Ephraim is doing well. There are times where it seems like he has regressed in many areas, and we wonder when he is ever going to "get it"-- to learn the new things we are teaching him, but then in therapy sessions like today, we see it. Progress. The greatest part: we aren't the only ones seeing it. His therapist said in the past few weeks he has seen great progress in Ephraim, especially in his communication.
Ephraim is still considered non-verbal, but he has started saying a few "words" here and there. (If there is a beginning sound that relates to the item he wants/needs, it is considered a word. Such as "ye", can mean that he said "yes", if in the correct context.) He has said: more, eat, yes, no, and go, on a fairly regular basis. A great sign that verbal language will probably occur at some point in the future. This is exciting, but we also are aware that it might not happen, and so we aren't getting our hopes up.
E has also been signing a lot more lately as well. He uses "more" on a consistent basis, as well as "eat" (for both eating and drinking) and "all done". We are really trying to work on "help" as well, since often times he gets frustrated and needs help but has no way to tell us other than with negative behaviors.
He is really enjoying, and quite good at, basic puzzles, shape sorters, etc. He has also increased his joint-attention by more than 50%!! This alone is HUGE! Joint-attention will help him in so many ways, both socially and academically. His joint-attention with me is by far the best. He will sit and look at me for 20-30 minutes sometimes. He stares at me, laughs, plays with my facial features. I use this to engage him in learning by asking things like: "That's mama's nose, now where's Ephraim's nose?" "Where are my eyes?" He has never been able to point to things, especially when asked, but he has started to point to facial features in the past week or so when we have good joint-attention.
One of the hardest things right now, learning wise, is PECS. He really doesn't want to pick up the symbol, and when he does, he definitely doesn't want to release it! But, there is still improvement seen here too, and that is all we can ask for. His therapist thinks that within a few weeks at school he will be ready to move onto phase 2, which means that he will have a pretty good handle on reaching for the symbol he wants (not the item), picking up the symbol, and releasing it into someone's hand, [with lots of prompting occurring] (phase 1). Phase 2 is learning to get the symbol, wherever it may be, and take it to someone without prompting. He hates being prompted, so hopefully he will like phase 2 better and take to it more quickly.
The trade off for him doing so well in some areas though, is that he regressing in other areas, and has more negative behaviors occur. He also has more stereotypies (no that's not spelled wrong, and yes, it is a word), which we often have to stop, which is not an easy task. His sleeping habits have gotten worse, but I beleive in time that will come back around. We can only ask so much of him right now, he is is doing great, so we can't complain (too much- haha) about his sleep habits or negative behaviors. We can only work on those as well and hope that as he gets older things will fall into place.