Saturday, June 23, 2007

Nice Little Moments

In ABA the other day, B. stacked one block on top of another. Just one, but that was a missing milestone that always stuck in my head, because it seemed so basic. He also picked up a bean off the table and dropped it in jar. These aren't things he's working on...his therapist helped him do them a few times, and then he did them himself. That is a big, big change.

More importantly, he seems to look at us a little more, and smile at us a little more, as the days go by.

G. is very into "hiding" these days. When I say "It's time for bed", he runs and hides behind some curtains. Then, If he manages to sneak his tiny penguins into bed with him, he bunches up a blanket and holds the penguins under it. To me, that shows some "theory of mind". He knows the penguins are there, but he thinks we won't. He's not at all subtle about the hiding, which is kind of cute.

J. has been coming out with comments like, "This is a fun morning", "This is a good breakfast!", etc. Maybe he's learning to butter me up, but hey, it works.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Where Do the Words Go?

Lately I've been wondering about B's words. They come and go, and often when a word goes, it seems to be for good. I think he peaked last December, when he had maybe ten words that he would occasionally say. At that point, he could also fill in words in songs (sometimes), which he does not do at all right now.

I don't want to be depressing. We are getting back to a stage of having a few words. "Cookie" came into favor for a while, and got his ABA therapist very worked up. It seems to have faded out again, although the ABA therapist says that he can say it, so we should expect him to. He also said "brush" for a few days after getting a new toothbrush which he loves.

I remember reading The Siege, by Clara Claiborne Park, long before I had kids, and even before I started teaching kids with autism. I remember being fascinated by her story. One thing that stuck with me was that her daughter would learn a new word, say it all the time, then move on to a different word. I can't remember how long that lasted, but she did eventually speak in sentences, and as an adult talks well. She's an artist now.

I disagree with our ABA teacher about thinking that B. "can" say the words, if he wants to. I think they are in there, but he can't necessarily retrieve them at will. But her techniques are so gentle, and rely so much on having fun with him, I'm okay with having some philosophical differences. One great result of her working with us is finding out that I should ignore tantrums (I should have known that, but I always end up either in conversations with J., or trying to comfort G.) So the last time J. tantrumed, which as always caused G. to plug his ears and have his own tantrum, I went over and looked at a book with B. It was great, and the tantrums probably did end quicker than usual.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Another Sunday Morning

Once again, I took J. and B. to church with me. I alternate-- one week J. and G., the next week, J. and B. All three are in the same room, and while J. does great in Sunday School, the twins need extra attention, and there aren't enough teachers for both to be there at the same time.

Today a teacher came to get me about five minutes into the service with a very distraught B. I spent the morning with him, going between the playground, the infant room, and finally the toddler room for snack. The teacher in the toddler room (whom I really respect and like) said, "I think B. is okay in this class as long as you are here. G. is just a little farther along". So it looks as if I'll have to stay with B. when I take him to church. (Actually, I have ideas for other solutions, but we'll see what I can work out)

Now, he is really progressing lately. He'll walk holding my hand when we go to stores (sometimes). He recognizes some of the PEC symbols in our schedule, and I swear he said "Sleep" when I showed him the sleep picture today (!!) He says something like "teeth" and "brush" when he sees his tooth brush. This is fantastic for someone who recently took a month or two off from saying anything at all. But despite all this, he is not fitting into his Sunday school class. Church has been a haven for me so far, with a group of people who seemed happy to watch out for the twins and their unusual needs. I hope it will keep being such a place, but I can see that I need to enlist extra help. Maybe pay a teenager to stay in the room with B., and take him out to run when he needs it.

Another thing about B: a long time ago (maybe a year?), B used to get very excited when his big brother would run around and act silly. He would clap and jump and laugh. This morning I saw him smiling a little when my husband and J. were running around the house, screaming like banshees. Even G. joined the chase, so I took B's hand and started running after the others. He got the biggest grin on his face, and I'm sure I did, too.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

An obsession with formal wear ?

G's favorite toys at the moment are small penguins, and a tiny Sir Topham Hat figure. They have certain similarities, if you think about it.

Today, after J. ate two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in a row, I said to him, "Peanut butter will make you grow big and strong!" Then for some reason, I added, "I'm not sure what jelly does for you". J. answered, "Jelly will turn me back into a baby". It reminded me of what a magical place the world seems to be when you are three.

B. may be deciding to talk again. Yesterday he said "car" and "cookie", and (maybe) "yellow"! He has also started to say the names of letters again, every once in a great while. He has been all smiles today.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

I've got to figure out how to get some more ABA hours for B! It makes him as mad as anything, but after it's over, he'll look right at me and say a word, which he never does anymore. The ABA therapist we have is great, but she seems to be very in-demand for trainings and such, which interferes with her schedule. I may try advertising for grad students at the local university, which actually has a degree in ABA. .

I'm trying to think how i can make a routine in which the twins will be more active participants, rather than just having things happen to them. I'm trying to think of tasks they could help with, or even do themselves.