I had a Mirko
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22-11-2012, 02:06 PM
I had a Mirko
I will always remember the Mirko. Mirko, btw, is a German name.
Mirko was nearly 5 years old and probably autistic. I was a childcare assistant and had been interested in autism very much for a long time. I had read books and researched a lot in libraries (did not have internet). Also used to have a teacher back in college who had an autistic son who shared a lot of her experience. So I was not trying a diagnose but I found many many signs of autism in him (and this was not because I was biased with this topic, I could have read it into every challanged kid but I did not)
So one day we got Mirko new into our group. I assume that the mom probably had him in therapy before and wanted to try him in kindergarten now, as I know that some parents do that at a certain point during therapy. And I also know that many of these parents don't tell the daycare personal about the autism so they are not biased.

At first I thought that he is just one of the kids that needs a long time to get used to the group and the rules.
But after a while it became very clear that his ticks are not just ticks and that he is highly intellegent. A lot smarter then everyone his age. He would count and even calculate a few small things, he knew some letters already and had great fun making words of them, he made very smart statements and was a very logic oriented kid. Really the probably smartest kid I have ever met.
But he was socially completely incompetent.
Not only was his own mother unable to get his pacifier because she was not able to deal with his rage, everytime something was not right in his opinion or in a way new he was very unsure and when he wanted to tell you that he needs something or that he wants something or that someone did something to someone (even if it wasnt about him) he would come to me and SCREAM it, get completely red in the face and exhausted. He was not able to say things normally if they were not one of the things he loved (like numbers or letters or logic puzzles).
So this and a few smaller signs he gave brought me to the conclusion that he has a form of autism.
So I started working with him, noone asked me for it but it made everyone happy when he finally stopped screaming all the time and when he was ok with me (and only me) taking the pacifier away.
He started interacting with me, and a little with my coworkers but not really with other kids. And I was so very very happy for him. He must have felt way better to finally be understood when he wanted to say something. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be when the way of communication that you know is not properly understood by everyone else. Of course I was a little proud, because I gave him these tools.

At this daycare I was a replacement for a lady who got cancer and was in the hospital for a long time. So once she came back I explained to her about the "Mirko-Situation" because she came back after a long time and she did not know this child. While my coworkers simply started handling him just like I did she did not, and she did not follow my advice.
So one day, shortly before I had to leave that place, I hear him screaming in the room at noon time where the kids slept. She comes rushing out "where is the pacifier where is the pacifier"
"why what's going on?"
"he wanted it and i told him he can have it and now he is screaming"

Three months of intense work thrown away in just 5 minutes....

He should be 11 or 12 by now and I still think about him every now and then and wonder how is doing today...

The two milestones that I had with him, and I love thinking about these:
Milestone 1:
He came as usual screaming and I, as usual, talked into his screaming very calmly and told him "I cannot hear you when you scream. You have to stop and tell me in a normal voice." And he stopped for the first time and told me in a normal voice!
Milestone 2:
We were in the garden with the kids and it was spring, the trees started to show first signs of life. And this was the first time he came completely excitet, running to me and telling me: "My friend, the tree, it has a bud!"

I don't think I will ever forget these things.

Just wanted to tell you about my Mirko.

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22-11-2012, 02:53 PM
RE: I had a Mirko
You have also described my son.

Ohmy

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22-11-2012, 03:14 PM
RE: I had a Mirko
DLJ you son still wants his pacifier? Tongue

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22-11-2012, 03:22 PM
RE: I had a Mirko
I haven't personally heard of anyone like that, but Mirko seems perhaps near the lower end of the spectrum. I like how you explained to him the method of communication, normal calm voice instead of screaming. Many caretakers just don't get the idea to explain such "obvious" things. Autism is a disorder that removes precisely the "obvious" skills, sometimes leaving only raw academic computing power and no skills of external relations. I say skills of relations, the inner decency of a person is unaffected.

If I were in your place I'd also try to determine whether Mirko had a way of classifying emotions and dealing with them. Some autists lack the skills of emotional recognition and management, that is, they don't recognize how upset they are until it's too late and even if yes, they don't know how to express that or what to do about it, again, until it's too late.
Maybe a simple scale of 1 to 10 would help, with 1 being "slightly uncomfortable" and 10 "killing rage", plus explicit instructions on how to behave for each degree.

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22-11-2012, 03:26 PM
RE: I had a Mirko
(22-11-2012 03:14 PM)Leela Wrote:  DLJ you son still wants his pacifier? Tongue
No. He didn't ever have a pacifier but your story was the same in every other regard. The autistic 'rigidity' manifested in other ways.

He is 15 now. He has learnt social behaviour and now just comes across as an eccentrically English (no bad thing).

Diet (no gluten, no dairy, no additives, preservatives or colourants) helped to manage his behaviour when he was young and now he can eat as he likes.

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22-11-2012, 03:47 PM
RE: I had a Mirko
Luminon, I left the profession 4 years ago so I might not have such a child again, unless it's my own that turns out to be autistic or so. But the idea with the scale is generally good and I am pretty sure that he would have understood it, even at that age. I would have probably used less steps. probably 5. seems enough.

DLJ: wow ok, how is he doing? Eccentric is ok, it goes in the direction of what we call normal, I guess.

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22-11-2012, 09:43 PM
RE: I had a Mirko
(22-11-2012 03:14 PM)Leela Wrote:  DLJ you son still wants his pacifier? Tongue
I feel like the pacifiers in DLJ's house might need to be cleaned before use. Also they vibrate. lol

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