Posing with his bears.
Posing with his favorite bear
Ethan has been in a pretty big development phase lately with speech and language, imaginative/creative play, and emotional/interpersonal growth. It's hard to say whether this is all happening as a result of having bilateral hearing again, or just his natural trajectory of development. It's likely due to a combination of both paired with the services he has been receiving at school and through his private speech therapy. We've also been dealing with new challenging behavioral issues that have us feeling a bit lost and depressed, but we're hoping that once school resumes in the fall he will be able to make progress in this area as well.
Summers have always been difficult. He craves the routine and structure that school provides and he's such a social creature, he seems bored and restless here at home. Unfortunately, he really doesn't have any playmates at the moment, at least none that have transitioned out of the school setting. He is pretty popular with the kids at recess and is always getting notes from girls wanting to be his "BFF" and asking to play with him during recess, but we've yet to see those friendships blossom beyond the school.
Ethan is talking and signing up a storm in addition to using his iPad (Touch Chat App) and paper & pen. He will use every means of communication at his disposal and often uses 2 or 3 together, in order to get his point across. He is starting to say more than just "I want..." and is making the occasional comment now. Last week when we were swimming, he looked at the sky then signed to me "sun hot hurt eyes", which totally blew me away. That's making conversation! That's also a lot of words to string together!
He has been obsessed with his stuffed bear lately, which has been pretty cute. I've been told that kids with autism generally do not display imaginative/creative play skills, which is a critical component to learning about the world. I'm not so sure if that is true since the autism spectrum is so broad and no 2 kids on it seem alike, but it couldn't be further from the truth for Ethan. He has that bear doing everything. Bear goes everywhere, shares meals, gets tickled by Ethan, plays hide and seek, acts silly, pets the cat, drives our cars, etc. Ethan loves nothing more than to stage photos of his bear and sometimes, as in the picture above, he just likes to hang with bear and hold hands. It's pretty darn sweet.
All in all, there's lots of good stuff going on here. Ethan has summer school 2 days a week from 9-11, which really isn't much, but it's enough to make him happy and gives me a chance to run errands and get some alone time. Still, I'm counting down the days that he is back in school. He's so much happier and more emotionally stable in that routine, and so am I.