My ultimate goal is to completely cut technology out of Oliver’s life. However, he is obsessed with Care Bears. I loathe the idea of him disappearing into a T.V. world, but I’ll admit that when he screams and cries and nothing helps him, those darn Care Bears send the tears away. Though I am usually able to play with him, as a full time online college student I sometimes face deadlines that require me to spend an hour or two with undivided attention on my studies. A few Care Bear episodes have given me the leverage to do what I need to do. I feel sick at the thought of using T.V. as a babysitter in these times of need, but have come to find that a lot of parents face the same issue. With this said, I came up with a thought: replace Care Bears with Planet Earth/Discovery Channel/Animal Planet documentaries while coming up with a plan on how to wean him off of the television. This way he is immersed into a real world setting with animals and nature, rather than a sensory overload of loud music and an unnaturally bright plethora of color.
I’m currently reading Rupert Isaacson’s The Horse Boy and am deeply enjoying it. I’m not going to give too much away, but I just wanted to briefly encourage all of you to order this book from your local library or head on over to the book store. The tone feels hopeful and magical and I’m loving it thus far. Enjoy!
It seems to me that Oliver is learning more and more everyday that incessant crying gets him what he wants. It is so difficult for me to allow him to cry when I know what he wants. To encourage speech and language development, I need to push him to speak by suddenly not understanding his cries. I need to express to him that screaming and crying isn’t how we ask for milk or for a certain toy. My plan is to, from here on out, tell him, “I’m sorry buddy– I don’t understand screaming. Screaming doesn’t tell me WHAT it is that you want. Can you show me what you want? Can you sign to me what it is that you want? Can you tell me what you want?” I’m hoping that this will improve our current situation. I’m interested in hearing from others who have been in similar situations and how you addressed it.
I hope the audiologist needed a hearing test because Oliver screamed to sound decibals that no one thought was possible. If that doesn’t say how that went, then I don’t know what will. He was screaming at the top of his lungs because we were in a new place with new people and he had to sit in my lap. He loathes new places, new people, and being restrained, so that was bound to be upsetting. After lots of fighting us, she gave him blocks and after a few minutes of lining them up in a perfect line, he finally gave in and allowed the doctor to uncover that his hearing is normal for his age and that his hearing isn’t related to his speech delays and behaviors. So, our next step is the four appointment diagnostic autism evaluation, which is two weeks from tomorrow.
I thought that I would share a little bit about myself, since I haven’t given any background in that area thus far. My name is Savannah and I am a 19 year old single mother to my beautiful, life changing baby boy Oliver. When I graduated high school, I was three months pregnant and, little did I know, my life was going to be majorly different that I had originally planned it out to be. When I uncovered this news, I began working 6 days a week while taking a full load of classes at a community college. After having Oliver, I cut down my work to two half days a week, and have since started 3 additional part time, after hour house and office cleaning jobs. When I’m not working any of my four jobs or playing with my little one, I still go to school full time (via eLearning at the community college) and am currently 8 days away from having my Associates of Arts and Sciences with a concentration of Psychology. I was going back and forth between several Bachelor’s programs/majors, but am now 99% sure that I want to embark on a path towards becoming a Special Educator with an Autism focus. As I learn more, and read more, and am connected to people in similar situations, I realize that this may have been exactly how my life was supposed to pan out because my son, the love of my life, was brought into my life to spark a passion to help, learn, and teach him and others like him. I am also a certified Yoga Teacher and am, next month, going through a month long Special Needs Yoga Teacher training and am still brainstorming where I will go with that (I’m thinking that great things are going to be coming soon after my completion of that program). I started this blog to show others how early intervention therapies, diet/lifestyle changes, supplementation of vitamins and minerals, and alternative/integrative treatments can help. We are at the very beginning of our (his) journey, but I hold an abundance of hope that we will, with time, heal Oliver.
Today was Oliver’s first appointment with the Special Educator from his Early Intervention center. It was a 50 minute session and we went over what to expect from each visit and scheduling, then she observed how Oliver and I play/interact and then gave suggestions for how to build on the foundation that I have already set.
What I learned today:
– When playing with Oliver at his toy table, I will sit across from him rather than next to him, because he will have a better chance at working on eye contact if I am across from him.
– When sharing a toy with him, I will make it over the top exciting by being more animated and enthusiastic that usual. I will capture his interest and engage his eye contact and attention by being a more silly and fun person.
– When Oliver gets frustrated while playing, I will acknowledge his feelings rather than immediately comforting him by telling him that it’s okay. By saying “I see that you’re frustrated. I understand that this upsets you. Why don’t we try this instead?” he is learning to regulate his emotions, think outside the box, and listen to others’ ideas. I’m so excited to keep learning from his team at the Early Intervention center and will continue to write up what I learned after each weekly appointment.
playing with others by doing so.
Today was our first day of swim lessons. Oliver was overwhelmed by the loud noise when we entered the building and he cried until we got into the pool, where he cried even harder and louder. He was handed a toy and was good with the toy, but cried again when he was accidentally splashed by another baby. When we were getting out, I set him on the edge first, then began to get out myself, but he started to run away instead of sitting for the 1/10th of a second that it took for me to get out. I had to yell to the instructor to grab him and having a stranger restrain him really freaked him out. He, then, cried for the next ten minutes as I dried him off, changed him, changed myself, put in the stroller, and strolled out to the car. We did a 4 week swim lesson series when he was 13 months old, but he wasn’t walking or showing many of his “autistic” traits yet, so he enjoyed the experience. All I have to say is that I am so glad that they are only once a week, because I’ll need a week to decompress from that stress.
Okay, so I’m usually all for natural household items, but these have seriously improved my quality of life. While eliminating dairy, gluten, and soy, I have noticed that Oliver’s bowel movements have gotten extremely smelly. No diaper pail or trash bag could mask these odors, but following my discovery of Sassy’s diaper sacks, my nose has gotten a break. I just put his soiled diapers in these, tie it up, and the smell is gone. I found these in the bathroom of Oliver’s early intervention center and immediately went onto the Amazon app on my cell phone and ordered a box. Truly genius invention.
You can order here: http://www.amazon.com/Sassy-Disposable-Diaper-Sacks-Count/dp/B0007V644S
Oliver, who is about 19.5 months old now, is down to one 2-3 hour nap per day and I have learned that he desperately needs consistency in this area. For nap time, I talk about how nap time is coming up in 5 or 10 minutes and that it will be time to go “up” (upstairs) and go “night night”. I follow his lead on what time this happens (rubbing his eyes, abnormally fussy, laying down, etc.), but it’s typically between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. when he hits that tired point in his day.
Here is what our nap time looks like:
– Tired cues
– Nap time “warnings” to aid in transitioning from play to sleep
– Go upstairs
– Change diaper and put lavender essential oil on his feet with socks
– Turn on calming music that plays for 6 hours and turn on night light
– Lay him down, then lay his weighted blanket on top of him
– Hand on belly, say “I love you” and “Sweet dreams, buddy”
– Quietly leave room and close the door
This may seem a bit extensive, but it’s what works for him. If any of these things happen in a different order or I forget to turn on the music/night light nap time doesn’t come to us as easily. I’m interested in hearing what your little one’s nap time looks like.
Today we are diffusing Balance and he has Frankincense and OnGuard on his feet. He’s having blueberries, bananas, gluten free toast with dairy free butter, and a green smoothie (spirulina, broccoli, spinich, barley grass, wheat grass, mango, apple, banana, and kiwi). Now he’s laying in his tunnel, enjoying the comfort of his own little world. 🙂