Friday, October 21, 2011

Nikko still seems to like going to school. I'm still wary about his progress, and will continue to be that way until the parent-teacher conference in November (think flashback to last year, when his deteriorating progress was unveiled at the meeting). I've been kept in the loop with very detailed daily reports from Mandy, and that eases some fears. Two days ago I started getting Discrete Trial Daily Reports, plus the ABA binder came back home. The timing was perfect, because I was just beginning to wonder if they had begun Discrete Trials at school yet. This is supposed to be the ABA school-version that Nikko needs. So it took over a month to implement... OK, I'll let that go since his sped teacher is fairly new. I really hope to see progress, after they make their abilities assessments.

Four days a week, Nikko has homework from his regular K class. It is writing letters. He HATES to write. After his snack at home, I sit and do his homework. For the past month I have been trying to be cheerful while assisting him, mostly hand-over-hand, to hold a crayon and write 5 repetitions of a letter. He doesn't put much force into holding that crayon. And many days he'll start to squeal in protest, so much that I just want to be finished with it. But today I saw something interesting. His homework was to write the lowercase form of the letters from a to t. I looked at the blank lines and decided to help Nikko by dotting the outline of each letter, so he'd just have to trace it. I was pretty sure that if I told Nikko to start drawing a lowercase "a", he couldn't do it. I gave Nikko a crayon, stood behind his chair as usual, and told him it was homework time, that he had to draw letters. I lightly held my hand over his, but let him apply the pressure as he traced each letter. And he did them all. Except for the m and n, which he was getting careless about, but honestly he made purposeful hand strokes with the crayon over each letter. That showed me he was cognizant about the task, and could complete it with a little help (dotting the outlines of the letters). Good boy.

The bad part about school, lately, is the attention span. This is going to be an ongoing problem for him. Keeping him interested in non-preferred activities. What works is the First/Then technique, and then reinforcing him with things that he really likes (cars, trains, figurines). I'm going to have to remind his sped teacher about that again.

We had a dinner playdate yesterday with three other kids close in age as mine, at their house (I'm friends with the mom). Nikko was clingy to me in the beginning and I really had to push him off to get interested in playing with the multitude of tracks and trains. The girls played with each other nicely, and Ronin was content with the Cars 2 toys. Nikko got used to running a GeoTrax train over some bridges, but didn't seek out company, nor did he try to talk to the kids around him. Nikko was, of course, in his own world. The one thing that got him moving around was when the boys took some foam swords and ran around the house. Nikko likes to "play" chase with Ronin and Audrey around our house as well, so I encouraged him to go chase his friends [with a sword. Oy vay!].

During dinner, while everyone was eating mac cheese (except Ronin), the girl said to me, "Does he talk?" She pointed to Nikko.

"No, not really," I replied.


I said, "Nikko has a hard time learning to talk. He's not as good as it as you guys are. But he can learn and get better at it if you guys keep talking to him." I was starting to explain how his brain was wired differently, but that explanation was going to get lost on them so I left it at that.

So there it is again in a nutshell. Attention span, and expressive language. Help, please.