Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Reference - The Fabric of Autism

I have not finished reading this book yet, but I have found that some of the descriptions in this book describe Gabe. The book is -

The Fabric of Autism, Weaving The Threads into A Cogent Theory, By Judith Bluestone (2005) Sapphire Enterprises, LLC

In chapter 4 the author talks about hypersensitive and hyposensitive. An autistic child may feel so intensely that the feelings need to be blocked. That would explain why Gabe can't always tell if clothing hanging on the line in the back yard is wet or dry. There have been times when we were taking down clothing that was dry and filling the empty space with a wet item. I looked over just in time to see Gabe following behind taking down the wet ones that were just hung up. "Don't take down the wet ones," I said.
"What wet ones?" he responded.
"If they feel wet, just leave them on the line," I repeated myself.
"What wet?" was his response.
"I'll tell you what ones to take down," I said as I quickly checked several items. How can a person not know if an item is wet or dry I wondered. I'm not asking him to check seams for dampness, just don't take down the obviously wet ones.

In chapter 6 Muscle Tone and Readiness to Respond, the author describes learning to talk. She memorized scripts from TV and radio and practiced these over and over. "I marvel at how natural and easy it is for most people to tune their vocal cords, and to coordinate the movements of tongue and jaw and vocal cords and lungs to speak. And to do this without apparent thought and withour needing to lean on somethin for security. How can they still be upright?
"Before I turned 10, I learned to control sequence of tension and relaxation in these muscles, most of which I cannot see even if I look in a mirror. I produced speech sounds....I practiced incessantly, making up tongue twisters and singing along with the commercials on the radio:" (p 63).

This explains Gabe's 'need' to watch movies, the same ones over and over and then shout out the lines, sometimes at very inappropriate times. On page 64 the author explains how the use of a certain phrase from a movie will set off a major section of the script that follows that line running through her head and frequently out of her mouth. She laments that life does not follow a script. It would be so much easier that way.
I can see this desire to follow a script in Gabe. In fact when he first began to watch Wheel of Fortune he was confused. Game shows follow a format and have many lines that are repeated with each show, but then the puzzles are all different. There are different contestants each show, and while Pat Sajak interviews them at the same point in each show there is no predictable script for those interviews.

I look forward to the rest of the book. I have just begun some of the therapies. It is only a few days until school starts. I don't know how it will go, but in as much as the gluten and dairy free diet has helped, it has not been a cure all. I am still looking for additional help. I would like to see how close to 'normal' we can get.
I was a bit upset by the school psychologist last year who said, "just face it, he's retarded. He's always going to be, so nothing much is going to change it. She had only known Gabe for part of a school year. Why give up so quickly? She might be right, but we won't know unless we try. Also, I think that moving from significantly delayed to slightly delayed or whatever improvement we get is -well- an improvement.

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