Lauren is coming out of her shell and is becoming more social, not only with family members but also with her friends. You can see that she is really trying to interact with other kids by giving hugs, tugging on their arms and holding their hands but I think its coming off as socially awkward because she's 3.5 years and this type of gesturing you often see much earlier on in age. Plus the fact that she isn't talking and thus can't say "let's play" makes it difficult for friends to interpret and understand. While I'm thrilled that she is trying to reach out, its also hard to see other kids turn the other way or not understand her gesturing. So for now, it looks like the peers who understand her the best are those who either just know her, like her sister and cousin, or those who are much younger and seek the same type of social interaction. Her school teacher also mentioned that Lauren gave another child a ball at school in attempt to initiate play and they were over the moon when they saw this. I too was completely shocked. At best Lauren parallel plays, but I have never seen her initiate play with a peer without specific direction to do so. Another proud moment.
We got a copy of Lauren's report card from school and according to it, Lauren is doing well. Well, let me re-phrase, Lauren is doing well compared to Lauren. Her teachers only evaluate Lauren against Lauren, and not against her classmates or other children the same age as Lauren - so when they look at Lauren now compared to Lauren in September, they report she has made many gains. I guess when you look at it this way, it's always going to be a positive report...which I guess is good because I already know what she's not doing, so its nice to hear what she is doing. Lauren is starting to learn her colours and shapes. They are also starting the ipad with her for communication. Lauren is engaging more with her peers (which I too have noticed), is more vocal (agree), and is completing basic puzzles (completely in shock). Lauren can recognize her own name (shock again), is mastering her PEC book (can believe), and is starting to like the tricycle (...interesting..). We talked about Bloorview and her teachers are hopeful she'll get in. We find out in April/May. We need to continue to work on her focus and attention, it is still very short. They have now put up a blank 3 sided project board around her when she is working on her tasks and they report this has helped her to focus at the task at hand. They also tell me that her learning style is definitely repetition, repetition, repetition. Same activity, over and over again, until she completes it.
Summer camp is coming up again, and I'm planning to sign Lauren up for a Social and Communications Camp. Sounds nerdy, yes, but they focus entirely on social and communication skills. Last year, after 6 weeks, they saw no progress with Lauren's willingness to interact or communicate with any of the other campers. Hopefully this summer will be different. One can only hope.
Other than the update above, Lauren is doing well. Happy, smiley, drooling (what's up with that again?!), and eating like a champ. She continues to love to bounce to music and is addicted to carrying purses, bags, anything with handles around the house. We started taking her to gymnastics on Saturdays and the only exercise she willingly participates in is the trampoline. Everything else is like screaming murder. Obstacle course, nope. Bar, nope, beam, nope. trampoline - yes. hopefully it will get better, 6 more weeks to go...