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Friday, October 21, 2011

This and That

It's been a semi-smooth period with Janey. She had about a week of off and on crying days, which seems like a year when it's happening, but which was a lot shorter and less intense than in the Bed Old Days. She is loving school, really loving it, and I love her classroom and her teachers. I met with her special ed teacher today, and was so happy with everything she is doing. I like her goals and her approaches. She really seems to understand Janey, and to agree with me about what it's important for her to learn and what isn't. I like her regular ed teacher very much too. I think Janey was ready for 1st grade---the slightly more structured setup seems to agree with her. She is still learning very slowly, at least the things we try to teach her, like to recognize her name, but that is how she learns.

Tonight we saw her increased computer skills at work. She was annoyed we were watching The Office when she felt it was her time to watch something, so she went to the computer, hit the Start button, found Dr. Seuss' ABCs, clicked on it to start it, and picked "Let Me Play". Freddy and I saw the whole sequence. We have seen the results of such computer work before, but never quite caught her in the act and saw how easily she does it. She watched YouTube like a pro, clicking on the pictures of the video she wants to see next. But those are things she is very motivated to do. If she were motivated to writer letters, or read her name, I think she could, but I don't know how to motivate her for those.

I continue to try to figure out her speech. One thing I've noticed is that instead of using the word she must have heard much more often than the wrong work, if the wrong word is one she figured out herself, that's what she uses. For example, she calls cheese "cutter" as she sees us use a knife to cut it (and cutter itself is a word she worked out). She calls towels "scarves". When she gets out of the tub, she yells out "I want scarf!" I guess a scarf goes around you and keeps you warm, like a towel. But whey does the wrong word persist? I think it has to do with her having to think very hard for anything but rote speech. She has to think "What's that thing that keeps me warm?" and if the first word like that she comes up with is scarf, she goes with it. The other day in the car, she was playing with a necklace and got it caught in her hair. It was a rare time when she had to communicate verbally and quickly---I think she could tell I couldn't see her when I was driving, and she needed specific help. She let out a hodgepodge of words "Pull out my hair! I want necklace! Pull my hair!" She didn't know how to say "The necklace is stuck in my hair!", but what she said was effective.

Not to write about myself, which is not the purpose here, but I had an odd thing happen today, and it made me wonder if Janey ever has similar happenings. I was shopping at my favorite thrift shop, but had an odd feeling in my eye, like I had looked at the sun a bit too long. However, it didn't go away with closing my eye or waiting a bit---it got worse. It was like an outline of a circle that blinked, and has rainbow colors, just on the left side. It kept getting bigger and bigger until it was the whole left side of my sight. I could see other things behind it, but it was very hard to concentrate. And scary, until I realized what it was, a migraine aura. I do get migraines, but I've never had an aura before. And I never did get the migraine, or that WAS the migraine. I researched it and saw when you get that without the headache, it's called a optical migraine. The descriptions and even the artist's pictures of it were exactly like mine. I wonder if Janey gets sights like that, the times she pulls at her eyes. Or if she gets auditory auras, which might be the famous "clicking sound" or "banging sound" she's mentioned during some of her lowest times. I never realized a visual disturbance was that vivid. I thought it was vague, but this was bright and extremely disturbing. Janey would have no way to explain something like that, and it would be terrifying or at least very confusing. I need to research whether there is any connection between migraines and autism.

Anyway, for now, 7 is a good year for Janey. She just seems, most of the time, a little more comfortable in her skin, a little more "home" more of the time. Knock on wood.


Kokorozashi said...

A series of sidelong leaps brought me to your blog, and I wanted to say that it's really cool to see a parent thinking so hard about what's going on in her autistic child's world. Not too many neurotypical types ever stop to ask themselves what kinds of connections those of us on the autistic spectrum might be making in our own minds.

I'm a high-functioning autistic who has developed excellent coping skills, largely due to awesome early intervention (Janey's school also sounds like a good place!). The towel/scarf thing made a lot of sense to me. I don't think in words -- my mind is very visual/spatial/kinetic and musical -- so I have to translate my thoughts into language, which is sometimes complicated. Towels and scarves are similar in shape and behavior (if not in purpose). I'm not sure if Janey has the same kind of thought pattern happening there, but it's really interesting to read about how she expresses herself.

You seem like a great Mom who is trying really hard to help all of her kids become the best 'themselves' that they can be. It's good to know there are people like you in the world!

Suzanne said...

I very much appreciate your insight and your kind words! It's very helpful to get your thoughts about language use, like the "scarf-towel" example. I'd love to find a way to preserve her unique way of thinking about language while making it easier for her to translate it into speech others will understand. Your kindness made my day. I know I'll never totally understand Janey, but I want to try. Thanks for reading the blog!