Nathan and I had a great session today. We sang and danced along to the entire Kid Songs Christmas DVD. Throughout our singing, Nathan maintained constant eye contact. He was smiling and laughing. When the Santa figure started talking, Nathan called out, “Lolo!”
He mimicked my motions to “All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)” (pointing to teeth when those words were sung) and the “Twelve Days of Christmas” (making the finger gestures for 1, 2 and 3). He also started dancing from side to side and tapping his foot a few times. His eye contact dropped towards the end of the DVD. I think perhaps he had gotten tired.
Instead of watching the DVD, we just listen to the music, sing and dance. He recognizes many of the songs, so I lead off by singing, maintaining strong eye contact and doing simple dance moves (swaying from side to side, clapping and making simple hand motions.)
Nathan said he wanted to poop and he did! I usually had to catch his facial expressions.
We have a long way to go but I hope things get better.
Nathan’s school program includes going to the gym bimonthly for physical play and dance to music.
Today, Nathan was following routine very well, especially at the beginning. He followed his classmates as they walked around the gym. He walked faster when the song required running (hashire music), he kicked his feet as I helped him to jump with the bouncy music.
Despite trying to teach Nathan to answer “yes” or “no”, he only answers, “please” when he means yes (that has been good enough for me). He has never answered with a “no” without prompts.
However, today he answered “yes” on two separate occasions. One with me and another with his physical therapist.
With regards to saying “no”, since yesterday, he has been telling us, “no weewee” whenever we brought him to the toilet. Just a week before, we were having troubles with toilet training. He would cry whenever we brought him to the toilet and he didn’t pee. I thought he was having bladder problems because we always did a pretty good job catching his pee time on a toilet schedule we have established.
I don’t think he had/has a bladder problem. The crying preceded his wanting to communicate with us and tell us, “Hey, I don’t need to pee so frequently anymore. I’m a big boy now. I can hold my pee longer than you think.”. Now that he can tell us “no weewee,” we haven’t pushed him further and he hasn’t been crying.
So all in a day, he seems to have instantly mastered the proper use of “yes” and “no” without any coaching.
Our session today was from about 4:30-5:30pm. We began by looking at the new counting pop up book. He identified some of the animals in the book, but became distracted by the texture of the book and started scratching his nails on the flaps.
Nathan asked for flashcards, so we went over about 20 flashcards including pig and jeans. At times, he would become distracted and start flapping two cards at once. Every time I presented a new flashcard, I would make the same announcing sound (tada!) That would make him focus on the new card and stop playing with the old one. Each time the new card was presented, he’d say, “What is this?” followed by the name of the card. We stopped once he started licking the cards.
I sang Rainbow Connection and Do You Love Me to get his attention, but he was unresponsive.
I tried getting him to play do on the piano, since it was marked by a red sticker, but he was more interested in the upper buttons.
Later on, we danced and sang to the new Kid Songs DVD. We did not watch the screen. Instead, he stayed seated while I stood in front of him, singing along to the words and making up hand motions. The particularly successful song was Monkeys on the Bed. When I started making motions (e.g. calling during the part where Mama called the doctor and the doctor said), he began to imitate me. He maintained strong eye contact during the entire song and seemed to enjoy the music.
I also tried to get him to clap during the song. He would clap occasionally – though perhaps the song was too up-tempo for him to follow along.
Babies, music (upbeat, familiar nursery rhymes), instruments, dancing (uses mostly arms and hands while siting or standing), letter flash cards, picture flash cards, spelling.
…now to think about how we can use these to motivate him.
Nathan had his bi-monthly Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapy yesterday. Just like previous, he managed to sit and do table-top activities for almost 30 minutes. He accomplished puzzles pretty fast this time. As the tasks became more and more difficult for him, his attention diminished.
After the 30-minute table work, they transferred to the “play” room where he was free to choose his activity. He did not show too much interest this time. He seemed very tired. True enough, when we got home he went straight to sleep.
In the previous session (3 weeks ago) Nathan still managed to pay attention to his teacher (Moroi Sensei) during the second half of the session. She encouraged him by doing silly gestures with him, blowing raspberry kisses, and dancing in front if the mirror. The second half of the session seemed more like Son-rise therapy.
Nathan just recovered from a bad week of colds and cough. He had to drink medicine morning, noon and night for the whole week.
I felt that he was showing more autistic symptoms (inattentive, jerky movements with silly facial expressions-bringing his fingers closer to his eyes). It may be due to the medicine or simply not feeling well.
He hasn’t been waving “bye-bye” at the school bus again 🙁
I hope things get better.