Help yourself

All of his life Joshua has relied upon others to realise when he might be hungry or thirsty and to provide him with food and drink, like a baby bird I say. It was as though he did not have the instinct to recognise hunger or thirst , let alone show the initiative to go to the fridge or cupboard to help himself.

But this is changing now, with our new more alert, engaged son : last night, as I was in the kitchen making his tea, Joshua came in to check on my progress. He looked around the room and was clearly dismayed that the mashed potato was still a way off, so he went to the fruit bowl and surveyed the available choices, then handed me a carefully selected satsuma. That doesn’t sound like much of an achievement  I am sure, but believe me, that is huge: it demonstrates to me that Joshua recognised his own hunger, worked out that his evening meal was not yet ready, found the fruit bowl and made a healthy choice then gave it to me, recognising that a satsuma needed to be peeled, rather than simply eaten whole. Each of those steps show cognitive ability that he has not shown previously, in the past I would pre-empt his hunger or thirst and supply the missing item, so that he did not need to think about it.

Joshua has never been a good drinker, apart from when he was pre-school age when he would drink copious amounts of apple juice and say ” put some more in” when he wanted a top-up. But since he started at school and since his epilepsy took hold, Joshua had to be encouraged gently to drink – you could not be too heavy-handed as then he would ignore the drink being pushed on him. Even now it is better to leave a drink lying around for him to find or allow him to think that he is stealing someone else’s, if you want him to drink. But these days Joshua will indicate that he is thirsty by grabbing a bottle – it might be a bottle of beer or tomato ketchup even – and holding it up to his lips. That too is a clever ,and effective, way to ask for a drink and we always take the hint now.

These are both examples of how Joshua is changing, learning and developing all of the time, even now that he is 17. As he gets older, I guess that he is more aware of what he  needs and now he is finding the communication tools to ensure that he gets what he wants. Keep it up Joshua!

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