Friday, November 6, 2009

Learning independence

Nikko went to school dressed in a red, collared polo shirt for the picture retake day. He didn't take pictures the first time around because that was the day I took him to Marianjoy Rehab Hospital to see Dr. Keen. Nikko's lips have been really dry and I slathered aquaphor on them to moisten them. I also put mousse in his hair because he had a bit of bedhead going. When he came home, the progress report said he took a cute picture. I wonder what that means. Just getting him to look directly at the camera would make a good picture. I'm not betting on a smile, but it would be nice if there were one.

I had a schedule going because today was Audrey's 1 yr. well visit at the pediatrician and I opted to bring all the kids along. I packed the DVD player and the Cars movie, along with some Dum Dum lollipops, and that seemed to keep both boys at bay. When we arrived, I put Ronin and Audrey in the double stroller and had Nikko walk beside me. It was a big test, even though the distance from the car to the building was only about 100 feet away, because I wanted Nikko to independently walk without holding my hand. I didn't mind if he held onto the stroller. I couldn't hold his hand anyway since the stroller is heavy to push. Nikko did great, didn't stray from my side or dart away toward the busy street. Audrey had four shots and a finger prick for lead testing, so she's probably pretty sore. I have to keep an eye on her because one of the shots was the MMR shot, the one blamed for causing autism in so many kids. I think she'll be fine, but if there is any kind of regression in her behavior or eye contact, I think I'll have a heart attack.

Ronin fell asleep on the way home so I let Nikko and Audrey play in the leaves for just a little bit before taking everyone inside. It was snack time and Nikko was asking for a pancake again. As I served him, Ronin wanted some too but pancakes aren't safe for him. I offered him a safe waffle, same as what he had for breakfast, and that excited him greatly. No nap for Nikko today, so I hope he went to bed quickly. Denis didn't get home until after the boys' baths and during storytime, because he went to an RDI meeting held at the Elk Grove Village Library. Venus, the mom from the PEPS group and who I had run into at the Rec Plex, forwarded me an email through Kathy Winters regarding the RDI meeting (Relationship Development Intervention). Denis took notes and gave me his report upon returning, and from what I gathered from the meeting was that RDI was not going to cure autism, but was another way (like floortime) to work with Nikko, enhance his dynamic intellectuality by being a guide and encouraging him to experience things while challenging and supporting him. I'm sure that's the simplified explanation of RDI, but mine was also abbreviated. Denis felt that it was somewhat common sense teaching, and I agree along the lines that we probably won't totally invest in RDI but use the methodology in how we interact with Nikko. Every time we go out into the world and expose Nikko to a new place, a different event, and lots of people, it impacts him in ways I can't even see. At least that's the hope. Giving Nikko the chance to experience things will help stimulate his brain and hopefully give him insight on how to solve problems. Helping kids with autism lead a better life in the future - improve the quality of life for them, I believe was the saying - is supposed to be the goal of RDI. I also believe that it's my job as a mom to help my kids lead a fantastic life, so whatever I can do, or should do, to enrich their life experience, I should do. OK, that sounds very optimistic... let me remember that when I'm having a tirade about something stupid. Shame on me!

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