2.22.2006

Leelo Lately

Leelo has been really affectionate with us lately, lots of hugs and kisses. Less thumping on people in general--excepting his sisters when they are crying, because crying makes him really upset and he wants it to stop. Immediately.

I have been reading Susan Senator's book Making Peace With Autism and a recent passage stood out for me regarding Leelo and his hitting (which has decreased, but has not evaporated as we'd like):
...We began to realize that Nat [her autistic son] was drawn to intense emotions, particularly those that were predictable. We wondered if Nat preferred the drama of strong emotions because they were easier for him to notice and understand. For Nat, angering people was a predictable and easy way to interact. From his perspective, making someone happy was more complicated and not always satisfying, especially when you compare a smile's impact to that of a sharp cry.
I realize that this is probably not all that is going on with Leelo, but I have been making an effort to be really animated and excited when I give him positive reinforcement, and he loooooves it. He beams big smiles that demonstrate real pleasure. And since he is so incredibly handsome (I am not exaggerating, anyone who has met him will tell you the same), seeing his face light up with a genuine smile then turns my insides to happy mushy goo. Such a sweet boy. It is a privilege hang out with him when he's in a good mood.

Yesterday Therapist A (speech) wanted me to consider that her once-weekly sessions with Leelo have, for the past few months, been mostly spent doing OT (occupational therapy) rather than speech. He won't work in her office, and instead runs for the adjacent OT gym. She suggested that dedicating that time to OT, or getting him more OT in general, would be a good thing. She said that because he's getting speech with Sage, she knows his speech needs are covered, and I might want to redirect funds currently being spent on his time with her. I said that I understood, but that there have been so many Monday holidays and subsequent missed OT sessions in the last three months that perhaps we could see if the next three weeks of regular routine get him back on track. Though I am also totally willing to see if Therapist Y would like to extend his Tuesday morning session to 11:30, concentrating more on OT work. That would cut 40 minutes of resentful driving time out of my Tuesday.

Leelo is still trying to drop and bolt when walking/holding hands with an adult. If he has some kind of stim or interest object in the non-held hand, then he does just fine. Usually. He actually does really well and really enjoys walking under his own supervision (we recently tried this on the local hiking trail), and I suspect that this is why he protests the rest of the time--but we can't trust him not to bolt.

Our boy has been having some cheering potty training signs. Last night he did #2 in the toilet (4th or 5th time ever) after I caught him "stinkbugging" in the corner and whisked him off to the potty. He has also been waking up dry more than 50% of the time over the past three weeks. These to me are signs that his bodily functions as getting mature enough for potty training to be a more realistic goal.

Which leads me to something I was discussing with Ambah last week: that whatever the fallout from Leelo's YouCSF evaluation (which, goddamn it all, I will write up soon), the straight-out declaration and discussion of Leelo's delays eventually put me in more peaceful place. I am not focusing as much on what he can't do; instead I am grateful for how much he can do now. I'm not going to endlessly fret about issues like conversation or potty-training, because he'll get there eventually. He is delayed, that's all. If we are patient, he will let us know when he is ready. I am cool with that.

Tomorrow is his first school district intake. Should be interesting.

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