OK, I've just finished a bowl of vanilla ice cream and a bar of Hersey's Special Dark chocolate and I'm still staring at a nearly blank screen. The reason being that there has just been so much going on that I don't know where to begin. The ice cream and then the chocolate bar were just sort of time fillers while I waited for inspiration about how to focus. I still don't feel inspired and I don't dare head towards the kitchen again so I suppose I ought to just begin.
We're one month into our HANDLE program and I am still cautiously optimistic that the subtle shifts I've started to see will gel into something of lasting impact. As I mentioned in a previous post, we are having many, many nights of good sleep. Only three times since we began implementing the program has Oliver awakened in the night. But in the past Oliver has cycled between periods of good sleep and not-so-good sleep, so I am hesitant to fully attribute this to the new regimen. But there are other things. The most noticeable to me is that Oliver seems to be getting much better at regulating his own energy. Previously if I had to describe Oliver's energy to you I would have likened it to a drop of water the moment it hits a panful of very hot oil. Skittering, skating, exploding across the surface. Never resting and going in all directions at once. But lately that has changed. A few times I have even caught him resting on the sofa in the afternoons and wondered if he might actually nap. He also seems a bit more focused in all of his activities. So how do I explain this? I'm not sure, really. But I imagine that as we teach him how to organize the input he is receiving through all of his senses he has to spend less energy trying to control and/or block out sensory experiences. He can afford to rest a little.
Sometimes I look at the exercises that were recommened for Oliver and they seem so simple. I wonder how they could possibly have any profound impact. But then I go back and re-read parts of Judith Bluestone's book and my confidence is restored. The way she describes the interaction between our environment and our senses, our nervous systems and our brains just makes sense to me. If anyone is interested but hasn't yet read the book: "The Fabric of Autism" there is a radio series on Autism One radio that started in December. The second installment was on January 11th. Both of them are worth listening to.
The second big thing in our little world is that we officially began our RDI program last week. The consultant we hired came to work with us for three days. Three exhausting days. Three marevelous days! But now that I think of it there is so much I want to say about the experience that I suppose that really deserves a post of its own. Between the HANDLE program and beginning RDI, I really haven't felt so hopeful, so optimistic, so on the right track as I do starting off this new year.