Our youngest had one of his best days yet. No meltdowns, no tantrums, many words spoken during speech therapy...etc.
He was focused, engaged in activities during therapy and all around well-adjusted. These are the days we are thankful for. Progress is great and his mood/behavior definitely set a great tone for myself and the kids!
It's so very easy to be negative or depressed over autism....or anything medical related. But, finding the positive can really help. Some days I find it randomly, others I force find it...and some days just suck. Life! ;)
Today's realization is based around therapy goals for my youngest. We've always been a family that tries to minimize unnecessary stressors. For example, we rarely take the kids grocery shopping. Why? Because it's crazy and sounds ridiculous. There's two adults here, let the kids stay home. Right? Yes, but Kieran needs to experience these things. So we are stepping out of our comfort zone and forcing ourselves to welcome unnecessary stress in order to grow. In order for all of us to grow.
We can't spell Barney, or avoid letting him see his shoes forever. It's silly really. If we allow those things to be the norm - (saying, not spelling words, not hiding shoes....etc) he can and will adjust to them. Yes, your shoes are laying out - but we aren't going anywhere! We may not be going anywhere for a few days. There's the shoes, buddy! He can't meltdown over the shoes for two days. At some point it clicks that shoes and going out to play are not always connected.
So there it is - my random positivity gained during one of his therapy sessions this morning. It dawned on me that we used to have to shut the front door during therapy or that's all he would focus on. But today - it was open. It's been open for weeks. He moved on. Growth...progress!
Today was outpatient speech therapy session #1 for my youngest Hammerhead. This little dude is typically so scared and concerned when/if strangers approach him. Six months ago, a waitress in a restaurant that wasn't even looking at him, would cause a meltdown. Today, he went back to the therapists office for his 30 minute session - WITHOUT me!
Don't get me wrong, the session didn't go 100% smooth. He was loud and upset for at least 10 of the 30 minutes, but he did cooperate for some if it. Meanwhile in the waiting room, his older brother was busy saying, "hey girrrrrrl" to a little girl a year older than him. Such a ham.
Like the subject says, today we celebrate small victories - but in reality, it's pretty major for him!
Our youngest has therapy during the week to make sure we're offering/providing the appropriate supports and tools for him.
We are fortunate enough to reside in Pennsylvania, where we've experienced no wait lists at all for Early Intervention services. The same goes for his outpatient services, which is through our insurance.
Then comes the weekend where we try to fulfill his social goals (and the others by default) by getting the whole family out into the community. This may be something as simple as a solo trip to the grocery store with daddy, a family trip to the playground or to a local museum. You know, typical things that families do.
He has, in the past, spent a lot of time in meltdown mode while in public. Much progress has been made in that area, as he does very well in situations where he can roam freely without interaction from strangers (playgrounds, museums...etc).
The problems begin when he must contain himself and has to keep himself stimulated or distracted from individuals or situations. The longest he has made it in a restaurant is around 10 minutes, which is why the summer goal is to extend that.
So many goals. So much more developing to do for our young little guy (guys!).
There's always a lot of crazy developmental "stuff" going on in any home where young kids reside. Seems like our house is always in super hyper crazy mode when it comes to that topic.
The oldest of our twins decided he was going to perform a jail break recently. He jumped and banged and kicked his crib enough for the front rail to fall off. Very happy to report that he now sleeps soundly in a toddler bed - one in which he never gets out of! Go Team Hammerhead!
What does pdd-nos mean or look like for/to you? Each person or family will have a different yet similar answer, as no person on the spectrum is the same or has the same traits/symptoms.
For our little guy - it means the following:
- repetitive behaviors
- obsessive interests in specific topics
- difficulty interacting with peers
- impaired/delayed verbal skills
- excessive self-stimulating/soothing behaviors
All of those things and others are issues he/we are dealing with and receiving support and guidance to work through.
The important thing to know is that he is consistently inconsistent. What may be true of him this week - may not be the next. With this in mind, it can make routines difficult. Most individuals on the spectrum require or do well with routines, which is definitely the case here, but he also likes to randomly change that routine.
With all that out there, I am hoping to use this blog to document week to week progress/regression so that we all have a nice place to see it written out. At some point, I will share this all with those that may be curious.
Autism has dominated our minds over here since we received a diagnosis for our youngest hammerhead. He's what most would refer to as - high functioning, yet that doesn't make the diagnosis any easier to be "ok" with.
Perspective is what I'm trying to keep in mind. Yes, he has major social and language delays, but he does speak, he does appear to be your average toddler. He's not, but most would assume he is. What he is is inconsistent. He flaps, he jumps, he has "different" play habits, he's often times in melt down mode, he has fixations, and many other obstacles to overcome. He's also very loving and affectionate with those he knows well. He's a very tough little boy who shows so much potential.
The future is unknown. He's 2 1/2, how can we know how he will develop? This goes for ANY toddler. So for now - perspective. I'm going to try my best to keep perspective....in perspective.