Sunday, April 27, 2014

Max's Favorite App

This is Endless Alphabet.

It's Max's favorite app. And it's brilliant.

Max has difficulty talking. He is still developing speech and language. It's hard to communicate with him. But when he plays Endless Alphabet his face lights up and I know he's having fun and learning.

Max can't say many words, but he now knows about 20 letters and can identify them on command. He points out his favorite letters to us all the time.

Endless Alphabet is made by Originator. They make a bunch of great apps for kids. Check them out.

Note: I swear I'm not being paid to promote this app. I just really like it.

Another Note: As a professional illustrator I really appreciate how well designed and animated the whole thing is. So many apps for kids are ugly garbage. This whole app is beautiful. So much personality in the characters too.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Max's Person

Max has a person and that person is Will.  

It is more than just a bond between father and son.  Max looks for Will in all aspects of life.  Will calms him down, dresses him, changes his diapers, swims with him, wrestles him and puts him to bed.  Will is basically SuperDad. I could do these things and I do when Will isn't available.  But time and time again Max has a panic attack and a huge tantrum when Dad isn't available.

He wants his Dad, he wants his person. 

When Max had his evaluation up at Primary Children's Hospital the doctor explained to us that children on the Autistic Spectrum typically will latch on to one person as a safety net.  Sometimes this person is a sibling, good friend, or grandparent etc.  For Max his person is Will.  We noticed this even as a baby.  It wasn't something I did that made Will his person, it was a choice Max made.  This was very hard for me to understand at first.  A child should naturally want his Mom, but in this case it wasn't about me, it was who made Max feel safe in an otherwise scary world.  Will allows Max to enter the world.  Without a person Max would stay in his own world and never come out. 

This has caused us a lot of interesting problems.  For example, when Will has to go somewhere for work or needs to leave the house for a while, Max has a break down.  He throws things, hits his head against the door and hits his hands on his face.  He wants nothing to do with me.  It is all irrational thinking.  We have figured out ways to calm him before Will has to leave, but some days are better than others.  Max likes to be on a schedule.  And his schedule has to involve Will.  When his schedule is done without his person it isn't right, and Max lets you know.

Will is a very patient and caring Dad.  He is superdad.  He is a great example for Max, and I know as a Mom there is nothing better than watching Max bond with his person.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


One of the very first things Will and I noticed, and questioned, about Max was his constant repitition of sounds.  He would go into another "world" which now we call "Max world" and repeat the same set of sounds over and over for up to 5 to 10 minutes.  Sometimes he would rock while making the sounds, other times he would be playing with cars, other times he would be standing alone.

What Max was doing is called Echolalia.  Or Echoing.  It has been reported that up to 75% of verbal persons with autism can exhibit echolalia in some form.

His echoing has become clearer in the last few months as he has gained more words.  So typically he will end a long string of sounds with a word he knows.  For example "ba da ba la ba ba ba Car" or "ba da ba la ba pppp Tire."  

Here is a video of Max Echoing: