We started with the new Occupational Therapist, Erin, today. Still at the same place, we were just working with the owner until Erin's schedule opened up. Still a hard day? Absolutely, but we made some fantastic progress. Gabe still spent about the first 20 minutes fully screaming, but Erin let him regulate in the "rice" box (basically a sandbox filled with dry rice), and chill, so he was in heaven. Pouring rice from one cup to another, an autistic kid's dream! We made some good progress in the rice with eye contact and sharing, and Gabe actually fed a plastic cow some rice (with some prompting) that's HUGE. He has had no pretend play in any capacity, so that was a big step. I have also been wearing the connector, it is what it sounds like, Gabe and I both wear belts connected by a thin rope during the therapy. Sounds like a harness but the reasoning behind it is great. Firstly, he realizes spatial awareness, hard for autistic kids, they tune out much that is going on around them; this will hopefully help in the running off department. Please God, help in the running off department! Although it does detach if he pulls away to hard, so he doesn't get snapped back or anything. Secondly, it will promote understanding that Gabe, Erin and I, are sharing an experience. We are hoping to draw him out when he plays, share in the emotion and feeling of play WITH another person. So for now I wear it, and will wear one at home during my therapy sessions with him, and then when he builds trust with Erin, she will wear it and I will observe. We also did some brushing, taking a soft brush to his legs, arms and back, to stimulate the skin receptors when he's angry. We did some muscle exercises to help him regulate as well. So I feel we had a great session, still very difficult transition time, but I'm interested to see how it goes on Wednesday. I can tell that he likes alot of it, he is just stubborn and thinks he doesn't want to be there. I feel like I'm learning so much. It's really just a whole new way of play, following his lead, not directing the play or even commenting or asking questions; he is responding very well to that treatment. That treatment model is called the DIR or Floortime model, which I'm currently reading about in the book Engaging Autism, by Greenspan.
I am so thankful for everyone's support and prayers. I please ask you to keep Gabe and our family in your prayers as well as the doctors and therapists that work with Gabe.