• Understanding Autism from the Inside

    “Academics came easily to me. The rest of life—not so much.”

Is the Tot regressing again?

TotYesterday two boys stepped off the school bus; one had no words, and the other would not shut up!

Usually when the Tot gets to the bus doors, he waves at me, and says, “Hi, Mommy!” He takes my hand, jumps off the last step into the street, and then turns to waves good-bye to his “yellow school bus; Miss People’s bus.”  Today when he took my hand, he grunted a little and licked it. Then he continued to lick the back of my hand and my forearm while I spoke to the bus driver who happily reminded me that there was only five days of school left. Yes, I wanted to kick her in the ankle. I’m dreading summer vacation.

The only thing the Tot said was, “ah ah ah,” during his lick fest. So I did what every Mom would do while the bus driver spoke, I leaned over and licked him back.

“You’re tasty, Tommy!”

What? Doesn’t everyone Mom to that?

Normally this would start a giggling munch fest where we run after each other deciding who is tastier, but this time he responded with agitated flapping and whining…not a good sign. Three steps from the bus, he stop dead, and refused to walk. He had no words, which happens when he is upset, overloaded, or heading into meltdown mode. He stood there looking up with his tongue hanging out of his mouth and little crabby hands indicating he wanted me to pick him up. The tongue hanging outside his mouth looking liking like he ate something that was too hot is a new development.

In 90 degree weather, dragging a knapsack, and pushing a stroller, I had to carry the Tot down the street to our house.

It was another hour before he regained any of his speech. After major strides in his speech and communication, he seems to be regressing again. He is losing his words often, quickly, and with little provocation.  When there are no words, there is almost always screams. Meltdowns are also happening with alarming ferocity and frequency–everything, anything, or seemingly nothing can set one off.

Today he had a meltdown because the fly he was trying to hit with my flip-flop actually flew away!

“Come back, come back!” That was all the words he managed before the screaming and melting began.

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert , contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, three of which are on the autism spectrum.
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