I wanted to write a post that actually relates back to my original theme of this blog 🙂 . I wanted to spend a post and write a little about one of the challenges we and many others face also, which is to do with communication where your son (in our case) or daughter is non-verbal. More to the point, I wanted to talk about this as a challenge we face and some of the ways our son communicates with us.
The other things I want to add. I am going to go back to the beginning of communicating and those with children diagnosed will know probably most of this if not all. It may be useful to anyone starting the journey and an interesting read to those already go through it.
Before I get into the nitty gritty, let me go back in time a little bit. For those that maybe haven't read my blog before, I thought I would spend just a few paragraphs bringing you up to speed.
My son, who will be 5 at the beginning of October, was diagnosed with ASD with possible learning difficulties when he was 2 and half years old. This has driven us to obviously learn more about ASD.
We've had to learn how to help our son deal with the scary world we live in as well as, at the same time, learn how to communicate. That sounds quite basic, but the truth is that he doesn't, or at least didn't, understand complex instructions and communication. That said, fast forward to today and he now understands us quite well, even though he is non-verbal still.
I would also like to add a caveat, in that, all children are different - so how we communicate with our son is most likely different to you. In this post, I am only talking about our own experience - which may be something you relate too or maybe not.
We have many friends now who all have children who were diagnosed ASD as well as many friends with children that aren't and every one of them is so different with great personalities. I would hate for everyone to think that each fits the same category.
So, now that is all out of the way I can get back on track with our communication issues and some of the things we have done.
So, the first communication tactic we did was imitation when playing. The idea is that you follow what your child is doing. You get two of each toy and then copy what they do, get up and walk around and so on, you can get the idea.
Now, the idea really is to try and get some form of basic communication. In the beginning, you are just letting them know you are there, but the idea is that over time they will initiate something and know that you will copy. It's probably one of the first actual communications we had.
It's amazing how long just this communication went on for, but it's a slow process in our case so the end goal was our aim.
As time went on, and our son started to grow, we progressed onto two more types of communication. The first is the Now and Next board - which is where you have a board with Now and Next on it (as it happens) and you use picture cards with image representations on it.
You put in the now the activity you are doing now and then in the next, whats next. As you exchange, you would say something like - Play has finished, now its lunch and then next its TV time - as you exchange the cards. This is something we are still using now.
We also progressed to hand over hand. The idea is that you do an activity and put your hands over there to guide them. Works more for something like - time to wash hands.
Moving on for there is PECS which is something we started, it's a card exchange, but our son lost interest. As he starts school this year, that is the next focus. From there it may be signing - we are still holding out hope for him to talk some day. He has said single words in the past, even though just a limited number.
So that's its. Our story to today. This is an ongoing story and I may do a quarterly update on the progress and the new forms of communication. Just to detail.
Where he is today before he starts. He understands quite a lot of what we say to him. Even though he has a learning disability too he is learning. And for you and your son or daughter - if in the same place. They will all have their own way of communication and, we as parents, learn theirs.
I look forward to doing another report in maybe November or December for you all.
If you have any stories or would like to share with us, why not leave a comment below. Thanks again for reading.