On Constant Worries and Sudden Gratifications

A few days of worries.  On Thursday, I picked Robert from school because he got sick.  Of course, he did not want to go home in the middle of the day as it was a clear break in the routine and thus reason for heightened anxiety.  So Robert protested.  He wanted me to go home and he wanted to go on a school bus.  Similar thing happened a year before at Bridge Center.  You could either convince him to go home or to wait with him for a bus.  Except when he is already agitated, convincing him is hardly possible.

He HAD to eat his lunch despite upset stomach. He had to fill his daily form – rigid ritual of copying names of activities completed that day  from the strips with pre-written short phrases.   The only original sentence was the one suggested to Robert by his aide. As  the last activity Robert wrote: I got sick. 

He slept most of the afternoon.  When he woke up in the evening, he started making noises.  Something I don’t remember him doing for a very long time.  I worried.  Was he not feeling well?  Was he anxious about something?  Was he telling me something or was he retreating into the world that was inaccessible to me?  Was that in any way a result of my screaming at him the previous evening?

He couldn’t sleep during the night, and continued to make noises.  I let him sleep long into Friday, not sending him to school.  When he woke up, he did not ask for school and seemed rather happy.  So we worked together on analogies, Venn Diagrams, and problems requiring logical application of language concepts. Every time  Robert place an element in one of the Venn’s sets  he had to tell either  an X is a Y or an X is not a Y. For instance, “A hummer is a tool” or  “A feather is not a tool.” He also had to tell in which way the words in analogy related to each other.

In the past, I found out  that the best approach to Robert making inarticulate sounds, was to tell him, “I noticed that you want to talk, so let’s talk.” After a few times of “talking” either by repeating separate sounds, the whole words, or short phrases, the frequency and the duration of vocalization decreased or disappeared completely.

What was different this time was that the sounds seemed to indicate either sadness, anger, or pain.

Nonetheless working together seemed to distract Robert  for a while.  Later, we went to the store, where he behaved very appropriately. The noises were gone.  He found all three ito look for bar code to scan each item.

The rest of afternoon Robert spent watching Netflix on his IPAD. From time to time, I heard his vocalizations and I worried.

On Saturday morning he was still making “sounds” .  I was not sure if he should go to his Saturday Program at Bridge Center.  But that was the last session this spring and he really wanted to go.  He was tense in the car.  When he made noises I asked him to repeat after me ten words.  He did. Then I turned on the music.  That seemed to relax him.

I forgot to mention that on all three of those days he asked for his dad, who went to New York on business trip and for his sister who had been in France since end of May. Was he making noise to express his longing for them?

He asked for them again.  He was happy when I reminded him that after Bridge Center we would go to New York to pick up dad and grandma.

Still, I was concerned leaving him at the program.  Four hours later I picked him up.  Claudia told me that Robert was using  whole phrases or short sentences to communicate. That was a new development.  Usually, Robert attempts to communicate by repeating quickly the same word many times. Only those who know him well, can recognize that word.  Sometimes.

It was rewarding to hear that.  I began to believe that the recent emphasis on language in our daily work somehow has started to pay off.   So on the way to New York, we did a lot of “talking” interspersed by listening to music and  to “traffic and weather together”.  After we came to his grandma’s apartment, Robert with his dad went for a walk along Hudson River.  He still was making noises, but somehow my insincere offer, “Let’s talk” calmed him immediately.

This morning he went for a walk in Central Park, then we drove back to Massachusetts.  On the way home, we did just a little, soft “talking”.  We did not want to bother other passengers.  Robert was busy with his IPAD, but let me use it to find a GPS position of our car when we decided to leave the highway.  (Dad was driving.) With fleeting interest, he  watched the picture of our car moving through the roads as seen from the satellite. Not bad for the first time.

When we got home, Robert, as always, unpacked our suitcases. He left clothes in the laundry room, placed medicines in the medicine cabinets, and carried toiletries to the bathroom.  He also folded laundry I had made before the trip.  I cooked dinner.  After we ate and I washed the dishes, I went to laundry room to turn on the washing machine.

There was no dirty laundry on the floor.  The dark clothes waited in the drier to be taken out.The lightly colored clothes  in the washing machine waited for their turn to dry.

In our home only two people do laundry.  Robert and I.  I did not do it.

He did!

I just don’t know who  taught him to separate light clothes  from dark?

And when?

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1 Comment

  1. Jean

     /  June 17, 2013

    Hope Robert is feeling better, and I loved that he sorted and started the laundry without prompting.


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