Well it has been quite some time since I have blogged about anything. In that time so much has been happening. Jacob has seen so many new providers since my last post. We are now using a high tech augmentative communication device on loan to us from the wonderful people at Easter Seals. We will be renting one from AMDi after the loan period is finished. Jessica our incredible SLP at Boston Children's has helped us program it and Jacob seems to really enjoy having a 'voice'. Of course with a 'voice' come new demands. Before there would be tantrums with an unknown cause. Now we have meltdowns when Jake has hit the "I want" and "doritos" button for the 20th time in an hour. Or at school when I neglected to keep the device from navigating to the "I want to watch a movie" and all of the "movie choice" icons while he is in school mode. So now reason is shown to be behind the protests. Now we can see the thought process. Now we have to realize that desires can be spoken and not all desires can be satisfied. Now we have to have a behavior plan.
And on that note Jacob has also started taking a very low dose of Zoloft in an effort to ease some of his anxiety. Now as a nurse I know it takes weeks for Zoloft to be therapeutic even at adult doses and his dose is near microscopic but I swear I already see improvements. Jacob seems to be responding to his name more quickly when spoken to. He seems to notice his surroundings more thoroughly. His eye contact seems improved in frequency and duration. He has always had good eye contact when compared to other autistic children but now seems even better able to focus. He seems less averse to tooth brushing, toileting and other sensory stimuli. I am not saying these have improved to perfection...or that Zoloft is the sole reason for this but I do believe it has helped. I cannot describe the difference I see in him other than that I see a 'spark' a 'flicker' under the surface that was dull and infrequent before but seems to be growing more constant and bright.
Life is now more complicated with a child who can 'demand' things, specific things and whose curiosity for life has now grown but I would gladly repeat 'no' a thousand times per day for his requests and erase the pen marks on my walls (he has discovered he can write) then to ever go back or dim this new spark. Now I have to convince the school staff that this new frontier of defiance and adventurousness is a good thing.