfish crackers. He started to scream at the top of his lungs so James had to take him out. They walked around the parking lot for the rest of the hour.
I felt like all eyes were on me like "Who is this lady and why can't she keep her kid in line?" "Why is she just letting him sit on the floor like that?" Nobody else had kids that were screaming and freaking out.
Then we went to his brother's house for an afternoon get together and brunch. None of them know what is going on with Michael except my mother in-law and James. Really though, at this time only my mother in-law is paying much attention to it. Even she isn't sure about the idea of autism in him. Anyway, I hated having to sit there and explain to everyone "Don't ask him direct questions or he will get upset!"or this or that. I have so many rules and things that I do to keep the meltdowns and behavior to a minimum. But others don't know that. They just try to interact with him like they would any NT child and they just don't understand why he doesn't respond like other children do. My father in-law even said tonight that Michael was going to give him a complex because he screams at him all the time when he tries to talk to him. I said to him like I've said 100 times - HE DOES THIS TO EVERYONE!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I added this video because he does the new "no way mama" in here near the beginning.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
My child may be behind on his social skills, but he's light years ahead of his peers in other areas! :) I love this video of him just looking at 3 objects and knowing there were 3!! That is seriously an action most kids can't do until they are kindergarten age!
Not everyone knows we are getting him evaluated and really I don't even think James really understands what the doc appt is for. I've been slipping in more info about autism in our daily conversation so he gets used to the idea. But still he knows little to nothing about PDD's in general. I had originally told him we are having an evaluation for autism but I honestly think he shoved it to the back of his mind and forgot.
Once I get a diagnosis, I can stop obsessing about every action he does. It is getting tiring but I can't help it with my anxiety issues.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
So today we were watching Signing Time and Michael was enjoying the signs. But of course anytime I started saying the words or signing, he would get upset. He'd start his whole "NO WAY MAMA!" thing. Notice how he is happy and starting to do the signs until I say something and then he just kind of shuts down. This is why I have a hard time showing him how to do anything because he completely shuts out if you try to help him.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
WELCOME TO HOLLAND
Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this...
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.
I took this video a few days ago at dinnertime. I tried to give him meatballs (which you can see on the plate) but he wouldn't touch them. I had a fork there ready for him. I tried to poke one to get him interested and he just got upset that the fork was moved from where it "belonged". So they got wasted. The only thing he ended up eating was the garlic bread. I figured I'd post this video to show the growling "no way" he has been doing lately. I was also messing with him a little bit by moving around the bread just so you could see his reaction on camera. Once things have a 'place' then you must not move them or it is really upsetting for him. Notice how when I ask him if he wants a new piece of bread he says no and growls but when I present the bread to him, he actually did want it. For him, it's all about the approach.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
The end result:
Friday, June 10, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Communicating is so hard for him. :( When I ask him questions it seems to cause him such anxiety. I really hope we can get over this with therapy. It is draining to try and talk to a toddler that communicates like this all day. Some days are better than others but it is still tiring. *sigh*
Thursday, June 2, 2011
The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) 1 provides standardized criteria to help diagnose ASDs.
Diagnostic Criteria for 299.00 Autistic Disorder
- Six or more items from (1), (2), and (3), with at least two from (1), and one each from (2) and (3):
- qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
- marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
- failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
- a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest)
- lack of social or emotional reciprocity
- qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
- qualitative impairments in communication as manifested by at least one of the following:
- delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gesture or mime)
- in individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
- stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language
- lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level
- qualitative impairments in communication as manifested by at least one of the following:
- restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
- encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
- apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
- stereotyped and repetitive motor manners (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
- persistent preoccupation with parts of objects
- restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
- Delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas, with onset prior to age 3 years: (1) social interaction, (2) language as used in social communication, or (3) symbolic or imaginative play.
- The disturbance is not better accounted for by Rett’s Disorder or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.
I asked her about the appt with the pedi in July and what they will be looking for. She said based on what she has seen with Michael's behaviors she isn't sure he will necessarily be diagnosed with a firm diagnosis of autism. She said that he appears to fit more into the category of PDD-NOS. Which is basically "you have autism but don't meet all the strict criteria". She was basing that on the fact that he DOES make eye contact sometimes. However, his eye contact is limited. I guess we will wait and see what the pedi thinks.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
LINK TO ARTICLE ONLINE
Let me tell you a little about celebrating autism
When I tell the average person that my son has Autism, they feel really bad for me. The fact is that there is a lot to celebrate.
Milestones are an achievement, not just an item on a list
When you have a child with Autism, you learn to appreciate the milestones, both big and small. Some would say that we celebrate a little too much for such little accomplishments but I’d argue that we celebrate accordingly, it’s other parents who take them for granted.
First words, learning to walk, swimming, riding a bike, reading, writing… all these things that make parents proud are far more than just steps along the way when your child has Autism… they’re cause for celebration.
Take nothing for granted
Along the same lines, but very different from milestones, is taking nothing for granted. Unless you have a child with Autism (or another disability like it), you’ll probably never know what it’s like to be lucky enough to be hugged one time a year.
Does your child look you in the eye? If your child has Autism, maybe not. Does your child give you a hug or kiss sometimes? If your child has Autism, maybe not.
You will never ever realize just how much the tiniest little things can be so extremely important until they’re not there.
Patience, more than you ever thought possible
The biggest problem with milestones is that everyone knows what they are and when they should happen so when your child is missing them, everyone says something. It’s hard, it’s oh so very hard.
After a while though, you develop a thicker skin… not just the patience required to take their “advice” a little better but also to have the patience and self confidence in knowing that if you never give up on your children, the milestones will come.
The beauty that is around us
The world around us moves pretty fast and can be so filled with sights and sounds that it turns into a bit of a blurry mess. Our mind makes it that way to keep us from becoming overwhelmed, crazy and tired. We filter through a lot of everything that goes on in our daily lives without really realizing it.
Many people, especially the children, with Autism don’t have the same filtering capabilities and often times do get overwhelmed by it all. This often results in meltdowns or even violence.
You, as the parent, become increasingly aware of the world around you because you have to, because you need to know what you are getting your child into. Loud restaurants, carnivals, movie theaters… many many places can be far too difficult for your child to be able to process and you need to be aware of that before the fact.
As you develop this ability over time, it forces you to slow down and truly appreciate the sights and smells and sounds that surround us every single day.
You go outside and there isn’t a car in the neighborhood… it’s so very peaceful. Before you likely never would have noticed, much less enjoyed that feeling of peace, because your mind builds that filter in place before you ever go out and so you don’t notice if there are cars or not.
Your child is perfect because of who they are
It isn’t until others see your child as flawed, and worse, until you start to see your own child as flawed, that you can learn what is truly important… not a disability, not a disorder, not even a gift… a child is who they are inside and who they are inside is exactly who they are supposed to be… your child.
It’s ok if no one will ever look at your child the same way you do, they’re not supposed to. Our children are amazing human beings with unlimited potential.
Celebrate the differences, not just in your child, but in yourself. For better or worse, you’ve become a better person for it, you’ve become a better parent. Your child isn’t like other children… and that seems hard to take but honestly, before your child was born, and you saw how “other children” are on the news or in movies… is that really what you wished for when you imagined having a child? For them to be like all the others?
No, none of us want our children to have it harder than anyone else, and no we don’t want our children to suffer… but many of us recognize that we can have these thoughts and these feelings while still being able to recognize and celebrate the differences.
Your child is amazing. You are amazing. Celebrate it… you’ve earned it.
Courtesy of Stuart Duncan
LINK TO THE ARTICLE ONLINE
Autism & ability
Success in anything doesn’t just happen.
For children with autism, learning new skills is often made more difficult because of sensory processing issues. There may be too much noise in the next room for Jill to concentrate on the directions, or Marcos may not be able to look at numbers on a computer screen and relate them to those on a page of homework. It all has to do with contingencies.
Contingencies are “if-then” relationships. All individuals with autism have some level of difficulty with contingencies. The most obvious are social contingencies, but cognitive “if-then’s” are just as important to consider. Does Ricky make the connection between Mom saying “Press down on the pedal” and the action of his foot applying pressure downward? If not, his mom can say it over and over again, and both can grow frustrated in the process.
Some of my athletes are nonverbal, but understand just about everything that is said. Others are verbal to an extent, but have enormous difficulty attending to or following verbal instructions.
It is absolutely critical to ask the following questions:
1) Is the individual a more auditory or a more visual learner?
2) Has he/she had prior experience with the words I am using right now?
3) Is he/she motivated to perform this particular activity? (Does he/she like it?)
4) If not, what would be motivating?
I call these the “PAC” abilities and they are the foundation of my assessment and programming method, the PAC Profile (www.PACProfile.com). If Rachel is having difficulty riding her bike, is it because she cannot do it, won’t do it, or some other reason?
How do we assess what is going on without drawing incorrect or unproductive conclusions? Saying she is “lazy” does not give us much help. How do you “un-lazy” somebody? Do you snap your fingers and all of a sudden they decide that they will do something? Not the kids I’ve worked with, and probably not yours either. That’s why it is so important to assess abilities first.
Alex was 11 and his mother contacted me specifically to work on bike riding skills. Dad had attempted several times to teach him, but wound up screaming at Alex instead because Alex was not learning quickly enough. If you are reading this now, stand up quick and learn to ride a unicycle while juggling. In the event that you do not master this in a week I will personally call up to berate you. Oh, and you need to be having FUN While you do it. Doesn’t sound to reinforcing, does it? Alex wanted to ride his bike; he just didn’t want to be yelled at while learning. I thought that was reasonable enough.
After about ten minutes of physical assessment, it was clear that Alex could move well. His bike riding issues were not because of physical or gross motor issues. He was highly motivated, which took care of the Adaptive area of functioning, and was great with verbal directions. Alex needed two things: time on the bike, and support from an instructor. He was riding independently within two months.
Alex learned to ride because the teaching was appropriate. The program was run at his speed and style of learning. He would frequently, and I mean frequently, ask if he was going fast enough. I told him that it was fine as long as that was the speed he wanted to go.
Eventually, he learned that the faster he pedaled the more it balanced the bike. I could have explained that to him but it wouldn’t have made sense or mattered much. Learning is an experience that requires the individual to “invest” into the process. That’s why we learn best when we’re having fun. We are automatically engaged or focused on the activity without someone telling us to “pay attention ‘cause this is important.”
The assessment is pretty straightforward. Does he/she have the physical ability to ride a bike? Is he/she motivated to ride the bike? What type of learning style does he/ she have? In chapter 6, I will provide some great exercises that can strengthen the muscle groups and movement patterns needed to ride a bike correctly. Riding a bike is also a very specific activity that requires time spent…riding a bike.
Adaptive ability is the most important aspect of functioning. If Tracey has some motor planning issues, but is determined (motivated) to ride her bike, she is going to log in a good deal of time learning to ride. As long as she stays motivated and has a good fitness program that strengthens the areas of deficit, she will learn to ride with success. For the less-motivated crowd, aka the majority of kids on the autism spectrum, we will cover some practical strategies in chapter 4.
Cognitive ability is not “smart vs. stupid”. We all have different levels of learning ability depending on the subject. I got D’s and occasionally F’s throughout math in elementary, middle, and high school only to get an “A” in statistics in college. Did I suddenly get smarter, or was the subject taught in a way that I could understand it?
Most individuals on the autism spectrum are not auditory learners. They are usually better at visual learning (having the concept or skill shown to them), and many require physical prompting or cueing to perform different movements correctly. Saying the same thing over and over is not going to be much help if the individual is not making the connection between words and action. This is where I have seen the highest amount of frustration build up on both sides (parent and child).
The best way to learn is to do. When we have the opportunity to experience learning and sort the steps out for ourselves, skill mastery comes faster and stays longer. Ironically, other skills are often compared to “learning how to ride a bike” because once you learn you “never forget.” That may be true, but we need to make sure that our children want to get back on the bike again once they’ve learned how to ride.
Courtesy of Parenting Special Needs