Sunday, June 13, 2010

The steep winding steps of yes and no

Sturla still has trouble finding the right answer to simple questions even though it requires only a yes or a no.
Was playschool fun today? Blank
Is your name tooth paste?
Is your name smurf or telephone or banana... Answer will be a certain NO accompanied with roaring laughter.
Glorious as I remember the first sessions and the frustration of teaching him to answer and recognize his name.
Are you a hundred years old. OH so funny, NO ( still no idea what a hundred is)
Are you four years old. a grave determined Yes.
Are we at the moon. NO... bit funny still...
Are we home Yes.
Then we read at bedtime. I try picking out books that I have some relevance to his program and I ask him and retell in a way that is not beyond his understanding. As we are somewhat mastering the world of yes and no I ask stupid silly questions determined to keep the therapy going until we fall asleep. And he answers obligingly yes and no and yes and no smirking now and then and yes and no and so it goes.
I point to a picture of a playschool teacher singing and playing the guitar and I say look she is swimming. He looks at me with laughter in his eyes and replies. No she is sleeping and rolls laughing on the bed at his own joke.
I can not get a single yes and no out of him after this.
He has mastered the joke and is laughing himself silly at his ingenious answers.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Curriculum update.

Finally we got our meeting, a fast paced one hour, crammed with lets get it on, and what is next, use short sentences and be totally direct kind of meeting.
I like direct and I like let getting to the core.
I just do not like this kind of stress where there is no room for even the smallest kind of social greasing.
On the other hand the next meeting has already been scheduled and then we get a whole hour and a half.
Oh my. We might even get in a nice to meet you.

So what are we working on.

Games: We are teaching games that are common and much used at the play school stop dance, Simon says, picture lottery. We work on at least two simultaneously.

We have mostly finished the chapter conversation intermediate from the book a work in progress. All but phase four.
We backtracked a little and went to conversation basic and are teaching mands.
Sentences like.
I got it first.
I got you, in playing tag.
Now you, now me. And more of that same sort.Practical phrases that are used by his peers when playing. We listen and learn from them.
WH words. We need to drill in the undrestanding of all those words before teaching him to ask questions and we had to put the memory program on hold as he did understand the difference between those words. I think it will take a couple of months to make this fluid. Probably until fall or even longer.
Patience on my half.

Imaginary playing is coming along nicely.
We have divided this into two programs. One goal is to increase the length of time he can focus on playing with other kids that are about a year younger than him. His play skills are closer to them than his peers. He can play with them without to much assistance for short periods. Very short.
The other half is playing with his own age group and make scripts and hand out predetermined roles to widen his repertoire and increase his skills.

Counting is making me crazy. He can or I have the feeling he can and just does not bother. I gave him a glass bottle today and he liked the sound when he dropped the pieces he was counting and suddenly everything was correct. Be fun, be fun, be fun.

What is missing. Done.
What is strange or wrong in a picture will be put on hold. He knows the key is missing when the door is locked and a general sense of the environment has increased. Mission accomplished I guess, for now at least.

Personal pronouns. This is a hard program to teach. Mine and yours have four conjugations and three genders existing in both singular and plural. It all rhymes. We are backtracking and dividing it into smaller bits and special programs. I feel as if we are running around with one bucket as the roof leaks in five places.
I hope we can brush it up fairly quickly though as we have been working on this program for almost three months.
Shows how necessary it is to know exactly what you are doing there is no fun in wasting time not for the therapists and certainly not for the child.

What does the doctor or fireman or whoever do... this is fun and goes fast. I love programs that go fast. I gives him tools to use in imaginary playing. Now when he puts a hat on and declares that he is a cook he also knows the basic function of a cook.
The power of knowledge

The last program is teaching him to answer his name in all,well not all as no one ever answers everything always but at least most of the time with the words yes or some acknowledgement that he knows and recognizes that his attention is being sought. This will take time.

I hope that at least three of those programs will be finished by the time summer vacation starts in two weeks and during that time I will focus more or less only on maintaining learnt items.
Play school will start again in late july and then we will resume the same pace. The four weeks playschool closes will be light in therapy time. I am incapable of keeping the same pace going on my own so I will just focus on generalizing playing and perhaps see if something was missed in earlier stages.
We have finished the beginners curriculum and are now getting well into the intermediate stage. I am somewhat pleased with the pace. Yet i always think of what could be better, faster,smoother.
Sounds like a sports car. Wish it were.
We take steps backwards and forwards and some habits are very very hard to break. Echolalia comes back now and then and I wonder when will that stop.
Hi Sturla is echoed with.
Hi Sturla and I model again and again.
No, Hi X or Y or whoever...
He still paces quite a bit and now it has increased again and I wonder why.
He teases me a lot runs and hides and says NO..
He answers wrongly on purpose and laughes hysterically. He refuse to come and sit he demands other kind of reinforcement, this or that does not please him now..
Sometime I just do not know, should I laugh or should I cry.
But he is happy and such silliness and wonderful sense of humor.. it is quite hard not to laugh.
When to be grave and firm and when not when is the silliness out of hand...
Oh blah blah
I will opt for the silliness, at least for the summer.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Happy times

We get the meeting next week...
Total relief

That is not the best part. The best part is a boy with blond unruly hair and green eyes. The one that asked where his brother was today. The one that humors his mom when walking and imitates her steps, stopping, going lifting his leg, jumping a bit. The one that decided the dressing closet at our local swimming pool is a shop and that he would buy chocolates and sweets. The one that spoke to his dad on the phone today and asked him to come home. The one that found his mothers shoes on the shelf at that same swimming pool among dozen of others and put them on her feet and then tried out a handful of other shoes almost like Goldilocks, some were to big others were to small, and then he found shoes that he liked and when mom said no they are not yours he said they were better. Better!!

There, I did it. I did not feel like working and neither did he.

All in one day.
Happy times indeed.
And the roller coast ride continues.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Now I know

Now I know how my son feels when I have been drilling him for hours. Exhausted. I have started teaching an as I have never taught before I learn as I go along by observing and by trial and error. My head is exploding with information and now I get it when my son says, no! I do not want to work.
To me that translates actually as. "mom, you have to be more fun so I do not feel like I am working.

We had a drama. It happened like this.
I went for a work meeting. It was postponed.
I went home.
I meet my daughter. She says the meeting with the ABA team was postponed.
I think Oh no. And what a coincidence. Two meetings in one day get postponed.
Turns out she misunderstood the message, the message came from my employer.
We missed THE most important meeting. The meeting to discuss my son's program.
We will probably not get another one.
What angers me is that I was available and could have been there in five minutes if anyone would have cared to call....
I was crushed.
I got depressed. I went into the no one cares depression.
I felt the sky collapsing on my head.

This is how delicate the balance is I need hope to be happy I need progress to have hope and I need a really really good program to have progress. I need directions.
So, so many needs.

We have waited two months for this meeting and now it looks like we will have to wait three more.
Summer vacations.
Only autism does not take a break.
Time does not take a break and three more months is a very long time.

I am angry again.
Perhaps it is desperation.
No, I am furious.