Monday, January 31, 2011

Camel Have Water

Max has been in school for about a month now. And according to his teacher and ST (speech therapist), he is doing very well! His language is really taking off and he is regularly putting words together on his own and sometimes they even make sense! Most of what he says is a script from his favorite show The Wonder Pets, or a repetition of lists over and over again. But more things are being added to the list and he is starting using his scripts to ask for what he wants. For example, in the "Save the Camel" episode, the Wonder Pets are helping the camel get to the oasis for a drink of water. So when Max wants water, he says "camel have water." Kinda funny...
When Max started school, his therapists and teacher helped us set goals for him. We picked three goals: Max staying in the same room with us while we try to play with him, Max getting potty trained & Max using his silverware. He is getting better about staying in the room with us while we try and engage him but we still have a long ways to go. Potty training... Ha! Right now the most action the potty chair sees is when Max puts his "friends" (Georgie, Cannon, blankie, Ming-Ming, Tuck & Linny) in the pot and sits on them. He also takes the brush, toothpaste, comb and floss out of Dave's drawer and puts them under the potty chair. Also funny. Realistically, we won't starting trying until this summer but we have started teaching him to take his clothes off. After all, you need to know how to take your pants off before you can use the potty chair.
Our goal for the next couple weeks is getting Max to use his silverware. It's not that Max can't use them- he just won't. He doesn't understand why he would use them when his hands work perfectly fine AND accomplish the goal of shoving as much food into this mouth, as fast as he can, much faster. Max was using both his spoon and fork very well around 15 months, but like a lot of other things, this skill just sort of went away. Whenever we try and push him to use his utensils, he screams. He doesn't just whine. He gets hysterical and hits it away- sending food everywhere. He will eat off a spoon if we feed him but does not like to eat off of a fork. He will take the food off with his fingers and put it into his mouth. This is going to be a painstakingly long process but Max did well with his spoon at school today and did ok with his fork at lunch. We are using a visual aid system to help him and it actually seems to make sense to him!

Baby steps. I am quickly learning that with autism, it's all about the baby steps. It takes a lot of patience and even more persistence. And it all has to be intentional. Most kids starting stripping down as soon as they figure out that clothes can come off. But Max has never, not even once, tried to take off his clothes. Like most guys, he loves being naked but doesn't understand that he can make that happen on his own. That's the difference between other kids and Max. He can't make the Point A to Point B transition on his own. It all has to be learned- or in some instances, re-learned.
It's funny (and not ha ha funny...) but our approach to Max's autism is kind of like how I have to approach life without Ellie. It's all about the baby steps- getting through each day, each hour or each minute, one at a time. And it all has to be intentional. Sometimes it has to be a conscious decision to put my feet on the floor and get out of bed. I have to make the decision to put food in my mouth, chew, swallow and repeat. Sometimes, I even have to be intentional about taking a breath. Like Max, it won't always be this way- at some point it will just become habit again. I just have to learn, or rel-learn how live without my Peanut. And it's not how I want it, but it's how it is.


January 31, 2010
 Max returning the unwanted oranges to the container :)
Don't worry, we didn't return the oranges to the fridge after they had been touched by grubby toddler hands...

I love that you can see how tiny Ellie was in this picture. She was sleeping in her bouncy seat while the rest of us ate breakfast. And it reminded me of a picture of Max one morning at breakfast when he was about a month old. They look so similar! 

I remember that this was a little bit of an early morning at our house because we were taking the kids to get their pictures taken- which I will share in a couple of days when I don't have any pictures of Ellie. We got through pictures and went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Afterwards we went home and spent the rest of the day coaxing children to nap and eat! This was also the day that Ellie had her first bottle. From the beginning, she was a great nurser, but I wanted her to be able to take a bottle too. I finally had enough milk saved up so she could have about one bottle a day. At first, she wasn't too sure about the bottle but once she figured out it had the milk too- she was on board!
 Look at her little hands all folded up! Love it!

 Daddy's turn to try... Dave making fun of Ellie's cross-eyed stares at the bottle :)


ccc said...

Just a word on the potty training. (my son has a cognitive delay of 1 year-he's 3 1/2 and MANY sensory issues)He has not been officially labeled autistic at this point, but we are to come back in for retesting because of the red flags. He too does well with visual learning. I was able to potty train, but not till three, and surprisingly it went well.I literally carried the potty chair around with me and set it by him wherever he went as a visual reminder. I never asked him if he had to go potty, but instead just told him it was potty time every hour. Of course we had to make potty time sound really fun and he bought it. After a day, he finally did #1 in the potty-sitting down- and he did not realize what he was doing. So that was another visual to go with the sensation since he had no clue before. I did this for only a week until he actually was doing it on his own, but the potty had to be in his sight or it would not happen. Gradually over many weeks, the potty was moved closer and closer to the bathroom.Then for a month the potty had to sit outside the room, till finally in the room. Now six months later he is finally trying to use regular toilet only for #1. It's a long road, but the hard stuff only for a week. I also read a book I got from our library(which I do not have the title right now)about potty training autistic children-very good-had a lot of case stories and examples. Maybe you can google it.

Tiffany said...

thanks for the tips! I plan on dedicating some serious time this summer- i've heard it won't be pretty but its gotta be done!

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