Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Our version of Autism is a funny little thing. It moves in fits and starts, like a jalopy sputtering down the road. It can stall out, go no-where for months on end, and then the engine turns over and we are on the move again.
In this analogy, stimming would be like the engine revving.
Let me back up a bit. O has been stimming like crazy since December. She is a dedicated stimmer, of course, much more so than her brother. He's a pacer, and still on occasion let's us know that he wants to be by himself and goes into the backyard to "think" (his word for it). He is very aware of this need, articulates to us what he is thinking about when he goes out (generally, what happened that day at school, or about his favorite game/cartoon). This happens a few times a week. O is far more regular - at least a few times a day, usually only for a few seconds or minutes. She is a bit of a hand flapper, but more of a noise-maker (a low, vibrating hum coming from the back of her throat). Books are her favorite object to stim with - and just try to take that book away from her. She is busy, thank you.
But for the last two months, oh man. She has been going for it. Harder. Longer (whoops! that sounds like a synopsis for a porn flick). O has had a few major stimming phases before, and it was alarming enough that first time for me to see the neurologist to make sure she wasn't having seizures (first clue she wasn't - she snaps out of it when you talk to her). They are harmless it seems. In fact, I will go a step further and say that I suspect that she has a major stimming phase right before something new emerges in Little Miss O. Are things connecting in her noggin? Is another part of the world opening up for her?
I think so.
Because the little girl I took into the Dev. Ped. in November is a bit different from the one who went in last Friday. Dr. G took notice. "Wow. I don't remember her being this...engaged in our last visit". She was all over the place, talking and laughing, playing games and even trying to tell a few jokes. Ok, she was a teeny bit out of control at times, but still very different than the shy little munchkin from a few months before. This joker has been showing up at school too, actually playing with her classmates rather than clinging to her teachers. She even made a poop joke. Yes. This is a source of pride in my house.
And finally, the biggest joy of the year so far. O attended a birthday party for a friend we have known for years. And this year, she actually ATTENDED IT. Not dragged by mommy out to play party games, she did not once hide in my lap or ask to leave. She went on the scavenger hunt, played red light green light, and even joined a three legged race. Not once did she grab for my hand or shy away from the 10 mostly new kids that attended the party with her.
So are we doing anything different? Any new diet feature? Therapy? Vitamins?
Nope. She was just ready to go play.