Monday, February 13, 2012

Talking up a Storm!

I swear, every day one or both boys say something that I've never heard before.  Something that makes me do a double take.  Is it because of the trial medication they have been on now for two months?  Or is this just a verbal development spurt they would have had anyway?  Is it the therapy and socialization at school?  Is it our new therapy routine at Courage Center?

Or a combination of everything?

This morning the boys were laying in bed with me watching "Little Einsteins."  I usually switch the station to "Little Bear" after that, because the show that's on after "Little Einsteins" - "Chuggington" - they don't like.  I don't know why they don't like it though. 
"Chuggington" is a train, and they love trains.

So this morning when Chuggington was starting, I said "Why don't we watch Chuggington today?  It's a train!"

AJ looked over at me and said decisively, "Little Bear coming next."

Aaaahhhhh!!!!!!!  A whole sentence!

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We did our semi-routine wander-through-the-mall yesterday afternoon, and a couple of times we left dad behind to talk to salespeople while we continued walking.  Twice AJ turned around and said "dad coming?"

I never realized how much he's aware of our proximity in public.  When the situation was reversed however (I stayed behind looking at something, and Mark walked on with the kids), he did not ask "mom coming?"  Evidently he's unconcerned with my whereabouts. Or maybe he just trusts me to catch up.

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It'll make me crazy to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Choo Choo Express one more time, but it sure was great to hear AJ ask for it in a sentence.

"Choo Choo again?". He asked, ever so sweetly.

Zack had other ideas, though. "Duper Why?"

He has a little trouble with the "s." So we work on it.

"Zack, say 'super.'"

"Sduper."

"Good!" I tell Zack.  "Now say 'Super Why.'"

And Zack tries. "Duper Why."

"Good job, Zack!" AJ congratulates his brother.  I know how he hates to see Zack upset.   So I really think he says "good job!" out of an effort to make Zack feel good.

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Recently I got an email from the boys' speech teacher at school, telling us just how great their progress has been. Here's what she had to say.

"I wanted to let you know that I've seen some nice improvements in the last couple of weeks with the boys. Earlier in the school year, I needed to transition the boys holding on to their hands because one would get ahead. They also were very bouncy. Now, for the most part the boys walk beside me without hand holding and they are walking at a slower pace with some reminders (walk with me/slow engine-I got these from Lisa, the OT). Zack is talking more, is more focused on what we are doing, and I think his words sound more intelligible than what I remember at the beginning of the school year. He is also more consistent with his work, so I have a better sense of what is difficult and what is not. AJ is not doing as much constant verbal chattering when it is not his turn. He still is very aware of what Zack is working on and likes to help with answering sometimes. AJ seems to have a good sense of what we're trying to accomplish with various familiar language activities and what is expected of him. There are times, for example, when AJ is working on Can I have ____ requests that he will leave out a word or add a word that is not part of the request. If he gets in one of these patterns for the session, it can be tough to change how he says something. But in general he has been increasing his ability to use sentences with and without visual supports during our structured lessons. I gave Danielle an extra set of the sentence-level visuals that I am using with Zack to work on personal information statements, so she can support his use of reading the words that are contained in the sentences. The visuals have both words and accompanying Boardmaker pictures."

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Zack's had some double-take moments too.  Holly put it best when she described her son's behavior, after being on the STX209 trial med.  She said it was like he lived in a box, and the medication allowed him to come out of the box.

Zack was watching TV yesterday, with the usual zoned-out look most kids get, watching TV.   I said his name. He looked at me. I smiled and........ He smiled back at me.

Zack is emerging from that box.

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