The Wednesday Whirlwind…

It rained last night…and it thundered.  It thundered with gusto.  It thundered to the point where the cats were whining at us to let them climb under the blankets.

J is doing well.  In fact, J is doing so well that he now insists on working through his flash cards because he is hungry for more vocabulary.  Last night he insisted on sitting with us and working through ALL his flash cards, and that amounts to well over a hundred.  (I’m counting them today…I need to edit the list that I’d created the other day because we have a lot more now.)

Is it because of the reduced dosage of Risperidone?  J is talking more.  J is more alert and involved.  He gets upset, but he is handling his moods very well, and I don’t really know if it’s because he’s matured or because we’re engaging him so much.  Whatever the reason, we’re very happy and relieved…

J is learning more signs and using his Proloquo more than ever.  We are getting actual spontaneous communication more frequently than before.  He hasn’t yet started a long-winded conversation with us, but he is more willing than ever to use any means available to say things.  Whether it’s something he wants or needs, or something he doesn’t want, we are getting better at understanding that WORDS work better than hollers.  

This morning, for example, we walked out the door to catch the school bus and were met by a bevy of dogs out on their walks with their owners.  These were the kinds of dogs (and I don’t know how J makes that determination other than because of a “vibe” they give off) that make J let out his high-pitched wail.  I made him stop, and told him we would walk through the construction site.  It was muddy, and we had to go slowly so as not to slip, but we navigated it with a minimum of trouble.  While we walked I explained that the next time I’d rather he say DOG, PLEASE like he does when he doesn’t want Zelda the Kraken around, and then we can redirect our steps away from the canines.  

We got to the corner with plenty of time to sing our Bus Song, practice the signs for TREE, LEAVES, GRASS, BIRD…all things we see while we stand there.  During a break in the singing, I turned to J and said (and signed) I KNOW YOU WORRIED ABOUT THE DOGS, BUT WE WALKED AROUND THE HOUSES AND ALL WAS GOOD.  And then I was surprised (pleasantly) by J looking at me, smiling and saying THANK YOU!  

This was not the repetitive, meaningless THANK YOU that he uses to divert attention or indicate that all is well.  This was ONE single, solitary, fully significant THANK YOU directed at me for the steps I’d taken to ensure he didn’t get more upset about dogs.  He meant this.  Don’t ask me how I know it, but I know it.  This was not random, empty gratitude…

When I got home, maintenance came to work on the kitchen faucet.  They replaced the faulty one (that had been either stuck or jiggling constantly) with a new one that I have to figure out how it works.  During their visit, I got a call from J’s bus driver from last school year.  She’d run into him at summer school and noticed he was walking around wearing his hats at school.  She was worried that she’d overstepped her bounds when she’d told the driver that he normally isn’t allowed hats at school, and wanted to check if I was OK with that, or if we’d changed this rule. I explained that no, she had not at all overstepped, and that I was grateful to have an answer as to why J’s head was so sweaty and chafed when he came home from school.  I will write a note about this to make sure the teacher knows what we’d like.

That, my friends, is as collective an instructional plan as anyone can ask for, isn’t it?  J’s loyal entourage (as it were) is working for the kid, even when they’re off the clock.  Not only do they talk to each other, they talk to US, and we all get on the same page, and we come up with better ways to tweak everything so it’s more effective and helps him more. I couldn’t ask for more, could I?  

So here we are…sixteen instructional days left in summer school, and progress is being made every day.  I get good reports of J’s behavior and work habits.  He leaves for school happy and comes home happy; he wants to work on the plan we’ve laid out for him, and he wants to relax and enjoy his downtime.  And all this is taking place with less medication coursing through his system…

I don’t want to say it too loudly, but we’re all doing quite alright, aren’t we????

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