Responding to name - Back in February, I wrote about how we were trying to get Moe to respond to his name. At that time, he would respond, without other distrations, maybe 20-25% of the time. Over the past couple of weeks, we've noticed that Moe has been responding to his name probably 60-70% of the time. Usually it is just a fleeting glance in my direction, but it is a clear understanding that when I say his name, he is being addressed. I think this is somthing that has been building over time, along with some increased self-awareness, rather that the result of any specific work we've put into it. But it is great progress. It also makes getting a decent picture of Moe a lot easier.
Making requests - When Moe first started early intervention, a therapist told me that typical kids will make requests hundreds of times a day. I had a hard time believing that was possible, but now that I have a 20 month old, I believe it! Regardless, Moe would ask for help approximately zero times a day. We boxed up all his toys so that if he wanted to play with something, he would need to ask. This didn't really work. He just isn't that motivated by toys, and he learned very quickly to open the boxes himself. And since I had a newborn in the house, I decided it was more important for Moe to be able to organize his time and keep himself busy playing with toys than worry about him asking for help.
Moe is very motivated by food, so we've done a lot of work on requesting "more" or telling us that he's "all done" before leaving the table. The request can be spoken or signed. Progress here has been slow, but we are seeing improvements and just over this holiday Moe has spontaneously brought me a toy to open, led me to the back door and signed open to go outside, and brought me to our bedroom (which has a childproof lock) so he could jump on the bed. He still much prefers to do things himself, but he's learning that he can ask for help and that should lead to less frustration overall.
Spoon strike - I had completely forgotten about the spoon strike from early in the year. This was fortunately short-lived. I figured out Moe was reacting to the fact that I was always feeding his baby sister with a spoon, but that he had to feed himself. I'm not sure if this was out of jealousy or if he was imitating, but after I had him eat without his sister a few times, and gave him chocolate pudding for motivation, he started using the spoon again.
Sleep issues - This is by far what we've spent the most time on. First, Moe was having a hard time falling asleep at night. On the advice of our doctor, we put him on melatonin, just 500mcg, and that does the trick.
Then, Moe started waking up at night. Jeff's theory was that the mattress was uncomfortable, so we got a new one. It helped at first, but it didn't really solve the problem. This is something we're still working on today, although generally has gotten much better. It's one of those things that comes and goes and needs to be addressed differently every time.
Moe also started climbing out of his crib at night. So when he did wake up, there was really no chance of him falling back asleep. So we bought a crib tent, which he likes. It makes his crib a cozy place to be, and I think the zipping up of the tent is another signal that it is time for sleep.
Finally, we realized that Moe's pre-bedtime bath was actually stimulating him rather than calming him down. So we started doing bathtime earlier in the afternoon. This is one of those simple fixes that has made a world of difference.
Regulation- This is also an area we're still working on and seems to be linked to the night waking issue. Moe can be giggly and manic one moment, and melting down the next. We've been working with occupational therapists to make sure his sensory needs are met. We know that when Moe is sleepy or hungry, the issues are worse and we try to stay on top of that. Otherwise, this is something that we have to keep guessing at, and try to give Moe the tools to tell us when he needs something to help him calm down.
I'm still working on my goals I for this year. I'm trying to keep my hopes high but not set too many unrealistic expections.
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