• Attendance

    October 2011
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  • The “Class”

    Avery, Naim, Aaron

  • Subjects

  • Portfolio

Halloween

Halloween was more entertaining than school-y, but I just want to add my Avery observations.

It is the first time I have had Avery at the Children’s Museum since the time in the summer when it was sort of my last straw about the fact that something was WRONG. And Nik and I both agreed that it looked a hell of a lot like Autism of some sort. Besides the delay in language, and the fact that he just didn’t seem to understand anything we said, he just didn’t play like a normal kid. He sort of obsessively went back and forth between two similar activities, most involving wheels or steering wheels. He didn’t seem to care about me, the other kids, or much of the stuff going on around him. He was very closed off, almost impossible to communicate with and just operating on a really simplistic and perseverating level.

It has been about three months, and although he still isn’t in the developmental norm, the difference has been pretty outstanding. Today, he stuck by me a lot, but he interacted with everything and seemed a lot more like a normal toddler playing. He still doesn’t “cover the ice surface” so to speak and check everything out like a lot of kids do, but his circle has expanded and he is much more willing to try new things. He also seems to understand the context of things more, like grocery shopping or playing with a stuffed dog. There was still some obsessing with wheels, like he spent a ton of time turning these wheels that turned these lego castle displays around, but he also went over and tried the slide, built for a few seconds with giant lego blocks, and looked around at what else was out there. He still has quirks, like he went around and became obsessed with all the hinges in the doors. He stole a small screw that came out of a hinge in a small gate and would not let it go. But he was much easier to distract and get interested in something else. He went crazy with Naim in the theater and loved the xylophone, something that I could not get him interested in before. (Before, when I took him to the theater, he walked back and forth, back and forth across the stage nonstop.) This time, he played with the xylophone and ran around on stage with Naim.

He is also understanding a lot more. His talking is not making any great leaps, but his receptive communication is obviously improving. He kept trying to stand up in his high chair there, and I was across the table from him so couldn’t readily reach him. I told him “Avery, sit down.” And he did. Not just once but three separate times. He also seems to have gotten “bye bye” back and said it multiple times to kids who came to the door for trick or treating. We took him trick or treating for just a block or so before sending him home, and he didn’t get it at first, but he seemed to get the program by about the fourth or fifth house. This “getting the context” is not something he could do just a couple of months ago.

I really am starting to think that he was just sick for most of his life due to lactose intolerance and that made him grumpy, lethargic, and not really motivated to learn anything. I can’t say for 100% yet that he doesn’t have autism, but I’m glad I thought he did because I read a bunch of books about autism research, especially in regards to organic or medical causes and this is what made me try diet changes such as limiting gluten, lactose, etc. 3/4 of the planet is lactose intolerant, although mostly not white Europeans. However, it is not unbelievable to think that it could happen to one of my kids. And in Avery’s case, I have read that Finland has a particularly high incidence of congenital lactose intolerance. And Nik always reminds me that although Gotland is politically Swedish, Gotlandish is an ethnicity all of its own with roots more in Denmark, Finland and Estonia than Sweden. So, who knows? though I still haven’t quite figured out if this is pure lactose intolerance or more of a dairy allergy. I also am glad that Naim has been able to develop this friendship with Ruoda (who they went trick or treating with–she was a solar system!) because like most Asians, she is lactose intolerant and I have learned a ton about replacing dairy from talking to her mom and also how Ruoda acts when she does have dairy. It was like a lucky accident to have her around so much this summer and fall.

So, we shall see. It does seem like he is in a happy place developmentally right now and though still catching up and moving slowly, at least he is moving. It was like I had a huge, crabby 11-month old for a year and now I’m finally seeing signs that I have a toddler.

Okay, that’s it except pictures:

(Aaron was the skeleton he didn’t get to trick or treat in last year. Naim went as ME! Naim with his own clothes for a costume. An attempt was made for Avery to wear one of the old fire engine costumes but he had a shit fit and refused, so I guess he went as “Avery.” )

Still can't pass by a steering wheel.

Dwight showed up as we reached the last house for trick or treating. Kids were happy. He made a "bionic leg" out of his prosthesis.

Pumpkins! Avery painted his little one, but it didn't stick well.

Loved the xylophone.

He didn't get the vet, but he got that this was a dog (or animal that he wanted to pet and hug) and he took it to their little "outside" area and sat down and petted it.

Abstract, buildy stuff like this he would never have been interested in just two months ago.

Found the things with wheels. He did stay at this table and played with those toys the entire time he was in the baby garden.

"Avery, sit down!" and he did.

One of my attempts to take a picture of all three at once. Sigh.

People say having older siblings slows down development, which may be true a bit in regards to language, but Avery needs his brothers. They give him context, they model how to play with different things, they get him interested and excited about things. They have been involved in helping him break out of his inner world as much as I have.

Naim breaking down and deciding a costume would be ok for Halloween, for just a minute.

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