Sunday, October 14, 2012
This weekend I attended the Hoosier Applied Behavior Analysis Conference in Indy. I may have been the only parent there. I'm not entirely sure, but I can say with certainty that there couldn't have been more than a handful of us. The conference was mainly geared for therapists and BCBAs, but I gained a great perspective about the issues discussed among the people caring for Mikan.
One main theme of the conference was using data to drive treatments for Autism and avoiding the embrace of fad treatments that haven't been scientifically-proven effective. Many speakers discussed being open to treatments other than ABA so long as there was data to support their effectiveness. There was a lot of denouncement of some fad treatments that claimed to be scientifically proven, but weren't in actuality (according to the presentations). Some of these included cranosacral therapy, sensory diets, the gluten-free/casein-free diets, reiki therapy, dolphin therapy, warm-water therapy, etc. Mikan has been working with a sensory diet for the last two years. While we've seen improvement, I think it's nearly impossible to isolate all of the different variables that may have been helping him along the way. We will still continue the sensory regimen since it can't hurt (and he likes it).
Anyway, I DO feel confident that his ABA therapy is helping him. We have seen clear gains in short periods of time that are directly linked to his therapists' outlined goals.
Eating continues to remain a tiny bit better than his baseline. He is regularly eating chicken nuggets and french fries when they are presented. Not the healthiest, I know, but I am nevertheless ecstatic about it. And he WANTS to eat them. He asks for them. He demands them sometimes. No urging, bribing, playing, reinforcing is necessary. I think he actually realized that he likes them. I think.
Posted by John and Jenna Gensic at 10:04 PM
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
This is the darling smile of a boy that has just started to try new foods. I'm not sure how it happened, but something has clicked inside of Mikan lately, and he has been much more curious about different foods. At a fish fry last weekend, I set my plate down and began digging in our bag for the foods I had brought for Mikan to eat. Before I could even set up his plate, he had grabbed a piece of fish from my plate and began taking small bites. Not only has he never eaten fish, he has never even acted interested in it. I can't even put into words how monumental this is. He went on to eat the entire piece of fish and ignored the Pringles and M&Ms on his plate.
Earlier this week he ate grilled chicken nuggets from Chic-fil-A and took a couple bites of garlic toast. He even asked me about what I was eating one evening (pasta with marinara sauce). Instead of showering him with excessive praise, we are completely ignoring these small breakthroughs in the hopes that he will begin to feel more comfortable eating on his own and not feel like it is a big deal. The toughest part of it is that we have NO idea why he is doing "well" now, so it is hard to know how to duplicate these situations. He's had small breakthroughs in the past and then they seem to fall off, and he retreats to his old ways for months at a time. I feel good about this time though. It seems different. He seems more engaged. We'll see...
Mikan especially likes the parks near our new house. One has several hopscotch boards with numbers and a large map of the United States. Obviously, these are favorites for Mikan. Last time we went he wanted to eat his picnic snack in Alaska.
This sign hangs above each of the toilets in our house. Mikan's ABA center recommended using a constant visual reminder to reinforce toilet training. He LOVES drawing on poster board. But it is expensive, and he goes through it at lightening speed. If you visit our house and poop in our toilet, don't expect poster board though unless you bring it yourself. I have to provide enough for Mikan.
Anica's breakfast this morning. She got it out of the freezer and began eating it herself. She's had a cough and sore throat, so I allowed it. I get the Bad Mom of the Day award I guess.
Posted by John and Jenna Gensic at 1:28 PM