Anna's becoming more cognitively and socially sophisticated in little steps. For example:
Fall 2017 (Sept/ Oct/ Nov) on-going: Inner Conflict Expressed
Anna started having inner conflict expressed outwardly, like you're listening to the character Hamlet going back and forth whether or not to do something. It started when she started copying the father in a youtube video telling his daughter she can't get a toy (and is pretty deprecating of her interest in it which I don't like). After many retellings of this somewhat distasteful video, she starts quoting it when she's deciding not to buy something, like deciding not to buy fritos because she says they it made her sick once. It's often there's discomfort around the issue, like she's saying it over and over rather than just walking by the thing, she'll bring up not buying something 20 times, asking what I think of it, what she thinks of it, etc.
Our 2017 Christmas tree is graced by four Beanie Babies Anna earned through my "Learn to Earn" program, that encourages the cycle of "want, work, get" that productive people have, while motivating her to learn things she otherwise doesn't feel interested in or value, like my "Say What you See" program, which has successfully shifted her mental patterns to be more attentive and mentally present.
Week of Dec 1-10, 2017: Long look / Glad to Make Eye Contact
Anna, looks at Maya for a few seconds (a long time, for her).
Maya: "What are you looking at?"
Anna: "I'm glad I'm making eye contact!"
12/19/2017 Expressing sympathy/empathy:
S. "I'm not looking forward to visiting my father's house that much for the holidays, I usually get sick there"
S"What are you sorry about?"
A "I'm just sorry you have to go through [or deal with] that; it sounds difficult."
All this last week - Super Flexible for Car-Shopping Marathon:
Super Flexible and reasonable about new environments, demands on her time, and activities: We've been looking at cars - new, used, etc. and dragging Anna and her brother along with me (they're not enthused!) to have them have some real experiences doing something that's hard and takes a while. She's been going in and out of dealerships and new cars, one after the other, all half an hour from home and/or from each other, for 4-8 hours a day for several days, in temperatures averaging around 5 degrees F, largely in the dark, since it was dark at around 5 here this time of year. She was flexible, walked at my request into the new dealerships, sat in cars I was looking at, buckled up for test drives, etc. like she was normal. This is nearly unimaginable in our pre-Son-Rise period.
(The one exception: the one day we shopped for 8 hours straight (with about a 15 min dinner break), she got into one of those new "inner conflict, expressed" loops when I asked her if she wanted to eat a snack at a dealership, where they had apples and oranges, ships, juice, candy and granola bars, etc. She was saying she didn't want to get "fat", something she says my sister had brought up, and she was in conflict because I think she was hungry but felt she shouldn't eat, and we heard many cycles of that before arriving home for dinner. See above paragraph about how this stage represents progress, as well, despite it being really confusing and taking work for her to express why she keeps repeating it.)
My "Say what you see" activity is paying off - she sees and says things now without prompting, like normal kids, more often: As we were on our car-shopping marathon, and all last week, she would call out what she saw to my attention like normal kids, something the nearly never did prior to my introducing "say what you see" (in exchange for money payoff) to my Son-Rise Program. For example, she even initiated "say what you see" for money at the Nissan dealership - she was like, "Can I do 'Say what you see?'" and just started doing it, coming up with 20 things rapidly. She also would call out things she saw as we were driving, like "I see Walmart!" and "There's a Target!" etc.
12/31/17 Uses the word "obsessed" properly - an abstract term compared with usual "like/love"
A: "I'm obsessed with bread on butter". ["obsessed" is such a sophisticated concept and one I haven't used often or explained, or heard her use before, and moreover applied to her self-identity]
Barb (me): why / what do you mean?
A: "I like it better than olive oil and coconut oil."
1/1/18 Today my daughter can finally alphabetize on site, as ABM Neuromovement® awareness and techniques added to my daughter my daughter finally help her "get" cognitive tasks
During "school" where I was having her figure out the alphabetical order of 3 words, I realized she wasn't in an orderly algorithmic way eyeing each letter as she determined which came next, which resulted in mistakes, so I have her touch each word as she went through the alphabet which is how I think we all do it only we forget how because we're so fast and grooved at it. (Note how here, my Anat Baniel Method® Neuromovement® comes in handy: realizing she can't alphabetize - a "cognitive" task - because she doesn't make orderly movement, so by doing the movement as an algorithm, she is able to suddenly do this cognitive task). By the end of the page she looked at a list of 3 words and instantly figured out which came first because the algorithm worked consistently! She didn't have to do it slow and stepwise but the algorithm got her there and made it "automatic". Every time she needs to alphabetize I have her do it the long, slow way to groove the letter order in as she moves over the letter list, encountering letters in the order as she moved across it, and it's now rapid like those of us who are older and fully capable of alphabetizing without reading each letter.
This is also huge because Anna is creating a linear representation of the alphabet in her mind, something I've identified as a key deficit in autistic people including myself. We have fragmented minds much like the eyes of a fly - we have many pockets of interest, skill, etc. that don't coordinate and come together as easily as normal people do, into one self with one focus, at least in my opinion. The extent to which we can grow a mental backbone, like the internet backbone - in our brains that is the way we track time lines in our life, alphabets, counting, etc. along a single linear stream - and which helps unify our minds and gives birth to our sense of who we are as a single powerful force, begins with linearizing anything which the brain can use as a mental construct to linearize other things. I'm so excited this is paying off with my daughter's ability to linearize and index the alphabet in a myelinated (durable) mental module is exciting!
1/1/18 (today) uses the word "obsessed" again, appropriately, in a new sentence
"Hey, Mom, I keep being obsessed with My Little Pony...How do you feel that I'm obsessed with My Little Pony."
Other recent developments
Water aerobics classes pay off big
All fall/winter Anna and I go to water aerobics at once a week and more if our morning person is out, which has been a lot lately. Anna is excited to meet and remember people from class to class, who have nearly all been really friendly and welcoming to us both. She's getting better at introducing herself and looks forward to it as part of our Son-Rise® / Anat Baniel Method® Neuromovement® ("ABMN") program.
I do ABMN lessons with her, effectively, in the nearly weightless environment of the pool, as she attempts to but often inaccurately attempts the movements of the class. I help her move more efficiently and correct movements that instructors do that create unnecessary and non-typical distortions of the body, like not trying to move our arms around underwater with "weights" that we have to tense up to keep underwater, which isn't conducive to subtle movements.
I have also done mini-ABMN lessons on several people in the pool, and one of them reported going all week without falls, compared to her more typical history of falling multiple times each week, so it's been a fun way to introduce people to my ABMN practice here in Milwaukee. I'm thinking of doing a swim class for autistic or otherwise developmentally kids in the pool. Message me if you're interested in participating.
Our basic logo I created in Adobe Illustrator. Ah, the power of understanding how to use software to publish your vision. So glad I did that workbook on Illustrator!
I'm most of the way through to getting my autism recovery reality show "Autism Commandos(™)" ready to go and through the trademark process so I can openly use the name (a big relief). I'm going to be visiting people's homes with my crew and providing autism therapy and parental/ family/ friend/ care-giver /teacher coaching for free to families who are willing to allow us to use the footage in our show which will be for web and TV. Unfortunately the TV station I was working with ran out of funds and went out of business, so I now need to buy or rent the professional video camera, which is delaying the start another few weeks while I save up (after holiday expenditures) to buy a great camera and rig for the person holding it. We'll be able to do sessions within a few hours driving distance of Milwaukee, WI (includes Chicago IL) and further locations more sporadically, such as San Rafael / San Francisco CA area in March, Cleveland OH quarterly, and other locations as long as we have interest in that area.
Contact us at email@example.com with your story and situation with your autistic child, situation you most want addressed, in a brief single paragraph, half a page long. Call Autism Power Coaches LLC (the company that owns the show) at 866-MY-COACH (866-692-6224) for more info.
You can book time directly at our booking site at Power of Clarity | Autism Power Coaches & Autism Commandos booking site
I'm upset I'm not further through other projects I'm working on, including creating a booking platform that has 2-way syncing with google calendar for myself and other Option Process® Mentor-Counselors ("Dialogue Mentor"). I wanted to develop the site myself but am making myself use third party software first to know my competition.
Anyone who is a Dialogue Mentor, contact me to be added to the booking site if you'd like. I'm including a link to book directly for dialogues here, while I'm still working on the actual mentor site. You can offer hours any time of day and people have to pay to book sessions. You'd be working as independent contractors for Power of Clarity® LLC, my mentor / movement lesson company, where you'd be doing the mentor part (unless you're here in Milwaukee WI area and want to book movement lessons, too, as an Anat Baniel Method® Neuromovement® practitioner, which we also offer.
Gotto go - best wishes to my readers! Message me if there are any questions you want me to answer in the blog and good luck to those on their own journeys out of autism and to those helping them. : )