Sunday, July 25, 2010

Of little achievements

We usually bring Rayyan out on weekends but with the gloomy weather these days, we decided to stay at home yesterday. Nevertheless, even though the weather was gloomy yesterday, I felt pretty happy because of the little acts that Rayyan made..

Well, first, I am glad that Rayyan is nodding so 'beautifully' these days. Yes, nodding... While this act comes so naturally to neurotypical toddlers and even babies, it's not easy for some ASD kids to even nod (Rayyan included)... When we taught him to nod months back, we realised that he just couldn't.. I mean he just couldn't nod properly. Instead of just using his neck to lower his head, he would rock his body instead. It was really, really difficult for him to imitate us. So we resorted to holding his head and teaching him to nod by gently pushing his head down. And you know what, he started nodding by using his own hands and pushing his head down!! Since we used our hands and pushed his head down, he thought that was the correct way! He really took things literally (another autism trait)! But it was really, really cute that point of time and since it was difficult for him to nod properly, we let it be...

But recently, after observing some children at AAS, I decided that it's just not proper. People will make fun of him if he continues to nod in that manner. So decided to teach him again and this time, I was a bit more strict. Didn't give him any rewards until he nod properly which is by using his neck and pushing his head down. I also had to hold on to his hands to stop him from using his hands to bring his head down. And after a few days of teaching him to nod properly, I am so happy that he finally gets it!! He is using his neck and head now, not rocking his body, nor using his hands anymore! Even though it still looks a little bit stiff and needs more training, hey, I am so proud of my boy!! And well, I was happy yesterday because he nods in the proper manner a couple of times...and like I said, his nods were simply BEAUTIFUL..

Here's a video of us getting him to nod properly... And as you can see, for Rayyan, one of the strongest motivators is FRENCH FRIES! We did not give him the fries till he nodded in the proper manner. And if you are wondering why he was rubbing his eyes, he was actually very sleepy already!

And apart from the nodding, another reason I was happy yesterday was due to Rayyan's efforts to communicate with us and tell us his needs and wants....

I have noticed that these couple of days, Rayyan kept taking the sun block. At first, I thought that he simply liked the tube packaging. And again today, he took my hand, dragged me to his bedroom and took the sun block again. Again, I thought he simply liked the tube. Then at night, while my hubby and I accompanied him in his bedroom, he went to his chest of drawers, took out his swimming gear and passed it to us! Then it finally dawned on me that he actually wanted to go SWIMMING!!!!

Even though he still can't talk, I am so happy that he tried ways and means to tell us what he wanted. He did not simply throw a tantrum. When we didn't understand what he wanted when he gave us the sunblock, he really took the effort to search for his swimming gear! That, to me, is really very clever of him and I am very proud of these achievements. It may seem little to others but so, so much to me! I am so, so proud of you little one! And yes, we are so going swimming in a few hours time!

Thank you, thank you God...