9.09.2003

Yes, Yes, This IS an Autism Blog

Leelo will be three in exactly two months. Developmentally he's still pretty much a toddler. It's a downer--by this age, kids usually start getting a bit of sense, and parents get to start cutting down on the vigilance. We're nowhere near that stage, so stress is high in non-home environments. Although I do get to say "fuck!" without worrying that he'll copy me, and even if he does it'll be cute, like when he says "penis."

But yeah, I'm depressed a lot. Comes with the territory and results in alternating bouts of lethargy and fire-breathing bitchiness (run, Seymour run!). I find that one of the more dangerous ways this gets expressed is through driving--sometimes the rules of the road don't gel for me, and I coast through stop signs or can't wrap my head around exactly how one chooses a lane after a left turn. So, if you ever drive near a school that serves special needs kids, beware!

People assume and assert that we're heroes just for having an atypical kid. Autism does bring out the best in many parents, but for me it mostly brings out an inability to focus my eyes voluntarily. And I don't think we're doing anything special--this is what the parents of autistic kids do. The real heroes are the people who spent their lives and energy bushwhacking and mapping the ABA and GFCF paths we're plodding down so many years later. It's so much easier for us, especially living in the SF Bay Area near DAN doctors who can order a full series of blood, hair, stool and urine tests in one office visit.

Our DAN doctor goes one further and recommends practitioners for the crazy BioSet/acupressure allergies test we'll be doing tomorrow. Got a little bit of that Yes I'll Try Anything Non-Invasive To Help My Boy thing going on, it is true. But according to Dr. Prattle, it's better to see if Leelo's allergic to any components of his ideal arsenal of supplements before we dose him. I just want to remove any barriers to Leelo getting supplemented--he's been living on rice bread, nut butters, avocado, fresh garlic, potato chips, green apples, dried raspberries, and pear juice almost exclusively for the past few weeks, and I'm worried that he's going to get scurvy, rickets, or infantile osteoporosis if we don't step things up.

Now it's time for the Little Ray of Sunshine section. Full-scale, 30-hour-per-week ABA therapy finally began yesterday. Therapists F and L both commented on how well he's doing--Therapist F in particular professes continued amazement at his language, and swears she had a five-sentence conversation with him this morning. He hasn't started most of his supplements, and many autistic children make their greatest strides after being put on vitamin B6 and magnesium. If it wasn't for the changes in his diet, I probably never would have tried hazelnut butter--drool. These are all good things.

So while I am guardedly optimistic, overall I am still living with a boy who is older than his sister was when she started preschool, and who comprehends very little of what is said to him. He is a delight, but there are of course no guarantees, and we have so much work to do.

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I should take some time out to sing the praises of Iz, Leelo's sister. She is holding up pretty well, considering that Leelo gets a round of applause and cheers just for looking at someone, while she mostly gets chided for misbehaving. She is funny and silly, and while she corrects people who mispronounce sherbet or orangutan, she is still young enough to get a kick out of conducting our day as a sung libretto (I can't sing, so this is a very indulgent girl). Already loves reading so much that she tries to walk around with a book in front of her face. Is convinced that there are Bloaths in our local undergrowth. Would rather have a Sauron than a Barbie. Makes her new Frodo doll do all the ballet positions. She drives me nuts but I miss her already.

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