In July, Simon got to start some therapies. He got 1 hour of Speech therapy a week and 1 hour of Infant Education a week. It was a big bonus that his therapists came out to our house. We were able to schedule the speech sessions for when Eleanor was in school most of the time, although some of his Infant Ed sessions were when she was home, which presented its own set of problems.
Simon took to both of his therapists right away. A was his Speech therapist and she was wonderful. She pushed him hard and there were a few nasty meltdowns, but he made tremendous progress. He started using more signs. I think at this point he was using “more/want”, “all done”, “milk”, “water”, and “fish” (remember, his favorite movie then was ‘Finding Nemo’). He started to actually open his mouth to make sounds instead of the closed-mouth ‘guh guh guh’ he had been doing. They had only had 6 or 7 sessions together, but by the last one, he was carrying around a bottle of bubble solution saying ‘buh buh buh’.
J was his Infant Ed teacher. She brought lots of fun toys and played fun games with him, but all with a goal of helping him with his Fine Motor Skills and Joint Attention (the shared focus of two individuals on an object). She was also chock full of ideas and advice, especially when she found out we were moving to Seattle, as she had previously lived up here. While working with J, Simon began working on his turn-taking skills and transitions between activities, which is a real struggle for him.
One of the other things that began to be a slight issue for us during this time was Eleanor. She had just turned 4 and is a very precocious, outgoing, and helpful child. She wants to help everyone and please everyone and take care of everyone. All. The. Time. She would get very excited when J would come over for Simon’s Infant Ed sessions. She wanted to play with all the toys and would repeatedly interject herself into the session trying to… I don’t want to say ‘show off’, but that’s the best term I can find right now. It was difficult for me to remove her from the situation because I had to be there to work with Simon and was also caring for George at the same time. It got easier once Adam was no longer working and was available to run interference, but when it was just me, I will, shamefully, admit to snapping at her on more than one occasion. She had a hard time understanding why people were coming over to just play with Simon and not her, and this was the beginning of the very dramatic declarations of “you don’t love me as much as you love him”. It’s an ongoing problem that I will discuss more later.
Also in July, Simon had an ABA/Psych Evaluation done. What is ABA? “ABA, applied behavioral analysis, is simply the application of behavioral principles, to everyday situations, that will, over time, increase or decrease targeted behaviors.” Current research indicates that ABA therapy produces the best results for people with an ASD and that the earlier it gets started, the better the outcome. After his evaluation, the therapist mentioned that they could not technically diagnosis Autism until the age of 3 (I don’t know if that’s a San Diego Regional Center thing or a California thing or what. I know kids in other states that have been diagnose as young as 18 months and Simon got his first diagnosis up here at 25 months), but that she definitely saw some red flags and thought he would benefit strongly from ABA therapy. The diagnosis on the report I have is “At-Risk for Autism”. Once the final report was ready a couple of weeks later, I discussed Simon’s options with his Resource Coordinator, and in the end we decided to hold-off on ABA for the time being since we would be moving in just a couple of weeks and I wanted to keep the upheaval to a minimum for my little guy.
Simon’s last sessions with A and J were the week of August 18, 2014, and the next week, on August 25, we loaded everything up and moved to Bothell, WA!