Our contribution to science

Remember how I was talking about Rerun’s MRI a couple of weeks ago?  Well, he’s been a part of the University of Washington’s infant brain study since he was six months old, and he’s had two other MRI scans (which I talked about in my big initial autism post here and when Rerun was a year old here).

There was a big article in the Sunday Seattle Times about the study, and it was so neat to see the researchers that have been scanning Rerun’s brain be quoted and pictured, along with the fascinating data that they have uncovered.  Now, I don’t know if Rerun’s scans were a part of this initial study, since he just finished scan #3 only a couple of weeks ago, but I know that his data will be part of a research paper that will be written over the summer and most likely submitted for publication next fall.

The written report on Rerun came back from one of the head researchers as well.  Essentially, they believe that Rerun does not show any symptoms of autism, but they did recommend that we get his speech assessed, because they consider him below average for his age.  I considered him a little cranky on the morning that his speech was assessed.  The Webmaster, after all that we have been through with Tad, was more concerned with this news than I was.  When I compare the two boys, there is no contest.  Rerun’s communication skills are so much more advanced than Tad’s at age two.  After all, this is the same child who was looking straight at me and saying “Hey!” yesterday, just to make sure that I was paying attention to him.  (And then he called out a “Hey!” to Grandma for good measure.)

I’ll admit that his vocabulary might be a little limited, but I have a solution to that.  He’s watching less TV now, and as the weather gets nicer, we’re going outside to play.  A little less screen time (and the way that boy manipulates an iPad is downright scary) and a little more exercise and conversation will do him lots of good.  And not necessarily with Tad.  Tad’s speech, even with as well as he’s learned to talk and express himself – which I often have to pinch myself over, because this is SUCH a huge change from where we were even two years ago – is probably not the best speech model for Rerun to hear, but it’s one that he hears constantly.  The lead researcher suggested that we get Rerun out with kids nearer to his own age more often to develop his speech, as well as keep his social skills on track.

One other thing that we have encouraged is having Ane read to Rerun.  Not only is it good for him to hear her speech patterns and inflections, but it is teaching her the valuable skill of reading aloud.  However, Rerun is an absolute beggar when it comes to books, and it isn’t unusual for him to get up to seven books (all of them picture or board books except one) at bedtime.

What can I say – we’re suckers for bedtime stories.

But we’re contributing to science and improving Rerun’s brain at the same time.

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