I mentioned briefly in a previous post that Nick had missed out on a huge chunk of his early development. I also added a video clip showing two children, one who was on the right development track and one who was in the danger zone for autism. Even though Nick's response (or should I say lack of response!) was very similar to the second child, we as his parents had no idea that Nick was lagging so far behind and that the gap was getting bigger at a fast rate. We weren't really aware of all the developmental stages that he should have be going through.
It is only when I look at babies and toddlers and then compare them with Nick that I am reminded of all that Nick didn't do and couldn't do! I have a friend who has a 17 month old boy and every time I see this child I am astounded by his capabilities. In some areas, his development has already bypassed Nick's!! This little boy is a very competent communicator and it is delightful to interact with him - the emotional feedback I get from him is highly motivating and encourages me to interact further! We rarely had this with Nick and it is very easy to stop putting so much effort into interaction when your efforts are not reciprocated!! Due to our lack of knowledge we missed the chance to really work at this, however, just because we missed the opportunity all those years ago doesn't mean to say that we can't go back and go over it again! :D
When Nick was a little boy he showed no interest in looking at my face. He didn't look to me when I called his name. He had no understanding of the concept of reading facial expressions and body language. During those years I did a lot of reading and I came across all sorts of explanations for this! For example; people with autism find it scary to look at a face; and people with autism don't see the whole face - only a part of it! Perhaps that's why Nick didn't look at me.......... all he could see was my nose and it was very scary!!!!!
In my personal opinion, I really do believe that Nick didn't have a problem with looking at me or any other person for that matter. He just didn't know WHY he needed to look. Move on a few years..... My objective for the following clip is to give you an example of how Nick and I communicate now! (it has taken a lot of work to get this far - and is a whole new post!!). He is now capable of looking to me for information.. You will notice him doing a few signs;
Tapping the top of his hand means 'help'
Pulling a little bit of hair with two fingers means 'haircut' (don't know why he is using this one!!!)
Tapping two index fingers on his chest means 'computer' (this is a sign he uses a lot the moment he starts feeling anxious)
Hand to chin means 'thank you'
Waving his hand means goodbye! (it can also mean hello)
Putting his head to mine means "I really want you to go now - goodbye!! :-)
~ Goodbye...... until the next post! ~