Saturday, March 21, 2009

Emerging Imitation

Today we ventured out west about 2 hours for cousin Ziggy's birthday party. It's obviously hard on the kids to sit in their car seats for a long haul. Luckily we had to pick up Denis at his parents' house and had lunch before leaving. While we were getting diapers changed, Nikko picked up the teasing comb I had used on my hair and ran around with it. I hoped he didn't put it in his mouth because there's product still on it. Instead, Denis told me that Nikko had put the comb up to Denis' hair (or poked at his 'fro with the tines at the end). It was awesome to see because he imitated what I had done to my hair. Imitation is one of those emerging skills that he lacked for such a long time and that he's now catching up on. YEA!

For the most part, Nikko was pretty good in the car. It was Ronin that got antsy and started crying. My main objective was to get in the house, say our hellos, and get the boys into the backyard to play on their swing/slide apparatus. That's exactly what happened. The boys loved being outside, and although they didn't use the slide as much as I'd have liked (because it was too hard to climb up the rock side or the holes on the other side posed too much a task challenge), they ran around the gated grass area, hovered near the swings (I caught the tail end of Nikko getting clocked in the back of the head by the infant swing. Uh-oh.) and by the end of our stay they both discovered the sand box under the slide. It's the first time Ronin has had the pleasure of being in a sand box. I wouldn't let him before because he'd instinctively eat the sand and probably rub his eyes right away. Yowch! We tried to put both boys in the basement as well because Ollie had some great toys down there. I saw a Radio Flyer tricycle that was the perfect size for Nikko. He resisted the basement at first because being outside was more fun, but Denis hauled him downstairs and refused to open the upstairs door for him. Nikko did relent and sat on the tricycle. He liked it. Yea! The day ended with Nikko throwing a big kicking and screaming tantrum because he didn't want to leave the sandbox or their backyard. I hauled him to the Pilot and strapped him in, and he managed to calm down when I put on Hi-5. In fact I made sure we watched that on the way there and back because I did some driving and wouldn't stay awake to train sounds.

When we got home, which was pretty late, we all unwound in the living room for a bit. I opened the goodie bags that Ollie packed with us and they contained water guns, compasses, flashlights, and toy binoculars. I showed Ronin how to look through one and told him to go show his daddy. I stayed in the kitchen to help Audrey finish her bottle. I heard Denis from the living room tell me that Nikko, after observing Ronin, took the binoculars from him (typical) and was putting them up to Denis' eyes. I was surprised to hear that, because I didn't show Nikko how to use them. He must have watched Ronin do it. That's VERY cool.

I've read that since many autisic kids have vocal challenges, especially the ones who have no words, they really focus on the other senses and watch EVERYTHING you do. Your expressions, how fast or slow you act/talk, your emotions, everything. So I'll bet now is a critical time to show him some happy things and not the bad stuff. Gotta finish reading my book on being happy.

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