Leelo is doing great. So great! He has spontaneous requests of up to six words ("I want to see Teletubbies again!"). This shocked the pants off of MH his program supervisor--she had only previously observed brief prompted requests. Since we haven't formally started his ABA program, she has only seen him ~1x/every 3 weeks/past 3 months--so she sees giant strides where we see semi-daily progress.
However, this week was a backslide for him in terms of social skills. His repetoire of rote greetings/dismissals (Hi, Daddy, How's it going, Bye Mommy, etc.), which are usually (prompted) guarantees--especially with mom friends Jo and Ep--were almost absent. Freaked out, I keep spinning excuses--"well, he had chocolate; well, he's getting his two-year-old molars; well, he has a cold; well, his poor dad accidentally tripped while holding him and he got his head bonked on the concrete and now he has a slowly leaking brain hemhorrage and things are just going to get worse and worse..."
Sigh. His eye contact is given very reluctantly this week as well, almost never by request. I don't know how successfully other autistic kids' parents play the chipper No Really, We're Doing Okay role, but I am really good at it--until a relapse like this makes me feel like someone just cracked open my chest with a sledgehammer. And then I forget to make use of daily living skills, like brushing my hair or teeth before leaving the house. I even installed a mirror right by the front door so I can do a last-minute safety check for true hag errors (conversation-disrupting-sized zits not covered up, etc.) but rarely remember to use it. If my friends haven't mentioned the deterioration of my appearance (which, to be fair, hasn't really been a priority for me since Isobel was born, and I met most of them afterwards) does that make them good, bad, or scared?
When one's mood is black, it helps to be able to amuse oneself however one can, even at the expense of one's partner. Yesterday I came into my room as Seymour (spouse) was playing with Leelo. I wanted privacy to get dressed, and dropped many hints, but Seymour didn't clue in. Exasperated, I finally told him that he was welcome to watch me put on my menstrual gear if he really wanted to--and he almost exploded out the door in a cloud of "I don't want to see that! I don't even want to hear about it!" Nyah hah hah!
Back to ABA stuff: Supervisor MH came over yesterday to meet Therapist F. MH was sly in pulling rank and testing Th F's skills, though not in a evil way. "So, you're using a token system...why don't you explain to Leelo's mom what a token is?" etc. Therapist F held up well although I could tell she was nervous. Later on new therapist E came over (she will be doing less discrete trial work and more incidental learning stuff). She takes the Leelo-initiated directive for Incidental Learning very seriously, and even followed him into/started playing in my bedroom before I could stop them (fortunately there were no garments of questionable origin on the floor/bed).
I am starting to realize that home-based therapy is going to be invasive--we live in a small house, and I am an introvert who just wants to be left alone most of the time. Too bad for me! We don't have the spare room or basement that every single family I've ever read about uses--OUR discrete trials will occur in the living room, and apparently everything else will occur wherever Leelo wants it to. This means that, on top of everything else, I have to keep my house clean! Crap!
Final blow for the day: Supervisor MH has recommended that we call Leelo by his real name, as she says using his name and nickname interchangeably will only confuse him. This would depress me less if Seymour hadn't tried to convince me of the same thing the day before. Fuckers. Leelo is what he calls himself! Grrrrrr.