Both Morgan and Piper have been making some strides lately in a few areas. I don't think it's due to anything we've done differently, just your basic development, I guess...but I thought it deserved some recognition.
Morgan has had what I call a "burst" of listening skills. Possibly "receptive language?" Sometime last week I noticed her actually doing things when I asked her to, especially when we are away from the house. Much of the time I feel like I'm saying the same things over and over with no response, but maybe we're finally making some progress. This is also quite helpful during the times Piper was doing the complete opposite that I asked her...then followed by a meltdown.
For an example, as we've had our more frequent visits to the gym, I've struggled when asking the girls to stay with me once we leave the gym. I am really trying to get them to realize that it is not OK to run off without me and they must hold my hand when crossing the street in the large parking lot. Last week Piper decided to make a break for it and I told Morgan to "stay here" and I ran to catch Piper before she darted into the street. When I returned with a screaming Piper, Morgan had done just that...stayed where I told her to. Then she continued to stay close to me as we walked a mess of a baby girl to the car. Then Morgan got right in the car, into her car seat and waited patiently while I got Piper situated. Wow! It is very helpful not to have to deal with TWO screaming kids at once. That still happens, but lately Morgan knows that when Piper is having a tantrum in the car that she needs to do as Mama says. She did it again today after we left the grocery store. I'm hoping this continues as it will make it easier for me to take both of them to places like playgrounds or the children's museum on my own. If there is a lot more listening and staying with Mama, more fun things can happen!
Another area I've noticed improvement for Morgan is her use of pronouns. It is a common issue for kids with autism to misuse their pronouns and call a "he" a "she" or call herself "Morgan" instead of "me" or "I." She still doesn't have it consistently straight...but there is a marked improvement. She is also saying "mine" instead of "Morgan's" when defending her possessions from her sister. So, we've finally hit the "mine!" stage. I know this is a problem for some parents, but I'm thrilled that she is using this language correctly. I'm sure Piper is not far behind her!
Speaking of Piper, she is continuing to push the boundaries of her independence. Many times I try to help her do something she pushes me away and says "no!" She has to make sure she does it ALL by herself. I can't put her in the car anymore. She has to not only climb in the car herself, she has to climb into the car seat herself. This is quite a feat if you've seen her shorter-than-average legs! Also, she is in a convertible car seat that sits much higher off the floor of the car than Morgan's does. Often times if I help her with a step of something she will go all the way back to the beginning as to do it ALL herself (such as, if I lift her into the car she will climb OUT so she can climb back IN herself).
So, on the other hand, this burst of independence is causing an increase of tantrums on her part. Saturday was a doozy as she had several major meltdowns as well as three (unrelated) injuries to boot. She was a mess! She split her lip on the laminate floor (this WAS during a meltdown), skinned her knee and knocked herself in the head with a heavy toy. All in all, the increasing need for independence is developmentally appropriate and we are glad to see it...even with all that comes with it. Oh, and she is much more adamant about the word "NO" now. It sometimes even includes a bit of a stamping of the foot! I try not to laugh when she does it.