Elizabeth is our fourth child and was diagnosed with autism three months ago. She is sweet, affectionate, and very interactive with us, but she struggles with rigidity and receptive language quite a lot. She will be three years old at the end of this month. Here is her 35 month update.
She wears the same style of shirt and pants almost every day. We have a variety of colors but the outfit is pretty much the same all the time. She sometimes wears a dress that used to be her big sister’s, and she will wear her bathing suit to play in water.
Her eye contact is fantastic some of the time and other times she is just so focused on other things that she finds it difficult to maintain.
She is very fond of her little sister, Isabella. She no longer minds when she touches her – in fact, she is very HAPPY when she touches her now. She thinks it’s funny when Izzy rolls on her, or tugs on her shirt, etc.
She loves playing in water on our back porch. She always, always drinks and/or licks the water she’s playing with.
She sometimes will pick up a bunch of toys on the floor and put them back in their container, singing the Barney “clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere…” song as she does it. But most of the time, she still just dumps toys.
She copies Samuel a lot of the time. She likes trying to do what he’s doing.
She loves whispering and being whispered to. I can sometimes calm her during a tantrum by whispering but it doesn’t work when it’s an actual meltdown.
She has pretty much lost interest in the alphabet. She still knows their names and sounds but she no longer gets excited about letters.
She loves pretending like things are something else, especially turning characters and other toys into food. A Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood character was recently ice cream, a bowl full of foam letters was also ice cream. A bowl of tiny animals was candy.
She doesn’t get as upset if/when Isabella cries. Most of the time, she responds with concern instead of distraught.
She is talking a lot now! She has learned many new phrases, like “I doe no” and “where ii she?” and uses them properly. Her vocabulary has exploded since becoming willing (and interested) in repeating words we say.
She likes going places and the number of them that she can go to is expanding more each week. A few new ones lately are Target, Ingles, and a park without fencing.
She responds to her name somewhere between 50-75% of the time.
When we leave the house, she says, “bye, house” and when we finish shopping, she says, “bye, Target” (or whatever the name of the store is)
She is usually pretty accepting of having her diaper changed. She protested for awhile, and raised her bottom when I would remove a soiled diaper, but she doesn’t anymore.
Most days, she does not nap. She gets up around nine in the morning and goes to bed about twelve hours later. When she does nap, it’s in her car seat and it’s short.
She is getting pickier about foods she will eat. She no longer likes macaroni and cheese or banana, etc. She will sometimes ask for them, though! And then she makes a mess with them.
She is very happy going to bed at night. I carry her to her crib with her water cup, she lets me cover her up with her blanket, and she almost immediately goes to sleep.
She can say, “Hi, mama” (or daddy, or baby, etc) when greeting us, whereas she used to leave off the name or say gibberish.
She will usually sit at the table to eat if others are sitting there eating but otherwise she takes her food to random places like the couch or my bed.
She colored in a coloring book recently and seemed to really enjoy it. She does not like coloring on paper alone anymore, nor does she ask to sit in the high chair in our office much.
When we go a store, I usually give her a snack (making sure she’s hungry beforehand helps a lot) or she gets a treat while there, like a cookie at Publix.
She and Izzy take a bath together and it goes really well usually. They share the toys pretty evenly and I’m able to wash them up in turn. When it’s time to get them out, I have Maggie come get Isabella, or Maggie stays with Elizabeth while I go get Izzy dressed. And when I ask Elizabeth about getting out, she almost always says, “uh huh” and stands up.
She still has a major hair fetish. She loves touching hair, especially if it’s in a bun or ponytail. Recently, she let Maggie put her hair into two half-buns and she absolutely loved it! She now requests two. She calls them “bunnies.”
Stephen will ask her if he can give her a kiss when he comes home and she dutifully comes close and leans her head in his direction so he can kiss her forehead.
She likes spending time on the back porch with Isabella. She learned how to ride a tricycle recently and likes doing that, as well as playing with the buckets and other toys we have out there.
She gets pretty possessive of toys. If Isabella tries to take something she is playing with, she expresses frustration and/or anger.
She still lines up toys pretty regularly. It always surprises me when I walk into a room to find a whole line-up of blocks or characters on the bed or the floor.
She can follow one-step directions very consistently now.
She has a tantrum or meltdown a few times a week. Usually, clothes are what set her off. Lately, she wants to take her clothes off and wear nothing or wear her bathing suit, or we’re not sure what, but I have her stay dressed which upsets her. The screaming usually resolves on its own with time; if I try to help, it either doesn’t help or it makes it worse so I pretty much leave her alone and let her work it out. Of course, I am available to her if she wants comfort, though.
She loves rolling around with Joshua and being rough, and doing a face-swap app with Maggie on her phone. She loves her big brother and sister.
She has access to her tablet all the time, we even bought a second one with the same case so the first one can charge and she doesn’t experience interruption. For some reason, the tablet helps her to regulate and stop focusing so much on the world around her (which frustrates and overwhelms her); it helps her feel more centered. She loves choosing new videos over and over on YouTube, and she’s recently discovered she can pause videos by pressing a certain button that actually zooms in on the video in a way that makes her very happy.
She walks on her toes all the time.
Thanks for reading. See you next month!