Friday, March 20, 2009

We're up. Q's watching Spirit. The horses, the whinnying, the music seem somewhat hypnotic for him this evening. He's quiet. Just had a big yawn, so I'm typing as softly as I can. I've folded about three loads of laundry, found dirty dishes stashed behind pillows (ew!), done a general tidying of the living room and am now having a hard time holding my eyes open while I wait for him to wear out.

Let's take this opportunity to catch up a little. Q has had his first couple of appointments with his new Speech Path friend. She came into his PT session for the first half hour yesterday. Co-treating is cool, but hard to pull off, given the peculiarities of scheduling. She and Q's PT discussed and fitted Q into a specialized feeding chair. They're looking for one in their cache of loaners -- this would thrill me. The one that seemed to have worked for him was the giraffe chair, related to his monkey stander. Which I have to remember to take with us in the morning. Q is growing again and needs the sides adjusted for hip width. I've made most of the adjustments for him, but this one appears to require at least genes of an octopus, and since I'm not currently in possession of six extra arms and hands...

Following Q's second Speech visit, Tuesday afternoon, he had his AAC eval. Very interesting stuff. He recognizes more pictures than we thought previously. He seems to know his colors. He seems to be able to pick out A and B when given a choice of two letters. This. blows. my. mind. I had no idea! I mean, I suspected something was up, the way he flings himself toward the TV if Word World is coming on (S and K love it and schedule their mornings around it, but he's now the show's biggest fan). Those letters are huge, he gets the auditory and visual together, plus context. I've been reading Dr. Seuss's ABCs to him because he has suddenly developed a thing for turning real pages, as opposed to just board books. (I had that book memorized for years, starting when G was about 14 months old. "Big A, little a, what begins with a? Aunt Annie's alligator... Many mice making music in the moonlight. Mighty nice." "Silly Sammy Slick drank six sodas and got sick, sick, sick." We used to recite it to him when we were driving.) Q's dived toward the hymnal as I'm playing piano with him on my lap, switching from playing with his hands on mine to making his move toward those pages so he can pick the next song. E had him on her lap as she was finishing an English worksheet last week -- he went for her textbook, flipping pages like mad.

We talk about colors and things, but I always think I should be doing more. He's noticing shapes, repetition in lines and shapes, and is enjoying patterns. So why wouldn't he be learning his letters? I've resorted to singing the ABC song to him ad nauseum when he's eating something he doesn't much like, just to get him to swallow while he's distracted. It works pretty well, thankfully. Maybe it's working as both distraction and education? It was almost two years ago that he started mimicking S and K when they were reciting vowel sounds. He'd yell "Aaaa!" from his car seat while we were doing reading lessons/piano lessons. Always as if he was trying to get our attention so we could be sure that he too knew the names and the sounds of the vowels. He's always loved Latin chants and DVDs. I've had G and E reading their math out loud to him since he was just weeks old. I figured it helped them concentrate and he needs all the help he can get with vocabulary building. As G heads firmly into Algebra it should be more and more fun -- he starts quadratic equations next week. Maybe Q will notice the similarity in the word "quadratic" and his own name. How does one teach a kid when one can't be sure of comprehension or retention? Conundrums.

Can you believe that he has color recognition? It was amazing. The eval guy held up first one ball, moving it in a small circle to make sure Q was looking at it, then a second, with another small circle. After Q had truly seen both, the eval guy asked him which one was, say, green. Bam. His head turned and his eyes were on it. Same with blue. He hesitated with yellow, looking back at the eval guy, quizzically, "Could you please repeat?" Eval guy (who totally rocks), repeated his question and Q's eyes slammed the yellow ball. When he was asking Q whether he wanted bubbles or helicopter, based on his picking one of the pics he had stuck to his knees, Q went nuts trying to get to the picture of the helicopter. So nice eval guy shot off the helicopter (lightweight flying ring thingy), which obliged Q's fascination by glancing off the top of his fuzzy head. He loved it. Lucky for him, we're going back for another half hour. Apparently, there were some things we didn't get covered.

In the meantime, I'd made notes for the OT about new goals, including perhaps some pre-reading skills/time on the computer. We talked about how maybe pre-reading would be too much, but maybe pre-pre-reading would be more useful. Like shape recognition, better/faster color matching. He plays a color matching game, but has been out of the computer lab for so long (scheduling difficulties) that his response time has slowed and maybe he's frustrated that after all this time, we're still coming back to those monkeys in their primary colored pajamas? Who knows. But then, to have him throw this skill set at us. Wow.

Eval guy talked about helping him to further understand that things have meaning: stop signs, other road signs, store emblems. Because. Since he's really not going to be verbal, per se (barring an outright miracle -- stranger things have happened), he needs to be able to tell us and the general public what he's thinking, what he needs, what he wants next. In order to do this, he's going to need to push buttons that have voice recording attached. In order to really communicate, he's going to need to identify which button is which. So now he needs to know pictures, symbols, and perhaps letters. Perhaps he'll read. Shoot -- maybe he's all busy in his head, getting ready for quadratic equations or working on his upcoming dissertation. Who knows? As adamant as he became about getting to that picture stuck to his knee, I'd be surprised if he didn't fight for every millimeter he can gain.

But then that's who he is. He pushes on when most kids are crumping, flattened by tough therapy sessions. He's almost always ready for more of whatever he's been doing. And he's probably smiling, even if he's just getting cleaned up from having puked. He seems to be an adrenaline junkie trapped in an uncooperative body. What a thing, huh?

Now if I can just get him to sleep. Spirit hath returned to the DVD menu. Perhaps the silent boy is sleeping? (Please, God...)

He's out! Shhh. Please. Pray that he stays out for the night. I need good sleep for the next few hours so I can avoid this horrid migrainey cold that's been going around.

(whispering) Later. XO.

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