“Appropriate” Play


If you are the parent of or work with autistic children, no doubt you’ve heard the term “appropriate play”. Starting from toddler-hood you hear warnings that you need to teach “appropriate play”, that only certain kinds of play are okay and other kinds, like lining up objects or watching wheels spin, are inappropriate. These kinds of play are said to be dangerous, isolating, “red flags”, wrong. Children who like playing this way will be said to have “poor play skills” or “score low” in play skills.


This is, quite simply, a load of garbage. Continue reading

Happy AAC Awareness Month!

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October is AAC Awareness Month! Locally, we spread awareness just by being out in the community with the Talker. Someone almost always asks, “What game are you playing?” when we are running errands and they are usually really fascinated when they learn about how H uses his Talker. More and more, people are overhearing him talk and asking if he uses it to talk! That is really cool and a testament to how well he’s doing. We’ve never received any negative comments, but I’m always ready for the “kids can’t go anywhere without their technology!” type of comment since there’s a constant barrage of ‘articles’ about screen time rotting brains (that’s another blog post for another day). I’m brainstorming ideas for the rest month – stay tuned!

A Milestone!

Something major happened this week. Something that has never happened before in H’s life. For the first time ever, he was able to tell me something that happened at school that upset him.

You guys, this is a HUGE deal!! Every parent of a child with complex communication needs worries that their child won’t be able to tell them something important that happened while they were apart.

I’m not going to share the details because I will always respect his privacy, particularly with “the hard stuff”. The teacher let us know he had a hard time at one point during the day but they weren’t sure why and I was able to ask him about it when he got home. He was able to tell me how he was feeling at that time (this alone is amazing!) and what he said afterward didn’t quite make sense without any context but then the teacher emailed me more information about what had been going on and I realized he had told me exactly what had upset him!

So, in short. Wow. 1) Talking about big emotions – win. 2) Being able to tell me what caused him to feel that way/what he was thinking about at the time. Huge! Exciting things are happening!

Challenge: Learn to use the Talker!

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[Image shows papers on a table, including a list of words, instructions for the challenge, and monthly calendars.]

In January, I took part in the Speak for Yourself “Learning to Speak AACtion Plan” challenge. This was a 12 week crash course of mini-lessons in learning to speak using H’s Talker. Each week there were just 5 words to learn and each day there was a 5 minute activity to help me learn where the words were. H didn’t have to be involved – this was just to help *me* become familiar with the location of the words on his Talker. It was fabulous! I loved checking in each week and I gained a lot of confidence using the Talker.

With the start of Kindergarten I want to rekindle the motivation. Like a New-School-Year’s-Resolution! Continue reading

Summer Modeling Push

(This post appeared on our Facebook page, here. Follow us on Facebook for extra posts if you have not already!)

This Summer I’ve been wanting to do a big push with modeling words on H’s Talker to help him see all of the different things he can say with it across different scenarios. We have been focusing on 6 core words (but still modeling lots of other things, too). Continue reading

I can do more than request

H has been loving the solar system for months and is able to name the planets in order and name the dwarf planets and the milky way galaxy! He knows attributes of the planets and loves answering questions like, “Which planet is closest to the sun?” and “Tell me something about Saturn” and giggles if I say “Mars is green”. He has also been naming the colors in rainbow order recently.

I’m actually thankful that the planets and colors are out of order on his Talker so no one can say he’s just pressing the words from left to right. I wish that people wouldn’t assume that,  but they do.    Continue reading

Maybe change can start here…

Kindergarten. That big looming chapter ahead of us that is leaving me with so much on my mind. I’ve heard it is difficult for every parent to send their first child to kindergarten, whether or not they have additional needs. On top of the usual mommy stuff, when your child is still working on communication and is mostly non-speaking, it can be hard not to be paralyzed with fear of the “what if” scenarios.   Continue reading

Never assume it’s random button pressing

 

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I’m sure at some point you’ve all heard me talk about how important it is to presume competence of nonverbal people. Here’s a little story for your day. I was sitting on the couch tonight with a few stories with the kids. They were each kind of listening and kind of doing their own thing. I read a couple and then asked if I should read “The Pout-Pout Fish” (best book ever!). I picked up the book and sat down and with his Talker (what we call his communication device), H said “kaleidoscope”. Now I could have written it off as “random button pressing”, but I know better. Continue reading

Welcome to Neurokaleidoscope!

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Welcome! Thanks for visiting the new blog! I’m Lynn, wife of an amazing guy and mom to 3 energetic and hilarious little munchkins. Our family is neurodiverse – our son, H*, (now 4.5) is autistic, our older daughter, L, (now 2.5) is typically developing, and our youngest girl, C, is only 6 months. My husband is neurotypical and I have sensory processing differences and am currently exploring my own neurology.  Continue reading