Tuesday, July 31, 2007

As early as 3 months...

I've been reading a lot of forums from other families with autistic kids lately and a common thing is the 18 month old needles... that their kids were bright, blooming and blossoming, learning to talk, socially interacting, some even have video of it, before the needles and then afterwards, they are... not. (I even remember Jono waving goodbye to people of his own accord at 10 months.. I also remember at 14 months seeing he was 'different')

Now I've been firm in my individual belief that it's genetic, whether the needles accelerate the traits or not.. I don't know; but the other night I was astounded. We were as a family sitting and watching some videos of the kids - it started as me and Sarah watching a bit of Mummy and Daddy's wedding, and then we all came to watch.

In amongst the videos was some footage of Jono at 3 months old in a bouncer, I'm clicking my fingers and calling his name and trying to get him to respond so I can film him - as all parents do with kids that age I am sure :)... and there is a moment, just before he caught the camera and smiled the biggest cheesiest grin.

This moment, and it's really brief, is of him looking from the corner of his eyes. He does it a lot these days, it's as though he is looking at you safely.. if he doesn't look at you or the object directly, then you don't know he is looking at you, and he can decide if it's safe/he wants to get involved... and he still takes everything in.

So I see this moment, of his corner looking at the camera, then he lets out this big grin... at the age of 3 MONTHS! Corner looking (for want of another term) from that age! I didn't notice it before, and sometimes you only see things in hindsight, but this helps me so much with the idea that the 18 month needles had something to do with it.. because from this, I really don't think they do and it helps me to be settled in the idea that it's genetic... and it really is completely beyond my control.

Christmas in July

The other night, we were in the kitchen and the kids we either with us or in the computer room, Jono was on the computer he prefers and just playing some game.. and we heard singing, a high clear voice in perfect tune, and clear pronunciation of every word... "Jingle Bells Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way, and then it turned to mumbling... but still in tune, coz he didn't know the next words.

We walked in and saw him still singing, but gosh darn it, no matter what we tried we couldn't get him to do it again. This is the new record for the longest amount of words he can string together.. and it was crystal clear, it was Christmas for us in many ways that day :)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Amazing outing

Like, pick my jaw up off the floor kind of amazing.

I took Jono and Sarah to the shops today.. I usually don't like going on a Saturday at all because of how busy it gets, and usually try and take only one of the kids.. so today I had two. Usually as well when we take Jono we 'lock' him in the seat on the trolley so we aren't chasing him down aisles and wondering where the heck he is the minute we turn our back.

Today, he sat in the seat for a few minutes, then decided he wanted to get out... I already had the fruit and wasn't planning a big shop so thought, ok... we'll walk and if it's causing too much stress, we can leave.. with or without paying for them, I can always come back later if need be.

He got out, and was simply amazing.. he walked near me (around 3 steps away) almost the entire time, and on the odd occasion where he went further away, he came back immediately when I called for him. Sarah was being a good lookout as well. He picked up a few extra things he wanted to have, and amazingly they were all gluten free.. but things I usually don't buy... so we got some different things this week.

The thing that amazed me.. is ... he walked. He didn't run, he didn't scream, he didn't check over his shoulder with a cheeky grin to see if I was chasing him, he just walked... happily and obediently. It was wonderful! I'm so encouraged by his behaviour and feel a lot more confident to do more with him :)

The other wonderful thing was as we left and went to the car, a lady followed us the whole way.. and I was with the: "this way, stop and wait, hold hands, watch for cars, stay close.. etc". And when we got to the car she said, " I want to congratulate you on the way you talk to your children." That was a really nice touch to a wonderful outing :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Transitioning is hard

Well, I'm at the point I'm actually labeling some of Jono's behaviors with Autistic terms. Is this another level of acceptance? Who knows.. it's just where we are at.

Yesterday on school holidays, we went out to a local park, Jono had trouble sitting in the car seat properly and preferred to be on the floor (as he had the other day). He's been horribly sick, with a vomiting flu thing and its really sapped him, and has seemed to cause some regression - he went through two days of no talking at all, and even now his babbling isn't as bright and cheery as normal.

So anyway, yesterday we went to the park, and then we wanted to go to the shops to buy something for Daniel, I spoke to Daniel about the chance we wouldn't get it today, depending on whether Jono could sit in his chair or not... How does an 8 year old take that you may ask? Well... it was difficult for him to understand he may miss out because Jono was having a 'moment'... but after he understood that I would not drive for 15 minutes to the shop we needed to go to because Jonothan's safety was more important, he seemed to be ok.

We got back in the car after the park, and I swapped their seats putting Jono directly behind me.. again he couldn't sit in his chair, he wanted to be on the floor. So I put the seatbelt across him the best I could and thought - perhaps I could bribe him, and we drove the few hundred meters to the petrol station and I got everyone an Iceblock. That worked! He sat up for that. So we had 1 boy ok with driving and in his chair properly, and one boy who was happy because we could now go to the shops. So off we went.

At the shops we got a game for Daniel, and some stuff at the chemist, then got back in the car... I bought everyone some drinks on the way out so Jono would 'have' to sit up again and he traveled fine. We got home and started baths, the idea was to have Jono in the shower while the game got installed so that the computers weren't doing something that was too odd. I got Sarah in the bath, and was upstairs when I heard Jono crying and wailing, genuinely distraught.. I came back to see he had picked up the game case and opened it, and I could not see the CD... so.. I start thinking - oh great he's tossed it somewhere, and start searching the front yard, the lounge, the stairs, the back yard.. to no avail. In the meantime Daniel is getting distressed coz the cd is gone, and Sarah is needing to get out of the bath to go to the toilet (never rains!)

So I sort Sarah, help Jono to calm, and then ring the shop... and they messed up, the disc is still there... let me express how I now feel in syllables... GRRRAAAGGGHHHHHH!!!

So, I explain to Daniel that it will have to be tomorrow, the shops close in an hour and I don't think Jono will make another trip today... and Daniel is in tears. I get Sarah through the bath.. and it's half an hour before the shops close.. so I thought.. let's try. I ask Jono if he wants to go for a drive, and he said yes... so we pack up again and head off.

The drive there was fine although busy, they gave us some money back as an apology, and were nice about it... then Jono wanted to stay in the shop, I explained it was time to go.. but he just couldn't. So I drag a screaming boy out of the shops to the car.. in the car he couldn't sit again... I coerced him, and even smacked him a few times to get him to his chair... he ended up standing at the front of his seat and I got the seatbelt on, but he just couldn't sit down. So I got some chips from a drive through and headed off... the 20 min home with a screaming, overwhelmed, scared boy clinging on to my head rest for any comfort he could obtain from holding something familiar was not the most pleasant trip of my life.

The choices are hard some days... I can't hold my other kids back from things they enjoy because one is having a hard day, but we all need to be compassionate and give room where its needed.

And after everything, he slept very well that night.