2.26.2004

Rrrraspberries!

(If there exists a more vile cinematic vision than Carol Channing in Thoroughly Modern Millie, I don't want to know about it.)

There is a reason we store Leelo's carefully rationed dried raspberries on top of the refrigerator. I left them on the counter for a few minutes yesterday, looked the other way, and Wham! He had the entire bag on the floor, somehow undid the wire twisty-tie (uh, doesn't he have fine-motor issues?) and was gorging on raspberries like Augustus Gloop slurping chocolate from the River Wonka. Dammit.

We're trying to keep his raspberry intake down because they seem to be a nuttiness trigger. Wow, maybe we can try the Feingold Diet next! Except it would be a major problem as our boy has for some reason started rejecting all foods except rice bread toast with almond or cashew butter, Whole Foods veggie chips, rice milk withOUT supplements, and raspberries. He's not pleased about his limited diet, either, and sometimes starts sobbing when he sees us eating something we're obviously enjoying. We are going to renew efforts to broaden his diet after we return from our weekend trip to Phoenix.

He has been having more of this heart-wrenching sobbing lately. I am done with wondering which supplement or diet change is causing what, but do need to note that he's not had K/Mag Aspartate for two weeks (ran out, only available through Dr. P and that's a fricking haul) nor DGST-P for one (also ran out, also solely supplied by Dr. P). The hopeful part of me thinks that it's indicative of a more developed emotional sense: he does it when he's denied, and he does it when Iz gets upset. A friend with an autistic nephew suggested that it might be delayed terrible twos, as his denial sadness is often accompanied by a big wailing "Nooooooooo!"

Nevertheless, our boy had lots of great language this past weekend. Really great. He's been greeting everyone by name, mostly without prompts, even those he sees only once or twice a month. He recognized the Dr. Seuss logo on his new Green Eggs and Ham book, in that when I asked him if he wanted to read GE & H, he said "Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs & Ham." I didn't tell him that. He's been asking for lots of things with big long sentences, such as "I want Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper!" Therapist T, who started yesterday, was impressed by his use of complete phrases. His crazies have been minimal, though he was a bit remote today. Yesterday when Iz came home, he gave her five minutes of attack hugs. He also attacked poor Scabby the Cat, pulling her off our ottoman because he wanted to be there. It's all interaction, right?

But there is still lots of suckiness. His chattering and singing is ongoing. It is loopy and town-idiot-like. Not mellow, and not the kind of behavior that will allow him to "pass" in public. All this language that we crow about is stilted and formal. You can ask him "Do you want to read The Ear Book?" and he will say yes, but if you hold up two books and ask him which one he wants to read, he will stare at you blankly. Bed time is back to sucking, big time. No matter how tired he is, one of us must man his bedroom door for at least an hour each night (it's not so bad as it's adjacent to this terminal, but still) as he becomes Crazy Room Trashing Boy the moment after you turn off the lights and tell him good night.

I worry that he's developing as many autistic symptoms as he's overcoming. Worry worry worry.

Some related good news on that front is that the Stanfford PDD/Autism Clinic called yesterday to say that they had a cancellation for next week, and did we want the appointment? Hell yes! It is a long evaluation--several hours over two days--and will at least quantify our worries into convenient categories. I hope and pray that Leelo will be having a reasonably good day--he was sick and completely non-compliant during his exit interview with the Regional Center in November.

Additional good news on the ABA program front. Supervisors M and Andil went to the local ABA conference last weekend. One of the presentations they attended was led by local autism biggywig Brina Seagull, who described an idealized integrated ABA therapy program incorporating approaches beyond pure discrete trials. Our two supervisors sat in the audience with deservedly smug grins, because Ms. Seagull was describing our Leelo's very program.

Which had a big change this week. Therapist F is already in Australia, and, as noted, Therapist T started yesterday. She is awesome. Therapist L is even more awesome in training her. These people are so amazing; it takes my last ounce of effort not to shower them with gold or adorn them with scented jewels after every session. Please stay, please keep making my boy better, and don't ever leave!

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