2011: DS' Summer of Content & Contentment !

This summer has been one of the most satisfying ones for us. Something clicked, and it is as if everything was in sync and in rhythm... not just routine, but rhythm.
(To me
Routine = a set of activities done in a similar order, where as
Rhythm = a set of activities done in a similar order, but with great mental engagement and mind-share; where there is an emotional investment).
Here is what we did with DS during this summer:
  1. We worked on the comprehension. We have a guide who comes home for 2hrs/week and works on stories with him. Try to structure his imagination to a cogent set of thoughts. Some of the key words we have used are: "What is the central idea" ? "Central theme" ? "What is peripheral ?" etc.
  2. We worked on "structured Chaos" - Take an unknown situation, like assembling railway-model and then "try" it. The key-words we used were: "Lets try", "Lets make a guess, even if it is wrong", "lets take 3 guesses"
  3. Focus on the "effort" and not "result". I believe this has resonated with DS. Basically, in any thing, we want him to try; and we rated him on his "effort" in the scale of 1 to 10; and not made a big deal of result. So, when he does something, we used to say, "your effort today was "10", and the result was "7", but when you did the same thing a week ago, your effort was "10", but result was only "3". The intent being, if he puts in an honest effort, the results would improve. I think he has understood this.
  4. We focused on physical activity (with a physical trainer - Master Jay - see the link here - the write-up on the last para); Master Jay comes home and trains with DS twice a week - not just physical exercise that helps him in his posture, but also inter-hemispheric integration and proprioceptive awareness. We believe it has helped DS stay with a conversation, make him more perseverant and be present to the situation. Needless to say, when I work with him on rest of the days, I always have used the 'effort' and 'result' grading !
  5. We worked on his independence - ability to plan his time, calendar and finish per calendar. This is in rudimentary stage :-).
We will continue to work on the above 5... We feel very good about his progress and how DS has let us to work with him, this summer. He has started seeing with increasing regularity, within himself, the ability to be self-aware and self-regulate more and more. There are fewer non-negotiables for him these days...

Self Regulation in distress situation...

Major breakthrough yesterday. Usually, we talk about self-regulation for DS while he is acting silly; Yesterday was the incident about self-regulation in distress. This is the first step towards problem-solving in distress conditions...

Here is the incident:

He has this favourite you-tube video. It is called - "Fiat vanishing from Bombay'. This is a video about phasing out Fiat cars out of Bombay that someone has posted in you-tube. I believe he likes this because, he doesn't like the Fiat car; and it was something that is deep in his psyche. The first time he went to Bombay (aged around 2) to meet our sisters family, they had brought their Fiat to pick us up from the airport and the noise of the car perhaps scared him a lot.

The poster/owner of the youtube video, had removed the clipping yesterday. The usual DS would go ahead and cry and melt-down leading to tangential statements like not wanting the computer yesterday. However, yesterday, once he found that out, he went to the room on his own to "handle" it. DW and I were still unaware of all these, since we were watching TV. Appears after about 10 min he came and told his DM that his favourite video is gone, but he will go calm himself and come back. We could see he was struggling to keep calm and keep his tears off. Then he went away for another 5min and came back much calmer...

He is still disappointed, but we believe he handled it extremely well and is handling it well now. He has thought about alternate way to save some of his favourite videos.

I hope he is able to generalize this experience and apply to others too... Although its a 'proud moment' for us, we (particularly I) need to realize its a still grieving moment for him. And not talk to him about how proud are we, as to how he handled the lost of the video... because any such talk probably reminds him more of the loss ! DM has intuitively understood this and kept away from him and taken the pressure of usual routine off today.

Our belief is that his physical exercises (the training we started with a private trainer) along with DM's internalization of Pace's approach is helping the inflection.