Monday, October 30, 2006

Zigging and Zagging Along

So the fish are no more. I watched the algae overcome the tank and just couldn't get it together enough to clean it again. A couple of days after a distinct smell started to eminate from the tank I wondered aloud to RT what was worse: letting the fish choke to death on the algae, cutting off their air supply, or consigning them to the porcelain chair in the next room. In the end the sound of swooshing water won out because I couldn't live with the smell of that water for another day.

The image of the two little survivor fish trying valiantly to escape my little green net by zigging to my zags was brought to mind on Friday afternoon when I took Oliver for his first session with the OT from our school district. Since Oliver is on track to start Kindergarten next year the idea was that we should start taking a look on what additional motor skills he might need to work on. This first meeting was meant to be a get-to-know-you kind of thing where she (the OT) would just observe Oliver at various activities set up throughout the room. The trouble though was that Oliver, much like those fish, wasn't keen on coming to rest in any place in the room where he could be trapped. So as the OT zigged my boy zagged. It was kind of amusing to watch at first but also frustrating that she seemed so inept (although she does have experience with children with autism and is every inch the caring professional) and then a little sad as I tried to imagine if this is how Oliver might experience kindergarten. But I'm not going to get to ahead of myself here. Who is to say what might happen in the next year? I've committed to keeping our appointment with the OT this friday but if I still feel this way afterwards we won't be going back. We have enough to focus on.

There are two things on our horizon that I feel very excited about: first, we have made an appointment with Judith Bluestone of the Handle Institute and will be seeing her in December and second, I have engaged an RDI consultant who will begin working with us in January. RDI is something that I read about earlier this year after reading posts by some of my blogging friends. At the time I did my initial research the approach sounded intriguing to me but I put it aside as too expensive and too complicated. The truth is that it is neither. And after testing Oliver's response with some simple activities I am more and more convinced that RDI is a good fit for us as a family. I'm not prepared yet to chuck the ABA program that we have going but I now feel that I am in a position to be more discriminating about how his program is put together.

Anyway, I hope I'm not too much like those fish, myself. I hope I'm not zigging and zagging too much here. My poor husband's head is spinning. But I feel positively bouyant and I can't wait to get home and RDI with my son. Can't say I ever felt the same about ABA.

Stay tuned.


  1. We really think a lot alike. RDI has been on my mind a lot. I want to look more into it and get started with Roo. What have you read so far that you recommend?

  2. Mamaroo: I went to RDI's website and registered and that allowed me to read a lot of the "hidden" files. There are a lot of videos, too that were kind of inspiring. Plus there are some parent message boards that I found useful. I also got onto a yahoo message board that has lots of information and ideas about activities that you could do with Roo. One thing I tried that gave me a real boost was making a strong attempt to use non-verbal communication with him and limiting my use of imperatives. I was surprised by how well and how quickly he responded to both. And it made me realize how much I had been pressuring him to respond to me. As far as I can tell RDI is all about strengthing and building on the most important relationship there is -- the parent-child bond. I guess I kind of lost sight of that in my desire to see him gain certain skills. I can also forward some files that I downloaded that were useful to me. I'm very excited about our new adventures with RDI. I only wish I had started sooner!

  3. well, if you ARE zig-zagging, then i'm happily zig-zagging behind you, cheering the whole way! i am excited about your upcoming HANDLE appointment and RDI program! sending my very best from our little corner of the autism world. xxx

  4. I am also starting to think about different approaches for John and RDI is one of them. I know next to nothing about it, and need to do a lot of research, but gllad that I can read up on how it progresses for you and Oliver. I also feel that I am forgetting about our mommy-son bond in my own anxiety about getting him to communicate like his brother is. Sigh. Also, wanted to let you know that I'm almost done reading Judith Bluestone's book and have really found it valuable in getting a better understanding of an autistic experience. Thanks for turning me on to it.