Sunday, August 5, 2012

Surprising Summer Findings

      As mentioned in this post, Eli did summer school. As it was winding down to the last few days, I was talking with his student teacher and mentioned my son has autism. She told me that she was wondering what his official diagnosis was, because the student teachers are apparently not allowed to see the actual IEP's. I was surprised to hear that. I told her he was diagnosed as moderate, classic autism at the age of 2 and 1/2. Obviously he does not meet that diagnosis any longer, but I have not had him re-evaluated. I told her, "Nowdays he is much more like a severely ADHD child with speech issues." Even I didn't know I was going to say that as I said it, it was true all the same. I really surprised myself! It has really sunk in how true that is as I have been thinking about it in the weeks since. On one hand, I want to cheer! It is such a miracle that has occurred right under our noses. At the same time though, we are already doing everything I think that a parent of a child with severe ADHD would do on this medically healing path we are on.

      Last week was Eli's first week of his swim lessons since we moved to our new town. I have been very surprised how well he has handled it. He does have some sporadic, excited behavior that is not appropriate. But for the most part, he does what he should, he is not timid, and he is not defiant. His behavior overall last week just got better and better as swimming lessons progressed. (The improvement occurred in the pool and at home.) The only downside has been the allergy bumps on his upper arm from the chemicals in the water. We have only four more days left this week, which is too bad. Perhaps I will need to drive him farther and pay out-of-city rates to take him to an indoor pool, as this outdoor city pool in our town will not be offering any more sessions. I think we may have found what our son needs to make more progress. It really does make sense to me. With his slightly disfunctioning nervous system, the water pressing on him at all sides feels good to him and helps him relax. ("Oh, now I can feel my arms better, so I can control them more.") After all, Michael Phelps was once an ADHD kid taking swimming lessons, so he would stay out of trouble! Perhaps swimming just clicks for kids with autism/ADHD.

     I had such plans for doing speech at home, and I have not gotten myself to adhere to a program the whole summer! It is terrible because he needs it so much. At the same time though, with his improved behavior with the swimming lessons, I have been able to do more correcting in our everyday conversation. He has been more willing to "say it again" and repeat after me when he needs to correct something. He has not been getting mad or defiant like he has before. If I can get this to continue, it will be like speech lessons everyday at our house and things will improve rapidly, I think.

    Through all of this, Little Bear has gotten to be one mobile baby. His is crawling and climbing everywhere, with a smile on his happy face!

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