I Summon Janus

Realization: Leelo's Stanfford evaluation took place exactly one year after the Regional Center evaluation that swept our asses into the world of autism. We've been doing this for a year. Inconthievable.

Thinking of myself from one year ago. That was a sucky, fucked up, flailing period. They told us he was autistic, but they didn't tell us what to do about it other than put him in small-group language classes for 3 hours/week. I became an insomniac, then a pneumoniac (which was a boon as it afforded me the reading time to discover ABA therapy). I spent a lot of time having random sobbing fits in grocery store aisles. Great way to clear any strangers in a fifty-foot radius, guaranteed. Seymour and I took off for a two-week trip to Japan to pretend we were normal people while my parents watched the kids. We returned home, I located Therapist F within hours of stepping off the plane at SFO, and we've been working hard ever since.

We are such pros now. Or at least have gotten used to readjusting our expectations. I'm really starting to think that we might end up with a functional although slightly odd boy. No problem, he will be safe within our extended circle of nerddom. He will be okay.

These tiny hopeful sparks come when we have great weekends like this past one. Leelo kept bowling us sideways, language-wise. He is starting to pull really long sentences out of...thin air. Examples include "I want to see Thomas and Sir Topham Hat and Bertie Bus," "I want to go inside the house," "I want to go in the yellow bed," and (Playing by and talking to himself in playhouse) "Is that an oven? Yes! You're right. That's an oven!" Obviously it would be nice to have a bit more variety and not start most sentences with "I want," but it's all progress. A lot of this is also included in Supervisor M's latest report.

Just now he yelled at kind, patient Therapist L: "I want to go on swing! Open door!" Supervisor M says we'll work on manners soon, too.

He's also now willing to use his yes/no conversational skills with other people, answering their questions if they're worded in Leelo speak. Asking "Is that a dog on your shirt" will get you a Yes or No, whereas "Who is on your shirt? Is it a doggie?" will get you a blank stare. That's alright, too. He'll figure it out eventually.

His language and compliance are good enough that we are starting to use his small playgroups to foster preschool skills, including circle time and all that crap. Important stuff if he ever wants to leave this house. I want him to go to preschool, damn it! I don't care if he's shadowed by an aide.

What is causing this language burst? We added DMG two weeks ago, we started giving him eggs last week. But I don't think either is a factor--Supervisor M's tracking has revealed steady progress regardless of diet or supplement changes. I do think that his little gut was reamed out by all those antibiotics he took for his chronic ear infections, I do think that placing him on a non-irritating diet has transformed him into an extremely healthy boy, and I do think that he has a yeast overgrowth problem. But I suspect and hope that many of the dietary and supplement approaches we've been trying will prove unnecessary in the future. For Leelo specifically, as I also believe that these programs can be critical for other children.

These strides have been accompanied by not-so-pleasant behavioral developments. He's been having lots and lots of tantrums and crying, especially over food. He still can't stand to see us eat, and if we won't let him get down from the table, he stays in his seat but turns around so he can't see us. He's starting to get really angry if things aren't as he thinks they should be, if I dare to wear a hat or if Seymour is wearing sunglasses. I am not pleased as these seem like stereotypical autism traits to me, but Seymour thinks that our boy is finally engaging with his surroundings. Not such a bad thing. I'll take it, if that's what comes along with the language. I'll take it all.

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