Monday, October 27, 2003

communication:part two

 Last week while in special needs parenting support, a couple whose child has verbal communication skills asked, “How do you know what he wants?” Most of the time it is a guessing game. Stephen has learned to gag very loud if possible, in courtesy of letting me know he is about to throw up. Up until about a year ago, he would just look at me and whine. It wouldn’t be until after he’d thrown up all over me, I’d say, “oh, you’re sick on your stomach, I get it” I am currently trying to find a picsym for, “I have to throw up” without it looking so gross. J

Until I found a way to make the cards, I would cut pictures out of magazines, and newspapers, then put them in a small photo album. I also used to cut up boxes of cereal, crackers, and other favorite snack foods of his for him to choose from. We still use a baby monitor so we can hear him in the middle of the night if he needs us. Also, we've had to install locks on the doors to prevent him from getting out, and hurting himself, such as going outside and playing in the street! Which has happened, btw! I can't describe the panic I felt, and then, the guilt afterwards. I have several friends who have neuro-typical children the same age as Stephen, and it amazes me to watch them do things independently and have conversations with them. I sometimes wonder what he would be like if he were not trapped in his own little world. In 2nd grade, his teacher started complaining about his behavior, and we tried to tell her that in children who cannot speak, behavior is communication. We have to do assessments when these behaviors occur.Step back, observe and try to figure out what his behavior is trying to say, or it cannot be corrected. (Remember, Helen Keller?) But enough of that.I am thankful that he is learning to communicate with PICSYMS. We have found that his receptive skills are far more advanced than his expressive skills, but we are working on that, through gestures, and the pics that you see above. I imagine it is a comfort to know, “if I point to this pic, mom will take me to McDonald’s!” I’ll have to cont’ this later, darn this 2500 limit!

5 comments:

babyshark28 said...

Not only is Stephen amazing, so are YOU. Don't forget it.. How about a Mr. Yuk sticker for when he feels sick??

aims814 said...

Awe, thanks babyshark. :) Yeah, I have one for headache, earache and one where this stick figure is pointing to his stomach. Problem is, he doesn't know body parts very well, yet. But, we're working on it. (over and over and over) they say to keep trying, he'll get it one day.

freeepeace said...

WOW - I can't tell you how many times I cry when I read your entries. Tears of gratitude and awe. wow wow wow... The stuff you're learning from him - and teaching to us and others. Again, what a GIFT! (you know, greatest challenge/greatest reward). We're only given as much as we can handle - you two are mighty souls.

slowmotionlife said...

I like the idea of a Mr. Yuk sticker for feeling sick!! And I can't believe how creative this is. It never occured to me the challenges that parents of non-speaking children have to face and how they get around such obstacles. This is genius! It makes me somehow wish I had a picsym for Zio's italian restaurant. That way, anytime I wanted pasta, all I'd have to do is point at the picture of a noodle. You're right.. what a comfort that would be! [You're a great mom, Mia!]

aims814 said...

Aw.. thanks, SloMo. But, I can't take credit for this. There is a computer program designed for making the picsyms. We couldn't afford it, of course. But a lot of very sweet parents across America have been generous enough to share with us. Plus, his teachers and behavior counselor have been nice enough to make some for me. Some, I've created in my paint program, but they are very simple ones. I like your idea about having one with a noodle on it, for Italian food! lol!