Sunday, April 22, 2012

Updates Pt. 2

It's been awhile ~ I know!!  We've had a lot of changes take place lately - mostly good ones, thankfully!  We finally transitioned through all of the therapists that needed to leave and all of the new ones filling those empty spots.  Jack lost 3 out of 4 line therapists from his original team, which was extremely frustrating at the time, but has turned out really well.  His new therapists are FANTASTIC!!  They love him, connect to him, and are just what he needed.  One of them works with older people affected by autism, and has seen what this kind of early intervention can do for people; for her, this is serious, life-altering work.  Another new one has a pet pig, which Jack loves to pieces.  He even works for the reward of watching videos of it from the therapist's phone.  There is even talk of making videos with the pig to use for potty-training - which is something that Jack will love and connect to.

Speaking of potty training ~
      We finally started!!  The clinic refers to it as 'habit training' and I believe I've seen it called 'interval training'.  It starts out very simple, with Jack just having to sit for 10 seconds once each shift.  Every week the requirements change, and the rewards do as well.  The first week he earned paint for the bathroom, and the second he earned wall stickers.  I took him to Sherwin-Williams to pick out the paint, and to show him some pictures of themes that he could pick from.  He had been talking about fish on the walls for weeks, so that's what I thought he'd pick.  But no.  He went for Army tanks and planes.  Truthfully, he needed to pick a theme that is exciting for him, so this is good.  But it's definitely not one I'd ever pictured!  Thankfully, the picture had blue/gray paint in the background and not army green!!  

Forever grateful to good friends, two of ours helped us paint the room already.  It's all set for Jack to earn his tanks, planes, and helicopters to put on the walls.  If you think of us, pray for us.  This is a huge undertaking for our family.  The truth is:  I get extremely frustrated because I wasn't able to do this myself.  Our senior therapist says things like, "I've potty trained so many kids, it's crazy!"  And then I wonder who else is out there that had a similar experience.  I don't know of any myself!  But Jack is different.  He's a good different, but he's different.  He needs different things from me than Evan does, and that's ok.

On a positive note:  he's grown like crazy in the last couple of months.  His conversational skills have taken off; his ability to express himself has changed so much that's it hard to remember a time when he wasn't able to do it; he's learned how to get attention appropriately; he even wants to watch tv/computer less - which is an activity that could keep him amused for hours and hours.  Now he wants to know what we're going to be doing all the time.  It's been amazing to watch him change and grow, and I'm super-excited for what's in store for him yet this year!

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