Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday, continued

Instead of having our regular therapy session in the corner of the living room, Gloria was doing her evaluation of Nikko so we just sat and chatted while trying to periodically engage him in some play. She asked similar questions to DT Jen's questions, but for some reason things had an even more sobering effect coming from Gloria. I think because she fixed age appropriateness to her evaluation. For example, she quantified his developmental levels by saying he seems to have the gross motor skills of a 24 month old, the fine motor skills of an 18 month old, the cognitive and expressive development of a 12 month old, and the speech ability of a 6-9 month old. 6-9 months!!! That sounded so shocking to me, but when you put Nikko besides the developmental chart of Ronin, it's sadly clear that Nikko is indeed very delayed. Ronin is doing some imitative play, mimicking sounds, and "getting it" whereas Nikko is not. Like I said, sobering.

Later in the afternoon, the kids, Brianna and I went to Target and then to Costco for provisions. When we came home, I really wanted Nikko to get outside for a little bit despite the chill. I had Brianna stay home with Ronin and Audrey so that Nikko and I could go to the school to run things out. He was very excited to walk hand-in-hand with me the half block to the school. He tiptoed at first, which indicates excitement. When we arrived he bolted toward the jungle gym ramps and pretty much ran up and down then while the older kids swarmed around him. Surprisingly no one bumped into him or knocked him down. It was really chilly outside, and I should have brought a hat for myself, but we stuck it out for 30 minutes. After the school kids left, I wondered if Nikko would transition ok to leaving the park or would he throw a fit. I precluded our departure by telling him we'd leave soon, then it was last call for playground, and then we would go home and have some snack. I finally gave a small countdown and picked him up, chanting Home and Snack in his ear. That might have softened the blow because he allowed me to carry him down the block. I was able to put him on the ground and lead him by hand toward home, even though he took some backward glances at the place where he had fun. So, going home wasn't a struggle. This time.

The evening was typical, where Denis came home and we fed the kids dinner. After dinner we would, on occasion, go downstairs and let the boys run rampant around Denis while he worked out or played with them. This evening, however, we stayed upstairs and Nikko did a fair amount of crashing into the couch. Ronin minded his own business by the parking garage, but when Denis took the blanket out as a parachute that captured both the boys' attention.

A quick aside: When I tell Ronin, "Look Ronin, a CAR! Car. Car. Can you say Car?" He will look at me, then look at the car, and say "CAAA! CAAA!"
However, when I pose the same thing to Nikko, he does not repeat after me at all. He may not even look at the car, and if he did he won't vocally label it anything. This is a big difference between Nikko and Ronin. I don't know why Nikko is not identifying the name to the object. This is where the autism comes in, where his brain is not hardwired the same as other kids his age. The mental processing that should connect the word to the object is either short-circuited or the wires are crossed in such a way that the processing is incredibly slow. SO, how to fix this? This is where the therapy and constant care from his parents come in. I don't have all the answers, but I am trying very hard to find that simple string that will tie the concepts together.

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