Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Juice / "I"

So now that the novelty of drinking juice from a cup has shifted into full gear, Nikko won't eat. He'd rather drink from a cup. At lunchtime I put some spinach ravioli and two nuggets in front of him and he didn't eat any of it. He asked for juice instead. I gave it to him and put some grapes on his plate, too. He only ate grapes, but also chewed and spit out a bunch. Nikko had spilled a good portion of his juice onto himself and I was so agitated by the sticky mess that was all over him, over his toolbox, on the table, chair and floor. I was also annoyed that he wasn't eating anything except grapes, so I launched into a tirade that was really uncalled for. I burst into tears out of pure frustration because I can't get that kid to eat. Thankfully, Jenna wasn't coming until 2p today so the redness in my eyes came down. Nikko had a good session with her, too.

Dinnertime, along with all mealtimes lately, has become difficult. Nikko wanted juice and I gave him some; I tried to delay the juice but he started getting really whiny. I also put food in front of him and took the cup away; he didn't eat anything on his plate for a long time. I definitely sense a power play going on, and it makes me angry to the point that I feel manipulated by him so the more I don't want to give in to him. But as he was crumpled on the kitchen floor in the fetal position, crying and covering his face and wailing for I-have-no-idea-what, I gave in and put juice in a cup, put it on the table and tried to coax him to get in his chair to drink. He didn't give in for a long time so I gave up and left the cup there, and him on the floor. I went back to him after my own temper calmed down, wiped his tears and messy face, and helped him sit down so he could drink. He recovered within a few minutes and was acting 'normal' after that. This sounds all so quick and easy, but Nikko's crying was really hard and I felt/feel like such a failure because I couldn't get him to even sit at the table, and then he wouldn't eat any solid food. How is he supposed to achieve regular BM's if he doesn't eat any solid food?

The one good thing about today is that I pushed Nikko harder to say the "I" in a request for juice. Nikko's requests would start like this:
More juice?
Juice please?

--I'd say, "I want juice please."
Want juice.
--I, I, I want....
Want juice.
--I, I, I, I, I, I....
--I want more juice please.
I. Want. More. Juice. Please?

That's five words strung together. Hooray! It's prompted, it's not consistent, but hey, it's a step forward.

To end on a positive note, his ESY report today said: Played in kitchen - loves to pretend to clean. Helper today!

Monday, June 28, 2010


This morning before school I had to "help" Nikko pass another big bowel movement. I really hesitated to do this, since it's Monday and the last time I helped him was only Thursday. But sure enough, he needed the help - and it was painful. Poor guy. We walked him to school and I warned Mrs. McCarthy about his status. She informed me later that within 15 minutes of my leaving, he had another big poo, probably trying to clear it all out of his system. And then he had a great day at preschool, she said. It made me all the more determined to try to fix this constipation problem. I'll call Dr. Santiago tomorrow and see if she can talk about ways to get him regular besides feeding him high fiber foods, which he is not willingly eating. I was happy to see him eating the spinach and cheese raviloi (w/spaghetti sauce) that I got from Costco. He didn't finish all of it, but did eat two at lunch, and one at dinner. Nikko was in great shape for Sarah at 1pm, and he had a very good, compliant session. Sarah said he was babbling a lot, and I didn't hear any protests or screams from him. He also stayed willingly in his chair.

I took the kiddos to Wal-Mart for provisions. Nikko and Ronin walked while Audrey sat in the cart. She made off with a purple fuzzy pillow, Ronin picked a green Matchbox car, and Nikko suddenly became attached to a Handy Manny toolbox that played music with bouncing tools. For the first time in three weeks, the Buzz Lightyear figurine was forgotten and lost hoarding-status. I'll keep it handy in case that toolbox becomes too cumbersome to carry around. *mixed feelings* I got some Dole fruit juices among other things, so when dinnertime rolled around I put some juice in a cup, laced it with some Benefiber, and offered it to Nikko. He really enjoys drinking from a cup at our in-laws' house and this was no exception. And finally, FINALLY, before his bath he sat on the toilet and had an in-the-bowl messy bowel movement. HOOORRRRAAAYYYY! It's by no means at a level of predictability, but it's a start. Maybe the Benefiber is kicking in, plus the juice, so I'll try offering juice to Nikko in the mornings this week. I'm going to cut out the chocolate milk this week to see if it affects his BMs. I'll try to keep the rest of the dairy on the down low.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rainforest Cafe / an email to Maria

We had a late start this morning, partially because living in Chicago means not quite knowing what the weather is going to be, even though it's predicted. Most weather reports said it would thunderstorm today, at least by the afternoon into the evening. Um, today it was sunny and hot, not a drop from the sky during our waking hours. We thought about going to the strawberry festival but didn't want to get caught in the rain [that never happened]. Instead, we went to lunch at the Rainforest Cafe at Woodfield Mall. I have never been there, which is very surprising since it's been around for a long time. The food was overpriced but not bad; I had a Calypso chicken salad of greens, cranberries, goat cheese, a vinaigrette, strawberries and walnuts. YUM. Audrey had some cheese pizza, Ronin had nuggets as well as clean fries from the kitchen, Denis had a cobb salad, and Nikko had mac cheese but mostly ate Ronin's fries. When Nikko had the opportunity to leave the table and stand in front of a bubbly aquarium, he was doing "the Nikko dance." I recorded him on my camera and wondered if anyone watching would have thought he was dancing to the overhead music. As I watched him, I knew it was really some kind of stim because his body was jerking, his head was tilted and jerking, and he bobbed up and down to a rhythm that I couldn't predict. Do other ASD kids do this?

We walked around the mall and the boys noticed that this was the place that had the great little play area that they love to run around in. Nikko noticed that we hadn't come across it yet and started whining to get out of the stroller. I said we'd change diapers first and then go play, but Nikko wasn't thrilled with the plan. I headed toward the restrooms and Nikko was in full battle cry. I walked by a full bench of people waiting for others to come out of the restrooms and didn't look at a single person as Nikko struggled in the stroller. I wheeled into the Family Restroom and hoped Nikko wouldn't bash his head onto the stone chairs while he tantrummed. Ronin was compliant, but Nikko was a bear to change standing up. He didn't want to sit in the stroller again so I let him walk. Denis caught up with us outside the restroom and we all proceeded to the play area. The kids had fun there, of course, and I stood trying to keep an eye on my three wild little animals among the throng of kids already there. I don't think we were there more than 15-20 minutes when security came around to close the play place for vacuuming. It was difficult to get the kids out, especially Nikko. We had to finish some errands so I took Nikko into Whole Foods with me to get milk and Tofutti (fake) cream cheese for Ronin. The little kids slept in the car during this, and then all three were sleeping when I went to Meijer for some Benefiber for Nikko and other things like grapes and bananas. We chilled out the rest of the afternoon before dinner, going into the basement for a short while, and then after dinner we all took a walk around the block.

I wrote an email to Maria from MGB Services to let her know Melisa's concerns regarding Nikko crashing to the floor, as well as other behavioral red flags:

Over the past week and a half, the refusing to sit for part of the session has come up. Jenna didn’t have a problem with it one day, but did the next. It may be due in part to the current constipation problems Nikko has been having again. I had him on generic MiraLAX for a month or so, but then stopped it and started giving him a probiotic capsule and a digestive enzyme instead. The bowel movements were still harder but smaller, and he wasn't straining for the better part of a day. However, I stopped the enzyme for a few days and Nikko got extremely constipated. This was two Thursdays ago. And this past Thursday he had another bowel problem so again I had to "help" him do a #2. Now I'm exploring the Benefiber/Metamucil route because this boy is not eating enough fiber, or anything for that matter that's substantial. I'll try it for a week or two and see if it will help his bowels move along better. But back to the matter at hand, his behavior of throwing himself on to the floor is not something new to me, but is probably scary to see downstairs during ABA. Do you have any advice for Melisa on how to handle this? When it happens to me upstairs, when I am refusing him something that he wants and he throws himself on the ground, I either ignore it or redirect him after he's run out his tantrum. But I don't know what you would advise your therapists during an ABA session.

In fact, Nikko's behavior regarding being obsessed and relentless about wanting something (particularly, FOOD) is escalating. I am finding that Nikko is requesting desired foods from me (Cheese puffs, ice cream, and a high-calorie breakfast sandwich) that I don't necessarily want to give him at that time, or that frequently. I have to say no, and he is persisting, then whining/crying/screaming/flailing/swatting/throwing self on ground/kicking. I don't give in to him 99.9% of the time, but this is obviously exhausting to watch and to deal with. His reactions are similar to the relentlessness he had/has over fruit snacks, so we abolished them from the house. Does this mean I have to abolish the "new" desired foods as well? He is not accepting that he can only have them at certain times, in certain quantities and not ALL THE TIME. It is taking him a long time to get over it when I tell him "No, Nikko, I don't have any ice cream." Any advice on this?? Just stick to my guns, it's a phase that will pass *eventually*?

I have to say, the past few days have not been very pleasant ones, especially the Pirate Cove incident. I've been concerned as to how Nikko is behaving, how he is not eating even the familiar nuggets or pizza anymore, and what I should be doing about it. I really feel quite lost.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Relentless: ice cream, cake & flashlight

Nikko's speech report: Nikko practiced requesting (ex. "more water", "car, please") during snack and while playing with cars/bubbles. He seemed to benefit from visual cues such as pictures. Nikko also worked on using two word phrases while playing (ex. "car go")...

My nephew Tristan came over with Atz to mow our lawn and do some edging. He's going to be employed by us to take over this deed, which frees Denis up to do other things since he doesn't particularly like mowing the lawn and his seasonal allergies kick into high gear with the grass whirling about. It was around snack time and since it had been hot outside recently I relented and gave the boys ice cream in a bowl. Ronin was satisfied with his Rice Dream Neapolitan flavors, which taste closer to cardboard for me. I gave Nikko some Breyer's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and wondered if he'd be satisfied with one or two bowls. To my dismay, Nikko wanted more. Much more than I kept giving him. I decided to cut him off by 4pm because he would not eat decently at the in-laws tonight. When Nikko asked for more ice cream, I told him no, no more, all finished. He wouldn't accept that answer for the next HOUR. He cried, whined, swatted, pushed, pulled and tried to get me up to give him more ice cream. I thought he'd collapse in my lap and fall asleep from the exhaustion of being relentless, but he didn't fall asleep. I was growing weary from his persistence but did not give in to his demands. It dawned on me that Nikko was "as obsessed" with having ice cream as he had been (is still?) obsessed with having fruit snacks. It makes me sad to think that I may have to remove ice cream from Nikko's food options because it's something he wants in lieu of all other foods and that's not the healthiest choice for him. He gets persistent about jarred peaches, too, but at least that's a fruit. I didn't like that I had to be stern with Nikko in front of Atz, but she's very understanding and she's my sister. I looked around, trying to find something that I could redirect Nikko with, but there were no new toys or games around. I saw my Costco card lying nearby and decided to distract him with that, and sure enough it was an item that he likes to covet. It distracted him from wanting the ice cream and soon he was able to calm down and start playing with a nearby truck on the floor, Costco card tucked into his cache of Toy Story figurines.

When we got to my in-laws' house, Nikko didn't show any interest in eating the nuggets I brought, or the baked veggie casserole, or the meat loaf. He insisted on drinking juice from a cup. Later on, when a strawberry cake came out for my BIL's birthday, Nikko wanted some (of course!). He kept whining for some cake from me, but I was dishing out mango pieces to the two little ones so I deferred the cake distribution to Denis. Between the end of dinner and the family time in the living room, the kids (Nikko, Ronin, Audrey, Maya & Rex) were running wild at the top of the stairs near the bedrooms. Soren was on hand to supervise. This resulted in very sweaty children, hyped up and loud, getting excited over a flashlight. I think Nikko ended up with the flashlight and got mad when Denis had to take it away so that all the kids would convene downstairs. Nikko kept pulling me toward the stairs, wanting the flashlight but unable to label it. I didn't give in because it was time to focus on the family time in the living room. Nikko was able to calm down with some toys on the floor and soon he wasn't asking for the flashlight anymore. Thank goodness. Nikko fell asleep on the way home, exhausted from the evening exercise and from not taking a nap all day.

Nikko's relentless behavior is intense. From the water feature at the park yesterday to the ice cream incident today, it makes me wonder if redirection is the only way to handle him. During the ice cream meltdown, Nikko would end up putting his head in my lap and grabbing my arms so that they wrapped around him, but then he'd push me away a second later. I tried to give him some firm hugs that were met both in a welcome way AND with disdain. I wonder if Nikko wanted deep pressure but didn't know how to ask for it. I want Nikko to understand that if I say NO, it means NO and he can't have what he just asked for. Perhaps he understands this perfectly, but is just mad about it and keeps pushing forward. NO doesn't mean NO to him. NO means: if I keep whining and crying, screaming and hitting, throwing myself on the floor or pushing her in the direction I want to go, then I'll get what I want. This makes it even harder to stand firm in my convictions, but I tell myself that he won't always be able to get what he wants, and his want may not be the healthiest choice, so I have to make his choices for him. Why do food items have to be one of a few root causes for his relentlessness? I noticed that his therapists all seem to say, "Oh MY!" when Nikko has a meltdown. Is that to indicate inappropriateness without making Nikko feel bad or shouting at him?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pirate's Cove

According to his teachers, Nikko had a great day at school. I warned Mrs. McCarthy about two things: 1.) Nikko was carrying around a Toy Story box that was empty, used to hold apples, but he's enamored with it since yesterday and won't let it go [he did during school of course], and 2.) Nikko was extremely constipated, so please let me know if he passes anything today. When we came to pick him up, she said that he didn't do anything, but at one point it smelled like poo and when checking they figured out it was Nikko, probably trying to pass but didn't. Much like last night before bathtime. When we got home, I had to move quickly on a timeline: Help Nikko pass his #2, get all the kids lunch and have Nikko eat quickly because Melisa was coming at 12:30, then get the other two down for a nap, wake them up at 2p because Tianna was coming, then book out of the house to meet up with Atz & her daughters at the Pirate Cove Theme Park hopefully by 2:30p. We were ultimately tardy on all counts.

I threw chicken nuggets into the microwave and then proceeded to gather the supplies necessary to "help" Nikko. I held him straddled in my lap for about [a LONG] ten minutes while he whined and cried, sweated and pushed at me, and finally he passed another big #2. I just looked at the calendar and it was a week ago today that we did the same thing, me helping him pass a #2. During the past week he did pass a small, harder version, but didn't have straining bouts that I was able to observe. He's eaten a lot of grapes this week, but his appetite hasn't been very strong, either. Tomorrow I am going to go to Target and search for Children's Metamucil. I need something that's going to help this kid get some fiber into him, especially because he's refusing to eat anything that has real fiber in it. After this ordeal, I got him into the kitchen quickly to eat something before therapy. Alas, Melisa came only five minutes late and Nikko was still eating so she went downstairs to get the books ready while I coached Nikko to finish his food. Nikko's session started out ok, but halfway I could hear him crying and protesting about something. At the end, Melisa came up to tell me that Nikko has been getting really mad and defiant, even throwing himself on the floor, almost hitting his head on the floor and/or the table. She said it's something about sitting down - he doesn't want to do it. What is difficult to figure out right now is: is Nikko being defiant because he is physically uncomfortable due to the constipation, or because he is going through some behavioral problems? Jenna experienced this yesterday, Melisa experienced it today and voiced her concern. I will write to Maria and ask her advice, but Jenna would be better able to describe what's happening because the behaviors I see upstairs seem to differ slightly in that he's not sitting down in his chair, but it may be his constipation (in my opinion). I've seen his tantrums where he throws himself without a care of what furniture is in the way, so I don't know what the remedy would be for that yet.

I woke up the nappers, Tianna came, and I rushed everyone out of the house into the Pilot to go to Pirate's Cove. It's a children's theme park run by the Elk Grove Village Park District. There's a water park, but there's also an interactive area with a Pirate Ship, carousel, playground apparatus, train rides, rock climbing wall, jump house and a water feature where you paddle a boat w/your hands. I saw this in the brochure and hoped it wasn't a big thing, but was interested in the other activities as well. Perfect weather today. I am grateful that Tianna was there to help carry around Audrey, and that Atz and her daughters were able to take Ronin on the train rides and basically run him all over the place. I saw a train ride that Ronin was on where you propelled forward by peddling a bike wheel with your arms. I knew that Nikko couldn't go on it because he may bolt in the middle of the ride. I decided to let Ronin have fun here while Tianna, Audrey, Nikko and I went on the other train ride. I could hear Nikko get whiny because we were exploring a new place. He reluctantly sat next to me on the train ride, which circled some grassy fixtures of giraffes and elephants and wasn't long at all, but he also tried to get free of the velcro strap seat belt. Once it was finished Nikko quickly got out and was anxiously pacing as he studied his surroundings. We walked back toward the carousel but Nikko saw the sparkling blue water of the boat ride and he got extremely whiny. I told Tianna to take Audrey to the carousel ride, hopefully meeting Atz over there, while I tried to placate Nikko. He was whining loudly and pushing against me. I tried to ignore the looks of any parents sitting down observing the scene, and I noticed that Nikko's whining sounded like a small animal. "What does Nikko want?" I asked him desperately, and he said, "Water." I deflated inside because I knew he wanted to splash in the pool. I recalled our visit to the Morton Arboretum where Nikko was able to lean over the side of a fountain and splash at reckless abandon, but here at Pirate's Cove the boat ride was enclosed with landscaping and the teens running the ride didn't look like they would let Nikko lean over the side and splash freely. I saw them reprimand a kid who was trying to do that. I also knew that Nikko would never stay seated in the little yellow paddle boats. No amount of verbal pleading was changing Nikko's mind so I had to pick him up and walk him away. He was crying loudly and when I put him on his feet he was madly dashing back and forth. If I were a stranger, I'd certainly think I had a young, spoiled brat who just wanted what he wanted and was going to scream to get it. How could I possibly explain to anyone passing by that my son had autism and didn't understand that he couldn't splash in the water today? That he was going to be relentless and angry no matter who was around? I walked us back to the stroller and dug out a container of vanilla Oreos, which immediately calmed him down. Nikko had tears streaming down his cheeks but he accepted the cookie and no longer tried to run back up the path toward the boats. I sat with him while Ronin came running back toward us, excited and focused and wanting to ride the trains again and again. Thank God for Atz and her girls, and Tianna, for taking my kids back toward the fun stuff. I held Nikko's juice bottle and opened a Tupperware I had of cheese puffs which Nikko eagerly ate instead of the cookies. I sat and mulled over what had happened. The best word I could describe for what I think Nikko felt was ANXIETY. That's where the whining seemed to stem from. He didn't want to ride the train ride, although he seemed curious about it for the first ten seconds after the train moved, he saw water and desperately wanted to go play in it. His whining got louder the further away we walked from the water. I started to feel sad that Ronin and Audrey were having so much fun riding the other rides and I wasn't there to see them. This wonderful little park, perfect for NT kids, was not suitable enough for my Nikko. Having a pity party, I felt robbed that Nikko and I were sitting down while Ronin was having a ball on the train ride, and whatever Audrey was doing must have been fun for her, too, and that I couldn't take pictures or share in their joy. After the snack, Nikko wandered back into the playground area and seemed ok with walking under an igloo and sliding down a small slide. Everyone reconvened here and of course Ronin didn't want to leave. We all parted and headed home after only an hour since they closed at 4p. Ronin wants to be a conductor now. Nikko had calmed down while in the playground and was later content to be back in the car with the Toy Story box. I felt great sadness over the excursion and vowed that next time we would go to a water park.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rain / I WANT

Today was my biggest fear regarding Nikko's ESY: it was raining. It's only half a block to school, but taking the three kiddos out in the rain for any distance is a big pain. They get wet, the stroller gets wet, and I can't predict if Nikko is going to splash in puddles or comply. I gave him an umbrella to hold and he kept turnig it upside down, defeating its function. He also walked more slowly with it so I had to keep turning to drag him up to the stroller, which was careening off the sidewalk numerous times when I did this. I didn't have a proper raincoat for Nikko so I found an Adidas windbreaker with a hood that would do, even though the sleeves were small. I put the red Hello Kitty raincoat on Ronin, who was sitting in the front, and I put a hoodie on Audrey, knowing the stroller shade would be covering her head but not her legs. I put on a baseball cap, which Nikko tried to claw off my head but I was so stressed that we were running late that I pushed his hands away and practically ran to the garage (with Nikko at my heels) to fetch the double stroller. I had put the little ones in the doorway and when I loaded each one separately, I scraped my big toe against the front cement step. It bled a little, and stung the way small cuts do when exposed to dirty water and air. Later I'd put a Toy Story band-aid on it, since that's what was handy thanks to Nikko's obsession with the band-aid box. When we arrived at the school, Mrs. McCarthy and Nikko just exited the doors. Nikko was trying to get away from her, yanking at her arm and whining. I wasn't sure why, but this is day two of a negative exit display. It could have been crankiness for not getting to play outside due to the rain, especially since he was fine during class. I passed by another mom with a boy in a stroller and noticed that his legs were wrapped in plastic bags to keep the rain off. He looked kind of mummified, but at least he was dry and I wondered if I should have resorted to at least a blanket over Audrey's legs. Next time. We survived the rain, but I have noted to myself that these kids need some proper rain gear, including kid-friendly umbrellas.

Jenna came early so Nikko went downstairs early for his session. I was upstairs eating lunch when I heard Nikko doing some whining and crying. I could hear Jenna trying to get him to say "I want a screwdriver." The I WANT, especially the "I" was the focus. Nikko didn't want to say it, so there was a power play happening. Later, Jenna told me she hadn't had Nikko flop angrily onto the floor before. They actually finished the session on the floor because he staunchly refused to sit in the chair. I hope they will break him of that behavior. But I also wonder if he's uncomfortable, because this evenin while Ronin was getting his bath and Nikko sat on the toilet, he strained as if he was going to take a dump. The problem was that I noticed this and started paying him some attention. This caused Nikko to "retract" and not complete his #2. I'm disappointed that he didn't finish, and must note to myself that if I see him straining on the toilet to LEAVE HIM ALONE so he can finish his business. If only I hadn't bothered him and tried to "help" him by moving his feet so he could push off the floor stool, then maybe he would have finished his #2. Now he won't do anything until the morning. And hopefully he'll pass something before he goes to school. Oy vay.

We went to Mom's house this afternoon. Ronin was playing with this big, purple Barbie van that opened up sideways to show the inside. Nikko came and tried to take over the van. He wouldn't budge and Ronin was getting irritated because Ronin wanted to play with it by himself. I had to remove Ronin from the van and I felt really bad about it. I took Ronin, screaming, into the sun room to play with some trains, and finally when Nikko came bounding into the room as if nothing had happened, I told Ronin to quickly go and play with the van. Which he did. I know that Nikko's attention span is short, that he didn't love the van and would soon give up interest in it, but it's something I can't get across to Ronin in the heat of the moment. I also can't get Nikko to share or take turns. It seems as if everything is on HIS timetable, and it robs the other kids of their fair share. I've expressed this to his therapists, but I get the shrugged shoulders because they have encountered this in everyone they see, and they say there's not really a way around it except to often times give in to Nikko, and hope that the NT kids will understand. While there, a huge thunderstorm passed through and dumped loads of water onto everything. Lots of lightning and thunder. We waited it out and then went home. Luckily the storm didn't ravage Mount Prospect and we had dry window wells. That's always a cause for celebration.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Nikko's school report: Rescue Heroes trains - wanted one that Ivan had - he was anxious/cranky waiting for his turn. I'm sure it wasn't pretty. But Nikko will have to learn how to take turns in school, somehow. I wonder how they will teach this? There was also a picture of a maze with black crayon scribbled over it. On the back was written: Did it the first time and then colored on it! When I inspected the maze, I saw a faint line from the start to the finish, but there was a crazy amount of scribbling too. Glad to hear that he actually did the maze correctly. When we picked up Nikko, he was sitting with the speech guy Brian. He seemed like a nice guy, and came out into the hallway to crouch down and say good bye to Nikko. Brian pointed to his chin, or maybe it was toward his mouth, and Nikko leaned in as if to kiss him. Brian corrected Nikko by saying Good Bye, which he did.

Sarah came later in the day for therapy. Nikko is now staying at the beginning of the session instead of running upstairs. He started the session well, but became whiny at the end. There was no real good reason for it, and later I discovered he had a little hard poop in his diaper so maybe that was uncomfortable. Nikko also didn't eat his dinner. Who wouldn't want to eat a piece of cheese pizza and some nuggets? :/ He ate some grapes that I left out for him, but that was all. Fine, maybe he'll have more of an appetite tomorrow.

Cheese puffs obsession

Nothing much happened on Saturday until the late afternoon. After the kids' afternoon snack I really wanted us to go outside in some capacity to enjoy the great weather. We packed up some juice & kites and drove to Melas Park. There were empty soccer fields behind a mulch-covered playground and our intent was to do some kite flying. The kids came first and we unleashed them into the playground. There was a train with coach cars for climbing, a truck facade that Audrey camped in frequently, a jungle gym with varying slides, a teeter-totter and swings. Nikko and Ronin were brave enough to climb up a slide "the wrong way" to access some stairs and go up to a steep tube slide. Ronin received lots of praise each time he appeared at the bottom and he would hop off the slide proclaiming, "I DID IT! I DID IT!" Nikko was not as vocal, but he experimented going through the tube by slowing down the speed with his feet and hands. I could hear him babbling to himself in the tunnel and had to encourage him to hurry up. We eventually got to the soccer field and Denis flew two of our kites quite successfully. Meanwhile, the kids discovered a netted soccer goal and kept getting their limbs tangled in the net.

Today was Father's Day and we were low-key. Lots of watching Chuggington in the afternoon. We headed to Pat's house for the Alog dinner celebration. I find that I am able to relax the most at their house because their family room is so open and inviting to the kids. Ronin loves going to "Jovy's house" and plays with her toy food and Thomas trains unabashedly. Jovy wasn't feeling great today, but if she were in top form I would assume that she would have been very protective of her trains, since Ronin seemed to claim Gordon and the wooden tracks as his own. Nikko held onto his Toy Story hoard of figurines (stowed in that clear vinyl fish cup) and migrated between rooms. All the kids' appetites stunk, but Nikko was very attached to Anna's tiramisu. I gave him a square and he took small spoonfuls of the whipped cream. When he finished, I worried that he would put up a huge fight if he didn't have more "cake", but I told him we were all done, no more cake, it was time to go. No meltdown, thank goodness. Nikko does not know his own limits when it comes to food that he really likes. He can probably devour an entire jar of Costco peaches so I have to put the kabosh on him at some point. He also eagerly eats the Cheetos White Cheddar Cheese Puffs and gets angry with me if I don't give him more. The bad thing is that he gets to levels of borderline obsession on some foods. This morning he asked me for cheese puffs for breakfast and I had to stand firm with a no. It took a lot of direction (and a lot of withstanding his beating me on the arm or the chest with an open hand) to distract him and get him into the kitchen eating something else. He hovered by the pantry closet (where the cheese puffs are) until I enticed him over to the table with chocolate milk (Quik) and a bagel.

Side note: Ronin is already allergic to dairy, eggs and peanuts/tree nuts. He had a bad reaction to lentils. Today I tried a new Earth Balance [fake] butter spread, one that had no soy, but in hindsight had pea protein. Ronin's lip was swelling on one side of his upper mouth, so I gave him a Benadryl tablet chew and decided that I have to put the kibosh on using that type of spread. The problem is I am out of the regular Earth Balance spread, and need to figure out when I can make a trip to get some. Ronin must be allergic to peas, too. This means I should rule out all legumes, which would include beans like kidney. That sucks.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The ABT repairman

Nikko had a great first week at ESY. He transitions well when we drop him off at his classroom. I thought there wouldn't be any speech therapist for him over the summer, but there's a guy named Brian who does group speech and sometimes pulls the kid out for some therapy. His Weekly Note: Nikko played with a farm set and practiced requesting wants/needs and saying "more" often benefiting from models from the SLP. He also did a great job identifying objects shown in pictures.

There was no ABA today. Instead, while the little ones napped, a repairman from ABT came over to install the new front panel of our dishwasher. Nikko was curious about the guy. While he sat in front of the dishwasher to unscrew the inside door, Nikko crept up to him and seemed to be observing. I was sitting nearby so that Nikko didn't end up on top of the dishwasher. Nikko stepped in and reached over toward the man's left pocket, so quickly that the guy didn't even move to react. But I saw Nikko reach for a ball point pen in the pocket so I quickly grabbed Nikko, laughing off the reach, and physically turned Nikko away toward the living room. Nikko started to whine a little so I turned on a train DVD and tried to engage him in some puzzles. I suddenly got nervous that Nikko would throw a fit and keep trying to break away from me so he could bother the ABT guy. Ronin made some noises from the bedroom so I had to go in there and order him to go to sleep, while keeping an eye on Nikko so he didn't bolt. As I sat finishing a puzzle with Nikko, I was bothered that it mattered to me that the ABT guy might think Nikko was strange. I was basically keeping Nikko at bay in the living room until the repair was complete.

There were some major thunderstorms rolling through Chicago today. It made our 40-minute drive to Lombard into a two-hour ordeal. We were meeting up with the in-laws to celebrate my MIL's birthday and Father's Day. Nikko had unbeknownst to me dropped a wooden fish on the floor of the pilot and became agitated, kicking my chair, and wailing. Fortunately he got tired and fell asleep when we almost arrived at Sweet Tomatoes, our destination. During dinner he didn't have a great appetite, but he wasn't acting ill. The trip home was much faster, of course.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Jump tent @ Lions Park

Denis was home this morning because I had a dentist appointment scheduled for 10a. Ronin walked with us to school today, and when we arrived, Nikko was ready to rush into the room. Mrs. McCarthy stopped him to say hello, I bent down for a good-bye kiss, then he walked into the room. Mrs. Damerjian stopped him to deposit his hand-held belongings into a laundry basket along with his backpack, then he took off. I went to my dentist appointment and to my surprise, they smoothed out and polished the crack in my crown. Dr. Butler even said that if they had to take off the crown and replace it, he would do it at his own expense because it hadn't even been two months since the first crown was put in. I almost said, "No, no, I'll pay for it," but wisely stopped myself. He fixed the crown so that when I floss the string doesn't get shredded, and so we didn't have to take off the crown, no shots, I was free to go. I LOVE MY DENTIST AND HIS ASSISTANT! ♥♥♥ Nikko's school report didn't have any written comments except that he used the bathroom and that he played at the sand table with Olivia and Parker.

Melisa came early this afternoon for Nikko's ABA session. Nikko didn't seem to have a good time at the beginning. He refused to sit for her, and even crumpled onto the floor in an emotional outburst. I could hear the outburst from up here and it sounded different from his usual protests. Don't know what spurnned that on. After therapy, we fed the kids early and took them to Lions Park to see some jugglers before their Concert In the Park series, as well as to play in the playground. Denis came up with this idea in the afternoon, and it's always good to have the kids experience community events if we have the manpower to do it. Tianna was supposed to come over today, but the window of time was really short so I promised her we'd do something fun next week. The kids enjoyed the playground immensely, but we had to take them for a walk toward the band shell to see the juggler. We walked by a jump air tent and Ronin really wanted to go in. Audrey did, too, despite my initial refusal because she was so small. Turns out there weren't many kids in the jump tent and she did really, really well. No collisions. And she had a blast! Nikko refused to go into the tent. Instead, he opted to crash into the air step in front of the tent opening. I think the tent owners were a little confused by Nikko, but they didn't push him away and let him run up to the tent step, push on it, sit on it, then bounce away. It was too difficult to get the kids away from the tent and sit still to watch the clown juggler perform so I told Denis that it was time to go back to the playground. I could tell from Nikko's whining that he would rather stay at the tent, but we had to disengage from that scene. It took a while for him to be ok with going on the playground equipment again but he acclimated evenutally. When it was time to leave the park, he was fussing because he didn't want to leave. OH WELL. It was already 7:15p, time for baths and bed!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Second Day of ESY / Blocked up / Yesterday's binder notes

Ronin wanted to walk with Nikko and me to school this morning, so I left Audrey with Denis and tentatively walked with Ronin holding my hand toward school. We entered the building, bypassed the gym, and went straight down the hall toward Mrs. McCarthy. She welcomed Nikko, I bent down to get a good-bye kiss, and he ran straight into the classroom. Ronin said he wanted to go in and I looked down to tell him we couldn't stay. I looked up to see Nikko sitting way at the back of the room on a road carpet with Mrs. Damerjian and other kids, already playing with toys. Nikko wasn't even looking at us so I took it as a sign that he's fine, and we left. When we picked him up later (I had the kids in the double stroller), Mrs. McCarthy brought him outside instead of waiting in the classroom. She said, "When he saw that he was the only kid left in the room he kind of looked around [quizzically], so I took him outside to wait for you guys." Nikko seemed fine on the way home, too. I served up lunch and noticed at the end of lunch that Nikko was straining.

He had been straining since yesterday, so I told him that if he didn't pass something by 12:40p then I'd have to help him. No luck. I had to help him with a suppository. I had him straddle me in my lap and held him still. Of course, Nikko was crying and pushing away from me at times. It took longer than I thought, at least ten minutes before he had a bowel movement that pushed anything out. And I felt SO bad for Nikko because it was big and compacted, the size of a small apple, plus some smaller ones. It had to have hurt so badly coming out. I changed him, and then Jenna showed up for 1pm ABA. I warned her about Nikko's state, but he was still willing to work with her. I put the younger ones down for a nap and went to eat lunch and read the paper. Nikko had to come upstairs two more times with residual bowel movements, the second one being another hard poo, and the third one being large but soft and messy. He did a really good job of clearing up his intestines this time around, but I imagined that he was also probably very tired from all that pushing. He managed to sleep in the car on the way to Mom's house. A well-deserving nap, I'd say. I printed out something on high fiber foods. I REALLY need to help him become regular again!!

Jenna's notes from ABA session today: First time with new drills. He was so focused today. Good eye contact and trying to imitate me. Very good session. He likes obstacle courses. Good day!

Was Nikko focused due to the bowel movements??

At yesterday's meeting Nikko had mastered some activities and new ones were put in. He has mastered the pictures of familiar people (family) so he'll use that as a warm up.
Still needs to work on pointing out body parts.
Still works on block patterns, but is being encouraged to build across, not just stack upward.
Still working on one-step instructions.
Shapes were added. They're using turquoise rubber shapes that he needs to identify.
Function of objects: point to a picture (scissors) and ask, what do you ____ with?
Still colors within boundaries.
Still working on mazes.
Emotions - still working on identifying, will work on MAKING the face.
Still working on imitating actions with objects (Wipe mouth. Drink from cup. Brush hair).
Personal information - he's not getting it. So, they dropped the age question for now, and are focusing on his actual picture. "Who is this?"
Board game - encouraging Go Fish more often.
Colors - Expressive - Can identify in books, but will now hold up a card and ask him, "What color is this?"
Points to pictures in a book - He needs a new cache of books to use for this activity.

SO, Nikko's still pretty busy. Our goal is to keep him busy so he won't regress this summer. That's the hope!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

First Day of ESY

This post is long, probably boring, filled with the minutae of my day. But I am about capturing the details of the things that happened to me and to us, so forgive this post that has no profound thoughts or musings. It was a busy day and this is how we get through our life. :)

This morning Denis stayed later so he could walk with us 1/2 a block away to the Fairview School for Nikko's first day of ESY. We started breakfast at 8a. By 8:30 I chased Nikko down for a final diaper change and to dress up for school. By 8:45 I hollered at the kids to put on Socks & Shoes/Crocs No Socks. I wanted us out the door at 8:50 latest because I'd have to get the double stroller from the garage, strap the kiddos in and then walk up the block. Good plan, we got there in plenty of time. For the first day, unfortunately, the administration had all the kids meet up with their teachers in the gymnasium. It was chaos, but we were able to locate Mrs. McCarthy at the front of a line of kids sitting on the floor. I saw her aide Mrs. Damerjian sitting alongside the kids, so I pulled Nikko over to say hello. Mrs. McCarthy crouched down to welcome Nikko, and was pulling Nikko toward the group. Nikko figured out that he was being taken away and that we were not staying, so he started to cry and yell. Mrs. McCarthy took Nikko, said, "Good bye, Mom and Dad, we'll see you later, he'll be fine!" and motioned for Mrs. Damerjian to take Nikko. I pivoted and pushed Denis and the double stroller toward the door, saying we had to leave NOW. I turned to glimpse Nikko one more time and saw Mrs. Damerjian holding Nikko a few feet off the ground. He was crying and pushing against her, but her grip was tight and I marched out the door. I told Denis to steer us toward their classroom, #179 down the hall. I could still hear Nikko crying. At the classroom I was surprised to see Ms. Winters. She was there with her daughter, just helping out on the first day. I was relieved because Nikko would see another familiar face and hopefully understand that he was in school but in a different room. Ronin was free of the stroller and walked toward a play mat set up with some trains and bridges. I told him we had to go, and Ronin protested. OF COURSE! He wanted to stay and play, so he cried and sat on the floor, not wanting to go anywhere. Ultimately I had to carry him out and down the block while he cried loudly. I enticed him with the promise of a surprise at home, and that worked as we crossed the street toward our house. At home, finally, I went into my bag of tricks and pulled out some colored feathers. Both Ronin and Audrey oooo'd and aaaaaah'd while I tickled their faces and showed them how to flap the feathers like a bird. Tweet tweet! Tweet tweet! I had to repeat this to Nikko later with more tweeting. We got home, I straightened the living room as best I could because at 4pm was Nikko's team meeting, ate some breakfast, and then was mindful of the time because we'd have to leave around 11:50a to pick up Nikko. This morning we had used the umbrella stroller for Audrey and Ronin walked, but after his tantrum I decided the double stroller would be best to use from now on. The front seat strap is broken, so I might have to use bungee cords until I can rig up something better. We walked to get Nikko, Denis pushing the stroller while I walked ahead. There was a mass of parents and toddlers waiting in the front of the school to pick up their kids, a logistical nightmare in the making. Sure enough, the kids swarmed out and both kids and parents walked around trying to find each other. I kept an eye out for Nikko's teachers and spotted Mrs. McCarthy in the foyer with Nikko on one hand and another girl in the other. She told me that from now on I could drop off and pick up Nikko directly at the room. Fine with me! Nikko seemed ok with the hustle and the bustle, but also very distracted. He walked home holding my hand. Once we got home, I immediately served lunch because Jenna was scheduled for a 1pm ABA session. She arrived, we went downstairs to get Nikko situated, then we left him and he didn't bolt. Thank goodness it seems like he's getting over that behavior, albeit slowly. The rest of us went upstairs, I changed diapers and read Ronin & Audrey a story before putting them down for a nap. Finally, I was able to eat lunch and read the newspaper, clean the living room and the toilet before meeting time.

After ABA, all the kids were in the kitchen so I served up snack and waited for the team to show up. It was Linda, Maria, Melisa and Sarah. Throughout the meeting, Audrey was wandering in and out, Ronin was running around being loud and sometimes intrusive, and Nikko was dashing from the wall mirror to down the hall, holding his yellow feather plus other figures and yelling/making noises. I didn't glean much information from the meeting so I'll have to look at the notes Maria took. I did hear that Nikko mastered some skills and one or two new skills were added. I also heard the part where Nikko has been asked two questions for personal identification: What's your name? and How old are you? He hasn't mastered either and is not getting either of them right although he will echo his name sometimes. Linda said to drop the age question for now and to concentrate on his name, which will serve more purpose in the event that he gets lost and can tell someone his name so it can be announced. I'll bring his notes up tomorrow, sorry, I'm kind of too tired to do that right now. The meeting finished, Nikko was a sweaty mess, and it was time to chill out before dinner. I decided to make some macaroni with tomato sauce for Ronin & Audrey, and boil some portobello mushroom ravioli for Nikko. He never had it before, only the spinach-filled ravioli, so I took a chance. It bombed with him. Grrrr. While Audrey seemed to eat her macaroni, Ronin stated that he wanted SPAGHETTI instead of macaroni. I told him maybe tomorrow, because I was NOT going to cook something extra after all I did. He had nuggets instead, of course. Denis called during dinner to let me know that some dear friends of his from San Diego were driving through on a Florida road trip and wanted to visit us tonight at 8:30p. It doesn't happen often so I said sure, and wondered how late the kids were going to go to bed. Audrey got a bath but I didn't bother with the boys because the chances that they were going to get all hot and sweaty with visitors (that had younger kids) were very good. They arrived, the kids were off and running in circles, jumping from the couch, being loud and having fun, plus some sugary snacks on the side. The kids finally got to bed between 9:30-10p and I wondered how Nikko was able to handle being up all day without a nap while running on fumes. I am pretty exhausted from trying to keep on top of everything today, being on time/naps/team meeting/out of town visitors. And I was pretty hot myself all day, of course. Time to wind down, check on the kiddos, and go to bed! Tomorrow will be the real test of taking Nikko to school with the kiddos, sans Denis, then picking him up. I may take the kids to Mom's house for a visit.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sarah / Running Errands

Nikko had ABA with Sarah today. She's the new line person that will work with Nikko on Mondays. She just graduated from Prospect High School and is family friends with Maria from MGB Services. A sad story is that she had an 11 year brother that had autism and recently died from seizures. This happened in February. It's June. I can't believe that Sarah is ready to work with little kids with autism so soon, but I'm also not walking in her shoes. Sarah told me this info, but I didn't question anything further. I had heard the baseline story from Maria, and now I understand who's funeral she went to back in February, needing to switch a session from a Thursday to a Wednesday. Nikko did very well with Sarah, by the way. He had seen her twice before so she wasn't a complete stranger. I didn't hear any major whining or protesting, and I heard her try to encourage Nikko as well as try to get his attention. The best part was that I was able to put both Ronin and Audrey down for a nap at the same time. I had to go back in just once and order them to stop fooling around and take a nap, but they managed to settle for 1.5 hours. I started working on clearing out a section of my closet. I need more days like that.

When the kids woke up and Nikko was done with therapy, I gave them a snack and then got us packed up to go run errands. My goal was to go to Target to get a prescription and some envelopes to mail our flex spending account reimbursement request, then off to Costco for the essentials. I wonder how people feel in Target when I'm walking with the cart and my two little boys are orbiting wildly around me. It was strangely busy at Target with lots of people in the aisles that I wondered if Nikko zipping around was irritating someone. Nikko had in his hands a burp cloth, Buzz Lightyear, a springy orange alien, and a cylindrical toy with a fish attached to it from a set of stacking cylinders. At Target he also picked up a plastic Toy Story pencil case (shaped like a big plastic pencil, of course). I picked up another for Ronin because I knew they'd fight over one. Nikko was dropping things left and right while I tried to show him how to put his figures into the cylinder. Didn't quite work so I kept an eye on his belongings. I saw some Toy Story wipe boards in the dollar bins and picked up three, knowing that each kid will want to draw on his/her own board the minute I introduce it to them. I plan to do this in a few weeks, if possible. After taking my circus from Target and back into the car, we drove to Costco where I unloaded my circus and trekked inside, trying to dodge Nikko's greedy grasp as he reached into my pockets for my Costco card. I was able to zip around and get the essentials (Coke, grape juice, bananas, baby wipes, Veggie Sticks, chicken nuggets, milk 2% and whole), then lugged them to the self-checkout lane. Nikko was hovering by the credit card machine waiting to pounce on my credit card. It was laborious loading and unloading everything on and off the conveyor belt, and the old guy who observes the self-checkout lanes for sticky problems didn't help me unload the heavy stuff either. Sometimes I get a younger guy or girl who uses the scan gun to save me the effort, but this older guy usually doesn't do that. Grrr. Nikko saw a bag of Cheetos Cheese Puffs that was in the cart and he automatically wanted some NOW. I told him later, maybe during dinner, but it was hard to get him off the cart for this. As we exited I had to surrender my Costco card so he would stop whining and pulling at my arm for the cheese puffs. It worked, and I was able to confiscate it back later when unbuckling him from the car seat because he accidentally dropped it at the side of the car seat and didn't realize it. I was pretty irritable when we got back, had to unload all the groceries and jam the freezer items quickly into nooks and crannies, and was tired from the heavy lifting in the process. But dinner went rather smoothly, Denis came home, baths were given and happy children went to bed. Tomorrow, Denis will stay home with the little ones while I walk Nikko 1/2 a block to the Fairview school for his first day of Extended School Year. I'll get the gist of the drop off and the ESY routine. I'll also have to check what time are playground hours so we are not there at the same time. I really hope Nikko will transition ok into this new school environment, knowing that Margie will be there.

Ice cream

Another mysterious burst of crying, this time it was right before breakfast. I couldn't figure out what brought it on, but I put a bowl of cereal in front of him, he kept putting his head on his arm onto the table, then started wailing. I picked him up and sat him in my lap to console him, but he slithered onto the floor under the big kitchen table and cried there for some time until he resumed being calm. If I see this happening tomorrow, I may stop the probiotic/enzyme. Those are the only variables I have added (and the MiraLAX taken away) that could have altered his physical state.

I went to lunch today with my girlfriends at P.F. Chang's, a Chinese restaurant in Lombard. It's always nice to reconnect with the girls. When I got back, the kids were running around and Audrey had woken from a nap all grumpy. I fed them snack. Ronin had Vanilla Bean-flavored Coconut Milk ice cream. Nikko had some of my Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. Audrey refused ice cream and preferred graham crackers instead. I think ice cream is a bit too cold for her right now. This was day two of Nikko having ice cream, so right before dinner he was requesting it heavily and got super angry when I told him no, it's time for dinner food. Nikko kept pushing me toward the freezer and was screaming at me for ice cream, but I didn't give in although the thought crossed my mind. Somehow I got him to eat mac cheese and nuggets. I think it was the ranch dressing that Denis suggested I use for dipping the nuggets. Genius!

Oh gosh, ESY starts for Nikko on Tuesday. Gotta remember the emergency form, to pack clothes & diapers, and a snack + water for Nikko.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bursts of crying and potshots

We didn't go anywhere today. Kind of a wasted day in that respect, but it was also periodically raining and gloomy. Right before dinnertime, I was in the kitchen doling out the grub when I heard Nikko erupt in a wail. When I went to the living room to check on him, he was on his tummy near the bookcase, head down, wailing. I didn't know why and neither did anyone else because no one was near him. I tried to console him and went back to the kitchen when he did it again. I recall that Jenna said on Wednesday Nikko had a burst of crying during his session. He was doing drills, then suddenly put his head down on the table and started to wail. No apparent cause or reason, and then he got over it and proceeded as normal. I wonder what's triggering this? A deep-seeded memory? Pain?

Another thing that Nikko is doing is taking potshots at Ronin. Nikko came to the table, pulled out his chair, sat down, then turned and swatted Ronin on the arm. Ronin looked at him quizzically, then Nikko cranked his arm back and swatted Ronin harder on the back. That made Ronin cry and hit Nikko back, so I had to intervene. I saw the whole thing and didn't see Ronin instigate anything, nor was Ronin whining annoyingly as usual to provoke Nikko's wrath. I threatened that the next kid who hit someone was going to sit at the Time Out table.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Tianna arrived at 2p. She was very polite and friendly, and warmed up to the kids right away. I whisked her away with me and the kids to Meijer, kind of a trial run to see if she was ok with us. Any shyness the kids had toward her went away with Ronin blabbering to her nonstop. Audrey even allowed Tianna to carry her from the carseat to the shopping cart. Nikko didn't pay her much attention during the excursion but was very good about welcoming her with a Hi Tianna and later on a Bye Tianna. Nikko was a little anxious in the store but I quickly got to the toy section and was scouring the aisles for any Toy Story 3 promos. Luckily I found one that had a Rex dinosaur and a Slink the Dog, and Nikko was soon calm again while he carried his future possessions around. Nikko has taken carrying around figurines to the extreme because he is carrying Buzz Lightyear, Rex, Slink, a blue dragon, and at one point also Mike Wazowski all in one hand. Unfortunately, I think Mike is lost *again* either in the carseat or possibly in the backyard. I hope Nikko doesn't go asking for him again, until I can locate him. AGAIN. Anyway, Tianna wasn't scared off by my kids, or my overbearing ways, so I think she's a keeper for us, for the next nine weeks. She's doing these service hours toward college, and she is family friends with Maria so that's how they know each other. Tianna is young, like Brianna, but she seemed very even-keel, always looked directly at me when talking to me and when listening to me, and kept a good eye on the roaming Ronin. I told her that I can text her the day before she comes so that she'll know what kind of activity to expect when she comes over. Today was a shopping expedition, but next week may very well be the Nibbles Cafe, which I have been wanting to try for a year.

At the kid table in the kitchen, when Ronin begins whining and crying in protest to me over something, Nikko has taken to swatting Ronin. I don't blame Nikko, but it's also not something he should be allowed to do. I reprimand Nikko by telling him sternly to stop, sometimes holding back the offending wrist, but Nikko gets upset that I've raised my voice to him and he starts bawling, too. I'm sure the high-pitched screams of Ronin right next to Nikko don't help his gut reaction to swatting, either. I had to haul Nikko off his chair and relocate him to the smaller table in Time Out, but that really got Nikko angry and he flung himself onto the floor. Then it was Ronin's turn to sit on the floor in Time Out because he was refusing to eat, refusing to stop playing with Mac Truck at the table, and refusing to listen to me. I put Nikko back to the kid table and when Ronin's Time Out was finish I banished him from the kitchen. My throat was healing from having a cold, and now I am certain it is shredded again. I was doing not too bad the last two days in terms of yelling at Ronin too much, but tonight just shot that to hell.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Redirect, redirect

Did I mention that I finally did find Mike Wazowski? He was wedged in between sofa cushions. Of course.

I had my last follow-up eye appointment today. Had to pack the rugrats in the Pilot and I felt like we were running late. Gotta be there at 11? Diaper changes at 10, socks and shoes at 10:15, walk out the door at 10:30 to strap kids into car, drive off by 10:45. This has to be the protocol, in order for me not to be late. Today I started socks and shoes late, so I was a wreck while strapping in the kids at 10:45. We made it on time, but geez, I really have to remind myself to prep earlier so I don't leave like an ogre and so mad at everybody. And while we were there, the kids were very good. Ronin stood behind the chair I was in, and I had to usher him back because there were cords over there. Nikko stood in the doorway and was making noises in the hallway, but was still pretty calm. For once, Audrey stood still. The doc gave me the green light, saying there was scar tissue that I couldn't do anything about. I let the kids play a little longer in the foyer, to bounce on the bouncy horse and clean up the blocks they had previously scattered. Then we left. They watched Hi-5 on the way to McDonald's, where I picked up nuggets and fries as their reward for being so good. It's always refreshing to me to put in a Hi-5 DVD in the car because they keep watching Toy Story at home, the music is catchy and lovely, and the kids get smiles on their faces when they recognize the characters. Nikko seems to enjoy watching Karla make faces. Audrey always looks enraptured by whatever scene is on Hi-5.

Jenna came at 1p and Sarah was here to observe. Jenna said his session was good overall but he was whiny at the end of it. Nikko seemed in good spirits when he came back upstairs. After I gave the kids snack, I took the kids back into the basement to play. Ronin had created a tunnel obstacle course which all three enjoyed, and Nikko was running through the hula hoops that were propped vertically between the athletic mats. He had also worked up a big sweat. Later on, before dinner, Nikko had spit up some juice on his t-shirt so I took it off and let him remain shirtless because it was warm in the house. When I check on him later, I saw that he had taken off his shorts and was enjoying sitting in the Thomas chair. I couldn't let Nikko sit around in just his diaper, even though I didn't mind at first, because again it's a habit that I don't want him to develop. I gave him a diaper change and he started fighting me because he knew I was going to re-dress him. And he was ANGRY at me. He tried to take off his t-shirt but couldn't pull it over his head because he was hot and sticky from sweat. I gave up trying to resist his beating me and announced that it was Vitamin Time. Redirection worked as he joined his sibs in the kitchen, reluctantly at first, but later he bounded off with two extra gummy vites in his hand. The tantrum was forgotten, the shirt and shorts stayed on until bath time. Whew!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Thoughts on uncontrollable laughing

Hmmmm....I swiped this answer from a reply on a board about why their asd kid giggles and laughs at inappropriate times. It's late right now, but I think I'll ruminate over this in the future....

The laughing etc.. is from phenol intolerance. They are missing the enzymes to digets the high phenol foods like bananas, grapes, apples etc... cut out those fruits and switch to pears. I swear it works. Also, it could be a yeast flare up, most of these kids have gut issues that can cause yeast overgrowth.

Think about what makes you giggle or weird...alcohol. That is what the yeast puts out in the body and the phenols in the blood. Your kid is a bit drunk.

I am healing my kid from autism, not "curing" but healing. He is talking now, laughing when it's right, eats good clean foods, enjoys company etc... he is 3 and has been doing these treatments for over a year.

we are chelating the mercury out of him and he is doing so well the doctors think he will be as close to NT to be able to mainstream him in a year or so.

I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it. I got all my info from Jenny at

these kids have illnesses that can cause the symptoms we know as autism. as I heal his illness ie: yeast overgrowth, mercury toxic, bacterial infections, viral infections etc... he gets better.

I was told my son would need constant care and need an institution by the time he was 12 and he would never talk to me, or tell me he loves me. that he thought of me as a 'tool' to get what he wanted and not to expect a connection. THEY WERE WRONG.

What we are doing isn't easy, but it isn't really hard either. I put him on a gluten-free casein-free diet and he began to talk. I use only organic foods, juice my own juices, use fresh foods, grass fed beef, stopped pesticides, stop vaccinating (his immune system can't process them right now), filter the chlorine out of any water (including summer pools), use clean products and stopped flouride. I also chelate him using a slow and small dose method to remove the metals from his body that he got from his vaccines, you can read about it, google "andy cutler chelation".

check it out, try it. what can it hurt. better than a crazy giggle kid that I had before, he ran, kicked tantrumed, grunted, bit, banged his head, growled, out of control. Now he is a nice, happpy kid with a slight speech delay but very smart and happy.

go to and watch the video about autism recovery. it'll change you life.

Bolting from ABA

Nikko had ABA at 4:45p today. We all went downstairs and when I announced that it was time to work, he bolted up the stairs. I caught him halfway and he laughed as if we were in a chasing game, then led him back downstairs where he agreeably went with Jenna. I put up the baby gate and resurfaced. This has been two solid weeks where he has bolted at the beginning of each session. He no longer sits eagerly, or gives me a See You Later kiss and then goes to the table to work. I don't know what changed, and I don't know what the therapists will try to do to help fix it. Perhaps I should put the baby gate right behind me as we all go downstairs. In any event, he did have a good session and Jenna hung around to chat with me a little bit about some speech things, school and reading books (as in Me reading a book, not Nikko!). I suppose I should be enjoying these longer days before Nikko starts summer school next week. His Extended School Year class is from 9a to 12p. I'm going to have to walk him to school, probably with the other two kids in tow. And I just realized I'll have to pick him up as well... Man, I've got a lot of getting these kids in and out of the house to do! Then he's gotta eat lunch right away because he'll have ABA at 1p throughout the week except for Thursdays. 2:30p on Fridays. There won't be a whole lot of time left after 2:30p for him to decompress, so I'll have to watch how he handles the work load. And to think that I plan to add speech therapy to his schedule. I hope I can be up for the task!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Good night, -------"

Today didn't start well, and it happened like this within the past two days. Ronin was languishing on the couch with his green blanket and Nikko didn't want Ronin laying in his space. He would start pushing Ronin away, Ronin would scream and whine, then Nikko would pull at Ronin's blanket. Nikko would start swatting at Ronin. Ronin would scream back. Nikko would take a toy away from Ronin. Ronin would scream that he wanted it and would try to run away. Nikko would chase after Ronin. I'd step in and try to redirect Nikko, who would push me away or pull away from my grip. Many times I've had to command Ronin to give up whatever he had so Nikko would stop relentlessly pursuing Ronin and try to hurt him. Many times this morning, even before 8:30a, Nikko wanted whatever Ronin had and tried to grab it from Ronin. It's not fair that Ronin has to give up his toy each and every time, so I'd step in to redirect Nikko. Nikko would struggle against me, whining the whole time, getting hot and sweaty and then clawing at me. My arms would start to ache from holding back a 40-pound boy for minutes at a time. When Nikko would take swipes at me, I'd get really angry and shout at him to never hit ME. Nikko got really upset that I yelled at him and flopped on his bedroom floor crying. Let's just say that with Nikko's relentlessness, Ronin's screaming and whining, and Audrey's ---well, she's a baby girl who mimics whomever is crying the loudest, I felt pretty beat up before 9:00a.

Ronin's "terrible two's" personality is really taking a toll on me. If all two-year olds go through this stage, I truly wonder how some mothers don't tear their hair out. OH, he's only two, you say? He's just a little kid, you say? I swear, he is the cutest little boy, but the whining and screaming over being frustrated or being bullied by Nikko or just for wanting something NOW has driven me to put the earplugs on at multiple times, not just during breakfast. I've been trying to instill some confidence in the boy by praising his efforts, but it's obvious to me that I need to take some drastic measures to calm my own demeanor in reaction to him.

Later in the afternoon, after naps and late lunches, I took the kids to play in the backyard. When Ronin said he wanted to play with the chalk, it was a good opportunity to get messy but creative. We drew some trains on a track, and then I drew a winding road that turned into a racetrack. The boys happily ran around the track, chasing each other and wanting me to join them, which I did. The weather was cool and comfortable, my perfect weather day. It didn't take too much to get the kids to go inside, thank goodness. I was going to put in Monsters Inc. for the kids to watch, but Nikko suddenly took my hand toward the window and said, "Mike?" He was looking for the green monster, Mike Wazowski. I saw him last night in Nikko's room, but I gave him to Ronin to play with and never saw it again. I couldn't find him and Nikko was getting agitated and irritated. I was also irritated that I couldn't locate that silly, one-eyed monster, and that Ronin couldn't remember what he did with it. I had to give up, but still wonder if Mike is buried somewhere in Nikko's room.

After prayers, Denis leaned into Nikko and said, "Good night, Nikko."
Nikko said, "Good night, Daddy."

I was really surprised at this exchange because it was exactly that: AN EXCHANGE. Nikko usually repeats what you tell him, and I expected Nikko to say, "Good night, Nikko." But he said Daddy instead, and quite directly. I tried that too, after singing the good night song.

"Good night, Nikko," I said to him.
"Good night, Mommy," he replied.
"I love you, Nikko," I said.
"I love you, Mommy," Nikko replied back.
"Ok, it's sleepy time."
"Sleepy time," Nikko said, and put the burp cloth over his head.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Raining wherever we went

6/7/10 12:27a
I woke up feeling weak and with a cold. Our plans today were to go to the Naperville Kite Festival, but I had to catch up on a little rest before I could function. We had a late start but made it out to the Naperville grounds by 2p. We spread out for lunch. Ronin was inconsolable because he wanted to play at the playgrounds whereas we were trying to finish eating and fly some kites. All our wishes were overridden by the ominous storm clouds that quickly rolled over our heads. The kite festival people had already begun to ground their kites when the drizzle started. We packed up the kids and headed back to the Pilot, but Nikko started a big tantrum. He wanted to stay, and refused to sit in the double stroller. I had Audrey in the umbrella stroller and was walking quickly but managed to look over my shoulder and saw Denis struggling with a Noodleman Nikko. Ultimately, Denis put Nikko over his shoulder and guided Ronin & our stuff with the other hand. In the process, Nikko had dropped his Rex Dinosaur figurine and his box of Band Aids. I noticed this while strapping him into the car and giving him a Dum Dum lollipop to calm him down. I retraced their steps and found the box of Band Aids, but Rex was lost. Nikko’s tantrum dissipated while watching Toy Story in the Pilot, but it left us with a sour taste. We drove home, but stopped at another park to possibly try flying our kites. It had a playground area with a train and Ronin was determined to play on it. We let the kids run around for 15-20 minutes when the storm clouds found us again and we had to evacuate with 3 dirty kids. Our last stop of the day was to Costco, where Ronin was energized and running around trying to put things in our cart. At the checkout line, Nikko was anxious to get out of the cart and try swiping his Costco card into any slot on the register he could reach. I was very glad to get home, since we were followed by sun showers.

My cold turned into a temperature and the body aches have begun. I tried to counter it with acetaminophen and wonder how long it will last. I think I’m losing my taste buds, so I shouldn’t even waste my time munching on Pirate Booty corn puffs here. Oh. I just bit into a Milano cookie. Can’t taste it. Definitely putting back any other ones. Why waste them?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Nikko's IEP Meeting

The IEP meeting went smoothly. It was Ms. Winters, Mrs. McCarthy and Mrs. I. I didn't have any objections to the goals they proposed for the next school year, and I was able to get my questions answered:
Should we seek private ST outside the home? YES.
How many times should we utilize Linda Hoeck? She works for the district, but is really more of a consultant. They only really contact her during our team meetings or if there's a problem that they need advice with.
Will there be an aide during ESY? YES.
Does Ronin need to be potty trained before school starts? NO. *YEA!!!!!*

And my notes on the meeting were:
1.) Work on using earbuds over the summer, to prepare Nikko for his eventual audiology testing
2.) Get a personal/mini wipe board to encourage Nikko's drawing
3.) Nikko likes using the photobooks with vibrant colors. (Kathy generously lent us the ones he uses during speech, to utilize over the summer. WOW!)
4.) During clean-up routine, give Nikko a specific task to complete instead of generalizing the entire room. Better results this way.
5.) Increase his vocabulary to give Nikko more options to label things.
6.) Give Nikko appropriate ways to say NO, to replace hitting or pushing. "I don't want to" "I don't like that" "NO THANK YOU"
7.) Continue/increase using social stories with Nikko
8.) Referral for a speech language pathologist: Pathways, in Glenview, off-site
9.) Start using photo cards (from Lakeshore Learning) to enhance vocabulary & supply choices

Since yesterday's Target outing, Nikko has been carrying around the Buzz Lightyear and Rex Dinosaur figures, but is also carrying a Band Aid box of Toy Story, a plastic "credit" card, and currently, a pink Barbie camera. It's a LOT to hold, and I don't know why the hoarding tendencies are cropping up again. He was also very fixated on a pile of tactile-friendly brick blocks that has been strewn on the floor since yesterday. He wouldn't allow me to clean it up. He went totally ballistic on me, and then later on Denis. There was nothing I could do but let him run through his meltdown, because those blocks had to get cleaned up. He tantrummed so hard that he ultimately fell asleep while sitting up, leaning on me as I sat on an ottoman. And now I think the poor kid caught a cold because he has the coughs.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Goals, part 2

Today was Nikko's last day of school. The teachers gave him a little plastic bug collector kit. He wore it around his neck for half the day, but lost interest in everything when I got him a Toy Story 3 action figure multipack. He's been carrying around a miniature Buzz Lightyear and Rex dinosaur for the rest of the day. We met up with a relative and the Penepackers later in the day, having dinner with everyone at Gulliver's Pizza, but because Ronin didn't have a nap today and it was close to Audrey's bedtime, both the little ones were cranky and wailing to go home. Nikko was surprisingly calm and the best behaved. Unfortunately, on the way to the car, his arm must have gotten hurt while he was wrangling against Chinny & Atz, who were helping me drag him to the car. He's been complaining about his arm/hand hurting ever since, and if it still hurts him tomorrow morning I may have to take him to the pediatrician. Grrr.

Anyway, the following are Nikko's IEP goals for 2010/2011. I still have to review them, then jot down any notes or questions as a result. I noticed that two items were functional goals while the rest were academic, and wonder if there needs to be more or less of one than the other. I trust the teachers' assessments, but I need more time to mull this all over.

IEP GOALS 2010-2011

By June 2011, Nikko will perform the following fine motor skills in 4 out of 5 trials:
1) copy and draw circle, cross and square
2) 2) copy and draw an 8 body part person
3) Copy and print first name.

By June 2011 with visual cues as needed, Nikko will perform all steps of both the arrival and departure routines in 4 out of 5 trials.

By June 2011, Nikko will be able to cut out preschool projects within ½ inch of the lines with verbal cues as needed in 4 out of 5 trials.

By June 2011, Nikko will spontaneously use 4 word utterances to express his wants/needs in the classroom setting in 4/5 trials.

By June 2011, Nikko will demonstrate 3/3 of the following skills:
1) identify 5 emotions
2) demonstrate understanding of object function
3) demonstrate understanding of big/little, hard/soft, over/under, behind, top/bottom in 4/5 trials.

By June 2011, Nikko will answer yes/no, who, what, where questions accurately in 4/5 trials.

By June 2011, in the classroom setting, Nikko will demonstrate 3/3 of the following skills in 4/5 trials:
1) ask for help appropriately
2) respond to greetings from others
3) protest appropriately in 4/5 trials

By June 2011, Nikko will attend to a 7 minute teacher directed activity with no more than one verbal or picture cue in 4/5 trials.

By June 2011, Nikko will do 3/3 of the following:
1) expressively identify 5 shapes
2) expressively identify 8 colors
3) count 10 objects with 1:1 correspondence in 4/5 trials.

By June 2011, Nikko will engage for 5 minutes in simple pretend play using props (cars, dolls, trains, kitchen toys) for their intended purposed in 4/5 opportunities.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Goals, part 1

OT report: Did swing work, letting me take him faster and higher for a short period of time, then did some drawing/coloring & fine motor peg design activity.

I typed Nikko's IEP goals from this year on yesterday's blog entry, and today the teachers sent back their 3rd quarter evaluation. 3 of Nikko's unbolded goals were met, but 2 previously bolded goals were qualified saying he was inconsistent in responding to the goals. They also sent me back a draft of his present levels of academic achievement, as well as a draft of next year's goals. I'm going to paste the present levels and save typing up next year's goal for tomorrow's blog (and his last day of school). But one thing to note that he did today was that I was sitting down with Audrey and pulled out a book to read, in the hopes that Nikko would sit down with us and read along. He did, and when I turned a page and pointed to a cat, I asked aloud, "What is that?" Nikko pointed and said, "Cat." The same thing happened to Dog, and to Baby. I was so happy that Nikko actually took his index finger and pointed directly at each item on the page. Audrey chimed in, too, but really the moment for me was about Nikko. :)

OK, the present activity performance:
Happy, Nikko learns quickly when focused, loves dancing/movement activities, gross motor skills

Language, short attention span. Socialization dependent on language.

Nikko is generally healthy with good school attendance. Nikko passed the vision screening with the vision therapist from NSSEO on 3/3/10. Passed audiological at Lutheran General on 3/30/09. No health concerns at this time.

Nikko has learned the classroom routines nicely. He does still occasionally need assistance to transition between activities. At times, he still requires visuals to help in transitions. He is using a picture schedule during the day. Nikko will now sit appropriately for large group times although still requires use of a cube chair to define his space. His participation in small group instruction time varies depending on the nature of the task. He will engage in non preferred tasks for a longer period of time now. Nikko is responding to his name consistently and following familiar 1 step directions in the classroom. He is now beginning to label and request using single words in the classroom setting although much of it needs to be prompted. He will imitate 2-3 word phrases. His volume has increased and the use of a “sing-song” voice is decreasing. He is able to name family members and teachers pictures although he has not generalized this information yet to the classroom. Nikko is now working on learning peers names. Nikko is able to sort pictures and objects into categories appropriately. He is starting to label colors. He is now pointing to pictures in books. Nikko is able to use fine motor materials for their intended purpose. He is able to perform puzzles, string beads, stack blocks and can color with approximation. Nikko is just now beginning to draw and cut. His attention and participation in fine motor activities continues to develop. In the play area, Nikko is playing in a greater number of play areas and playing near peers. He is becoming much more aware of his peers during play and is using toys in a functional way. He is also playing in areas for longer periods of time. Fewer self-stimming behaviors are noted such as darting across the room during play time and lining things up. He does continue with vocal stim as he is increasing his use of language. Nikko is demonstrating more purposeful play in the playground and tries all areas of the playground with facilitation to get him started.

Nikko can perform the arrival routine most of the time independently. He may require a prompt after he has put his backpack and coat away to sign in. Nikko requires more support for the departure routine. After set-up he can put his coat on and backpack but may need prompts to sequence the steps of the routine. Nikko also requires assistance for fasteners. Nikko is now able to wash his hands independently and with cues and direction will help with clean-up.

Describe the effect of this individual’s disability on involvement and progress in the general education curriculum and the functional implications of the student’s skills:
Decreased fine motor skills, independent functioning, and atypical sensory processing all impact Nikko’s ability to participate in typical preschool activities. Nikko’s communication delays limit his ability to interact with others and get his needs/wants met in the classroom setting.

This last paragraph is really important. It shows me that Nikko needs to improve his fine motor skills, daily functioning/self-help skills, and sensory regulation.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mystery bug / WF / IEP prelim review

Yesterday (Sunday) we took the kids to Woodfield Mall for lunch and some shopping [for me]. We went to Red Robin, the hamburger joint, because it had an allergy menu. I still gave Ronin chicken nuggets from home, but I was able to get unseasoned fries which the kids love. Nikko had mac cheese, fries and chocolate milk, but halfway through his meal he stopped eating and lay halfway in his chair, much like how he does at home when he's trying to do a #2 but not leave the table. When he didn't finish right away I checked on him and he just didn't want to eat. He remained doubled over and I wondered what the matter was. We left and headed toward Macy's. The boys were both whining to play in the Looney Tunes play area, so we parted. I took Audrey with me to go buy a purse for Mother's Day. It was a hot one outside and the kids went down for naps at home. When I noticed Nikko had been sleeping a while, I woke him up and discovered he was boiling hot. Then I saw a drop of blood trickle from his nose and I intercepted it with tissue. The problem was that the blood was flowing freely, dripping steadily like a faucet and not tapering. Nikko was whining that I had a tissue around his nose, so pinching his nose to stop the bleeding was not very successful. Denis was helping to hold him tightly so I could pinch the bridge of Nikko's nose. Suddenly, the power went out. I had a sinking feeling because here was Nikko, bloody and feverish, and the A/C stopped as well as the ceiling fans. Nikko started wretching and coughed up big globs of blood. I was initially horrified because I thought he was going to keep over, but realized that his bloody nose probably leaked down his throat and made him upchuck. But then he stood and had a bigger vomit fit down his shirt and onto the rubber tiles. With no air circulating, I felt like throwing up myself. Denis put Audrey in the crib, Ronin on his bed (and he stayed, amazingly), and was cleaning up the floor while I took Nikko to the bathtub to clean him up and run him under cool water to bring down his fever. It was an hour before the power came back, as we were sitting and plotting what to do about dinner and where to go because Nikko was feeling ill. He threw up again on the couch, which meant another bath. Before bedtime he had one more small vomit issue after drinking some juice, so I banned the juice for the rest of the night so his tummy would mend. Nikko slept deeply through the night, and this morning he went straight to the kitchen and wanted juice because he was parched. Nikko was back to his old self, a slight temperature that disappeared, and it was as if last night never happened. What caused it? NO IDEA. Food poisoning? Then why the bloody nose and fever? Virus? Possibly. But when?

While Nikko was sleeping, I drove to the Whole Foods in Schaumburg and took time to read labels and get ice cream from Ronin among other things. I got Nikko a probiotic and an enzyme, which I put in his juice today. I wonder if it will help him, but that's what it's supposed to do. Since his stomach was set to zero, I hope getting him some good bacteria will repair any damage and help with his digestive tract. I really want to get Nikko off the MiraLAX because I have no idea what it is doing to him. I am wondering if the probiotic aided Nikko today in passing a really big #2, the size that I would have expected from a suppository session, to be honest. I didn't hear him strain today after he passed it, nor did he try to take off his diaper, so I wonder if it was an easier time for him. My plan is to give him one capsule each, once a day. It's supposed to be akin to eating yogurt every day for the good bacteria. I'll do this for two weeks to see if his poos change. I know it's yucky to talk about poo all the time, but apparently it's really common among parents with autistic kids to discuss their child's bowel movements. His poos are really stinky, and that's indicative of the autism/digestive problems.

Switching gears....
The following were Nikko's IEP goals set last June '09. As of March '10, the ones in bold are the ones he has met/met to some degree. The unbolded ones are the goals he has yet to accomplish:

Nikko will sort a variety of preacademic functional objects (i.e. colors, shapes, familiar objects, animals) into a field of 3, in 4/5 trials by June 2010.

Nikko will participate appropriately in routine structured small group activities with no more than 2 verbal/picture cues, for 6 minutes, in 4/5 trials by June 2010.

Nikko will follow 10 different 1-step directions in 4/5 trials by June 2010. (i.e. wave hi/bye to peers, follow commands like Sit Down, Stop)

In the classroom setting, Nikko will independently use signs, gestures, pictures and/or words to express wants/needs in 8/10 trials by June 2010.

In the classroom setting, when given an individual picture schedule, Nikko will independently transition between activities 75% of the time by June 2010.

In the classroom setting, Nikko will demonstrate the following 2/2 of the following skills 1) respond to his name (turn, look) 2) respond appropriately to greetings from peers or adult independently in 4/5 trials by June 2010.

Upon arrival to the classroom with visual cues as needed, Nikko will take off his coat and backpack and place them in the appropriate locations on 4 out of 5 opportunities by June 2010.

In the classroom at small group center time, Nikko will be able to perform the following skills in 4 out of 5 trials by June 2010: 1) complete a 6 to 8 insert puzzle 2) string 5 beads 3) color with approximation a simple picture with 60% coverage.

So how does that all look? He accomplished 62.5% of his goals. Except for the greetings, it looks like the skills he mastered are ones that don't really involve other peers, like puzzles/coloring, taking off coat, colors, sorting. Without consulting anyone else yet about what to do next, I assume he should continue to work on the goals that weren't achieved, but add in new ones of course. Our meeting is on Friday, so it's possible that he has shown improvement in the areas that are deficient, such as following 10 1-step commands. He's doing this in ABA as well, so maybe Friday will yield slight improvement. I have to find a milestone list to see what skills he should be working on next, like cutting with scissors or using the bathroom, or learning numbers and letters... or is that a kindergarten function? Guess there should be a spread of social and academic goals. It reminds me of when, during Nikko's early intervention years, the developmental therapist (who was very young) asked me what I wanted Nikko to work on, and I felt like she should know what he should be working on since she's the "expert" here. In retrospect, I see now that I could have driven how the sessions would go if I only had a clue what she meant. If I wanted Nikko to improve his skills in cutting with scissors, she would have done activities more craft-based. But I didn't know this back then. That's why I'm trying to review his IEP and look for skills he should strive for, then hopefully take this information into our meeting. I was so glad at our first IEP meeting when the team put out these goals for Nikko, but I would think they might want more input from me now.