School is back in! We had an extra long holiday, as poor BuddyBoy was sick on the last week of the Term so ended up having an extra week. During the last week of the holidays, I was reorganising his clothing drawers, and he saw me with his school jumper in hand. He was not happy – started making a lot of negative noises and pushing his hands towards me. I told him repeatedly that it was “holidays” and “no school” and he settled down once I packed the jumper away. A short while later I saw him stuffing the jumper and his school jacket into another drawer – just in case I changed my mind!
It was with some trepidation therefore that we told him on Sunday night that he had “school tomorrow”. We spoke about his other classmates and his teacher and teacher’s aides, and then said again, “school tomorrow”. He smiled and said, “school morrow” and seemed fine. I then started getting his bag ready, a process which he supervised with great interest. When I got his uniform ready for the next day, he stripped off his shirt and insisted on having his uniform shirt put on. We explained that school was not until tomorrow, that it was sleeptime first and then school, but he was not happy until he had his uniform shirt on. He then carried a chair into the hallway, climbed up and retrieved the car keys, and then tried to unlock the front door so we could get in the car and go to school. 🙂 He was rather disappointed when we explained that all his friends and teachers would be asleep and he couldn’t go. He insisted on sleeping in his school shirt, which at least made the getting dressed process easier the next morning.
He had a good day at school, even managed to finish his juice and have a bit of food – a great start! He was very happy to see me at pick up time and gave me lots of cuddles, and was quite chatty. Once at home he had some issues – he hadn’t eaten enough so his system was working extra hard, which always results in crappy behaviour. He didn’t want to eat the food we had so we had a few arguments, but he eventually settled down.
He also has a new word: “fooba” which is how he says footbath. Along with that has come a fascination for looking at other people’s footbath pictures. 🙂 I’m in a facebook group for people using the IonCleanse by AMD for ASD, and a lot of people post their progress, along with pictures of their footbaths. BuddyBoy is fascinated by looking at the pictures of dirty footbaths, and was also wanting to see the “people” who were shown attending the AMD session at a conference in the US. His own footbaths are going well – he has asked a few times to have his footbath, and sits patiently while we get it ready.
One day, Daddy was emptying out the footbath from big sister’s turn, and threw away the dirty liner. BuddyBoy saw this while he was waiting for his turn, so he ran to where the liners were, grabbed out a new one, and brought it over to Daddy to put in. That is a huge thing in our world – he was following along with what was happening (total engagement), understood the need for a new liner (excellent comprehension) and then went and got a new one (independent thinking and helpfulness) and brought it to Daddy (further comprehension and engagement with others). Such a little thing for another child, is a really big thing in our world.
We have asked him several times now to ‘deliver’ something to another family member, and quite often, he has. He has willingly gone to someone else to ask for help if one of us is busy, and waits patiently if we’re not able to help him straight away. He’s also showing more independent skills – he’s wanting to put on his own clothing (previously he just took it off), and is trying to butter his own toast. I’d like to spell that last one out for you, for those who may not be aware of all the issues that involves (ASD parents might like to skip over this next part lol):
- Recognising what it is he wants – more toast with Nuttelex and jam.
- Identifying what he needs to make it happen – toast, Nuttelex and jam, as well as a plate and a knife.
- Getting the items he needs – from the fridge, the cupboard and the drawer, as well as the toaster. This involves some fine motor skills in opening and closing, as well as remembering where everything is. There are several processes that have to happen in his brain just for this step, and previously he’d had a hard time putting them altogether.
- Getting the Nuttelex and jam out of their containers and onto his toast. This is a huge process of fine motor skills – being able to hold onto the container with one hand, while using the knife correctly in the other in order to get out what he needs. Spreading it onto the toast is a minefield of fine motor skills and interpreting feedback from his hand (is the bread breaking because he’s doing it too hard, is it not coming off the knife because he’s not pushing down hard enough, etc) and then acting on it accordingly (changing the way he holds the knife or how hard he pushes down, while spreading). To give you an idea – we’ve spent the last two years doing hand over hand with him, where he holds the knife and I hold my hand over his hand and the knife, because he could not coordinate his fingers enough to hold the knife (lack of strength in his fingers) and could not interpret the correct amount of pressure needed to perform the spreading action. It took us three months of hand over hand before he was able to hold his index finger out in order to push an icon on the iPad, as his fine motor skills have always been lacking due to his mitochondrial issues.
We’re also getting a lot more affection – he seeks us out for a cuddle or to play. He was a child who would previously never take an interest in playing with someone else, and then didn’t know what to do with them when they were there, yet he is now asking to play people games (tickling, hide and seek etc). He is looking at pictures and books and talking about them – mostly labels (something he has done before but not for a long time), but also looking at us to tell him more information about them. At the moment he is into, “people”, “house”, “Hairy Clary” (Hairy Maclary), “Bo Potts” (a dog in Hairy Maclary so now all dogs have become Bo Potts), “horse” (while pretending to ride a horse) and “more teapots in the Ning Nang Nong” – his favourite thing to watch (over and over) while in the footbath. He’s been singing along with this song – he’s always loved music and has spent most of his life humming and approximating words, but now he’s actually practicing them to get them right.
We’ve also had requests for “lolpop” as we had been giving him organic, natural lollipops while in the footbath. Unfortunately he reacted to those with a bad rash on his groin, so we’ve had to get rid of them. On the food side of things, we’re still seeing reactions – his intolerance testing showed that potatoes were a no-no (as it was for the rest of us who’ve had testing done), yet we gave him potato crisps one day. He reacted the next day by being very irritable and losing his temper often. We made the mistake of giving him potato chips the next night, which he totally pigged out on. Within a couple of hours, we had a very unhappy boy on our hands – he was crying, screaming, banging his head on the floor, tears were streaming out of his eyes, and he once again started picking holes in his lip. So no more potato!
Some other things we’ve noticed are that his eye contact (which improved hugely once we started doing RDI), has become basically normal with us, and a lot better outside of the home. He’s also come to eat with us while we’re eating dinner (not normal for him) and joined us for watching a movie – which he’s actually watching as well. So he’s really becoming much more a part of our family. For which we are all very grateful!