Monday, June 25, 2012

Concrete Thinking

Anyone who knows someone on the spectrum recognizes one of the hallmarks is concrete thinking.  Sometimes it is kind of funny.  On vacation at the beach last week Alex wanted to leave the beach house and go to the beach.  I said he had to find his aunt who was already there so an adult would know he was down there.  I said "If you can't find Aunt Lucy come back and wait for me to take you."  He said "OK!" and went running down the steps, only to turn around and say "What do I do if I find her?" 

I am thinking the average 4-5 year old would not need an explanation of what to do if he found his aunt.  However, at almost 9 Alex needed to ask.  There is a definite deficit with abstract thinking and inferencing.  We do inferencing activities at home which he does pretty well on for the most part, but using those skills in real life is sometimes a challenge.  Sometimes it makes for a chuckle!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Start of Summer

Summer has begun and now that I have a job I have to find childcare for the first time.  It is a real challenge!  I have been busy for weeks trying to cobble together childcare for my two youngest and I only work part-time!  They will be doing some camps and I have some babysitters and help from my mom. 

I have been pretty diligent about keeping Alex engaged and not letting him just go off by himself a lot.  He played soccer again this spring and had twice weekly playdates with a boy in his class.  I try to take him with me when I run errands as much as he will tolerate and engage him in the tasks of grocery shopping, going to the library, taking the cat to the vet, etc.  I try to use the conversation techniques we learned in RDI.  For example, rather than asking him yes/no questions, I make statements for him to respond to or ask open ended questions.  This "forces" him to make natural conversation and use his language skills.  He is doing much better with this.  He still struggles with "echoing" what he said and eye contact.  Eye contact does not come naturally to him and he has to think about it each time he talks to someone.  He does not like it when people get too close.  When his friend runs up to him at the bus stop as boys do, Alex shrinks away from him and often wants to wait in the house for the bus.  Too much commotion at the bus stop.  Interestingly, he is fine with "wrestling" and rough-housing type games so it is not the contact he doesn't like.  He just doesn't seem to like when people "come at him".  I have noticed this in him since he was very small. 

He has new interests now that he is getting older.  He loves Star Wars, basketball, sharks, and chess.  I try to explore anything he is interested in in any way I can and from those interests, try to introduce him to others.  My goal is to keep him engaged, communicating and asking questions.  It is so easy for him to slink off and spend the whole day by himself on the trampoline or rolling around on an exercise ball.  He is very much able to stay engaged and play and communicate nearly as well as other 8 year olds.  It just does not come as naturally to him.  And he does need breaks from activities and people.  This is when I find him rolling around on his exercise ball.  He will tell me "I need to be away."  I am glad he can communicate this need to me.  There was a time when he could not. 

He is officially done with the early elementary school years as he begins 3rd grade in 10 short weeks.  I have been somewhat sad to watch all my kids grow up out of the little kid stage.  I am finding it all that much harder with Alex.  We have been through so much together through his early childhood years!  Yet I see him pulling away and yearning for independence.  It makes me so happy and so sad at the same time.