Friday, July 17, 2009

Last day of OT

Today was Nikko's last day of OT. Chinny came over and we shuffled down to the clinic. Shelly still had to set up for us so that gave me a few minutes to go across the hall to chat with Tracy Hellner, the autism coordinator for the resource room. She gave me a bunch of velcro, some folders and some picture schedules to try out with Nikko. We had a quick chat about some available resources. I asked how she came about this position and she said she has an 8 year old son with autism. After he was settled in an autism academy in Northbrook it freed up her time to do work. I asked her if she did the GFCF diet and the supplements, and she said no. She knows all about how to do it, knows lots of families that do it and have had success, but knows an equal amount of people who don't do it. I breathed a sigh of relief, honestly, because I felt that she wasn't going to judge me if I wasn't doing the diet. Tracy said it's really a personal choice. Shelly agreed with this later, and also said she thought that Nikko was too young, in her opinion, to do all that crazy stuff, even ABA therapy might be too much for him at this age. "What are you trying to accomplish with ABA? Do you want him to improve his learning skills educationally? Are you trying to change his behavior?" When she asked me those questions, I didn't stop to think WHY I would be doing ABA other than it seemed the route to take if I wanted Nikko to improve overall in his behavior. Obviously, there's much more to ABA than that. I have a lot to learn.

After chatting with Tracy we went back to see Shelly. Nikko didn't readily start her obstacle course because he was waking up from a nap he fell into. He was groggy, and when he came to he decided that he wanted FS from the food bag. I didn't want to give him any FS so early in the session so we tried to divert him to an activity. Shelly brought out some grainy clay and mushed it into a cookie cutter shape of a castle. Nikko seemed to like poking at this sand for a while, later using a fork and other tools to poke at it. When he tired of it, he went back to demanding FS, went so far as to try to drag the food bag to me (it was heavy). Again, we diverted him to another activity, the obstacle course or the swing. I was able to get him to crawl into the tunnel lined with the bumpy foamy thing, and he enjoyed that. We got him interested in the foam soap on the mirror. All the while I talked to Shelly about Nikko's progress. Of the goals that she had set for him way back when, the one that wasn't met was getting Nikko to stop and start activities. He wasn't doing these things on command, but he will pause when I check him verbally. I read over Shelly's assessment of Nikko and she states that his play is becoming more complex, although he prefers gross motor dynamic activities. Still lines up, despite the brushing techniques. Can tolerate swings now, but lengthening the swing time or the direction hasn't increased purposeful play or language as hoped. His eye contact and interactive play with adults has shown progress in length and complexity. All this, in 16 months of Speech, Developmental and Occupational Therapy.

We drove to Ikea, where Chinny stayed with the kids while I ran inside for an under-the-sink kitchen drawer system. When I got back, Nikko had been bawling because I left. Audrey was awake, and Ronin was out stone cold. Tomorrow I am going to try to brave taking the kids to Target by myself. I've got to get some things and can't wait much longer!

One more thing to note today... Ronin and Nikko have been clamoring for crackers most of the day. Nikko has been taking my hand and pulling me to the kitchen whenever he wants something, and pulls me to the fridge area to retrieve the crackers on top of the fridge. This time, however, he pulled me there and I pretended not to know what he wanted. He pointed and motioned to the top of the fridge, but I remembered that I had a picture of the box somewhere. I got a picture of the box of crackers and a picture of chicken nuggets and held them up to Nikko. "Which one does Nikko want?" I asked him. Nikko looked at the crackers and took that picture out of my hand. I praised him loudly and met him at his chair with crackers for him. Nikko has never, NEVER chosen between two pictures purposefully. But he did today. This is a good sign of good things to come. I guess I have my homework in the few weeks before school starts, despite our therapies being over!


  1. Hi, I am a friend of your SIL and a mother of a high functioning autistic boy too. My son is 5 yrs old. I've found your blog recently and I empathize with your journey with your son. If you ever feel the need to want some support or just to maybe even read our blog as well, feel free. I wish you and your family the best in this marathon called ASD. Warmest Regards, Heather

  2. Heather, thanks for the feedback. I joined your blog and will read older posts. I'm interested in your journey. Do you have a comments page on your blog?

  3. Hi!

    I don't have comments open on my blog for security reasons etc...but if you'd like you can catch me on fb if you'd like? I do update my posts on there as well and you can comment there if you'd like. I'm on your SIL's list... Hope you guys are doing well :) Would love to share info on our journey if possible.