Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Not so lucky

We are back to go square one. One month of being on non gfcf diet, things began to go awry. It was like watching the trailer of a beautiful movie that never saw the light of day. We had a rollicking time eating pizza, ice creams, pizzas, pani puri….. The first half of the movie was racy, fun packed but somehow the second half the script began to flounder. Ramam began to get not so good reports from school, therapists. It was a huge disappointment. We had observed earlier also when Ramam was not on the diet, and we used to treat him to pizza, his behavior would be exemplary the next day. There is no logic to it as it is to so many things with autism. So the first fifteen days of the trial seemed to have gone smooth and easy sailing.
                   He is back on the diet last 3-4 days and let’s see how thing go. He already is asking for rotis, curds and pooris. But maybe he understands as I have stopped making them at home now. I do feel sad for him but don’t seem to have a way out. Probably will look at jowar  rotis for everybody at home. Recently I remember reading one  parent mentioning in one of  the yahoo autism groups, that the Ig G tests are not fool proof. GFCF works silently. Now I have no choice left but to believe it.
                        Maybe we will reconsider the diet after a year or two.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Questionnaires

As I was slugging it out with yet another questionnaire, many thought crossed my mind. To begin with, the umpteen number of questionnaires that we had filled since his diagnosis. I remember earlier it used to be a shared experience for me and my hubby dear. We used to mark it with pencils and cross check whether   there was consensus between us. Not to mention the length of each questionnaire. Slowly with the drift of time it was purely my job. In due course, I was subtly reminded that he had a job to keep. So now I take it in my stride quite sportingly.
                 Answering a questionnaire on your child’s mile stones however can be a truly learning experience. (No pun intended). It kind of toots your child’s deficits and there is no denying it. These honest appraisals help you get your act together. Every assessment shows you where the child is on the learning curve. It gives you focus.
                        After a couple of nos’ to some questions, I opened a word document and put the title as Ramam’s deficits as on 8.8.10. The good questionnaires set you thinking. Does he operate a house hold appliance himself?  No, so I have decided to start with the microwave. Does he use a noun+verb combo in his language? I found a little bit of joy in answering this question because he has just begun to do so, albeit in signs and partial vocalization. For example sing twinkle twinkle. Does he give a single word answer to questions? Yes, partially. But then again it is a leap from a questionnaire I filled out may be a year back.
                     After I drew up the list of his deficits, I also realized a 6 day week and  a 24hrs  day, was not much.The message to take home is  keep working, and  the results will follow. As the Gita says, do your work and  do not look at the rewards.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Understanding Autism –The SOMA Way

Here are the answers to some of the questions that have evaded you since the time you had a child on the spectrum
Why is a social smile so difficult for our children?
                                 I have snaps of Ramam when he was small, holding his lips when asked to smile for a photo, which means he has understood the social context but a smile is not an easy one. As Soma explains “In a social situation, there is a stimulus which begins in the hypothalamus, from there the impulse goes to the body to create physical changes, such as muscle contraction  as neurotransmitters are released. The changes are then fed to the somatosensory cortex of the brain, which sends the emotion forward to the frontal cortex where it is interpreted as hey! We have an emotion here”. In simpler words the neural pathway is a long one and a stronger impulse may overcome this impulse. The person with autism may recognize the need to smile, but may not be able to produce a smile at that particular moment, simply because muscle movement at the required moment has failed.

Why is that they display aggression/anger in a social situation. After all it is also an emotion.
                                     Recently my daughter banged the door in a display of anger. I say display because she wanted to prove her anger. My maid was shocked and told me it is not a good thing for somebody so young. Regular kids also have tantrums,and can be angry. It is a different story our kids are expected to be well behaved on all occasions, despite having a problem expressing them. Having digressed, coming back to the point as soma explains, behaviors arise from the limbic pathway. The amygdale in the limbic system is the centre for all primary emotions. This is a shorter pathway and the trigger to the neurons happens faster as compared to the example of   a social smile.

Why couldn’t  X  bring me the book when I asked him to?
                                            The failure to retrieve the book may not mean he does not know which book you are referring to, but may be related to his planning based on his particular perception of reality. Given his fragmented view, he may supplement it with a different activity. Honestly, this explanation is beyond me and maybe you have to figure this out.
                                      There are a lot of questions relevant to handling autism answered in this book. These are some of the ones that interested me.

Google Autism Search Results