Well, we made it through Thanksgiving and have knocked out almost all our Christmas traditions (train of lights, Deacon Dave’s house) with little incident. Leila has definitely gotten used to being at home most of the time and is most comfortable here. Well, I have gotten used to it to. The more time we spend here the more stressed I become when going to other houses. Here at our house Leila is free to move around and explore without hurting herself or other things. I worry what other people think about Leila. She’s taken to screaming randomly as a self stimulant so that can take people by surprise. I’ve found these little autism awareness cards you can hand out if people stare or make rude comments. Basically saying, my child has autism, your comments/staring are rude, these are the characteristics of autism, educate yourself. Our supervising ABA therapist, Natalie, also suggested that if I am worried some of her clients put their children in an autism awareness shirt and she says this changes how people look at you and your child. So I’ve looked at some shirts and plan to buy soon!
Recently, Leila has taken off on me and other people have had to tell me where she is. We where in Kohl’s and she took off out the double doors. Lucy thankfully ran over yelling, “Emergency, emergency Mommy!! Leila ran out the doors!” I ran outside in the middle of checking out and an older woman was walking Leila back in. Thank goodness Leila followed this woman freely back to the store, I could just see the woman trying to bring her back in and Leila tantruming in the middle of the parking lot. Another time we were picking out our Christmas tree, I thought both Lucy and Leila were following behind me to the car. I turned around and Leila was gone. She had run across the Home Depot parking lot to look at flowers. Thankfully, a man and woman that had been in the tree lot saw me turning frantic and pointed to where Leila was standing. SO… Lucy desperately wants a dog. I think Leila would really benefit from a dog. I thought okay, I will get an older dog, already potty trained, great with kids. Well, I did some more research and found out that no matter if a dog is great with kids if they are not used to the type of tantruming Leila does they could either react aggressively or run away scared. Not really what I want to add to the situation. So I looked around some more and found a ton of sites that train dogs especially for autistic children. Dogs that can track your child if they disappear or are trained to alert you if they start to stray! They are trained to be around screams and crying and not stress about it. These dogs can help autistic children stay calm, create confidence and affection!! So I’m going to start looking seriously into it… if our school district allows it, if Lucy can be equally involved in the care of the dog, do I go with a site were we have to raise money or do we get on a waiting list? Stuff like that.
Otherwise, Leila continues to improve in her communication. She labels things independently now. Meaning, I don’t have to ask her and she’s not repeating something I said. For example, she will watch a movie like Wizard of Oz and point out and say, flowers, water, bubble, and puppy. She constantly is asking to be picked up by saying “want up”. She also uses “look” and “need help” a lot to communicate with us. She can also tell me “drink” when she is thirsty. These have really helped with tantrums. Well, we still have tantrum issues, like tonight trying to put Leila in her pajamas she completely melted down and then promptly passed out when laid down in bed. That girl LOVES to be naked! Haha! I can laugh about it now but when she’s screaming bloody murder and throwing her head back or kicking me it’s not so funny. We are also running into sharing and taking turn problems lately but I think most 2 year olds have this problem! Lucy is very helpful. She’s like a little ABA therapist, constantly forcing Leila to engage and even trying to run some therapy programs with Leila. It’s pretty funny! Lucy tries to play with Leila more and that’s fun to see, they like to both hide in the cabinets under the fish tank. Lucy will knock on the wall and Leila will say “hello!”… it’s really cute.
We have a couple parties this Saturday, pretty much back to back. I am hoping that Leila does well and that I do not stress out. Both parties will have a lot of people there!! Wish us luck!