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Greetings from Japan,

For those who have been on the edge of your chairs waiting for a Neil Update, wait no more.

August 20, 2002:

Neil, with Daddy and Mommy, went to the "Mental Doctor" (Mommy's English translation for Daddy).

The Mental Doctor (MD) did several of the same types of tests that Neil was subjected to at the other hospital. The difference was that the room it was done in was "Kid Friendly". Had a wooden ramp that ended with a slide. Balls to roll around. Ring tosses. Bean Bags. Color markers and a BIG paper on the wall to draw on (Daddy told Neil that it was a special wall and not to do this at home).

Between each of the tests, the adults let Neil run around and play in the room for a few minutes. Amazingly, he returned to the "testing table" when called... usually.


First Test:
Placing a set of five blocks in different patters that matched what the MD did.

Starting off as simple stacking, the patterns got progressively more difficult.

The MD hid how he made the block pattern and then showed it to Neil.

All but the last one did Neil need help, and the help was only in showing the placement of the "last block"

(if you can picture 5 blocks, 2 stacked on the left, the top one slightly off the outside edge, 2 stacked on the right, the top one slightly off the outside edge, and the 5th block placed between the top two blocks, in a diamond shape, supported by the bottom two blocks... um... ok... don't try to picture it...)

Anyway, the fact that Neil was able to do it AFTER being shown how (i.e. copying what was being demonstrated) instead of doing his OWN thing meant something (because the MD muttered some positive sounding mutters).

Second Test:
Similar to Simon Says, the MD placed 5 blocks in a row and tapped each block in a different order.

Simple at first and progressively got more difficult.

Neil even impressed Daddy and Mommy and had the MD mutter something about unbelievable (meanwhile Neil, getting the "Good Job" from Daddy was beaming)

Third Test:
Point to pictures and say what they are.

A little trouble here. Although Neil had no trouble identifying the pictures, he refused to speak. When he did, it was in a tiny whisper.

This was the first "minus" that appeared on Neil's paper...

Fourth Test:
Adjective recognition.

MD pulled out pictures that were different based on an adjective (big/small --- long/short --- pretty/ugly etc.)

MD would then ask which one is big etc.

Neil was doing OK until the Pretty/Ugly picture came up (it was two drawings of a young mother-type woman, one drawn poorly, the other drawn nicely.)

This warrented a triangle shape on Neil's paper.

Fifth Test:
Memory. A board with nine doors was placed in front of Neil. Neil immediately started opening the doors. Behind 3 of the doors were pictures -- an airplane, a flower, and a dog. The other doors had nothing behind them.

Once Neil found all of the pictures the doors were closed and he was asked, Where is the______?

100% (proud Daddy here).

The puzzle was put to the side and the Sixth test was given (as well as the running around the room). After 10 minutes, the board was placed in front of Neil again.

Where is the ______?

Side Cute Note: The word for Flower and Nose are homonyms in Japanese (like Flower and Flour is in English). When MD asked, Where's the flower (in Japanese)?, Neil pointed to his nose. Neil then looked at Daddy, finger on nose, waiting for the "Very Good"... All Daddy could do is laugh. Neil, thinking that Daddy was mental, translated and said "Daddy, Nose"... he got his "Very Good".

100% (higher if you count the Nose answer).

Sixth Test:
Repeat words. The MD said words and Neil smiled and did his shy pose.

Major Minus.

Final Test:
Neil had a sheet of paper with several different shapes. He was shown cards with a shape on it and had to find it on the paper.

No Prob


Final Report: He has trouble communicating (nothing new)...

We found out something new though. Neil rates in the 5 1/2 to 6 year old range in the tests he did pass (he'll be 4 in November). Even the MD was amazed. (Proud Daddy here...)

The MD said that IF Neil has autism, it is very light.

The key word here is IF. After the tests, even with the MD wasn't 100% sure what Neil had. He did say that he was 70% sure it was autism (He wasn't sure if the Japanese/English part had anyting to do with the tests' outcomes -- so he was basing it mostly on Neil's behavior).

What I like about this Doctor is that when he doesn't know something, he says so. The other hospital was very wishy-washy with their responses (Well, something is wrong and it might be 100 different things so I won't even try to give you ideas on what you should try to do because I could be wrong).

The MD was sure of one thing. Neil isn't "normal" (which is a bad thing????) and it wouldn't hurt to treat it like autism for the time being (and the treatment is simply get Neil up early [6:30 am], take a walk, take a shower, eat breakfast and go on with your day).

They have a group of Autism children that meets once a month. They are supposed to be light cases as well. We'll go and see what happens.


August 28, 2002

Met with another doctor on Neil's case. This doctor talked about Neil's recation to things etc. Meanwhile as Neil was playing with some toys, a new boy entered the room (with another doctor and parents...). Neil did something I've never seen him do before... he walked over to the new kid and offered him one of the balls Neil was playing with.

Neil usually doesn't initiate the first contact unless encouraged (except with his sister). But Neil was in a good mood (he remembered the fun he had the week before in the room -- he even knew how to get to the room as he ran right to it when we entered the hospital) so that might have had something to do with it.

The other boy didn't know how to react at first. But soon they were playing together (Neil would roll the ball down the slide, slide down, hand the ball to the other boy who would run up the ramp and roll the ball down... kind of playing together wouldn't you say).

The other mother was very surprised (this is an understatement... She said "I can't believe it" about 10 times...) She told my wife that her son NEVER plays this "energetically" when other children are present.

This was the first time in this room for her child so curiosity might have played a big part in it (plus the ball/slide thing DID look fun).

The doctor's questions finished up about 15 minutes later and Neil went to the other boy and TRIED TO SHAKE HIS HANDS (there is a "Handshake" game where you take both hands and sing "HAND-SHAKE ---- bye bye bye"). This is another first. Everytime someone tries to do this with Neil at the daycare he runs away. For him to INITIATE it was something to see... too bad the other boy didn't see it the same way... He did what Neil usually does and ran away.

Neil brushed it off, came up to me, and said "Ice Cream Please".

Everyone laughed (broke the imagined tension that I think everyone felt with the Handshake/Refusal thing).

The doctor, in English, asked Neil what kind of ice cream he wanted.

Neil did his shy routine again and whispered "chocolate"...


Conclusion: Neil isn't normal and he likes chocolate ice cream.

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