Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy July 4th 2012

Mikan was pleased to hear that today was the 4th, since 4 is his favorite number.  He's been talking about it throughout the day.  With the dry weather this year, fireworks are scarce in this area, so we won't be staying up for any shows.  We spent the morning at Lake Michigan with some of Mikan's cousins.

Mikan's g-tube still hasn't closed.  The drainage is very minimal, but I will have to schedule a GI follow-up to determine whether surgery is necessary.  

Mikan has now completed his first month of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy.  The first month was mostly made up of assessments, and we recently met with the therapy consultant to discuss his results.  Mikan entered the program with many skills to build on.  Right now he is attending therapy 3 days a week for 8 hours.  However, we were a little surprised to hear a recommendation for a more intensive program.  The consultant basically said that many autistic children who attend therapy school part-time and a general education preschool part-time tend to take longer to make progress since negative behaviors are unintentionally reinforced (She said this was true regardless of a child's severity.).  So her recommendation was an aggressive program five days a week to build a quicker and more solid foundation before we transitioned him back to a regular classroom.  She also explained that Mikan would not be missing out on too many academic skills at his age and that they could work with him to continue developing academically.  He also already has many of the academic skills necessary for first grade, but he lags terribly in socialization.  

Anyway, this gives us a lot more to think about since we do not live close to his therapy school, and we were hoping for a short bout of ABA.  It sounds like he may need ABA for another 2-3 years (either full-time or part-time).  Of course it is impossible to predict anything now, but we are beginning to recognize how his delays are impacting him.  

So we are still deciding on a permanent schedule for him, trying to sort out what his "best interests" are, if that ever could really be determined for sure.  On a positive note, he really enjoys his ABA school and they treat him very well, with activity-based learning so he isn't aware that he is working.  I think I originally had a more traditional perception of ABA and was worried that he would participate in "drill and kill" tactics.  This doesn't appear to be the new approach.  

Mikan checking out the numbers and letters outside of the mailbox.

Mikan was sitting happily with his sister and cousins, playing in the waves two seconds before this picture was taken.  Then he returned to drawing states in the sand (which drew a small crowd of impressed strangers).

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