Ramam has begun to retrace his steps and to a large extent this is worrisome. (There are of course no immediate solutions in sight). He walks a few steps and then wants to go back and walk the few steps again. Last week I had gone with him for an evening walk. My neighbor was sitting and chatting with her friend. Ramam stopped right in front of them and began retracing his path, Up down, Up down. And this continued another 5-6 times. By then, I had become conscious of this fact. I tried to coax to move on but he just would not budge. My neighbor tried to draw him into a conversation, but then he didn’t respond. This friend of my neighbor, who was watching this silently, said loudly, “Let Ramam and amma have a race. Let’s see who wins the race”. And Ramam just bolted. He ran ahead of me and turned back to see if I was joining him. Simple, quick fix solutions. It was like he was just waiting for the cue. Now, whether this lady understands autism or not is anybody’s guess. Both I and my neighbor were acutely aware of a “problem” that he has and our thinking was restricted to solving it within the confines of this knowledge.
Recently Ramam met Sumathi (his art therapist, but more like a great well- wisher!) after a long time. Words would not come to him easily. He kept holding her hand, kept trying to say something, then quickly gave her a peck on her cheek. And he walked off. It is a tragedy to think at times that a child, who is so affectionate and cares so deeply for others, had to be on the spectrum.
Another interesting app for articulation is the articulation station. Lot of effort and thought has gone into it. I sometimes wonder why we do not have a sysytematic approach to problems.( Forgive me, I could be wrong).This app also lets you document the progress.The “p” syllable is free for download.When, working on spellings with ramam, it is joy to hear him say c-a -r-r-y( carry). From a non -verbal child that he was ,when I started this blog, it is a huge progress.
Yesterday, I was just playing a game with him . I just wanted him to repond to me calling his name with “Yes , amma”. I was doing it in a sing song fashion ,varying my pitch ,the sound. Soon he was also enjoying the game. Another game ,that we play when he gets stuck on a word say “panner tikka masala,(PTM) I say vada. Then again he repeats (PTM) I say bhelpuri. At one point , he repeats what I say and the game is over. He knows he has lost. He has begun to enjoy such games. There is a smile on his face when we play these games.