Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Meijer / ABA thoughts

Nikko doesn't have therapy on Wednesdays so that's a free day to do afternoon errands. He came back from preschool in a good mood and hungry. I had planned to take the kids to Meijer (a superstore with grocery in it as well) right after lunch, forgoing Ronin's nap. But Nikko fell asleep leaning against the couch around 1:30p so instead of waking him up right away, I let him sleep. I decided to put Ronin to sleep after all, but he resisted quite a bit. We didn't head out until almost 4p, which was exactly what I didn't want to do. Bitter cold outside today. I had to go to Meijer because we ran out of Ronin's Sunbutter this morning. It tastes almost like peanut butter except that it's made from sunflower seeds. It tastes much better than the soy butter I got. Yuck! And Ronin really likes it, demanding it for the past two mealtimes with the Ronin-safe bread I've been baking (Rhodes frozen bread). I decided to get a few other things such as Play Doh for Nikko's ABA, a few groceries, and a gift card for the group's post-holiday get-together. A few things also led to a Veggie Tales DVD, a mini-Lighting McQueen car and a Land Rover truck on clearance. I wanted to get Play-Doh because in Nikko's therapy I had found some clay from Rose Art that is really not as good quality as Play-Doh. The clay was really stiff and the color (Nikko's been using blue) has been bleeding onto hands. I got another smaller set for Ronin to play with because I recall a few months ago that he was very captivated by sitting in his high chair playing with a small wad of Play-Doh. Nikko seems to love playing with clay, so why not push it in therapy? Nikko and Ronin both did great in the store, but things were a little dicey because I had to go to the toy section to find the Play-Doh. We passed by other toy aisles and I saw Ronin slow down to look at this and that. He wanted everything in sight, so I had to point out two trucks he could have. Nikko was eyeing some moon sand, but I steered him away from it. As I walked slowly around the store with Audrey in the cart, the boys followed me like ducklings but at a slower pace. I took a stop to give them some vanilla Oreos and that preoccupied them. Nikko was happily munching on his for a long time while Ronin would wolf his down and ask me if he could open his truck to play with it. One of the thermoses in the food bag wasn't closed all the way and subsequently leaked. The bottom of the food bag is all wet, thanks to me not making the thermos secure. Grrr.

Nikko had napped for a little over an hour and I think it affected how he fell asleep tonight. I had the boys tucked in and left the room. Nikko continued to babble to himself. Eventually he got up and cried at the door so I went to put him back to bed. I heard Ronin sleeping deeply and was glad he withstood Nikko's gibbering. This doesn't mean that Nikko will be in bed for the rest of the night. He may wake up at 3:30 or 4, like he did last night. I went to bed at 1a, late for me nowadays, and then I heard him cry long and hard at 4a. I must not have moved fast enough because when I opened the door, I saw Ronin just getting out of bed, woken up by Nikko's crying. I put them both back in bed, told Ronin to go back to sleep, and then pulled out some blankets and a pillow for me to lay on the floor. Again. I think I knocked on wood too lightly in the last post. :( I'm going to ask Maria tomorrow what her opinion is about getting Nikko to stay in bed. I have a feeling she'll also suggest putting Ronin with Audrey so Nikko can cry himself to sleep, but my initial feeling is that I don't want to segregate Nikko. I don't want him to be alone at night. But I also don't want him to wake up Ronin with his antics.

One more thought regarding ABA... I still wonder if it will work for Nikko. I have read about how it is the most scientifically proven of all the autism therapies, meaning that there are studies with measurable results. Of the many, many posts I've read regarding ABA, almost every mother has said that they have seen significant results. Not miracles, but that ABA has helped their son with skills. It's discrete trial-based, but there also seems to be a hybrid of styles out there. The company we're going through has told us that it blends different styles with the sit-down-at-the-table method. We're in the initial stages of ABA, and it looks like a regular DT session to me, but that's also because I have to leave to take care of the other two kiddos. I think it's in the way they play with Nikko that makes the difference, using motivating tools and incentives to get Nikko to respond. When Nikko is downstairs, I will have to use my time better, depending on which kid is awake. Or maybe I should just play with the kids that are awake instead of trying to accomplish filing and sorting, since it's an expensive 1.5 hours of respite. Quality time, right? It's not really respite if only one kid out of three isn't in the room, you know. Anyway, I don't expect Nikko to love it this week since it's the first real week that he gets to interact with all three therapists. Next week he'll meet up with them again, so by week three he should understand that when the therapists come, it's time to go downstairs to play/work.

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