Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Remember the bunny

Jen the DT showed up after 1pm and Chinny took Ronin downstairs. I only had Audrey, and unfortunately she melted down halfway thru therapy. Nikko started out being compliant, but soon became Noodleman and had a few escape issues. He seemed highly distracted by the echoing of Ronin's cries downstairs, although Audrey's screams didn't rile him up any more than he was. Jen switched puzzles and pictures with him, but his engagement level was pretty low. It seemed to me that he didn't even have the ability to sign "more" anymore. Just as that thought was settling in my mind, Jen put out a little fuzzy bunny that buzzes around the floor when you pull its tail. Nikko seemed slightly interested in it; then Jen took it away. Nikko wanted it and reached out for it but she pulled back and asked if he wanted more. In a flash he signed "More, please". I was flabbergasted!! This was proof that Nikko is basically being L A Z Y, that he fully has the capability to sign "more" if he really wants something. His motivation to have something must be really great for him to want more.

Jen suggested that when he has Cheerios, we should make him do a little work for them such as putting them in a little bottle so he has to shake them out, or in some kind of container that he has to unscrew.

As for his issues with compliance, she again told me to offer something to him one or two times, then do hand-over-hand to get the task done and move on. Jen seems to be about moving forward, which is great. She says to say the words immediately and work in the moment with Nikko so that he makes the connection to a particular task. We are still working on making the connection with him in regards to recognizing which picture is a cat, bug, dog, doll and so on. He can match pictures and shapes no problem, but putting a picture of a cat on top of a picture of another type of cat was confusing for him.

Jen says that when we get into situations where he is not complying or is being just awful, "remember the bunny" incident and know that he can comprehend things, that he has come a long way and is still coming forward. He's learning, but we have to remember what level he is still learning at. He is making improvements that we go ga-ga over, but his progress is still slow albeit good.

I told her about my power struggles with Nikko to sit at the table for meals. She told me what I had expected to hear, but probably have been cringing that I have to enforce it: CONSISTENCY. I am going to have to establish that mealtimes are when we eat, including snack time, and when we don't have those mealtimes going on, we don't eat. Nikko has become a grazer and that's gonna be a problem in preschool because they are all about routines. I've got to get Nikko on a strict routine so that he learns what is expected of him. SO, I gotta move my butt and make up some kind of Meal Board so that he knows when we eat and when we don't. I have something in mind, but need to execute it: signs saying BREAKFAST, LUNCH, SNACK, DINNER laminated and then put on a corkboard for ease of use (velcro would work, too, like the PECS system). I gotta get on this!


  1. Hi Mich,

    You're awesome! Thanks for sharing. I love reading the blog. It gives me an opportunity to learn more about Nikko since we have such limited time together to catch up. I love the PECS system and I can help if you need it. I have made many communication boards, schedules and social stories in my life. I have even thought about making them for Jovy too. With all the technology around us, we can easily take digital pictures of real situations and real objects that are important and familiar to Nikko and give him opportunities to communicate. I also have a huge laminator (at work) that I can cover anything in plastic and make it waterproof and indestructible. Please do not hesitate to ask for help! I want to help! Where do I sign up?
    I heart Nikko!

  2. Anna, you are TOO kind. You bring tears to my eyes. :) Thanks for reading the blog. It's something I think will help me keep things in perspective and straight for Nikko and for myself. I want him to improve so much.

    I'm having a hard time with the PECS system because I don't think I have a proper communication board, and conceptually he's not quite there. I THINK he is recognizing that the banana pic is related to the actual banana because we keep putting the two together when we serve it, but I'm not 100% because he doesn't seek out the picture to get the real thing. I have taken pictures of objects and things for Nikko with the very intention of laminating them, but I haven't done it yet coz I do lack the laminator. I went looking at the stores as research and they run between $50-70+. Our OT tells me she has one at work, and she made some simple ones for us, but she's also just a little busy and I feel weird asking her to make more stuff coz she seems very, very busy too. I also asked her for some already and I think she forgot about them. Perhaps I can talk to you sometime soon about PECS and how I can make it work for Nikko? I am trying to even go real basic and just have him choose between the pictures, but I don't know if I'm doing it "right". Thanks again for being so supportive of Nikko. And me!