Thursday, October 6, 2011

Music therapy and tremendous progress!!

"If you know one child with ASD, you know one child with ASD."

"Parents of kids with special needs never take milestone for granted."

After my last 2 days these quotes have been echoing in my mind. Remember when I said something about how therapist before had recommended music therapy for Alvin. Now I wish I had listened a little more and worked harder to get him into it.

Let me start out by saying most 1st appointments like this leave me feeling drained and down. For those who have yet to experience this the therapist normally start out by evaluating your child and then telling you the dreaded yet expected news. How much of a delay your child has in the area that they specialize in. I’ve left a few of these ready to go crawl under the covers for a few days. But like everything else for him I can’t do that. I struggle to gain the confidence to subject myself and him to this over and over and eventually progress is shown and things get better.

This week was our first music therapy session. We got there and Alvin was surprisingly calm. He saw his teacher and could not stop grinning! We go into the area that we are going to be working in and immediately he see’s steps and a tv he can’t turn on. Oh this is a great sign. I’m mentally preparing myself for the meltdown at this point. He doesn’t melt down though. He sits in my lap and fights doing shakers and a song then the guitar comes out and he is hooked. He suddenly pays attention at least for a few minutes.

Over the next 45 minutes we do many things, ukulele, guitar, silly preschool songs and other instruments. At times he fights it but never completely melts down. He even initiates a song and plays the ukulele while his teacher plays the guitar. In the end it was a very positive session and for once I left not wanting to drink heavily.

Then is where the shocking stuff starts happening. On the way home before I could ask him, Alvin started to say "I play music with Teacher Jesse". Ok so this is good. He’s calm all the way home and saying the same phrase many times. That night he did similar things and was overall pretty good.

The next day is the point where my mind is blown. I pick up Alvin to take him to a store, dinner and then the gym. On the way out of the store he tells me "Mommy its raining outside." As I walk him to the car I’m floored but just don’t let myself think about it too much. We go and have dinner at Wendy's as planned and then head to the gym so he can get his wiggles out before his class starts. Amazingly as soon as we got there he was walking up to the door saying "There's teacher Alex!" He did his normal bouncing around and spinning and when Alex walked out of his other class Alvin ran up to him and with no hesitation said, "Hi teacher Alex!" and then ran off. But the more important thing is he said it with no prompting or cues! 

Class starts and he is a mess. Running all over the place. I go in to make him sit on the red mat and Alex looks at him and asks him what his name is and with no hesitation he said Alvin and this is mommy. Seriously?! He actually just said his name when asked!!

The rest of the class goes well with him needed only small cues to stay with his group and on a certain number of activities. When it was time to leave he ran up to his teacher and with no reminders said "bye teacher Alex" and then sought out the other teacher and told her the same thing.

We get in the car and on the way home the shock is setting in. He is actually talking and answering some questions appropriately for the first time ever! When we pull in I go to open his door and he asks for help directly from me to get out of the car! 

At this point I'm bouncing off the walls. Seriously this is a kid 6 months ago who could barely put 3 words together and had to be prompted to do everything. Even up until last week there were constant reminders and one way conversations in the car. I have always talked to him, even if he doesn't answer. I know one day he will so like I said before I treat him like a normal 4 year old. 

Right now something finally clicked. We went to our first music therapy class on Tuesday and something there clicked with him for the first time ever. Something clicked in his head that helped his language explode.

4.5 years old on his sister's birthday and he finally starts talking to us more! I can't wait for next week's therapy session now. Not that its going to do this again but the fact that he likes it and has been talking about how he plays music with teacher Jesse and gets so excited when we talk about it!

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