Friday, 16 November 2012

Out & about

I was so very proud of River today. We had a really hectic day, full of situations that I thought River would struggle with- and he managed brilliantly with every single one. I think he actually found our day less stressful than I did!

Our day started with a carpet fitter arriving, to lay the carpet on our two flights of stairs. Usually, River gets very anxious when people come round, but he was totally relaxed at this strange man coming into our house! I think it was probably for a couple of reasons: River seems to really like men, and will stare at them and want to look at them! Also, the carpet fitter pretty much ignored River, whereas most people that come round want to talk to him & interact with him. So River just ran up & down the room, making noises, and occasionally glancing at the fitter.
Soon after he arrived, the fitter started hammering and bashing things- really, really loudly. River was fine! He got quite excited, running up & down, but not distressed at all.
I had a doctor's appointment, so we had to get the bus into town. I haven't taken River on a bus for about a year- the idea of being trapped in a moving vehicle with a screaming autistic toddler whilst being stared at by 20 strangers really doesn't appeal to me! But River really surprised me. To start with, the bus was 30 minutes late. River didn't understand why we were stationary & got a bit upset, but luckily I'd packed lots of breadsticks & rice cakes to see us through. When we finally got on the bus, he was as good as gold! He stayed very quiet & gazed out of the window.
We then arrived at the doctors & got called straight in. Again, he just sat in his pushchair and munched on some apple!
We had a while to wait for our bus home & we were running low on snacks, so I made the brave decision to venture into the nearby supermarket. River + supermarkets = disaster. Every time. But I thought we could nip in & out super-quickly. But the strangest thing happened; River was really relaxed! So relaxed in fact that I was able to browse a couple of aisles and get a few bits & bobs. Even queuing at the checkout didn't phase him!
I'm not sure if it was because we'd just walked along a busy road so he was a bit desensitised to the noise, or whether it was because he was in his buggy and therefore felt safe in his cocoon, instead of being in the trolley & at eye-level to the other shoppers. Or it may have been because it was in the afternoon & he may have been a bit sleepy. Whatever it was, it was lovely!!
We then got a very packed bus home. River's pushchair had to be parked right next to a newborn baby who was having a scream. River detests babies, mainly the noise of them. He glanced at me a couple of times but didn't seem particularly distressed by it. He quite liked holding onto my finger for the journey- I like to think that he was getting some comfort from it.

So yes, a very successful day. So many things that would've caused a meltdown a short while ago- a stranger coming round, loud hammering, having to wait for a bus, having to go on a bus, going to the doctors, going to the supermarket, being near a screaming newborn....but he did so very well. And I'm so very proud of him! Xx

Thursday, 8 November 2012

More progress- caught on video!

Just thought I'd share our joy about the progress River is making!

We've been working hard on teaching River to exchange photo cards in order to communicate what he wants. This is the foundation if learning PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System.) I managed to get a wee video of him exchanging a photo of some raisins in exchange for raisins. It's really important when doing this that you aren't replacing sppech with pictures, but using them alongside one another, so you'll notice that every time he gives me the card I say either, "More raisins" or "I want raisins" so that I'm modelling the correct speech.
He was lying on the floor watching tv, still in his Grobag, so his concentration obviously isn't great!

Next up- River got hold of my toffee-flavoured yoghurt pot today & after some initial trepidation was eventually brave enough to dip his fingers in & dab a bit on his lips. After a while, he not only ate some yoghurt directly off the spoon instead of using his fingers (which is very rare!) but he also held the spoon by the handle and ate the yoghurt off it- all by himself!! He has never fed himself with a spoon before, so I grabbed my phone & made sure I got it on video (sorry it's not very good, it was hard to load spoons of yoghurt whilst filming! He'd just woken up from a nap so looks a bit tired.)