Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A fractured brain

Brains fascinate me. Especially the brain of one particular child, Emeric. If someone granted me one wish it would be that I could get inside Emeric's head and figure out how his brain works. This kid puzzles me and puzzles all his therapists. Some of his therapists have been with him for 2 years and aren't any closer to understanding how to get through to him, how to help him understand and learn.

Emeric learns atypically. Whereas a typical child grows up and learns without much effort really from the parents Emeric does not. Emeric has to be taught. Most kids learn from watching their parents. Emeric does this too but it takes intentional, focused, and lengthy teaching for him to learn it.

Emeric's therapists might teach him how to do something or what something is for and he might do it. Once. And that's it. It's as if his brain completely erased the memory of how to do what they'd asked. Or he just doesn't see the point in doing it, who knows.

He doesn't really seem to be bothered with things like pleasing people and I feel like this hinders his ability to follow directions and to learn. A lot of children want to please you so they'll do what you do to get a reaction. Emeric does this sometimes but not often. If his therapists hand him a toy to get him to mimic what they just did he'll usually throw it. Or he'll hit them.

I realize that makes him sound like a brat and since he's nearly 3 it would seem that he should "know better" and just listen. While those things sound nice on paper they aren't true for Emeric. He doesn't think like a 3 year old and while he definitely has times where his defiance is intentional and intended for disobedience most of the time he just doesn't seem to see the connection between being asked to do something and actually doing it. The "good job's" and "way to go's" aren't as much of an incentive as they are for typical kids.

Some days Emeric's brain seems to function pretty well and other days his brain seems to have said, "See ya, I'm taking the day off!".

So, since I'm at a loss as to how to really continue helping him learn I made an appt. with a specialist in Duluth. She actually works out of a free clinic and will do a consultation for us. She specializes in Autism and Autistic like disorders and will see him in August.

In the meantime I decided to start using the PECS book I made for him a bit more and using social stories to try to get some basic understanding of things like not hitting, not throwing toys, etc. down.

Wish us luck! With his attention span(or lack of) we need all the luck we can get! :)


ben and erin said...

i guess i never thought of that aspect of his sickness. that must be SOOO frustrating for you. today i'm praying patience for you! and that the specialist will be able to help!

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