Saturday, February 15, 2014

100 Things

One piece of Duct Tape we have applied to things over the years is RDI... It stands for Relationship Development Intervention.  The internet is chock full of pages for ABA and Floortime as it relates to autism remediation but it is difficult to find appropriate information on RDI.  You can find a bunch of links over at Kathy's Blog, who is both the mom of an autistic child as well as an RDI consultant.  She provides rabbit trails to other areas on the web that discuss RDI and quite frankly, she 'gets it' because she lives it.  We started 'fooling around ' with RDI many years ago but began formally with a consultant in the fall of 2010.  I can't express the importance of not only working with a consultant but working with the RIGHT consultant.  She is my Yoda...  

A few months ago I began contemplating the improvements we have seen since starting RDI and I began just keeping a list on my phone whenever I thought of something new.  It amazed me all that we have seen as thoughts of how it "used to be" streamed through my mind.  We have done a few other remediations including some medication however one needs a GOAL in order to achieve something.  And RDI, via our consultant, provided us with those goals... slowly.. surely.  Some of them lasted several years.  It is a marathon.. not a sprint.  

Some have a common theme and may be listed several times in various ways.  The "main idea" of what we have achieved is that change can not only be tolerated but can be good.  One of my favorite TV preachers says something along the lines of, "you aren't where you need to be but thank God you aren't where you were."  And thank God indeed.  So thankful He guided us to RDI and to our mentor.

Here is the list:  

1. I can make breakfast inside, while Kid is outside, with the cats or just walking around in the front yard.  (He doesn't need me to supervise 100%.)
2. I can leave the back gate open on the fence and he will just stay in the backyard. (Versus wandering to the neighbors house.)
3.  He can be told to just go take a shower.. and he does it.
4. Grandma and Grandpa can babysit him for extended periods of time.
5. A selected few others can babysit him for short periods of time.
6. He carries on conversations in the front yard with the neighbors without my help.
7. He doesn't scream out the window 'conversations' to passers-by (much.)
8. We are volunteering at Petco.
9. He no longer exhibits physical violence.  Even though he will say he feels like it he will tell me and then we will do something about it.
10. When he is the care of another person, for work or for respite, I don't care as much how they do their job (as long as it is done.)  I have relinquished responsibility.  This is possible because of growth on both our parts.
11. He will eat food that has certain things added to them… and mixed up foods such as rice and peas… rice and cheese in eggs.
12.  Moved the furniture.  (This deserves it's own blog post.)
13.  Will sit on new furniture.  (There was a year gap between  # 12 and # 13…)
14. Will wear pants with zippers.
15. We enjoy watching some of the same shows together.
16. He can attend a co-op class with a buddy (almost.)
17. Can play at a park with a buddy unassisted by mom when not crowded.
18.  Can play at a park with a  buddy unassisted by mom when park is crowded.  (Again.. a year between #17 and #18.)
19. He can leave some things uncompleted.
20. Changed the front mat… he complained but left it there.
21.  Many small and larger changes are "allowed" where they were not previously (except under great duress).  Sometimes there is small whining but no meltdowns.
22.  I went away for a weekend with no fuss.. no muss.  House was even clean when I came back.
23. Tell him to vacuum and he does it.
24.  Tell him to do many other chores and he does it. 
25. We really enjoy reading together and enjoy sharing some of the same points of a book
26. Takes a bit more direction all the time on things that were rigid to him.
27.  I can take a shower while Kid is watching TV.   (I don’t need to constantly watch over him.)
28.  I can drive to the corner to drop off a car while Kid is home alone for 5 minutes.
29. We eat together.
30.  Eats more and varied foods including salmon.
31. Will use different bowls, spoons etc.  Even to the point of using a coffee cup for his juice and an ice cream scoop for a spoon when all the other dishes are dirty.

32. We had a great day when we lost power. 
33.  When another child comes up to tell him something at a museum he listens and has a conversation.
34.  No longer .. Rarely.. flips the bird at our RDI consultant.
35.  Does routine / learned chores easily and willingly. 
36.  Trash talked with the neighbor regarding rival football team.
37.  Is an incredible writer.  (Is this because of RDI?  Probably not but it is a truth so I have to note it.)
38.  On Facebook
39.  I don’t have to stand behind him in group pictures to get him to behave.  (Including Halloween pic with over 200 people.)
40.  Will SMILE when I ask him to for pictures with Grandma instead of insisting on being goofy.
41.  When he has a meltdown it bothers me.. not because he is having a meltdown but because it is an oddity.
42. When I bring coffee or water to a place where there is a chance of spilling on his stuff, he no longer wigs out.  He just asks me to be careful.
43.  Tried skyping with a buddy
44. Talks with Grandma on the phone.
45.  Loves to facetime
46.  When he has an appointment at "computer time" this no longer bothers him.  (This was a “10 minutes to Wapner" thing.  He HAD to play computer at wake up and 6 PM.  It started as a reward.  Again this will be a separate blog post.)
47.  Turns down the volume when asked without resistance
48. Cheats.. and I believe him.
49.  He is very funny.  (example.. from today.. “Tell me you didn’t erase your history.”  …  response: I didn’t erase my history.”)
50. Takes a punishment like a man. 
51.  Accepts help on homework and sometimes even ASKS for help. 
52.  Rarely gets upset when he gets something wrong. 
53.  Will initiate high fives.
54.  LETS me watch TV with him.
55.  Gets stuff wrong on homework and doesn’t get upset.
56. Does school work ‘nicer.’ More compliant.
57. Husband takes kid places.
58. Joke appropriately… a prankster.
59. Uses puns and word twists appropriately.
60. Plays board games and it is fun.
61. Played MONOPOLY!
62. Walked with a peer just a few years older around the block.  No safety concerns.  (When we started RDI, I had to hold his hand and be with him.. that led to me giving him a few paces lead.. and now he can go with a responsible buddy.)
63. Helps unpack groceries the way I request.  (ie: So the eggs don’t get broken.)
64. He gets my attention non-verbally
65.   I can get his attention non-verbally.
66.  He asked me what was wrong.  Thought I was thinking heavy thoughts.  (And I was.)
67.  Compassionate when I am sick.
68. Turned around to wait for me when we were walking.
69. Kid mentioned MOVING!!  (The only drawback being our neighborhood cat..)
70. I accidently ripped his UglyDoll Calendar and he didn’t have a meltdown.  He was sad but OK with it.
71. I accidently erased one of his perma-saved shows on the DVR and he didn’t meltdown. He just rolled with it.
72.  There was no 2014 UglyDoll calendar and he adjusted by getting a kitty one.
73.  Asked him to take out the garbage and he just trotted downstairs and did it.
74 Not adverse to making his own food.. made his own sandwich.  (This one is still a bit of a work in progress.)
75 .  I took things off the wall in the living room and he didn’t notice or care.
76.  We ran out of potato chips and he didn’t get wigged. (He has one small bag.. daily.)
77. Didn’t NEED to play computer before going to Petco (an activity he loves.)
78. Didn’t NEED to play computer before going to an audiology appointment (something he doesn’t like.)
79.  Put up Christmas tree together..and it was fun.  Just like in the movies when a family puts up the tree together.  (almost.)
80. Didn’t NEED to get dressed on Christmas morning before coming down. He was OK with pajamas on Christmas day.
81.  He was toying with us / joking during Christmas.
82.  Did a 90 minute speech eval which we do yearly. Only a small five minute break was needed.
83. Audiology appointments have gotten progressively better.
84.  Playing “people” (pretend) is less static.
85. Did Legos TOGETHER.  (Still a bit of a work in progress..  It is not perfect but he joined in when I started.)
86.  Wore hearing aid that he didn’t like.
87.  LIKED a new hearing aid.   This is a significant event for us.  It will be a separate blog post.
89. New foods.. I know I listed before but this is such a huge area.  Beans,  greens in smoothies, chicken on a bone, taquitos, brussels sprouts…They aren't always finished but he used to Helen Keller his food across the table.  
90.  We can go to a friend’s house (child is 3 years younger) and they play together without any interference from mom.
91.  We go to an annual park event.  Year 1: I had to be with him all the time.  Year 2:  I had to go back to help w/ interaction often.  Year 3:  I sat on the sidelines and chatted with friends.
92. Closes the bathroom door
93.  Remembers to change clothes. (Mostly.)
94. Desires to shower more often.
95.  Wants a girlfriend.. to get married.. to have kids..  has a plan in his mind to get there.
96. This one is a mom change:  When people give kid a condemning look when we are in public, I laugh instead of getting angry. Mostly.
98.   Stopped cussing at our RDI consultant. 
99.    Wrote RDI consultant a nice Birthday card.  (They share a birthday.)
100. Sold our van!  (He was very tied to it emotionally.  I was tied to it emotionally!)
101. Got new fabric on dining room chairs.  He was NOT wanting it to happen and boycotted the chair.  But only for a day.  Please keep in mind that when we moved the furniture in the living room he would not sit on the couch that was in a new location..for a FULL year.   
102.  I left to go out and at 5:15 pm asked him, “Before you play your game at 6:00 please take the shirts out of the dryer and lay them flat.”  When I came home at 9 pm I expected said shirts to be wrinkled in dryer.  They were not.  They were laying flat on the floor.
103.  His peer buddy who is about 5 years older than him noted to his mom that he has seen changes in him over the years.
104.  Instead of believing fantasy is real, he says, "I sure wish fantasy was real." (Don't we all?!?!?!)
105. Is OK with grading on school work.  Does not NEED to get 100%.
106.  Takes initiative instead of control.
107.  Haircuts are uneventful
108. Dentist appointments are uneventful
109.  One year old nephew came for 4 days and 3 nights.  Messed with his routine including bedtime where he could not go in his regular drawing room.  We had a houseful and he did incredible.  
110.  He's making popcorn by himself (with a tiny bit of oversight to make sure there are no burns.)
111.  We watch TV shows together and have a good time.  
112.  When watching TV, he "gets it."  And then makes appropriate non-verbal gestures to share what he has understood.  And we laugh.


  1. I love #12 and #13. I remember what a huge issue that has been for y'all!!!

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