AIT At Home Journal For A Boy, Age 6 with
This journal for a 6 year old boy diagnosed with Autism who completed
AIT At Home.
08/14/2018, 7:16-7:46 AM
During Session: Fought through most of the entire session, including incessant screaming and crying. Had to hold the earphones on.
After Session: Following the session, proud of himself. Happier. Huge appetite.
08/14/2018, 10:48-11:18 AM
During Session: Robert does better in the mornings, so we began the second session soon after the 3 hour mark. Screamed, cried, and fought for most of session (why we used volume 23, to ensure he could hear the music with the yelling).
After Session: Following, 2 bouts of sadness, each lasting about 2 minutes. Huge appetite. Bursts of stimming and jumping but not constantly moving as per usual.
08/15/2018, 6:55-7:25 AM
During Session: Up at 5am, so an earlier start. Amazing difference from yesterday: sat through the session, laughed, even seemed drowsy at the mid point. Breathing calm and steady. Wow!
After Session: After the session, allowed me to brush his hair without much pushback! Babbling more and without the vocal drag that usually accompanies his noises (vocal but no speech). Slight decrease in object flicking. (Robert flicks objects constantly, as well as chews on objects, preferably rubber lizards).
08/15/2018, 10:30-11:00 AM
During Session: Seemed more bothered during this session but did well overall. As soon as he was done with the session, he wanted to ride around the neighborhood and listen to his Cars soundtrack. (This continued throughout the AIT program).
After Session: Has adopted behavior from 2 years old/3 years old: Playing in the front yard in direct sunlight for extended periods, regardless of how hot and sweaty he becomes; playing in a certain spot in the front yard. Went to bed an hour early, slept over 11 hours.
08/16/2018, 8:32-9:02 AM
During Session: Dilated pupils during session (this continued during every session through session 20). Obvious he's actually listening to some parts. Will begin stimming uncontrollably during parts of session.
After Session: Happy camper today. Flicking is not as manic and incessant. Seems more responsive to his name. Seems more aware of when we are speaking to him.
08/16/2018, 12:38-1:07 PM
During Session: Wearing the headphones by himself, little by little - more and more. When listening to the music, adopts a look frequently seen at 16-24 months old: eyebrows raised, eyes wide, lips pursed.
After Session: Head slapping and hitting in the evening. Seeking negative attention in any way he can think of. More engaged overall.
08/17/2018, 7:09-7:39 AM
During Session: More restless than yesterday. At the age of 3-4, Robert had difficulty with watery, red eyes, including red marks on the skin next to the eye. This reappeared at the left eye during the session! This occurred several times over during sessions until the completion of Session 20.
After Session: Is using his right hand more, although still can't decide which one is his preferred. More participation in feeding (will feed himself with a fork or spoon but cannot load food onto the utensil). More playful - likes being tickled and poking his tongue out. Laughing more. Improvement in following commands.
08/17/2018, 10:47-11:17 AM
During Session: Agitated during this session! Emotional rollercoaster: laughing, raging, crying, screaming, defiant - and repeat. These emotions would all present simultaneously, which was rather shocking to witness. These jumbled emotional mashes continued for approximately 2 minutes; prior and subsequent, emotions exhibited individually (sad, then angry, then laughter, etc.)
After Session: Huge mood swings following this session: from playful laughter to crying and aggression. Mood swings continued throughout the afternoon and evening. Slept long and hard tonight.
08/18/2018, 7:59-8:29 AM
During Session: Not thrilled during this session but did pretty well. Doing better about keeping the headphones on without my having to hold them on.
After Session: Overall, seems much happier. When 2 years old and 3 years old, knew body parts and loved to show off knowledge. This knowledge seemed to disappear around the age of 4. It's back!!! Has started looking at pictures again. We have a picture drawer, and he looks through it, choosing pictures to carry around and study. Especially interested in baby photos of himself where he's wearing a diaper.
08/18/2018, 11:43-12:13 PM
During Session: Laughed during much of this session. He continues to stim uncontrollably during sessions, primarily with his right hand. Some vocal outbursts during the session – primarily vowel sounds.
After Session: Bouts of defiant behavior, but, overall much sweeter and easier to deal with. Because he seems a little rundown, we put up The Robert Tree - a Christmas tree covered with things that he loves. He has taken a more active and keen interest in this! Wants a parent with him at all times.
08/19/2018, 9:30-10:00 AM
During Session: During the second half of the session, started kicking, hitting, and screaming. Just held the headphones on and let him push through this. Meltdown continued following the session.
After Session: Babble has seemed to pick up some. Still no words. But, there are more consonant sounds. It was increasingly just sounding like "yaayaaa" when he "spoke" prior to AIT. Moreover, the only times he did make vocal efforts was when he was in the throes of a tic. Babble seems more spontaneous and less aligned with tic-like motions/actions.
08/19/2018, 1:15-1:45 PM
During Session: Laughed during much of this session.
After Session: Increasingly whiny (2 years old - 4 years old). Visited grandparents without needing Nux vomica. Some defiant behavior at home during evening. Sleeping very hard.
08/20/2018, 7:32-8:02 AM
During Session: Did well! Still having to hold the headphones, but less and less. Seemed to enjoy this session. Bursts of uncontrolled stimming during the sessions continue. Emotional outbursts continue while music plays but much less intense than aforementioned.
After Session: Has continued to be whiny. Has adopted the 2 year old/3 year old behavior of splashing bath water all over the bathroom. Laughing more. Seems more engaged with the world around him. Used to rebel when mother and father were together, but now seems to bask in attention from both parents simultaneously. This is new!
08/20/2018, 11:46-12:16 PM
During Session: Did well during session: sitting, wearing headphones unilaterally more and more. Tends to get especially restless with just one minute left in each session.
After Session: Long jag of sadness in afternoon with inconsolable crying. Some defiant behavior in PM, along with wild jumping and stimming before bed. Doing better about sitting down during the day.
08/21/2018, 6:10-6:40 AM
During Session: Up at 3:45 am, so an early start. Calm during session. Does better when sitting back, reclined on the couch. Also makes it easier to hold the headphones on.
After Session: Subdued following session. Ear wax production has diminished. Robert produces much thick, brownish ear wax. This has decreased during AIT. Snorting when laughs! Sat on the couch snorting and laughing for awhile. Seems to have an increased awareness of time without being able to read a clock: knows when Dad coming home, seems to know when it's 8 pm and time for bedtime snack, etc.
08/21/2018, 10:00-10:30 AM
During Session: Continues to sporadically bang head with stuffed monkey during sessions. Also does this during the day. He requested this second session by pointing to the AIT equipment!
After Session: At the age of 2 years old - 3 years old would make a dog sound and cat sound. Dog sound is similar to "bak bak" and cat sound similar to "mmmmmaa." He quit doing these around age 4 and would cry if you asked him what the animals said. He is making these sounds again! Doesn't get upset when asked what the animals say. Also seems thoughtful about his answer. Definite decrease in toe walking, object chewing, and object flicking. Slept 12 hours tonight. Head slapping with his open hand has really diminished; only does it to himself now in an act of defiance.
08//22/18, 8:30-9:00 AM
During Session: Did well during session. Wearing headphones by himself for longer periods of time. Random spurts of uncontrollable stimming and occasional bursts of ranging continue during sessions.
After Session: Wild stimming following this session. Spent prolonged periods in the back yard flicking objects and staring at the fence. More toe walking than usual (in comparison with this past week). Very large appetite. Robert loves pillow forts, and his are becoming increasingly advanced: more pillows and blankets, building higher and higher, filling in holes with blankets, etc. He also stays seated inside of his fluffy creation for longer periods of time. Robert is getting much better at staying seated!!
08/22/2018, 12:15-12:45 PM
During Session: At the middle point of the session, as if a switch flipped and acted out for the second half - pulling on headphones, crying, and some screaming. Calmed down just as the session was wrapping up.
After Session: During the afternoon, more subdued. Robert loves The Seekers (1960's group). Wished to listen to their CD. Then, wished to listen to their concerts. Actually sitting and listening. It's as if he is hearing them for the first time - and can't get enough! Much more playful, affectionate, and sweet. When you call his name, he responds. He also wishes to interact more than I can remember (interaction disappeared around 3-4 years old.)
During Session: Wearing headphones on his own for extended periods of time. Listening intently for longer periods of time. Outbursts of stimming and rage continue but are much less frequent. Raging is much less intense.
After Session: Post-session, lots of flapping and jumping. Hand flapping is different from what it usually is - this is looser in the wrists and hands. Giving real hugs - that are long!!! His first legitimate hug given was on 08/01/2018. Now, he gives them with extra affection and buries his head on the shoulder. Wished to listen to The Seekers again and paid attention, staying near the recording for the entire one hour and eighteen minutes. Then wanted it restarted.
During Session: Did well during the final session!! Quite proud of himself for completing the program. We went out to celebrate.
After Session: Overall, much calmer and sweeter. Still loving listening to The Seekers. Less object chewing. Less sustained jumping. Less toe walking. Less flicking of objects. Much more affectionate. Interacting more with us and with the world around him. Looked into the camera for picture. Went out to celebrate finishing AIT and chose a new pair of shoes unlike he has worn ever before! Seemed to enjoy wearing them, too.
UPDATES FOLLOWING COMPLETION OF AIT DAY
08/24/2018: The Day Following Completion of AIT:
08/31/2018: One Week Following Completion of AIT:
09/07/2018: Two Weeks Since Completion of AIT:
09/14/2018: Three Weeks Since Completion of AIT:
Robert is much calmer this week! He continues to do well threading beads on a string and is paying more attention when coloring with markers. We continue working on holding writing utensils, and he is more open to trying this. He continues to do very well with relinquishing his toy when it's time to use both hands.
He is now taking his shirt off by himself! He is rather proud of this feat, so he has spent much of this week shirtless.
He really enjoys jumping on his trampoline. As a little guy, he adored the bouncer (bouncy seat that attached over a doorframe), and, when he s jumping on the trampoline, he makes the same faces: wide open smile of sheer joy and sparkling eyes. He loves when we jump along, too.
Robert tried to speak twice this week: once, he was standing at the refrigerator when I was in the other room; the other time, he was sitting on the couch. The attempts didn't sound like much other than a consonant to vowel-sounding stutter, but the fact that he tried is more than we have seen in many months.
His hyperactivity, defiant behavior, and increasing irritability from last week are greatly diminished. He is funny, sweet, and affectionate. His sense of humor is becoming more apparent. He laughs a lot.
He loves to be outside. It doesn't matter how hot it is or how sweaty he becomes. He was like this when 2 years old/3 years old. Also, at that age, he loved for a parent to strum a book (guitar strumming motion) and sing songs. He enjoys this again and requests it by bringing an object, putting my hands on top of it, and pushing them to strum. He likes Miss PattyCake again - which he lost around 4 1/2 years old. Robert continues to enjoy listening to The Seekers, riding around the neighborhood, and building pillow forts.
Prior to turning 6 and beginning the supplements prescribed from his HTMA hair test, he despised yogurt. In the past few months, he has adored yogurt. In fact, he even learned to eat a cup of it all by himself. This week, his love of yogurt has diminished. He likes a little, but his craving for it has subsided.
For the first time, he will sit on the couch and "watch" college football with us! He used to pursue negative attention at all costs during football games; now, he sits on the couch and plays with toys or has a snack. Amazing!
He is better about cleaning up his toys without throwing a fit. Plus, if you ask him where something is (such as, "Where is your shirt?" since he has taken it off so much this week), he will actually help you look for it! He used to just ignore me when it came to searching for something.
09/21/2018: Four Weeks Since Completion of AIT
Robert continues to show progress in new areas and regression in old areas. We are thrilled to see him continuing to change!
This week, his 7' trampoline arrived and was assembled. He loves it. We have spent much time outside. With this bigger trampoline, he actually wants us to play with him! He has never wanted us to play along with him. Although we are a little large for the new trampoline (weight requirements), we jump along on the smaller one. He is so happy! Even as a little bitty guy, Robert just would not play (he would bang, throw, and cry); nor did he care if we participated. What a blessing!!!
He is showing signs of much younger behavior, too: Long neighborhood walks during which he meanders and investigates every plant; continuing to play outside for extended periods of time even though dripping wet with sweat; huge, inconsolable meltdowns when a dog barks; and sitting on the floor more and more with his outer knees flat on the floor and the soles of his feet pressed together. He has even been bouncing around on his knees, which he did around 2 and 3 years old. There have been several huge meltdowns with crying and screaming (more like shrieking) with no provocation. We just sit with him and let these work themselves out.
He has shown much improvement in Occupational Therapy exercises. He is putting beads on strings better, even doing one in each hand once this week. We continue to work on using eyes and hands at the same time - paying attention. He is paying more attention while coloring. His grip of the markers actually slipped into proper form a couple of times! Robert does get frustrated during the exercises, but he doesn't melt down as he did just a year ago. Plus, he keeps going. He used to be unable to push through. He likes to be told to "Finish strong."
During the aforementioned OT exercises, he tried to talk a couple of times. This sounds like a quick single syllable stutter, but it's also apparent it's not some uncontrolled vocal noise. Moreover, he attempted to talk a few other times this week, including while standing in front of the refrigerator, sitting on the couch, and while jumping on the trampoline. Just his continued and more frequent attempts to talk are improvement! My heart jumps in my throat each time he tries, hoping that this is it, but we will get there.
His talking attempts have also been while sleeping. A year ago, he was getting closer to saying "Mama." It sounds like "mah (pause) mmmuh" with an imperative edge. He is doing this in his sleep!
His love for The Seekers' concerts, the Cars soundtrack, and the Miss PattyCake CD carries on.
He has shown an uptick in toe walking and object chewing, but nothing in comparison to previous activity. He continues to flick objects and jump around, but these are diminished in comparison to pre-AIT. He continues to improve at remaining seated.
Robert goes through episodes where he seems restless in his body - like ants crawling under his skin. He will wiggle around and press on his skin (looks like he's doing Wilbarger brushing to himself). He did this around 18 months to 2 1/2 years old, so this is a regression and a good thing. He does enjoy Wilbarger, though! He uses his stuffed monkey to try to repeat the brush strokes on himself. Funny!
With the new trampoline, he is pooped at night, going to bed earlier, and sleeping about 10 hours a night. His appetite is very large for comfort foods. As when he was 2 and 3 years old, he doesn't much like breakfast and eats light at this meal; his hunger kicks in around 10am and carries through to 6pm. When 2 and 3 years old, he would eat nothing in the mornings; now, he will eat a little something. Makes life much happier for all.
09/28/2018: Five Weeks Following Completion of AIT
Robert continues to exhibit younger "energy." For instance, he wishes to watch older DVD's of Chuggington; he hasn't been interested in Chuggington for months, much less the original season. But, now he wants to watch it on a regular basis. He also has shown more interest in lights being on and off and a Curious George book he loved as a little guy.
He continues to thoroughly enjoy his trampoline! This week, we put together a saucer swing for the backyard. The moment it was assembled, he climbed on himself! Robert has never mounted anything unilaterally; now, with the saucer swing and trampoline, he does on a regular basis. He has learned to lean forward and backward to keep the swing going. Plus, when he is piddling in the back yard alone, he pushes the swing, mimicking us. Robert has never mimicked us the way children do as toddlers! In fact, at my parents' house, he "pushed" his PopPop in the rocking chair. Robert has never taken control of anything. No toys, no activities, nothing. The totality of his manipulation was rolling cars back and forth while watching the wheels. His passivity is slowly melting away. Monumental progress!
At the Fall Farm this weekend, he actually rode the tire swing! We have been going for years, and he has never shown interest in any of their many toys or activities.
The day after he mimicked us by pushing the swing himself, he did more: My husband and I were sharing a canned cola, and Robert picked it up and drank out of it. Then, he walked off with it and continued drinking out of it. He has never drunk from a can! Mastered it first try. He has never held a cold can as cold metal would have previously been repulsive to him (very sensitive to how things feel when held).
Prior to AIT, Robert would melt down when vacuums, hair dryers, leaf blowers, lawn mowers, etc., were in use. Now, he loves them! He loves to "help" mow the lawn. Moreover, he now jumps in front of a running leaf blower, laughing and squealing as his hair blows straight back. He even follows Daddy around asking for more leaf blower. Amazing!
He loves for us to play with him - on his outside toys, especially. We have ordered a slide for the back yard to help him climb and learn full body control (from climbing to sitting, pushing off, etc.)
He is slowly expanding his horizons. Previously, he would not go beyond certain foods. He took a few bites of cheesecake this week! While at the corner store, we found a huge, soft pillow animal. Robert seemed to love it, so we bought it. He incorporated it into his pillow fort and has been lounging on it. Prior to AIT, he would have discarded it as soon as we arrived home.
We did go to the mall this week. While in the department store, he did very well. We even rode the escalator. But, once we walked into the mall he seemed to panic, so we just returned to the store. He used to love the mall and will likely get over this when Santa returns.
He did well during his occupational therapy exercises this week, including a much speedier completion of putting beads on strings and placing puzzle pieces. While coloring, he put more color on paper than he ever has. He paid more attention during all of these activities.
He continues to desire a morning drive through the neighborhood while listening to The Seekers or the Cars soundtrack. His lessened morning appetite remains: light breakfast followed by huge lunches (11am and 1pm).
In his regression to a "younger energy," some of his previous behaviors have returned: he chews on objects much more than a few weeks ago, he does jump a little more than previously, he is less responsive to his name, some decrease in spoon and fork use, a slight increase in toe walking, and he has freaked out over barking dogs. However, his good nature remains. And, he continues to do well following commands. Plus, now when he undresses, he piles his clothes up. We used to find strewn clothes behind bookcases - after having searched for days! Big improvement and an adjustment he made all on his own this past week.
Several times he has made more advanced efforts at speech, including more "mmmm+vowel sounds" and "oooh" sounds. As when he was younger, he imperatively asserted "ah ah ah" when he wanted something. That reappeared this week, but we immediately recognized it. When we don't know what he wants, we ask him to show us. There is still no actual speech.
We are thrilled to see him "revisiting" his toddler years and doing the things that he missed: mimicking, playing on playground equipment, trying new foods, and introducing new toys, including some from his earlier days that were much beloved like Chuggers. It's as if he is more willing to leave Robert's World - where only he could go - and enter the Land of the Living (i.e., everything/everyone around him). Terrific!
10/05/2018: Six Weeks Since Completion of AIT
Robert is a huge fan of his backyard playground. He has never been much for climbing, but he is improving at climbing onto the saucer swing. After an initial push, he closes his eyes and leans forward and backward, keeping the swing going. We have been surprised at how high he can get this thing to go!
At the Fall Farm, he jumped on their huge trampoline (more like a wrestling ring). He also explored the whole, huge layout. This is the most active he has ever been in this setting, and we have been going for years!
We have added a slide to the back yard. So far, he has been trying to climb up the slide - not using the stairs yet.
However, he has decided that he is more than capable of running the huge, heavy leaf blower himself! Although there is no speech so he cannot say "I'll do it," he is going through that phase. He never went through this as a toddler. We are thrilled.
He did well during occupational therapy exercises: put beads on strings very efficiently, improving at puzzles, and putting more color on paper when coloring. He was a little difficult this week, so we didn't push too hard. He has proven rather temperamental this week, but this was normal when he was young, and he seems to be working a lot of things out.
When Robert was early 3, he hummed, seemingly all of the time. Sweet, kind of soft hum. This has returned! Looked at some videos of him at early age 3, and it is the same sound/inflexion/etc. He is young in so many ways. He even wanted me to call the colors of passing cars once this week. He used to love this! He also showed lights off and on, something else he adored when little.
His object chewing is through the roof. Not surprising considering his "young energy." His toe walking has picked up some. He is still more engaged than pre-AIT.
He has spread his wings some: Previously, pillow forts were always in the front living room. Now, he builds them in both rooms with couches downstairs. He is still enjoying old school Chuggington DVD's. He got on the trampoline and jumped when in the back yard alone. His love for The Seekers continues. However, he has been choosing recordings and videos of musical performances that he previously ignored or disliked.
Robert loves Shoe Station. This week, he took his sandals off and chose a pair of Crocs, which he then put on and wore around until it was time to pay. Newfound assertiveness!
The use of public restrooms has been a huge obstacle for Robert. He immediately overcame this after beginning the Trace Minerals following a HTMA hair test. With his young energy, this has returned, but it is much more minor. He gets upset when going into the public restroom, but he uses it, and then he's calm and happy again.
Still very affectionate. Continues to pile his clothes up when he is undressing. He is better about cleaning up after himself - he has to be asked, but he does a thorough job! It is such a blessing to see such positive changes in our little boy.
10/12/2018: Seven Weeks Since Completion of AIT
There were no huge changes/strides this week. However, Robert has started going for several hours without object chewing. On Tuesday, he set his rubber lizard down and didn't pick him up again for a few hours. This has occurred several times.
He really loves to swing. Loves to be pushed very high. The look of pure joy on his face is akin to when he was a little guy jumping away in his bouncer.
This week, we set up a climbing dome, crawling tunnel, waterfall wall, and balance beam. He hasn't spent much time on these - really loves that swing. He did go down a large, enclosed slide at the Fall Farm this weekend - a first! He loves being outside.
His appetite is not as strong as it has been previously. He seems to crave comfort foods.
His ability to put puzzle pieces on a board is improving. His threading beads on a string continues to improve. He quickly learned how to move one color bead across an abacus, using his index finger. This fine motor skill was quickly accomplished, although it is apparent that such concentration becomes frustrating to him. So, when he finished, we jumped and played on the swing.
Robert's talking attempts have decreased except for when he is having difficulty showing us what he wants. His sweet humming (2yo, 3yo) continues.
There were a few out-of-nowhere meltdowns. These typically involved crying, and he seemed sad. He bounced back relatively quickly. From 2yo-4yo, he had this delightful habit of "asking" to go someplace and then having a meltdown once we arrived and, again, when we tried to leave. This has returned, specifically at the Fall Farm and church - these were triggers from 2yo-4yo, too.
Although he falls down and gets scrapes while playing, he jumps up and keeps going!
He experienced at least 2 migraines this week: one on Monday, one on Tuesday. Immediately responded to Belladonna.
Robert used to hate when people sang "Happy Birthday." Now, he smiles and gets very excited. Plus, this indicates he gets cake, which makes him thrilled since he doesn't get many sweets. He has done quite well at family birthday parties all Fall.
His love for The Seekers and Cars continues. We found a CD of his favorite live concert and can't wait for him to hear those versions while in the car, as opposed to listening to the streamed version in the house. It is apparent that his hearing is much improved. His concentration is exponentially better. He continues to do more while coloring.
His improvement is noticeable and wonderful! We look forward to seeing what each week has in store!
10/19/2018: Eight Weeks Since Completion of AIT
Robert's never-before-seen daredevil streak emerged this week! He is going as high as possible on the saucer swing. At The Track, he rode a 10' high airplane ride - all by himself. At the Fall Farm, he went down the 15' slide 9 times, riding down on the burlap sack all by himself 4 times. Amazing!
Robert has always fought when we tried to show him something new. He never allowed us to manipulate his hands, arms, and legs in any fashion. He would become rigid and start crying. Now, he lets us show him new things all of the time. We have been working to conquer the climbing dome. We are working on transitioning more smoothly at the top of the slide.
Crawling has never been Robert's forte. But, he is becoming quite good at going through the crawl tunnel! We are seeing him use both hands/both sides of the body more and more.
While swinging, he makes "mmmaaa" and "oooo" sounds - like a baby would. Robert never did baby talk, so we are happy to see this.
He really cannot get enough of the swing! Loves being outside. We do occupational therapy exercises outside. His concentration is improving, and we are able to do more and more activities in a single burst. His fine motor skills are definitely improving.
His object chewing continues at a high rate. The toe walking is much reduced. He does flap his hands and flick objects. He now has periods where he does none of this, though!
This week he had a haircut. Huge meltdown, just like when he was little. But, although screaming and crying, he let me cut away, which is an improvement. He used to fight fight fight.
His love for The Seekers continues, although he is expanding his horizons within their song repertoire, now listening to "Danny Boy" and their low key version of "California Dreamin.'" He continues to want Cars on a lot, and he loves listening to the soundtrack.
10/27/2018: Nine Weeks Since Completion of AIT
Much young behavior returned this week. From 1 1/2 - early 4 years old, Robert would jokingly hold something up to his opened mouth and wait for us to say, "Don't eat that." He has always thought this was hilarious. He started doing it again this week! Not all of the returning young behavior has been so endearing . . . also included is a very high uptick in object chewing and object flicking, as well as a return of toe walking. He seemed disengaged much more than previous weeks. But, it is also obvious that he is working through a lot.
His musical tastes continue to expand. His love for The Seekers abides. However, he listens to a much wider variety of their song library. An even larger swath than that of last week. He also listens to other groups beyond The Seekers. Seems to gravitate to classical music. Robert used to prefer a small handful of songs and if one played that didn't fall within this tiny list, he would become most upset. Now, come one, come all! Wonderful!
We play this delightful array of music through YouTube on the iPad. Previously, we would sit and run the iPad while Robert watched. We did this primarily because we had to restart the same videos every few minutes. But, I showed him to touch the video he wishes to see, and now he runs it himself. He doesn't yet know that an iPad will do anything other than play music :)
With all of the rain this week, we opted to put up the big Christmas tree. Robert was so involved! First off, he was a very good boy so that we could get the job done. During the decorating, he helped plug in strands of lights, sorted through ornament boxes, and spent much time in front of the tree touching and studying single ornaments. Plus, once done, he sat next to the Christmas tree before bed. He has taken to doing this nightly. Putting up Christmas trees and decorating for holidays always felt somewhat futile and disappointing as our little guy didn't seem to care much. And, he would typically rage and cry through the holidays. But, he cares this year, and we are so thankful!!
11/02/2018: Ten Weeks Since Completion of AIT
It is apparent that AIT has given Robert the gift of music. It's as though he lets music of all kinds just wash over him. This week, he has shown a keen interest in instrumental music, folk music, some opera, and the Celtic Woman performances. Beautiful music! He has discovered this on his own via YouTube on the iPad (which he thinks is just a music box). It is amazing to see him listen to never before heard songs. This is the same kid who six months ago would melt down at the slightest variation from his preferred musical lineup: if a certain song wasn't the right version, meltdown time. More specifically, he railed at slower paced songs. We never knew why. Now, he seems most attracted to slower paced music with predominantly string musicians. He must be able to hear so much better! What a blessing.
This openness to new things and experiences continues to seep into all aspects of everyday life. He continues to work on mastering the climbing done. He will try foods that he doesn't immediately recognize (although he rarely likes them - but he is willing to chew it up and try!) Overall, he is a happy, laidback little guy who laughs and giggles on a regular basis. Our house is so much happier.
Robert used to rage when we tried to do something like a puzzle. He would start yelling and stomping by the fifth letter on an alphabet puzzle. He would rail at the slight, controlled hand motion of fitting a letter into the puzzle board. Now, he pushes through to finish. You can see him get frustrated some - and he will jump around and flap - but then he comes back to the task. He seems aware of completing an activity, too, and he takes pride in it. Before, he just wanted to be left alone.
For the past couple of weeks, he has preferred his swing to almost all other toys. This week, he returned to playing on the trampoline, slide, and more. He has also shown some interest in his model cars and plastic instruments. He has two wooden drums used by turning back and forth so that the wooden balls on strings hit the drum. When first introduced to these, he screamed and shook his head violently. Now, he carries these around and plays them. A lot!
He loves being chased and tickled. Horse play used to upset him - now, he seeks it out.
Robert received a set of battery operated cars that flip over when they hit a wall. These are quite noisy when run. They bang when they flip over. Upon receipt, we knew that he would scream when we turned them on. Boy, were we wrong! He loves them. Loves watching them drive, sometimes walks alongside them, and requests that we play with them on a regular basis.
He does continue to jump, chew on objects, flap, toe walk, and stim; however, these are on a sliding scale. They typically pick up when he is very excited or rather tired. He almost always has some kind of something going. But, there are periods when he does sit completely still, especially when listening to music.
The verbal sounds uttered while on the swing are the most complex ones he makes. Something about that swing really stimulates his brain!
He is doing more on his own. He will gather his pillows and blankets to build his own pillow fort. He can now handle his own undressing and is getting better at dressing himself. He knows how to turn the TV's off and on. He takes time to dig through his toys. He will get up and find what it is he wants. He digs through the pantry. All of these he used to demand we perform. He would scream and cry when a DVD went to the front screen; now, he comes to get us. No screaming or crying. Robert's interest in learning how to do things himself is new - and wonderful!
11/09/2018: Eleven Weeks Since Completion of AIT
Robert has been going to bed earlier and earlier this week. He has also been waking up earlier. For some reason, he has not seemed especially happy this week. This irritability and insatiability is something he has dealt with since a little guy, and it's apparent he is working through a lot.
He continues to love being outside and listening to music. Rather than waiting on us to do something, he increasingly tries to do it himself first. Increasing improvement with following commands. There's no question that he is hearing more clearly than he was a few months ago.
There's nothing of particular note about this week other than his working through some much younger behavior which is indicative of progress.
We are packing for Disney World. He seems excited about this trip!
11/16/2018: Twelve Weeks Since Completion of AIT
We just returned from a week in Disney World. What a difference in Robert!!
Disney World 2017: Over the course of the week, Robert rode the PeopleMover, the train, the monorail, and loved going to Cosmic Ray's Alien Café. He was difficult, very sensitive, and disengaged on a consistent basis.
Disney World 2018: In the park at opening time each day with Robert ready for anything. He woke early and wanted to get dressed and go. He rode so many rides: Big Thunder Railroad x 8; Teacups x 4; The Barnstormer roller coaster x 3; Splash Mountain (cold!); Dumbo; Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride; The Speedway; Astro Orbiter (really high!); Buzz Lightyear's Space Mission; the train; Cinderella's Carousel (his first carousel ride!!); "It's a Small World;" the PeopleMover; and, of course, the monorail.
We felt as though we were rolling the dice with "It's a Small World." The high-pitched, looped song would have sent him over the edge in past years: He would have screamed and started shaking his head. Not this year! He laughed through it! We couldn't believe it. Splash Mountain also has a high-pitched, looped song, specifically "How d'Ya Do?" He rankled at this initially, but then he quickly settled into the ride and enjoyed it. Such amazing progress!!!
The view from our room included the monorail, and Robert was most taken with this. Dad bought him the monorail set which we put up next to the window, and he ran the toy monorail while watching the large one. This is the first real thing he has ever shown interest in outside of rolling cars and flicking objects! He would sit at the window and wait for the monorail to go by while playing with his monorail toy.
In 2015-2017, Robert would not eat in Disney World. It's as if his stomach went into "lock down." He would not eat in the park. He would only eat sweets. When younger, he would only drink from his bottle. Not this time! He ate real food in the park. Not sweets. And ate to his fill. Ate in the room. He did very well at a character brunch. Even tried new foods, finding that he liked them. Previously, he was so picky. Now, he's game. Huge strides! We never thought we would see this.
Plus, he did well taking pictures. Sat for a thirty minute portrait rendering. Stood in line with grace. Wanted us to tickle and interact with him on a steady basis. Pointed at new things he wished to try. Tried to speak 3 separate times.
This is the best vacation we have ever had. This is the most engaged our boy has ever been while on vacation. Not to mention how easy he was to deal with. This is the first time we did not have a single issue with music or sound bothering him. No issues with crowds. No real issues with public restrooms. He has courage, humor, and flexibility. His personality is really coming out.
We are so thankful. Answered prayers. Thank you, AIT. "