Tuesday, March 22, 2011


There's some wonderful stuff going on with Joy, beyond the birthday party and swimming I talked about in the last post.

I haven't yet told you about the birthday card she decorated for her classmate. Poor Joy has not had a happy relationship with writing-utensils over the years. We keep trying to get her to make marks on paper, and she would rather do anything else -- crumpling the paper ranks much higher on her preference list than drawing on it. Even so, I've made her "sign" every card that's gone out under her name or from the family, usually a hand-over-hand mark made under protest.

But they've been working at school with drawing-on-paper. And look what she produced when I put marker in hand and held down the birthday card for her to "sign":

photo of birthday card decorated by Joy

All I did was hold the paper down. She did the spirals herself, no hand-over-hand involved except to help get the marker-cap back on.

But wait, there's more.

In our computer-bookmarks for years has been a fun baby-game site called Kneebouncers. The games are super-easy and work by just clicking on the screen or hitting any key. Unfortunately they recently went to a paid-subscription model, but there are still a couple of freebies, and we made a great breakthrough with one of those this weekend. The game is called Peek-a-bouncer, and to make it work, you have to click-and-hold (or push any key and hold). Then the curtains slide open and you see a funny face and a voice intones "peek-a-boo!"

Joy always tended to get frustrated with this game, because with the other games, all she had to do was a quick click to make things happen. In Peek-a-bouncer, if you just quick-click, the curtains barely budge and the voice gets cut off.

But on Sunday, after much hand-over-hand play, where I'd help her hold the mouse-button and I'd say the words "push-and-hold!" in the same tone as the "peek-a-boo!" -- she actually began to push-and-hold on her own. Experimenting with how much hold it took to create how much effect.

Oh, my goodness.

And then!

Last night Joy's newest barista (autism line-therapist) got Joy to turn a difficult evening around quite dramatically. Joy had been having a rough time, didn't want to be in any of our standard rooms, the barista was trying all the favorite stuff to no avail. They were working in Joy's bedroom when the barista as a last-ditch effort thought to ask her: "Break?" And Joy understood immediately, and dived on her own into her bed-tent, where she immediately set to work on putting herself back together. Over the course of 5 minutes in the tent, Joy stimmed herself from angrily-overwrought into pleasant-mood. The rest of the session then took place in pleasant-mood mode.

This is something we're going to USE. Again: Oh, my goodness.

[Bet you thought from the title of this post that JoyMama was going to be taking a bloggy break. Heh. Not a chance. You're stuck with me.]


Anonymous said...

And I am most happy to be stuck with you! These Joy-events are wonderful to read! Think a need a break myself - off for much too late sleep!


JoyMama said...

TherExtras - Sometimes stuck is good! And I am always in favor of sleep.

jess said...

oh such joyous progress!!!!!

love, love, love it!!!

Liz Ditz said...

This just made me smile!

And JennyAlice has been talking about how her boy Jake is having eye contact, and TALKING!

Maybe it will be a great spring

Anonymous said...

oh, joy reminds me so much of rhema! hooray, hooray for these gains! so wonderful that she knew exactly how to calm herself. our girls are growing up, J.

Professor Mother said...

Having just come back from a not-planned "break", your title made me start to worry- Oh no! I don't want to lose her too!

But sometimes breaks are necessary to re-center, to re-connect- and how wonderful that Joy is able to understand the value of a good break! And with your furloughs- you too!

Lynn said...

I thought that your title meant that you were in spring break hell like me.

Sorry for the bed tent blaspheme...it wont happen again.

My bday is July 30....I expect a card.