I thought I’d try and squeeze a post in before another day of bedlam begins. I woke at 3 this morning and just couldn’t get back to sleep. We’ve got new tiles in the ensuite, new carpet in the lounge and kids room and a fabulous looking yard so it’s all coming together!
We had Sensational Kids yesterday and it went really well. Beth has Occupational Therapy with Melinda first then Speech Therapy with Rod. She seems to enjoy doing the Occupational Therapy but does do a lot of mucking around and often Melinda will say that she seems distracted or not wanting to participate very well but then she’ll surprise me and have a great session with Rod. Beth seems to like Melinda and enjoys doing her sessions but she doesn’t get as much out of it as we do with Speech. We can claim Occupational Therapy back from Medicare under the Mental Health scheme so I’m not sure if I would keep it up if we couldn’t do that.
Melinda is focussing on Beth using both of her hands together, something that she hasn’t really done much of. When we were in the early years at Irabina I remember telling them that when she eats she plays with her food with her left hand while eating with her right. They started making her keep that hand on the table and subsequently she hasn’t really picked it up again. She still has problems with her eating, constantly fingering her food. Even weetbix, she feels the need to touch it all the time. Beth rolls her food a lot too and sometimes takes her food out of her mouth to inspect it before putting it back in again.
On the plus side she eats pretty much anything and everything. I know that food is often a problem for autistic kids, whether it’s texture based or colour based there are often ‘rules’ in these kids heads as to what they can eat or can’t eat. I remember taking Beth to a Psychologist when she had her selective mutism. I was told that I was lucky that the ‘not talking’ was the rule that she had chosen. She had seen children who were on drips in the hospital because their rule was that they couldn’t get anything solid down their throats. In that sense we are very lucky, Beth eats well and she eats a lot.
During Beth’s Speech session yesterday she chose a game that we hadn’t played before called Amazing Me. It was a great game for her because it was all about answering questions about yourself, family and friends. Some of the questions she found difficult to answer but Rod and I gave examples of what we would say to give her an idea of what was expected and she picked up the cues pretty well.
On the way there yesterday Beth was chatting to herself and I think that it was from a Simpsons episode or perhaps the movie. She would say something like “when Bill gets older he will have a father that cares about him.” Not sure what it was all about actually but it was still going through her head as we played this game. One of the questions was “what would you change about your family?” Beth’s answer was that sentence “When I get old I will have a mother who cares about me!” Thanks for that Beth, makes me sounds lovely! Rod said that in his instance that he wished his mother saw his kids more often. Beth then kept insisting that Rod’s mother must be dead. As my mum died when I was thirteen I sometimes talk to the kids about her. Bill often talks about how much I must miss her and I tell him that yes I do, especially now that I have my own kids and wish that she could see them. This has obviously stuck in Beth’s mind. But, as only Beth can do, she harped on it over and over. If Rod had a question that didn’t involve his mother Beth would say “that’s because she’s dead!”
There were questions that Beth surprised us and gave some excellent answers to. One was about what she would do if a man offered her a lolly for a kiss. She answered that she didn’t talk to strangers and that he had to go away. When Rod asked her why, she replied that it was dangerous. Now if that was me asking I would have just been happy with the fact that she had said no. Rod pushes for that extra bit of information which is great because her first response could have just been a rehearsed type of answer, we still needed to know if she ‘got’ why she was saying no. When it was mine or Rod’s turn Beth asked the questions of us and in an Oprah style fashion would proceed to answer the questions of what she would do in the situation first. Then she would turn to us and ask for our answers.
One of the questions that Rod asked was that if she didn’t do well in a test what would she do. When she wasn’t sure what to answer Rod said that when he was a kid if he didn’t do well he’d cry. Beth answered that she would get angry. While I don’t think that she really would, she understood that a type of emotion was needed and that anger would be an appropriate one.
The amusing thing about the session was that instead of accents the two of them decided that a lot of their answers would be done with burps! Both of them can burp speak. One of Beth’s questions was 3 things that she could say about herself. She burped that “I can burp my abc’s, and I can burp my 1, 2, 3’s.” I can’t remember the other thing but the 2 of them were so caught up in the burping side of it that at that stage it didn’t matter. Rod certainly knows how to get down to the kids level to engage them, I’m not sure which one is the bigger kid!