For the Record 9

January 17, 2019

Robert and I did a lot of easy studying, repeating, and reviewing during the last couple weeks.

Every day, we read two pages from Autism and PDD Expanding Social Options and practiced sentences related to each topic.

We advanced to the Intermediate level of presentation while working with lessons from Functional Routines for Adolescent & Adults Home. I expand the lessons to relate them to our previous experiences while performing many daily chores.

Robert is still solving one 9×9 Sudoku a day with my help. However, there are more moments when he independently enters a few numbers in the grid. Moreover, he grasped the idea that although sometimes we cannot point to the cell were given number belongs, we still can deduce that it belongs to a given column or row.  Using that information helped Robert to enter other numbers on the chart.  I consider this to be very important development.

I brought back Take Me to Your Seat folders. During the last two weeks, we used them to

1. Add positive and negative numbers to find the temperature  outside.                                                                                                                                                                                         2. Count the percent to find the sale price of clothes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. 3 .Count vertices, edges, and faces of different 3D shapes.                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. Retrieve data from  bar, line, and circle graphs.

We practiced cursive writing to increase the length of some of the letters which Robert changes into microscopic, undecipherable waves.  There is not much improvement on this front.

We used Fun Deck cards to address among others the fluency of Robert’s speech. Lately, we went through set of Do and Does, Let’s Predict and a few others.

And of course we are still practicing pronunciation with old, huge Weber book, repeating each word or phrase twice.

we continue reading one chapter (around 10 pages each) a day from abridged children’s classics.

I realized, however, that Robert would benefit much more from original versions.

The time we study together is the most peaceful time in our home as everything hangs in balance.

However. it worries me that there is no increase in the length or number  of Robert’s independent activities. It worries me, that he relies too heavily on my support, suggestions, or even my physical presence to continue learning.

He demonstrates more drive with some of the chores – mainly laundry from loading the washing machine to folding and hanging and emptying dishwasher.

Unfortunately, as he is getting older, it is easier for me to see how many things I neglected to teach him or practice with him. Making list of such items would be much more useful than the list I have just written above.  Such list would allow me to set new goals instead of pretending to be satisfied with what I almost automatically do every day.

It is not what Robert needs most.  I know it, and he probably knows that too.

Connecting Parts of Robert’s Universe Part 1

I wrote this text two years ago as an introduction to my report about our trip to Philadelphia. However, the problems related to Robert’s ontology present themselves frequently enough to warrant a second look and more detailed description. 

When, during our trip to Philadelphia, Robert was exposed to new arrangements of familiar elements, he exhibited  the behaviors I knew from the past.  I dealt with them years ago and believed they were extinct.  They weren’t.

In the past, I discovered that Robert’s universe was made of separate bubbles. Each bubble consisted of specific places, concrete people, and a particular set of rules characteristic to that sub-world.

1.  Each person has assigned her own place  in the world and shouldn’t encroach  on another person’s space. Robert tried to push me out when I visited HIS classroom.  He attempted to block his teachers from entering OUR home.  While we, the parents, could take him to almost any restaurant, only his respite providers (any of them) could take Robert to McDonald’s.

2. Each person also had  special role in Robert’s life.  When outside, Robert followed Amanda example to the T’s.  She climbed on a rock, he did too.  She walked on a fallen tree, he walked on it too. She jumped in a funny way from the curb, he returned to the sidewalk to emulate her movement.  But when Amanda reached for the bottle of juice which was placed too high for Robert (he was shorter than she at that time), he got mad. It was not her job to do so.  Only parents could give him his juice.  It was their prerogative and their responsibility.

3. Robert could go to any place provided that after each visit we returned home.  Then he could go again. The home was the center connected to other bubbles, but the remaining bubbles were not supposed to be connected to each other.

4. The things should remain in the same places.  All things, including cars and people.

Over the years, we managed to help Robert expand his worlds and connect many of those separate sub-worlds into more complex but hopefully more uniform universe replacing narrow rules with more general ones that allowed for flexible adjustments. However, during our trip to Philadelphia Robert seemed to recreate his old model of the universe.  When we didn’t act in accordance with this model, Robert tried to remedy  that by constantly remaining us about the problem and, when we didn’t react properly, he protested.