Echoes and Soundings

Friday by Charlie
In the car going home from school Friday afternoon, Charlie was talking about the subjects he regularly returns to (as in, when he talks, these are words he's most likely to use, regardless of what he and we are doing): "Gong Gong," "I want to eat," "Portia" (my sister-in-law's dog, whom Charlie hasn't seen in years, though I think he prefers it that way). And then, a subject Charlie refers to much less frequently: "Broken." Said with just a wisp of anxiety, as something being "broken" means it's not doing what it usually is.

Was Charlie bringing up a difficult topic to test himself? To tell me, in his shorthand way, that some worry was running through his head? And perhaps, he wanted, needed, to let it out? Friday means the weekend means a break from the weekday school routine Charlie prefers: It's rarely "TGIF" around here.

While once I would have tried to "redirect" Charlie away from something uncomfortable like "broken"—in effect ignoring and, you might say, bulldozering past and over his worries—the new strategy is just to confront things head on. So I said, yeah, some things got broken, but now they're fixed, like Dad fixed the holes in the wall. And other things are broken, like the black car (well, it's not completely broken as it still runs pretty well, but only for "local driving"), and you just have to make do.

"Make do," Charlie repeated, and there was a little silence in the car.

Charlie's been saying more new words lately: That was the first time I've ever heard him say "make do." He isn't saying these phrases independently, but echolalically. His articulation has been for the most part accurate. And, from the tone of his voice and the studious look of concentration on his face, I think he's also really trying to digest the meanings of these new words. He has yet to use any of them on his own, and, as much of Charlie's independently said phrases are for things or visible, tangible specifics (like colors), they may not enter his verbal repertoire, at least not for awhile.

The little silence passed and Charlie sat back and relished the ride. The rest of Friday unfurled gently and unexcitedly, with three walks and several changes of socks, because the snowy field is now turning into more of a giant snow-pack-ice-puddle, with mud and grass showing through after the temperate went into the low 40s. Two of the walks were in the dark, after dinner with me and then after Charlie had gone to bed and then gotten up when Jim came home late from work.

In between Charlie had taken a shower. Without getting into too many private details, Charlie has, of late, been starting to learn how to do this on his own. Giving him verbal directions about soaping and shampooing hasn't gone very far but me standing beside the tub with a bar of soap and (pretending to) rub it on myself while saying "do this" has produced the desired result. Imitation was one of the first things Charlie was taught to do when he was 2 1/4 years old in his home ABA program and it continues to serve him well. With the shower water pouring down, Charlie looked at me and rubbed the soap on himself (not quite as much as a mother would like, but it was a start). I put a dab of shampoo on his palms and demonstrated rubbing my own on my hair and, after a few attempts, Charlie did the same. (I still helped with the rinsing part, which he likes not at all.)

It'll be slow going to teach Charlie showering. Nothing new there. Charlie's been sprinting but it's truly a marathon we're still in the earliest miles of. 

(And speaking of marathons—some day, one day.)

February 19, 2010
 

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Comments
13 Responses to “Echoes and Soundings”
  1. Regina says:

    That showering strategy seems to be working, and shampooing sounds like it’s off to a good start. (My daughter’s hair is very long, so that’s a complication here – and I give her full marks for staying with it, but the shampoo doesn’t always reach or rinse out. We’re not doing any haircuts just to get that mastered, so I think we’ll just be working on it for awhile.)
    Those are fine “F”s, and I’m really impressed with how well Charlie keeps those letters to the same relative scale. Kudos to him. (As for things coming slow and steady – What is that “brick by brick” quote that people sometimes use? And did Hadrian really say it? (smile)).
    Warm wishes to you for a good weekend.

  2. farmwifetwo says:

    I put a strip of PEC’s in the shower/tub above the taps for little boy.
    He mastered hand washing and toiletting routines this way. First couple of tries have gone pretty good so far.

  3. Jill says:

    Could he do a better job of washing himself with liquid soap instead of bar soap? Liquid soap, being runny, spreads better than bar soap so he might get more coverage than he does by rubbing a cake of soap on his body.

  4. autismvox says:

    We’ve done a photo strip—-pointed it out to Charlie—but nothing seems to beat actually showing Charlie!

  5. autismvox says:

    We’ve done a photo strip—-pointed it out to Charlie—but nothing seems to beat actually showing Charlie!

  6. karen d says:

    Showering is still a struggle for Pete. Good tips, Kristina and farmwifetwo. Thanks!

  7. autismvox says:

    Fortunately Charlie has very short hair—-I don’t know how I’d deal with long hair to soap, rinse, and then untangle!

  8. autismvox says:

    Fortunately Charlie has very short hair—-I don’t know how I’d deal with long hair to soap, rinse, and then untangle!

  9. autismvox says:

    @Regina, I’m looking up the Latin to see how Hadrian put “brick by brick”!
    Anything with a curve or a diagonal, slanting line still seems more difficult for Charlie—and he’s still not distinguishing between V and Y. (And they really do look highly similar—then again, the Romans used “u” and “v” interchangeably and they didn’t have a “y,” using “i” for that—Charlie has the basics down)!
    @Jill, Will try liquid soap too, though I think Charlie’s kind of interested in using the bar soap too as there’s always one in the shower. He just tends to dab himself with the liquid soap in one place so sometimes the bar provides more, ahem, “coverage.”

  10. autismvox says:

    @Regina, I’m looking up the Latin to see how Hadrian put “brick by brick”!
    Anything with a curve or a diagonal, slanting line still seems more difficult for Charlie—and he’s still not distinguishing between V and Y. (And they really do look highly similar—then again, the Romans used “u” and “v” interchangeably and they didn’t have a “y,” using “i” for that—Charlie has the basics down)!
    @Jill, Will try liquid soap too, though I think Charlie’s kind of interested in using the bar soap too as there’s always one in the shower. He just tends to dab himself with the liquid soap in one place so sometimes the bar provides more, ahem, “coverage.”

  11. Regina says:

    @Kristina – more of that vice – ad”vice”.
    Does he use a sponge? It was the liquid soap and dabbing that rang the bell – my girl did the same and we got one of those sponge on a rope things. The liquid soap goes on and then you squeeze it to build up that lather and then wash. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but my daughter kind of got off on building up the foam, and it gave a visual marker of what got washed or not.
    My daughter is similar to Charlie in that visual mini schedules interfered, rather than augmented a behavior chain (our tracking was that it actually greatly increased acquisition so we dropped those and just went to ((backward/forward chain, full task, or modelling -basically whichever strategy was working best for the particular skill) + consistent recitation which transferred to self prompts, and since she has learned some reading, written words are helpful). It’s a bit of a mystery because she picked up Picture Exchange Communication (PECS) like (“snap”). My working hypothesis at the time was every reference to the picture resulted in losing track of what she was doing and the extra internal steps caused her to lose the feel of a coordinated smooth sequence. It’s been some time and her sequencing is much better now so perhaps it would not be an issue anymore.
    I know you’re busy, so I hope that “Hadrian” thing doesn’t introduce a time consuming tangent. I’d seen it around, but suspected that its source may be “Seabiscuit”, not the Roman emperors, since I couldn’t find a clear citation. But if you find out…many thanks and appreciation, and if you don’t…many thanks and appreciation as well.

  12. autismvox says:

    @Regina,
    I always love to dig around for a bit of Latin….
    Will try the sponge idea, thank you! Charlie hs been quite interested in the ones I use in the kitchen. I like your analysis of why PECS in regard “every reference to the picture result[ing] in losing track of what [s]he was doing and the extra internal steps caused [him] to lose the feel of a coordinated smooth sequence.” I do think something lie that was going on for Charlie: Having to look at the pictures and point to them etc. were extra steps in the whole process, and steps that became a task unto themselves, leading Charlie to lose track of the task at hand.

  13. NIck learned with this taking a shower poster that is still on wall in shower
    http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art39197.asp
    Also Pert plus for men has a three in one, shampoo, conditioner and soap – Nick uses and I use it for Matt as well – although a strong manly scent
    Bonnie

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