Communication Autonomy and Self-Advocacy

As H gets older, he is starting to have preferences (and be able to share those preferences) about his AAC device. Whenever I think there is a word we should add I ask him first. After all, this is HIS voice and I want to show him that I respect that. I also want to make sure that he is involved in decision making early on so that he will feel comfortable self-advocating and making changes to his device on his own someday. Continue reading

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!

Summer Modeling Push

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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

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