Many Hands Make Light Work or so the old saw goes, right?
I’d like to take a moment to thank the many moms who reached out to me recently —not only through my blog (and through Autism Vox) but through email. I cannot tell you how many wonderful insights people shared and tips and resources, too. Since then, I’ve been running a bit ragged as Nik hasn’t been sleeping through the nights lately.
EMBARASSING CONFESSION ALERT — I sometimes snore so terribly that Niksdad wears earplugs to bed each night! Thus, guess who’s been sleeping like a stone while Nik and I have been having our little visits in the wee hours?!
I’ve been doing lots of lurking on other blogs this week and have posted some comments but haven’t felt like I had much to offer to the blogosphere that would be of any great moment. Nor do I have any great burning issue I feel the need to kvetch about —so, I’ve stayed quiet for the most part. But there have been moments throughout the week that I’ve been spurred to reflection by several blogs and have gone so far as to compose my own post in my head (you know, somewhere in the middle of Acme, Wal-Mart or while at the gym. I think all these fabulous, insightful, and —I daresay, pithy thoughts. Thing is, by the time I get around to my computer, said thoughts? Gone, gone, and gone. Guess that means I’m not meant to share them just yet? …Or some such karmic crap. Could also mean that I am seriously sleep-deprived mom with way too much on my mind and can’t remember for a hill of beans? Nah, I’ll go with the karma bit.
So, in case anyone is interested (besides me, I mean), here’s the latest on my boy wonder:
In the week since he’s returned to school, there’s been a really interesting dynamic happening between both Nik and me and Nik and his dad. It’s like someone flipped a switch and our distant child is finding his way to us. I can’t say for sure if there’s a cause or trigger —frankly, I’m not sure I care. I am just thrilled that my little boy is making more eye contact with us, that he misses me when I leave him at school now, that he gets excited when he hears his daddy’s voice or when I go to get him from his crib in the morning. I love that he’s beginning to show signs of using the concept of “yes” correctly. As in, “Nik, do you want your drum?” (signed in rudimentary fashion by Niksmom/Niksdad) and, at least fifty percent of the time, he will respond with a sign for “yes!” The sign, for those who are not conversant in ASL (Amer. Sign Lang.), is a closed fist rocking up and down from the wrist as if you were nodding your head. Nik, not having tremendous voluntary motor control in some areas, signs by waving his arm in a jerky, slightly side-to-side manner.
It’s pretty funny how Nik responds sometimes. He will reach for the toy in question without signing; my mister independent! We hold the toy out of his reach and encourage him to tell us “yes” by either hand-over-hand or tapping his arm to prompt him. He won’t respond for a bit so we put the toy aside and tell him if he wants the toy he needs to tell us. He usually giggles and reaches for the toy as if he’s not heard a word we’ve said. This goes on a few times. Finally, as we are getting ready to put the toy away, Nik will begin waving BOTH arms. I often wonder what words he would be using if he had them at this point. Probably “Duh, yeah, of course I want the toy. Did you even have to ask?” Yep, I love that he’s catching on to the concept of “yes.”
Every time I turn around lately, it seems like Nik is making quantum leaps forward. My little wunderkind has gone from the child who wouldn’t even bear weight on his own legs one year ago (except in the pool, but I think it’s because he really, really liked Miss Katie!) to the fearless child at the park, cruising from area to area. Even sliding headfirst down the toddler slide and all by himself on the “big kid” slide. Never mind the kid doesn’t stand on his own, much less walk! Nik is fearless and curious.
I watch him beginning to pay attention to things he’s never seemed interested in before —our two cats, the birds outside the window, the flowers growing in our front garden, people around him. It really does feel like a major shift all of a sudden. He’s losing some of his aversions to certain textures of things such as the shredded wood mulch at the park. Six weeks ago, he couldn’t stand the feeling of it on his hands. In the past week, Nik’s been actively seeking it out and running his hands through piles of the stuff. He’s even tried to put some in his mouth (and nearly choked on Mother’s Day! I aged ten years in that one moment!). Nik has never before wanted to put anything in his mouth that wasn’t a hard plastic toy to bite down on!
The irony here is that I am worried now that Nik’s newfound connections and curiosity will give the ADOS evaluators reason to deem him ineligible for the autism program yet again. Last fall, it was agreed that Nik should stay in his preschool class and see how he did with “intensive intervention.” Well, we didn’t know what we didn’t know then and never thought to ask them to not only clarify what they meant but to put it in writing. Won’t make that mistake again!
The challenge we are up against is that the evaluator is fairly new and somehow operating on the assumption that, if Nik makes “progress across all spectrums…it is counter indicative of autism.” Sheesh, that’s like saying that a kid with autism cannot ever make progress or adapt. (It’s this kind of thinking that keeps parents from being able to embrace their neurodiverse child/ren and nurture them to their greatest potential!)
Anyway, that’s what’s on my mind tonight. The brain just shut down so I guess I’m done…for now.