Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to School

In 2 days, Sam goes back to school. I am very pleased with how the home ABA and Parent Training went this summer and I will fight to repeat this schedule next August. Sam will have a new teacher this year and I know nothing about her. I am preparing to write her a lengthy note (I know, I know) because I have a couple of concerns about Sam's transition back to school.

1 - When Sam left school he was on a 40 minute potty training schedule (meaning every 40 minutes a timer went off and he was taken to the toilet). At home now he is fully potty trained and if I try to make him go when he doesn't need to, he gets frustrated. He takes himself every 2-3 hours. I want to make sure they will respect the progress he has made and not fall back on data that is left over from July. The program is SOOOO data driven - for everything- and it frustrates Sam sometimes.

2 - Sam has made a lot of progress verbally. Prompted, he can say "I want ________". He is tought to understand but he is using more words. After carefully reviewing his last progress report I noticed that ALL Sam's expressive programs are for PECS. There are no programs that work on his speech. His speech therapy does a little but it is really only his private speech therapy that make him work to produce sounds. I want to request that they push him to speak a little more and back off on PECS a little. I don't want to get rid of PECS since he may never be fully verbal but I would like to push the verbals kills since he is trying so hard.

Maya will go see the babysitter this week. I wonder if she will remember? The last time she was there she couldn't quite walk and now she runs.

I will be heading back to work next week. It is always a mix of emotions for me when I go back. I am lucky that I like what I do but I miss being home with my baby. I always thought I would be home until my kids started school but finances haven't allowed that possibility.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Our Current Treatment Plan

I are trying a variety of approaches with Sam. Autism treatment has become a real money maker and so I try to approach each option with healthy skepticism.

Sam attends an ABA based pre-school for autistic children. Every child has a well-trained aide and the aides rotate evey 2 weeks. It is a public school program and I know we are lucky to have such a program in our area. During the school year he attends from 9 - 2:45. In July he attends the ESY program at his school from 9-1. It is a little too "campish" for me but the staff are all his regular teachers/aides and he enjoys it. Last year Sam had nothing in August and it was terrible. This year I fought for August services and we have 20 hours of ABA at home and 16 hours of parent training. It works out that Sam has 2 hours of contact with a therapist almost every day this month and it is working otu really well.

I also take Sam for private speech therapy once a week with a woman who does PROMPT. SHe is wonderful and get great things out of him.

We are also tyring biomedical therapies. Dietary interventions proved useless for Sam. He never really had digestive issues so it didn't surprise me that his gut didsn't seem to be a major factor in his autistic behaviors. My personal opinion is that gf/cf and other diet programs are worth a try for anyone with digestive problems but those gut issues are not just an autism thing.

Our biomedical plan also includes various vitamins and supplements. Sam takes a vitamin/mineral supplement made by Kirkman Labs. I didn't like their super nu thera vitamins but their kids multivitamin/mineral capsules have been good. Sam also takes the following in addition to that:
-extra vitamin D (his bloodwork showed he was deficient)
-digestive enzymes (not sure this is doing anything but it doesn't hurt)
-DHA/fish oil

I saw the greatest improvement when I added the vitamin D and then again when we added the EPO.

Later this week, Sam will get his first B12 shot. Cross your fingers!

All of these supplements were recommended by a qualified doctor.
-Evening Primrose Oil