Sunday, July 29, 2012

Spontaneous speech moments

Today was an interesting day of speech for Nikko. He had a few bouts of spontaneous speech and appropriate phrasing while interacting with someone. This morning, Denis was saying good morning to Nikko and was putting his face directly in front of Nikko's. I could see that Nikko was feeling crowded by Denis' face and I heard Nikko say, "Help."

Later in the morning, Ronin was watching Super Mario clips on Youtube when Nikko came over and was pulling at the recharging cord. Ronin got frustrated and started whining that Nikko was trying to steal the iPod from him. Nikko looked at me and said, "Give it to me." [I had to tell Ronin to give up the iPod and negotiated computer time instead.]

Some time in the afternoon I was asking Nikko what he wanted to eat for snack. He hemmed and hawed, and then he whispered while tapping his fist on the chair three times: "I want Lucky Charms." [The fist-tapping is to emphasize each word in a sentence. He can handle three-word sentences right now, so we tap a surface three times to ask for things.]

Finally, I told Nikko that we were going to play outside. He then asked, "Play in sand?" I told him we would definitely be playing in the sand. He was satisfied and eager to get out of the house.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday, Nikko!

Nikko turns six years old tomorrow. After his OT at 9am I plan to first give haircuts (hopefully) and then take the kids to mom's house for lunch. The following is a ramble, with no clear objective other than to talk about Nikko.

He has grown up a lot this past year, and he survived Kindergarten better than I expected. He learned how to write his first and last name. His speech has improved overall. Nikko can ask for certain preferred things, or namely, food. He can also say NO very emphatically, whereas last year he wasn't able to utilize this skill. He is almost potty-trained, and that's a big thing for the entire family. #1s are good, #2s are still a work in progress. He's still missing the verbal component of telling me he needs to go to the bathroom. He'll just go off and start his business! He's smart and funny, innocent and mischievous. He gets into routines to a fault, but can manage transitions between activities much better than last year. Nikko's stronger, too, which means I have to be stronger than him. Eating habits have not improved much, as he remains picky about his food choices. But he is open to eating grapes and sometimes an apple, and this is important for snack times at school. I am so anxious about him moving into first grade. I think I'll always be anxious for him. He has come really far, and has further to go still. I have come to accept that Nikko will always stand out among his peers, but that being just like them is not the best thing for him. I want Nikko to be HAPPY. I want him to be able to communicate with other kids, and to play with them. I want others to see his goodness and not stare at him for making loud, squealing noises or running up and down hallways, stimming off the baseboards. I get weepy thinking about what he would have been like had he not had autism. But since that's not going away anytime soon, I swiftly kick myself in the butt and move on. He's got a life to live and I'm going to do everything I can to make him enjoy it.