Thursday, January 2, 2014

Small wonderful changes (Thank you, Kerri Rivera!)

Eye contact has been great!
There’s a huge snow storm outside our window and I bet most people probably stayed home this very cold Thursday.  Dante is napping and I at last have a short break to write about the good things we are seeing.  There are good reasons to be hopeful for 2014 at our home!

We started Dante on Kerri Rivera’s protocol for autism during September.  I’m happy to report that as the weeks pass we have more good things and less bad things.  If you recall, Dante’s ATEC score was 99 when we began.  Now I will summarize some of the dramatic changes we have seen.  I don’t mean to exaggerate on what I’m reporting either.  Everyone who knows someone in the spectrum understands how much more PEACE even a small improvement can bring.  That is why any small change is HUGE in our world. Here are a few examples of the small and wonderful changes we have seen:

Hey! I didn't have to cut his hair in our backyard!
Early in December, Dante was able to get a decent haircut with my stylist.  That is the first time in 7 years we have been able to do this.  Not counting the one time a lady tried to cut his hair and nearly had a heart attack when Dante headbutted his head straight into the scissors.  There was no blood or cut that time, but a very frazzled stylist and two very apologetic grandmas.  This time around he did bounce around quite a bit, but Tim got the job done and Dante was very proud.  You can see the results for yourself.

Dante has also been showing quite a bit of initiative feeding himself!  Up to this point, my son has barely used his hands for anything so this is quite an achievement.  We’re working on scooping up the food as well, but the part of bringing the spoon to mouth is going very well.

Not only is he listening to long chapter books, but just today Dante was enjoying new TV shows patiently paying attention.  He’s also sitting to watch TV rather than walking around the whole time.
Sitting comfortably to enjoy his show.
Dante has shown a very good disposition towards answering questions related to reading or other things.  Here the question was:  "What planet do we live in?" after reading There's no place like Space!

We have also enjoyed so much Dante’s new friendship with Dandy, the Scottish Terrier at the house where he gets dropped off after school.  Dandy has always taken care of Dante, but it wasn’t until recently that my boy began to reciprocate.  Dante would always push Dandy away when the dog came to play.  Now they are friends and they play together.  That is huge!

Dante pets his friend, Dandy
This past week I filled out the ATEC once again, focusing on the best days we've had while on this protocol.  Since the kids are healing, their scores will fluctuate based on how they are feeling and doing on any given day.  My son has not had a tantrum in at least a week or more.  He also hasn't been bouncing -- which he could easily do 20 to 40 minutes at a time.  He sat with me during a visit with friends, very content the whole time.  He has just been calm, loving, content, and communicative (not always verbally yet).  Taking all of that into account the latest ATEC score this past week resulted in a 60.  WHAT????  a 39 point drop in 3.5 months? Well, I would say that those 39 points are mostly the gap between a child who was feeling horrible and now a child who is feeling pretty good.  Not perfect, but pretty good.  I'm not claiming he's arrived at a 60 and staying there, either.  I know the score will go up and down, with a downward trend hopefully.  Still, it is a very bright light at the end of our tunnel.  Wouldn't you say?

Please, wish us more improvements!!!