The Crew - Miss Fabulous, Lil Bro, Big Sis and Mr. Man

Monday, February 1, 2010

Super Nanny and Autism

I just watched the Super Nanny episode which shows a family learning to help their 3 year old son with who has autism.  Nanny Jo Frost brings in world-renowned autism expert Dr. Lynn Koegel to teach the family how to help little Tristin. 

This episode took me back to when Mr. was 3.  Mr. was so similar to this little guy but more aggressive and instead of not speaking at all he had delayed echolalia, meaning that he learned language in phrases and tried to figure out where those phrases fit into life around him.  One day when I walked in the front door he was excited to see me and said, "Coming up soon" a common TV phrase.  It was pretty close to appropriately fitting the situation.  I would give him the appropriate phrase instead, "Mommy you're here!" and he began to catch on.  Mr. was first identified with hyperlexia at age 2 and 3/4 years.

We have his IEP meeting on the 8th and he has come so far since age 3 that at age 7 I think they are going to want to discontinue his IEP. I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand it is awesome the progress that he has made and the interventions he has responded to. Some parents with children with autism find a situation where the child just doesn't respond to what they are being exposed to, very discouraging and frustrating to say the least and expensive also.

The mixed feelings come in that as long as he has the IEP in place he has special "attention" in place with a number of professionals watching his progress and monitoring him through out the school year. If the IEP is let go then the conclusion is "he is all better" and they are moving on. Mr. still has a lot that he is learning to deal with. He does well in school because he is very comfortable with the environment and the routine. But also he has not entered into the more difficult subjects yet. The work in first grade is below his IQ and ability but maturity wise he could not handle a more challenging environment. He has had some minor problems in math this year particularly following the winter break because numbers don't interest him, words do. He has to slow his brain down and think about the problem at hand and he isn't interested in doing that. At the moment it isn't causing any real problems, his teacher puts notes to review the work with him, and he is still getting a satisfactory grade. But … what about next year in 2nd grade with more challenging work, more challenging social skills, and with out an IEP he isn't looked at as a kid who needs some extra help. This is where I start feeling panicky.

As his mood has stabilized considerably with "magic med" he is becoming increasingly interested in art projects, which involved his favorite Mario Bros characters. In fact he has skipped earned Wii time to do a "project" instead, unbelievable. I am really happy to see it because the less Wii time and electronic time the better in my mind. He has also been showing some interest in playing littlest pet shops with the sisters, but it doesn't hold his attention very long which frustrates the sisters and that's a whole 'nother post.

We hit the JACKPOT at the GW the other day and in fact Mr. is the one that found this find. My camera is not working so no pics but we found a container the size of a back pack FULL of littlest pet shops and their stuff for $3.99! The price of one little littlest pet shop toy, I LOVE buying second hand. And thank you to the rich people who are too lazy to put your kids toys on EBAY! You have saved me A LOT of money so way to go! High Five! Booya!

Anyway there is progress on the Mr. front.  He perceived a slight change in the schedule this evening regarding dessert.  There really was not time change but he got confused as Monday night is our family bible study together, dessert follows the study but the activity is something that we do once a week not every night and so that small change is unsettling to him.  He did not become explosive.  He was convinced that he was hungry so he was offered a small cup of yogurt and reminded that dessert would be after the study.  He wanted chocolate chips in the yogurt because he was determined to make it into a dessert and feel better about life.  I felt the yogurt was compromise enough because the other kids were nicely waiting for their dessert for after the study and they were praised for this and promised a special dessert.  He would be having the same dessert too but he needed to wait like everyone else. 

He left the study and went to his room and cried.  I have to tell you my heart melts and I want to run in and save him from his upset but I didn't.  He came out of the room a few minutes later and joined the study and waited nicely like everyone else.  Progress!

Honestly by nature I am a lot more "don't sweat the small stuff" but what I have been taught and learned the hard way too is that Mr. cannot deal with that mentality.  A major reason he functions well at school is because of the rigid routine and structure.  Sigh, so I have had to learn to go against my free flowing hippy nature and stick with the structure.  If dessert comes after the study this week it has to come after the study every week from now until the end of time or the universe does not make since to Mr. and he starts to unravel.

And that's news to me!


Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

OH I feel that pain, of rigid schedules and transitions and changes. I really thought when Genea moved in that we WERE scheduled up and structured. It was a massive change for us to plan ahead, keep to a schedule etc. But our idea of structure was still nowhere near the level of rigid predictability that Genea needed.
I like to say "Genea has the rest of her life planned to be exactly the same as yesterday" LOL!

GB's Mom said...

The more you do it, the more it becomes second nature. I thought I was structured with my first family- the structure GB needs at 6 looks like I am running a boot camp. Hopefully, as they mature they won't need quite so much.

J. said...

we run boot camp here and the moment I relax the rules all hell breaks loose... sometimes I hate it but it is the way it is. Maybe one day we will be able to relax a little.

PWNort64 said...

It's funny at our house, because Henry loves, needs and thrives on his structure and routine. But at the same time, he can be very flexible and "go with the flow". I guess what makes the difference is the explanation along the way.

At school, when something throws off the routine, it is not a good day. Probably because he doesn't get the kind of explanation or warning that he needs.