Owned !!!!!

I had earlier talked about Master Jay (a  private instructor /therapist) coming in and working with DS twice a week for about 45 minutes.

As he was works DS out, the master typically takes a micro-break or three, to explain or let us know his approach and why he is doing a specific exercise. Once during such micro-breaks, he was talking to us, explaining about a specific kind of massage that helps anxiety or hyper-activity in these kids.  The massage was to roll a small squeeze-ball (soft ball) between the DS's back with our flat palms. He demonstrated it, by rolling the ball on DS's back. Our conversation continued. He then said it helps the kids settle, calm down and sleep better. We responded saying, "touch wood, thats one thing we didn't have to worry about DS since his kid-days, since he was always a good sleeper". blah, blah...

As we were talking, DS who probably was tired due to the exercises, lay down on the exercise mat. We noticed that, stopped our discussion and asked him - "hey, what are you doing ?"

DS responded, "I'm just showing it works !!"...

O W N E D !!!!!

To sweat or not to sweat

[Written by DM]

Sunday morning, DS rushed to kitchen told his sweater is dirty; requested me to wash it today so he could wear it for School. I washed and kept it ready. Monday DS was getting ready for school wore the sweater and felt it was tight. DS was very disappointed and upset. DS liked the sweater very much and doesn't like to change what he has been doing for many months. That too it was a sweater that his dad used to wear.

DS now have to regulate his emotions, find what to wear; his emotions should not come in the way of him getting ready which sometimes is a challenge for him. DS came with ideas, that he will wear the jacket which he used to wear to other places, he was not happy as those jackets were old. DS did ask me what he can wear to keep himself warm. I asked him to wear the other old sweater and wear a jacket on top. He wasn't very happy. I was wondering if he will miss the bus, if we will find another sweater/jacket to wear, will his emotion affect his eating and many other thoughts came to me. As these thoughts coming to me, I was getting irritated, realized that my thoughts and feelings is not going to help DS. I decided I should not let my emotions come in the way, tried my best to be calm, though I could feel few times getting annoyed, managed not to show it to DS and help him to solve this problem and let him feel good about it as DS is very much aware big reactions are unexpected for small problems.

DS was asking if the sweater shrinked because we washed it, or he is outgrown it. DS upset saw me making dosas rolled with cauliflower curry; he wanted dosas without cauliflower, wanted podi. When I told I made cauliflower as you complained of stomach upset, DS said, OK I will have dosas with Sambar. I had some sambar in the fridge, which I heated. DS said he would like to have cauliflower curry. I know all these back forth talking about what he wants to have with dosa is because he was upset about the sweater. I just reflected his feelings that he is upset as the sweater is tight. I told let me stretch it and iron it. DS was very happy and relieved, hoping the sweater would fit. DS started having his dosas, I appreciated DS as his eating not getting affected because he is upset, also coming with good ideas of what to wear. I told this is the way to solve a problem, we try one way if it does not work, we have to come with another one, till we find a way which works. Once I finished ironing he wanted to try the sweater out immediatly and then eat. I encouraged him to eat fast and then try. It was a double sided sweater. DS said he will try both sides and see, again he was coming with what he can do. He tried both the sides, till felt it was tight. He wanted me to come with some ideas.

I told if you can manage bit uneasiness today, you will feel comfortable tomorrow. I asked him to wear one sweatshirt and jacket, he was still not happy, asking me give him more options. I was getting annoyed, but calmly told I am thinking about it. You too can also think what to wear. After a while DS said he can wear a sleeveless jacket and a full jacket. I was soooo happy that he found what he can wear, I could feel he was happy to have solved the problem. This experience ended with a positive note for DS that he can solve the problem and feel good. It was a learning experience for me not to get carried away with my emotions/thoughts but to stay calm and be AT-EASE. We should now label it the "sweater problem" to use it as an example for other similar issues.

The Emerging Future, Imagined...

We had a blog called "The Emerging Future, Imagined...". The intent of the blog was imagine a future for DS and talk to him about that through stories. The character in those stories were Rahul, who is always four years older than DS; and the stories would be out Rahul's experience through life. The intent was to provide a picture to DS about what his life in the future could be.

We started on this about 4-5 years ago, but it kind of fell through, since the stories were hijacked by DS, who used those to recall his experiences. We didn't try to push him back on the Rahul line, since we found that when DS tells stories, he is making connections between disparate set of data and his life experiences and making sense out of it and internalize the learnings.

However... ;-) However, a few weeks ago, in one of our long drives, DS imagined his future and told the story. The character Dev, is a 28 year old young man, who has bought a Maruti Esteem (his dream) and he has gone from the dealership to his parent's house to pick his parents up and they are going to the temple to do the puja for the car.

Oh yes, Dev lives alone on his own and has just asked his parents to look for a girl for him to be a wife !!!

Micro Processes and making connections to macro.

A friend of ours gave a train set a ~year ago. DS had shelved it for a long time not wanting to do anything with it. We have now better counsel to understand that it is not that DS hates those things; he was just feeling inadequate with complexity - DM had very nicely explained what we continue to do with him to develop him in this area in her post.

Last month, DS had looked at the model picture and assembled the train-set. He did so without losing patience or getting tensed.

This was our goal a ~year ago... We believe, one of the aspects of independent living is to able to read clues, find help (instruction) from the eco-system around you - people, books, net etc.  Our micro derivation from that macro was, for example,  he will need to read at instructions (or picture) and be able to do as per instructed. Add to his ability of able to google, assembling from picture is the next step; the future ones would be is read instructions of the manual. He already does some of it, in cooking from a recipe book.

We are focusing more and more on the process and not results - So DM is breaking a lot of stuff into micro-process. Its like the Cynefin problem solving domain in the complex process - when the cause and effect are not directly connected. I kind of explain it as when you put up multiple coloumns, they dont seem to make sense, but at a certain height, a floor appears; then close out the outer coloumns, a building appears. For us the micro-process is like that.

Last summer, DM started on some academics - history, science, using the micro-learning process. In parallel, we also worked on his ability to cook his own food. DS cut veggies at night, and prepared the rice in the morning, he poured idli for his breakfast, DM keeps it int he stove; once cooked, DS need to take out his idlis for his BF; and pack his own lunch - mixing the rice and veggies.

When talking about this to a friend of ours, he said these are things that we did NOT do when we were at DS' age. That is the point of micro-process thing for us. We (as NT) didn't need to, because we had the ability to learn from our surroundings; but for DS it isn't that easy. We need to teach him the process; and the process itself cannot be overwhelming - its needs to micro enough. As he builds a lot of data (or experiences), we see that functional understanding emerging in him, as he suddenly starts to make the connections. Once he makes the connections, the internalization happens.

A simple instance of how he is connecting is this: DS wanted to write an update to his friends. He asked us "why should i repeat the same in multiple mails, why cant i send it to all ?". Then talking aloud,  he himself realized that he is addressing the mail with "name" and some information/data very specific to the person... and also writing something unique for each friend makes each friend special/close. Once he got that, he asked us a lot of questions around family, immediate family, extended family, relatives and distant relatives and how that concentric circle worked !

Not sure, if I've articulated our process clearly :-), but wanted to blog this.

Ah one other thing - the time he starts making connection is this - you'd really find it strange - we go on a long drive - make it a point at least once a week - usually aimlessly drive around back-roads, so that we explore the areas, but importantly, also talk as a family. DS tells us stories during these rides - the stories are basically his own experience fictionalized with different names and settings; and we need to repeat the stories; we've improved the repetition of stories from verbatim to telling the same story from our perspective (mom and dad fictionalized). We too tell stories, where we reiterate some of his journey and how far he has come... These rides are so valuable that this is where these data points come together him cogently; the light comes on !

Summer 2012 (a late post though) !

This Summer we wanted our goal to "create a sense of wonder  and  curiosity while learning" as DS is very open to accept novelty and face uncertainty, which evolved to a great experience where both myself and DS are learning continuously, which I believe will be the stepping stone, to be a curious learner.

  1. We decided to start each day with something new or fresh, and revise what we have done previously, so information overload is less.
  2. Guiding DS to wonder, with all the wonder questions, when, where, who, which, what, etc., resulting in understanding the underlying things.  The same principle for life situations, movies, reading 
  3. Breaking a concept to many simple things, explaining each, relating to some experience what DS knows or 
  4. Be aware of DS emotions, when overwhelmed guiding him to take a break. DS initially did not want to take break as he thought time out or break is a punishment, DS understands the purpose of time out to calm ourselves so we get back on 
  5. Guiding him to do a work at lower level, when he finds the higher level difficult, which gives DS self-confidence.
  6. Exploring – trying different ways to finish, like train model, figuring how to play a new game, shopping, finding a place using maps 
  7. Independent – During summer school, guiding him to make his own breakfast, lunch etc, plan his time, calendar and follow 
  8. Responsible – Encouraging him to take initiative, to do any family work in daily routine on his 
  9. His Physical activity with Master Jay gone to next level, which is getting more challenging, which is similar to going to next grade.
  10. DS is now getting, it takes more time to understand certain things, but he is more aware that the time taken these days is getting less!!! DS is motivated to learn and try his best.
This was a good summer; although there wasn't a sense of euphoria amongst both of us (DD & DM) like the summer of 2011, we realized, this was the summer of building. Like in a cricket match, once you have a great start to the innings, we need the middle order to build on it - more diligently, deliberately and consciously. Without Dravid's workman-like hard work, Sehwag's top of the order flamboyance would be of naught ! ;-) This summer was the middle-order work. We are sure, it will set him up for the win !

Tipping point, 7 years thence ...

I'm not a big proponent of Father's day or mother's day or day. IMO, its not consistent with our eastern culture, but is very relevant in a western culture, that encourages so much of independence and individuality. In any case, given that we too have become nuclear and removed from joint family, the sentiments of day is becoming more relevant...

...anyways, the above point is orthogonal to what I'm going to write here :-) 7 years ago, I wrote an article - on a whim, i had sent to the newspaper in India, The Hindu. The editor (who has since become a good friend), told me that she will publish it that weekend paper, since it is also father's day weekend. The article was published a day before the father's day.

Through these years, we have made significant progress with DS. One main concern that always stays in back of my mind is if DS would be able to live independent life. That is a constant thing that gnaws at you all the time. But there is a couple of incidents in the past weeks, that I hope is a culmination of all the hard work put in by DW, has the compass pointing true north.

A week ago, we were all going to store to get groceries. As we went out to the car, we heard the music in the air - we realized that it was "concert in the park" day, in the park adjacent to where we stay - during summer, we've 4 weeks of concerts, followed by 4 weeks of movies and end with 4 weeks of play (all weekly once). So we decided to walk to the concert - the DS of old would've felt really uncomfortable about the last minute change; but DS was quite ok - he started asking questions about concert, what it means, and related to the concert he went in middle school; then he asked me if I had been to any concert - I told him I had been to Dire Straits and Pink Floyd concert a long time ago - then came the kicker - he asked me if I had bought the T-Shirt I was wearing at that concert - I was wearing a Pink Floyd T-Shirt; I was quite surprised, that he kept the conversation so contextually relevant and able to connect the dots and have a social conversation. For some unknown reason, at that time, I suddenly felt very very positive that DS can and will possibly lead an independent life.

Then came yesterday - we were all going to a movie in the evening. A movie that DS likes, but in a theater that he hates. But I was not feeling like going to the movie - so asked him if he could change the plan and go for a long drive. He immediately accepted, but then added the icing, by proposing this - "Appa, tomorrrow is father's day - your special day - how about I take you to the movie ? We can go for the drive today and have the movie as a special for you. Also, I'm going to help amma cook your favourite chicken dish; you could have the chicken-leg and I'll just have the small pieces"...

Two  incidents that tells me that he is trending true-north on the awareness, social interactions and also being empathetic ! I dont know, if I'm being right, but on this father' days (2012), seven years since I had asked for pieces of normalcy, we're getting big chunk of those ! I wonder if we have crossed the tipping point !

Ecosystem Engineering...

I had earlier talked about how we try and use all the resources available to us in DS' learning and development. We've recruited my (DD's) family and friends to send DS mails, talk to him, give him questions, problems etc.

The thing we are asking the extended ecosystem :-) to focus on is to share their emotional experiences in their life (or as they remember me - DD) as they grew up, apart from giving him some simple academic, but real life problems.

My dad has gotten onto a nice cadence with DS - sending him mail once a week - it has been a wildly successful experiment. DS actually spends time with his mail now - opens a sheet of paper, makes key points from my dad's email and responds to that. My dad's email loosely has three parts, apart from the current status of his life - the sections being (1) sharing his life experience (2) asking an unknown question, so that DS needs to use google or otherwise to find answer and (3) giving him a simple math problem...

Here is one such example of the email:

2.  When I was a young boy  studying in the 10th standard I got poor marks in Algebra test and when the paper was give to me I got 0 out of 25 but in my geometry paper I got 24 out of 25.  So I got 24 out of 50 which is a pass mark.  I did not tell my father about this as I thought he will get angry and scold me.  I was telling lies that the marks did not come out and finally on a day he told me to get the marks on the next day or he will come to the school and find out the matter.  So on the next day I told me but to my surprise he did not scold me but told me to do better in may next examination.  From that day onwards I decided not to tell lies to my parents or to any other person.
3.  Since you are fond of strawberry I will give a sum on that:  You go to a shop to buy some strawberries and shopkeeper tells you that the price of one packet is. 8.50 dollars.  Being satisfied with the price you bought 5 packets  for which you have given a 50 dollar note.  He was impressed by you and gave a discount and paid back one 10 dollar back.  How much profit you had made.

The interesting thing about #2 above is that it serves two purpose - one is that to say everyone is fallible and prone to make mistakes, which is a big thing for DS (since he is loathe to make mistakes and that has been a previous inhibitor in learning) and secondly teaches some of emotions.

Even some of my friends have been sending emails to DS. The unintended consequences of this has been, the DS's emails to his friends are much more cogent and tends to be a lot more normal.

Well, we will take all the help we can get and we are thankful, that we are getting so much help !

DS's jokes - compilation !

One would see from DS's jokes that he loves to play on words - he still does... 
  1. Changing the rhyme "To market to market:" to  "one market, Two market" (very young age of 3 or 4)
  2. Appa kalla grass irrukuthu - Dad has grass in his legs (aged ~5)
  3. Mom teaching, Wild animals will be in forest and zoo it will bite. DS said: Mosquito is a wild animal.
  4. Dad: If you tell samething daily we will get bored. DS: Appa is going to same office.
  5. DS cousins: Do you like Amma or chicken? DS: (Diplomatically) Amma makes chicken.
  6. Changing his cousins name "Aishwarya" to "Aish-varadhu" in our language (meaning Aish wont come)
  7. While DS taking bath mom saying, "Rub your legs and hands nicley"  - DS laughing "I dont have an eraser here".
  8. At school, while playing a teacher asked, "How are you?" DS responded, "Better than you" - dont know what he was really thinking !
  9. Changing the song "O Sona O Sona" to  "A Sona, A Sona"
  10. VadaPalani – Morphed to dosa palani
  11. Egmore station – Morphed to Egg-"less" station
  12. Mom: Do you want this MTR pickle, DS: "Give me fullR pickle."
  13. What is the difference between butter and butterfly? DS: "butter"
  14. Who is the president? "Not me"
  15. Dad switches the GPS off, in the car; then DS says"I am the GPS and giving directions" and imitates GPS
  16. Mom explaining who a Don is, what he does etc. DS asks, "Do you like don?" Mom: "No"; DS says, "then you should like dusk."
  17. DS has his favorite teddy bear, names him Bapu. Dad also calls DS Bapu, at times. Once when Dad called Bapu....DS brought his bear and gives it to dad, saying "take, you asked for Bapu", with all smiles.
  18. Making fun of his teachers name Mr.Wan(g) – Mr.Truck
  19. Mom talking about helicopters, DS talking about the number of blades in it. DS asking "Will there be an helicopter without blades." Mom thinks; DS says, "A toy broken helicopter!!!"
  20. In our friends house there were two side tables, small cube & a medium sized cuboid, DS was curious asked what it is? Our friend explaining about the medium side table, there is a place to keep small stuff like remotes etc., DS asking about the small one, she said "It is solid." DS asking, "Do you call this liquid?"
  21. As Ds was going to school, it was drizzling, dad said, "Once you go to school, you run fast to your class, so you don't get wet." Evening when DS came back dad asked,"Did you get wet before going to your class?" DS, "only 1%, but one day I got wet 100%" Dad little worried asked "when was that?" DS,"while taking shower."
  22. We wanted to go to our friends place, DS did not want to come, so saying,"I can't come, I have a meeting with my friend."
  23. "Appa-Amma have cereals in mornings, thatha-patti watches serials at night"
  24. When DS and his friend playing he purposely left 8 while counting. When she asked, "Where is 8?" He said, "It is gone on a leave."
  25. Ammavasai – pattivasai (Ammavasai in Tamil is new-moons day; its also a play on the word Amma (meaning mother) - DS changes it to Patti, meaning Grandmom)
(Jokes as compiled around May 2009)

Dream Come True (Learning)

(Chronicled by DM)
One day DS came from school very excited, handing me  some brochures and stating, "I get to go in a stretch limo, if I do this". It was a school program for school children to recruit subscribers for magazines; who gets the most, gets to go by stretch Limo for school dance. DS wasn't quiet sure about what needs to be done, but he was filled with enthusiasm and very optimistic that he will sell more so he could enjoy the experience of going in stretch Limo. This is quiet unusual of DS, first sharing about something that happened in school and secondly showing a great motivation!!!

At that time (about 2 years ago), I was very thrilled we have a good external motivator as DS was resisting to learn anything new, we came with an plan of learning to do 16 (his favorite number) new different things; and named it Stretch Limo Project, wrote the list in the white board (9th Jan 2010). DS was very excited at the idea and was eagerly looking forward to go in Stretch Limo. I thought he would learn the 16 things which will create a bank of successful learning memories for him. We planned,  we would start learning from the list during weekends. After initial few weeks,there was resistance and avoidance. It dawned on me that DS is not feeling competent to learn as there were many gaps in his learning process and also negative memories associated with learning, as a result he is shutting down, just finishing that is minimally required or just plain avoidance. 

In order to activate the learning process for DS, the main things were
  • ability to accept novelty/new 
  • ability to tolerate uncertainty 
  • replace old negative memories associated to new positive memories
I wanted to facilitate to regulate his emotions, creating experiences, increase his awareness while learning, gradually reducing the guidance, making him independent. I understood the regulating DS emotions was key to reduce his learning anxiety, which I learnt from PACE place. I spotlighted the following which evolved over a year responding to DS needs.
  • Encourage DS to ask for help if he doesn't know. It is ok, if DS doesn't know - it can be learned; but it is also a process which takes time. Somethings can be learnt quickly, something takes hours to days.
  • Let him observe, show and share how we learn when we don't know: Experience of looking for unknown things at  Fry's, Best Buy - they were good places to role model.
  • Give DS easy work (which he has learnt) Vs New.
  • Ask DS to rate how he felt his learning experience from 10-difficult to 10-easy. Every experience starts as 10-difficult, over a period of time becomes 10-easy.
  • It is ok to make mistakes, which are part of learning - Share about the mistakes we and others make.
  • Make guesses without worrying if the answer is right or wrong.
  • Trying again and again, same and different ways.
  • Positive learning attitude for learning giving our best; not just finishing.
  • Change his ingrained thoughts to positive ones. DS thinks he is not good if he makes mistakes or doesn't know.
DS ability to learn, try new things and tolerate uncertainty had increased to great extent. DS is able to reflect some negative memories, figuring out how to change them to good episodic memories.

One week we decided to work only on Limo Project, which made him realise that if he does everyday, more than one, he could learn faster. During last summer holidays (in 2011), DS decided to work on two things everyday, so he could finish all the 16 which he did (20th Aug 2011).  However, unfortunately, we could not hire the limo soon after for variety of reasons - school, non-availability, time-change etc.

So this year, as DS enjoys when the weather is warm, we planned to hire a stretch-limo during Spring break.  With DD's niece/her husband, we set up an elaborate plan, saying that we were all going out in their car, that was parked in the visitor's parking. Getting to their car, we just walked past the limo ! 

As we did that, DD  surprised DS by revealing we are going in streach limo. A great suprise for DS, and his dream has come true. The Stretch limo project has created a postive learning experience, which I feel is our foundation for future learning.

A Precious Birth Day Gift

The following (between the lines :-)) is the narration from DS's mother who was with him, when they both went shopping for my (DD's) birthday gift.
 DS and I decided to surprise DD by getting a gift for his Birthday; DS felt quite happy about the enterprise and a bit excited. I really wasn't sure how he will actually do the shopping and how much scaffolding he'd require.

One evening, when  DD was out, we decided to go to a nearby Target store. However, we needed to take care of something; DD has a habit of asking DS about his day before calling it a night. We decided that we will tell DD we are going across to the shop to get roll of quarters, which is something we frequently do, for our bus-fares.

Once that was set,  DS told me, that he would like to buy a shirt for DD. He checked with me the size. At the store, DS went to the Men's shirt section; and then it was a revelation to me, how much he engaged and present he was. He shared that DD prefers half sleeves to full sleeves; so the first target was half-sleeves. Browsing, DS saw some T-Shirts and commented that his dad has many similar shirts, so ruled that out. Next step was, the half sleeves shirt place, checked the size of each shirt indulging in self-talk ("Dad doesn't like this color much,, he already has a shirt in this color, etc etc").  And finally chose one shirt.

I told DS it is my turn to buy the gift from sport section, as we walked through the aisle; again, DS was very engaged as we walked past shelves of sports equipment - he observed and connected sporting likes of  DD:  shared DD doesn't play basket ball, DD already has weights and proposed that we buy tennis balls. I counter proposed that we buy from Golf section as DD started playing Golf recently; and finally settled on some Golf stuff.

It was very heart warming to see  DS engaged in the whole process of getting a shirt for DD; and also very engaged in the process of me choosing a gift. Thinking about DD and his likes/preferences, the whole time was so amazing and would be a cherished memory ! To top it all,  that night during his prayers DS was  thankful for going to get roll of quarters at a different store ! :-). He was savvy enough not to give out what he present he got, in spite of his dad asking him (and wondering aloud) what his birthday gift might be.

I'm so awe-struck with DS's choice of shirt and how he came to it - how much engaged and present he was and his thoughtful-ness ! I've been wearing the shirt two-days in a row :-) Will post the picture sometime!

A present of Cricket bat at age of 8: Rs.20/-
A night out with friends at the age of 25: Rs.1500/-
A present from my son now: Priceless !!! 

Update: Here is the pic of the shirt...

Leveraging the Ecosystem...

As every other parent of a special child, we too leverage the ecosystem of our support, whichever way we can. We have encouraged our DS's grandparents, cousins and my (DD) friends to write to DS via email. Early on, we needed to sit with DS for him to go through his gmail account and prompt him to respond. The framework DW used to teach DS, was that of a train - it has an engine (greetings, how are you, etc), the carriages (body of the mail with content) and caboose (the final byes, etc etc). The train analogy was used, since DS is a vehicle lover.

Now-a-days, no one needs to sit with DS - every saturday, he logs on to his gmail account and starts responding to emails.

Now that he was on auto-pilot on this, we had asked my (DD) dad, 6-8m ago, to ask him some math questions, in a way, that it is not overwhelming to DS; but position it as something my dad learned when he was the same age and had trouble learning it. Thus, a little by little, DS had graduated to solving progression etc. Last week, he had solved, 3, 5, 8, ___, 17, 23 progression !! (Yay!!!)

So we decided, it is time to up it, a bit. So we asked my dad to ask DS another question (#2) apart from the Math Q (#1). The math question would be the routine, but the second question would be some fact-finding. The intent of asking the question is NOT for him to find the answer. But discover the process of finding the answer. To get my dad to understand, here are the samples that we provided my dad with:

Who were the presidents of USA before and after Clinton ? DS will not know - but the knowledge/resolution process could be:
  • DS asks us (or)
  • he asks his teacher at school (or)
  • he googles
  • ... 
How many 100s/centuries Sachin Tendulkar has made in his international cricket career ? DS wont know this; again, his options would be:

  • he can ask me (or)
  • he can google (or)
  • he will figure out just like cars sites (that he loves to go and visit), there are cricket sites too...
So, the intent is, to make him discover the process of learning by himself (functional) rather than finding the answer (skill/knowledge). The belief is, if the process is set, the learning would be a resultant.

The first installment of questions have come through to his mailbox. We'll know how DS handles it soon !


We are seeing some motivation with DS for the past few days, including the time in India during our vacation.

Once he is back from school, post his customary break,  he has been on-task - he and his DM do functional math (currency, percentages etc) and then simulate it by acting a shopping scene. He also has shown a great amount of interest in doing an online reading program ("raz-reading") that his class-teacher has suggested. He seemed to be looking forward to it and ensure that he does that at least once a day. He is also showing quite a bit interest in reading a story books - like a mini-novel - called "The Ravens Mystery Series". So much so, that DW has placed order for a set of such books !! He is also on task for the physical exercise with his Master; and ensures that he voluntarily asks me to join him for 15min of exercise on days when Master doesn't come home for the training...

So, not sure, if he is becoming a bit more aware and self-regulated of what he he needs to do, but this is a welcome change for us. The place where he seems to have shown some regression is ability to be in the group at Teach Social. He seems a bit restless and indulges some minor inappropriate actions - like laughter...

I wonder if it is to do with the change in diet !