Friday, February 29, 2008

Directly contradicting what I said yesterday. ...

OK. So maybe I AM bitter. I mean sometimes I just feel like we are totally moving off the grid, here. When I decided to quit my job and do RDI full-time I knew it would mean that I was going to take up the reigns of engineering Oliver's remediation. That's OK. I'm glad for it. And that is how it should be. And then, of course, there is the homeschooling. Our schooling options here in Virginia are so limited that homeschooling has really become our only option. I know that sending Oliver off to school each day would be counter-productive. So I'm happy to take that on as well. And don't even get me started on the doctors and medical experts we have seen! But every Friday afternoon when the speech therapist leaves I find myself feeling so very low. I know that it is a total waste of our time but I can't bring myself to give it up. I'm not ready to become an expert on speech as well as everything else. I just want some support. I want some outside resources to help us along on our way. We will get there -- wherever 'there' is. I'm sure of that. But I really don't want to do it all. I want professionals who are willing to really examine what they are teaching and why and to be willing to throw it out the window if it doesn't fit. To do some research and ask the right questions. And to look at Oliver as a boy with some challenges, not just a boy with autism. Because one size doesn't fit all. But what we have is so very lacking.

Today the SLP started off her session by trying to get Oliver to label pictures of faces with the correct emotion: happy, sad, angry. Then she moved on to getting him to label colors and assign quantities. Oliver was a good sport about it but I know him well enough to know that it was totally random whenever he did manage to get something right. And if she said: "Good sitting!" and "Good listening!" one more time I thought I would reach across the room and smack her. I'm not saying that these aren't good things to teach someone with a language deficit -- but it is just so far ahead of where Oliver's skills are at the moment that it seems pretty meaningless to me.

I'm left feeling so conceited. I'm just a mom. I'm a mom who has done about a million hours of reading on the subject of autism and child development over the last two years, but still just a mom. And when I find myself thinking that we would be better off with nothing than with the wrong thing, when I think we are better off just working it out on our own, I can only marvel at my own arrogance.

But on a more positive note: my day was filled with more arguments than I could count. Oliver is really learning to assert himself with the nod of his head! There is absolutely no uncertainty that he knows what our silent dialog is all about. I tried the opposite though: asking him to do something that he didn't want to do and that was less successful. As soon as I started insisting with a yes head nod he followed suit and nodded yes. But with some success under our belt I'm eager to see if he picks it up as quickly.

Oh, and we spent some time goofing around with the capture photo feature on my webcam this evening. It was like being in one of those photo booths at the mall only we were all in our slippers! Here's the evidence (well, you'll have to trust me on the slippers!):


  1. It's NOT arrogance; it's intuition. Trust it. I remember feeling similar feelings about Nik's old SLP (the one from school who went into private practice in Sept.). I cringed every single time she worked with Nik; my skin crawled I was so uncomfortable. When I talked to her about it, she told me that it was OK and that I know what Nik responds best to and that she couldn't change her style/approach. It was a good, honest conversation in which we agreed that it wasn't a good fit. That's when we went back to Easter Seals and Miss M; she adores Nik and he adores her and they work great together.

    Trust your gut; it hasn't steered you wrong yet, has it?

    BTW, LOVE the pics! It does remind me of those photo booths! LOL

  2. Your sons are so handsome- I'd like to kiss their sweet faces!

    I remember feeling just as you do about speech therapy. I took Henry every Thursday morning for years, and I sat there behind the mirror watching, and wondering WHY I was putting us all through this. He HATED identifying emotions, as well as most of the other things the girls would ask him to do. Lots of times he would just scream or cry. Wow- I'm glad those days are behind us. Anyway, at the time I doubted whether speech therapy was doing any good, and I still can't be sure, but my boy talks quite a bit now and I just have to assume that all those sessions (and co-pays) helped get him to where he is now.

  3. I absolutely agree with niksmom - trust your intuition. You're not conceited, you *do* know more about Oliver's diagnosis that any of the professionals. A bit discouraging,but true. And you certainly know Oliver better than anyone else. (((Hugs))) I hope you find a way to get the support you need. It is such a lonely feeling sometimes to be doing all the teaching and remediation with a child. A blessing, yet a bit lonely and frustrating at the same time.

  4. Anonymous8:28 AM

    Christine, I hope you find the help and support you need. It's out there, I'm sure of that...but it's not easy to spot. I can't imagine taking it all on myself, of course you need help.

    And the photos? Adorable. Thanks for sharing!

  5. How frustrating! But remember, you too are an expert and know what is working for your child and what is not.

    Your family is beautiful!

  6. We are all "Just Moms", but we do know our kids best, I am certain of that. We all doubt that what we are doing for our kids is not the best or right decision sometimes. If we didn't question ourselves every so often, we wouldn't keep fighting and looking for what works best for our kids. And what works for one does not always work for all. We need to keep pushing forward for our kids. I know that you can do this. I think that the decisions you have made for Oliver have been the right ones. You keep trusting your gut, but also DO keeping searching for the RIGHT support. Maybe she just is not the right SLP. Or maybe Oliver ISN'T ready for the traditional speech therapy that most SLP's will do with kids. I think that the silent communication that you and Oliver are establishing is wonderful. Keep at it!!! I think that you are right. I too have to use a lot less words with Andrew sometimes. This is something I really have to work on. But I do notice that when I do just slow down and sit with him while we exchange glances and facial expressions, then he opens up more and lets me in. He doesn't push me away like he will do sometimes when I come on too strong throwing too many words his way.

    For us, I feel the combination of school and home is working for now. But if we didn't have that. If I didn't feel the school thing was working for us, I would be doing exactly what you are doing. At least I hope I would be as brave as you are to try. Don't doubt yourself!!!!! You are on the right track. I just know it.

    And, as far as support goes, what about your RDI consultant? How much can you reach out to him/her? I really don't know that much about it all, but don't forget that there are ohers out there doing what you are doing. Keep reaching out to them.

    And the pictures, so cute and fun! I can't help but notice how Oliver is imitating the facial expression of his dad and brother. Or maybe it is the other way around. Pretty cool!

  7. Anonymous9:19 PM

    you are GREAT! more than great! astounding! miraculous! stupendous! brilliant! intuitive! tenacious! sensitive! adoring! sharp as a tac!

    you are all also beautiful and silly! we have similar photo booth moments over here. i wish we could beam them to each other!

    and last but not least, please do, in fact, reach across the table and smack that chick if she says GOOD SITTING one more time. you have my permission.

  8. There are definitely SLP's out there willing to reach a child at his level. Don't let this woman get you down!! Cotton's SLP has a wonderful sensory motor thing going, that is really helping him, he LOOVES it. There are some hard parts, but she seems intuitive enough to know when he needs a break, and when he needs a push. My opinion, look around, you deserve some help!! Follow your gut you will find the right match.


  9. Anonymous9:36 PM

    take one month off. of everything. shut that part of his world out for just a bit-take the pressure off of ALL of you. If you can, plan a a little trip-something to get Oliver excited-really excited, and see if it sparks anything in him. sometime too much pressure is counter-productive.

    it is what worked with our son, now 8. he did not speak-and now-he never stops talking.

  10. A lot of us have left professional therapies. Sometimes they cause more stress than they're worth. When your child screams about going each and every time, your job as the parent is to figure out why and see if there is a way to relieve it. Remember too, that our kids get 'therapy burnout' and need breaks.

    As everyone else said "go with your gut"!

  11. I've one of those webcams on my computer and got some good shots of Charlie and me, actually both smiling. You've taken on a lot---give yourself a breather at moments, really. I could not take on Charlie's education on my own at this point; I'd be a nervous wreck----not easy, to put it mildly, but you know you won't doubt what you are doing (you'll just feel really tired, what else is new).

    Just a mom === that should be some sort of title or "degree"!