Communicating with Mars has its difficulties...sometimes Mars seems so far away; there are faulty lines, static, echoing, and outages. It can get a tad frustrating. Then there's the question of language. Am I using the right terminology. Is it getting lost in translation. Confusion and frustration reign for both of us.
For the last 2 days I've been at a basic training course for PECS (picture exchange card system). You have to think of the pictures as words.
I am feeling quite pumped up with the possibilities for my favourite little martian. I feel like I've been given a key to a map that may lead to the greatest treasure of all, my son's mind.
One important thing I learnt was that if a typically developing child can do "x" at a certain age then an autistic child of the same mental age is capable of that level of communication (even if it isn't the spoken language). Given that I was told Liam was not ready for speech pathology for so long, I found this information interesting, especially as the presenter's youngest 'client' had been a 15mth old child with autism. So why had I been told that my child wasn't ready?
I certainly have to thank the speech pathologist I had in group this year for demonstrating PECS to us.
Even us "normal" folk need visual demonstrations at times to get it :) She also recommended I do this course.
The course was fascinating, it offered real hope and solutions, the presenter was entertaining and knowledgeable. Points were demonstrated with anecdotes, videos and contrasts with a typical situation often with humour (never making fun of the "student"). I would certainly recommend doing this course
For instance don't ever take a picture away because you don't want the child to ask for something as you cannot stop a verbal child from asking for something by removing that word from his vocabulary. She gave examples of behaviour deteriorating if it was decided "he doesn't need this." Imagine someone taking away your ability to communicate, you might want to throw something too. An anecdotal example of this was a PECS book being removed so a child couldn't ask for chocolate, he found his old one and used that to ask for chocolate (so that book was removed). Finally he gave his mother a fridge magnet that said " Give me chocolate now, or someone will get hurt".
Socially it was good too, I met a lovely lady (Nathalie) who also has an autistic son, a couple of lovely speech pathologists also doing the course and a couple of people I already knew. And best of all I got a lovely kiss and cuddle when I got home. He was watching a favourite movie he didn't want to miss, so he would run up to me, put his arms up, give me a kiss, then wriggle like mad to be put down so he didn't miss his movie. Isn't that just too adorable.