Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Adolescence and beyond

The years go by.

One SNC (special needs child) is doing very well. So well his teachers want to end his services and his IEP. We think they're premature, so we're negotiating for measurable milestones. If he passes those then we're ready to try the next grade without services.

Teachers and administrators have as much trouble with measurable milestones as, for example, software developers and physicians. Measurement is painful

Another SNC is also doing well in many ways, though we do not expect him to live without services. His written expression has improved greatly thanks to excellent teachers, and perhaps due to his fairly regular texting. He's done so well at texting that we've gone to an unlimited texting family plan. I hate the $360/year cost, but it's cheaper and more effective than paying for a writing tutor or for OT work. Too bad I can't pay for the family texting out of my health flex plan.

We're working through typical adolescent issues. We've had some luck with language modulation by setting up a sticker reward system for a day without any banned words. His siblings quality 100% of the time, my son hates it when they get a column of stickers (computer time or money) and he doesn't. Over the past two months this program has, to date, largely eliminated the paint blistering language issues we had.

I continue to be bemused and surprised by his computer skills. My wife is in the 98th percentile on her medical board exams (she used to be 99th but now practices very part time), but my low IQ son is much more skilled than she on our computers. He has an intuitive grasp of how software works, and delights in finding gaps in Apple's not-entirely-robust parental controls system.

Similarly he shifted fairly easily from a not-too-friendly Nokia phone to a user-hostile Windows Mobile phone. This is a peculiar facility we can use. (I'm inclined to buy him an iPhone. The two drawbacks are that for his demographic iPhones are both uncool (geezer phones) and very quickly stolen (for sale to geezers, presumably).

Our thoughts now look seven years ahead to supported living arrangements and to the possibility of residential occupational training programs. A colleague's son is entering one of the latter programs and I'm researching whether anyone is developing similar programs in Minnesota.


Anonymous said...

Hi: I am the one who sometimes leaves comments on your blog. Now I have some questions, if you can answer I would greatly appreciate ...

1. Do you know of, and has your family used, the supplement called l-carnosine?
Here are two links:
This one talks about research on its effects:

and here is where the published study can be found online:

What are your opinions about the supplement and the study?

2. If you know something about this supplement, the authors say it may have anti convulsive effects. Do you think that, like other anti convulsants, it has a side effect of depressing cognitive function?

I hope you can answer, and thanks in advance

John Gordon said...

I've not heard of l-carnosine and I don't know anything about it.

These substances don't fall under FDA mandate, so there are no true safety studies done. Obviously any substance powerful enough to impact autism or other cognitive disorders is powerful enough to have very nasty side-effects.

Unfortunately we'll never know about any l-carnosine side-effects -- because there won't be any toxicity studies.