Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What is changed?

On 13th May 2014, my son has completed his 8 years of his life. I started this blog in 2011, when he was 5 years old. I was just reading my first post in this blog post Tanishk and was trying to find out what has changed in these 3 years. My son is now 8 but still he does a lot of things same as I mentioned in my first blog.
 
After my first blog, I have written several posts about his developments and behaviors. I had experienced both - good and bad moments. But when I try to analyze that how far I have come and what did I achieve in these 3 years, I have mixed thoughts in my mind.
 
When I see my son behaviorally, he is the same boy as he was 3 years ago. He still doesn't want to comply. He runs here and there, he is so hyperactive, doesn't sit still, jumps on trampoline and mattress (now he has company, his brother also jumps with him). He is still gadget freak. I have written series posts about this - Computer Stimming. The difference is that now it has converted into IPad Stimming. (I will write more about IPad stimming in my next posts.) Still he has verbal stimming - keeps saying things he had heard through various sources - TV, Computer, Videos, Therapists, Teachers, Parents, Grandparents etc. Still my most of the time goes in prompting and redirecting him.
 
First blog post - (He doesn't want to comply. He runs here and there & he is so active that he can't sit still. He jumps every where - on the mattress too. He wants to watch same videos, listen same music, computer on & off, goes into the settings of any gadget and just selecting anything. Flapping his hands and holding things in one hand are still there. If he is given a pencil or pen and left unattended, he will scribble everywhere even on the table or floor too. He has got verbal stimming, he just keeps saying the things he had heard through various sources - TV, Computer, videos, therapists, teachers, parents etc. My all the time goes in prompting and redirecting him.)

When I analyze my son's skills he has learnt in these 3 years -

He has learnt basic skills (brushing teeth, washing hands & face, buttoning his shirt, using microwave and toaster, etc.), reading the books, spelling, writing sentences. math (simple addition), catching the ball, throwing the basketball into the basket, playing wii games, etc. Few skills he is still learning - reading comprehension, tying the shoe laces, skating, riding the bike, scooter, board games etc.

But the thing is that he is not interested in anything and he is not curious about anything. He has learnt everything but does only when told to do so. He himself just wants gadgets (iPad, computer, etc.) and he can sit with them hours. He will just forward videos and continue clicking the buttons to repeat the same dialogue / music / noise / tune. Yes, in between he plays games too - Angry Birds, Cut the rope, Appmates etc., but most of the time he just stims with videos and audio.

He has learnt new behaviors too - He knows that he is doing something wrong. When he starts to stim, he gives us a look like he is telling us that  I am going to do what I want. When we stop him doing anything or restrict the access to something, he starts to shout, scream, bang and hit his younger brother. He has become little bit manipulative too. He knows where the things are kept and starts to search for. He knows what upsets us and he does that knowingly.

I have heard and saw that electronic gadgets are good for these kids. They help them to communicate and learn new skills. But I don't think they are helping him. I tried a lot of apps for him, but no success. He learnt but memorized everything. His mind is full of videos, music, different kinds of noises, dialogues, teachers and parents' words etc. and keeps repeating those things again. Like he is playing video in his mind again & again. In this situation, he is not able to learn anything new. If he learns, it is mechanical or memorized. So, I don't know how far we have to go.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Awesome Moments

My son started to speak when he was 2.5 years old. He learnt to ask things he wanted like water, cookie, soda, chocolate, etc. Now he is 7 years old and still most of the time he used his speech to ask for something or he keeps talking to himself repeating the sentences (vocal stimming) or he does scripted talks.
 
We don't have any conversations with him. When we start talking to him, most of the time it converts in question answer session instead of meaningful conversations. He doesn't ask any questions or doesn't show any curiosity in anything except electronic gadgets.
 
But always he was lovely and affectionate boy. He liked hugging and squeezing. He is very calm and happy boy. He shows only the tantrums when he doesn't get his favorite thing - iPad or iPhone. Since few months, I have seen major changes in him. He is being more affectionate than earlier. He started to ask for more hugs and squeeze.
 
Lately, he started to show his affection in new ways. He started to kiss me all the time, whenever he feels to. I love how he kisses me. He says - "I want to give a big kiss." Now, kissing has become his obsession. He kisses me like a lover - he holds me tightly and kisses me on the cheek. He keeps kissing me everywhere - even at public places. (Personally, I enjoys his kissing as that gives me a great pleasure. I feel a bond with him.)
 
I was also worried as he tells his wants but doesn't tell his feelings and pains he is going through. But 3-4 days back he himself started to tell us if he is hurt. Two days back he told us that something is stuck in his teeth and he himself pointed where is the actual problem. Earlier, we always used to keep guessing where he has problem.
 
Yesterday, weather was good so we went to park. Both brothers were enjoying. There was a balance bar on which kids have to balance themselves when walking on. Earlier I used to force him to walk on it and he used to walk away from it. Yesterday, he came to me and called me - "Mumma, I need you" and take me to balance bar to help him. I felt very happy.
 
Today morning, when he was taking shower, suddenly water became cold. He called me - "Mumma, I want hot water." In the evening, he went inside the bedroom. The light was off and he came to me - "Mumma, I want light on."
 
These were my awesome moments. Atleast he is coming to me when he is in need. He is expressing himself and he is now feeling confident in coming to me for help. I really feel great. I hope he starts to initiate talks too.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"Autism And A Dad" by Yash Gupta

Initially, when I started writing in this blog in April 2011, I wanted to share my feelings, experiences and knowledge with this world. Writing the blogs helped me to deal with my frustration and stress because of my son's autism. I am not a big writer, but I wrote whatever I felt. I expressed all my feelings, sorrow and joy here. Those were mom's views.
 
Actually, my husband has a big hand in dealing with autism. He was only the person who found that our son has autism. He came to US early, did all the research here, applied for the early intervention. He was the one who did all the research, paper work, appointments with the doctors, insurance, hiring the therapists, fighting for the private school, visits to the schools and so much.
 
My husband has written and published a book on this Saturday - "Autism And A Dad". He has explained everything and much more in detailed. We both are working as a team supporting each other. These blog posts are a mother's views, But the book tells how a father thinks about autism world. I hope this book will be a great help for all the people. especially dads.
 
Please check it out - Autism And A Dad
 
 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Neurotypicals

Yesterday, I watched a TV show on PBS - Neurotypicals. It's about the people on the autism who shared their experiences being different. How beautifully they tell us how they think differently and behave differently. I had a big thought when they say - Why we can't be different? Why do you want me to cure? Why can't we live in our own ways? Why do you want to fix us? Why can't you accept us as we are?

Yes, I also agree in some ways. Every person is different. Even two persons living together think and behave differently. They have their own views, own thoughts, own interests, likes and dislikes etc. Sometimes, they are also not able to understand other's point of view and they have conflict between them. So, why do we want to control them and fix them?

Every person is very much different. What is natural to you, doesn't mean that it's natural to others too. One is good in maths, but others may have difficult time to solve simple math problem. One is very good in sports, but other can be good in computers. One can be talkative and think loudly, other can be less talkative and think quietly. One likes to be with people and being social, but others can like to be alone and stay away from the crowd. That's OK being different.

Everyone knows that I am an introverted person. I was very reserved when I was a kid. I didn't have much friends - only one or two. I wasn't much talkative, still not. Few things didn't come natural to me. I was good in studies and always got good grades. But I was never social kid. I worked for 7-8 years in software industry, but it was very hard for me to take initiatives. I had to learn things hard way, when they were not natural to me. Still it takes time for me to learn anything new. Sometimes I suffer with information overload and feel frustration & irritated. I am also different.

Yes, my son is different and I have no issues about his difference. It doesn't mean I won't teach him anything. I want to teach him basic life skills. I want to teach him to communicate his feelings, his thoughts and his experiences about his inner world. I want to understand him and his sensory world. I want to help him and give him comfort. I want him to get exposure to various things, explore this world and give various options. Then I want him to decide what he wants to choose in his life. I don't want to control his life.

These are my thoughts. If you think different from me, you are welcome to share your thoughts. :)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Two Extremes

As you can see that I had a big break after my last post, several things were going on in my life. Most important thing was that my kids are growing up and they want more time, attention and effort to deal with them. My both sons are two extremes.

As I have written in my Computer Stimming Series posts, it was very difficult to deal with both the kids altogether. Still Tanishk likes all the electronic gadgets and can keep himself busy in stimming.  Still, it is very difficult to motivate him to do something else as he has not much interests. He doesn't want to learn anything, just wants to pressing something - buttons on TV, Computer, Fan, Microwave, Gadgets, anything. He is verbal. He is smart. To get these things, he can manipulate us. He comes to us only to get whatever he wants. He is not withdrawn kind of kid, but he is not interested in anything until unless he can get gadget in return. He is not curious at all.

My other son Tanay is extreme case of his brother. Tanishk doesn't want to do anything. Tanay wants to learn everything. Tanishk runs away from the puzzles, books, activities. Tanay wants to do more & more. Tanishk has no imagination, he repeats only whatever he has learnt from videos, TV, teachers and parents. Tanay has got a great imagination, he can make his own stories. Tanishk doesn't take interest in anything and doesn't want to know about anything. He doesn't have any curiosity. Tanay is a curious kid. I have named him as "Curious George". Tanay wants to play with his brother, and Tanishk pushes him back as he doesn't want him to come in his way.