The Tap

I’m middle-of-the-night posting again, via iPad from a chair in Martin’s room. He’s been up for three hours, since 1:00 a.m. I just fed him hazelnut butter on three-seed crackers (my mother makes these with her sunflour blend), in case he’s hungry, and also had him swallow a charcoal tablet, because he’s goofy and demonstrating detox symptoms.

Past middle-of-the-night posting events have sometimes reeked of aggravation and exhaustion. Not so much tonight. Sure I’m unhappy that I accomplished only 90 minutes’ sleep before Martin busted into our bedroom. Nevertheless, this marks the first bad night we’ve experienced since January 15, and only the second bad night since before the holidays. Because I’m not working anymore, I can deliver Martin to school whenever he wakes and has breakfast, then nap until I need to pick him up.

And there are two more mitigating factors. First, I think I can point to a cause of Martin’s nocturnal festivities: We just finished week two of a six-week herbal protocol designed to drive pathogens from his body, and it’s clearly working. His legs have a rash from secreting what his body does not need, and he is making daily progress in overcoming his ASD symptoms. Second—did I just mention this? —he’s doing really well. He is socializing regularly with his classmates and with a neighborhood friend; almost daily we get a report from his teacher detailing some new achievement; and even language (one of two great weaknesses remaining for Martin, along with joint attention in group settings) shows tiny movements in the right direction.

So instead of describing my aggravation or exhaustion (fascinating topics), I will middle-of-the-the-night post about our latest miracle.

Two nights ago, while Martin was eating dinner, I snuck up behind him and tapped his right shoulder.

Martin, in response, turned to look at me.

Ten minutes later, I tried the same exercise again. And Martin turned to look at me again.

Doesn’t sound monumental? Well, he’s never done it before. I suppose he just didn’t have the body awareness, or the consciousness of others and his surroundings, to sense a shoulder tap and realize that it had meaning. Now, apparently, he does.

I tapped his shoulder again at breakfast yesterday morning. No response. But at dinner tonight, I shifted from right shoulder to left and back again, tap-tap-tapping, and each time Martin craned his little neck to investigate. Good enough for me. Right now I don’t require absolute consistency, just evidence that Martin does possess the ability to engage in these neurotypical behaviors.

At Yale University, I’ve heard, undergraduates are invited to join exclusive secret societies via a “tap.” The chosen few are “tapped.”

I’m uncertain whether that means a literal tap on the shoulder. In any case, the events of these past couple days have made me confident that—should Martin choose to attend Yale, and then be selected for secret-society membership—he’ll be ready to respond to that tap.

2 thoughts on “The Tap

  1. Hi , Your blog is awesome ! You have captured the daily life of a parent with an ASD child so well. I got a link to your blog from Katie Penque and emailed you a few days ago. It would be great to connect .

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