autismmumsdads

Archive for the ‘Language’ Category

I really wanted to share with you all the fact that yesterday I was informed that my 3 and a half year old Autistic Son, who is non-verbal will be discharged from the Speech & Language Therapy Department, after NO therapy.

The reasons why haven’t been disclosed but i will be demanding answers as to why his speech therapist – and I use that term loosely, deems his speech and language satisfactory enough to not be pursuing any type of speech therapy.

Since A was diagnosed last July, we where told he had been put on the waiting list for Speech Therapy & due to his diagnosis he was a ‘priority case’ & we would hear back from them soon, this was the same time I was promised visual symbols to be sent through the post – needless to say I’m still waiting – wow their printer must be slow!

My son has a speech disorder due to his autism & early intervention is absolutely crucial to his future development. He is way behind in his speech and language when compared to his peers & this can only add to his already present communication impairments.

I have a strange feeling, I’ll be told its down to lack of funding in our area – its disgraceful, and its not just happening to me. It seems ‘professionals’ don’t care unless its happening to them – and why would they? They aren’t the ones with a 3 year old son who is going to mainstream school in September with one spontaneous word in his vocabulary – and they bang on about giving our children the best start.

I have been lied to over and over again, why do we have to fight for everything for our children? Don’t we put up with enough already?

Many children with an ASD are delayed in their use of language and shy away from using speech. Therefore other methods of communication need to be established before speech and language will follow – is it too much to ask for some help or guidance as to what these methods are?

Why does nobody care?

Why is there a lack of funding for crucial interventions to be present for those children that need it to live their lives the best way possible?

I’m not the only one who is angry, upset and feeling let down. I have lots of friends – fellow Autism parents who are being let down with therapies or having to wait years for a diagnosis whilst their children are being labelled as ‘naughty’ its about time people stood up and became more aware and its about time people started caring for the lives of our children – they would if it was theirs!

Sorry for the rant but I had to get it out of my system, I and many others fight endlessly for our children and support is so important.

I’d also like to mention that I’ve had some wonderful support from friends on twitter who have given me some great advice – where would we be without people like this?

Any comments please feel free to leave them below.

L x

In yesterdays post I wrote about limited interests and the effect it can have on both parent & child.
A, really struggles with the concept of sharing and taking turns, what’s his is his & what’s mine is his also.

One of the main impairments of Autism social interaction – which will always be with A but it can improve. A doesn’t play with other children properly, he will approach them spontaneously but usually ‘hugs’ them for sensory integration or acts inappropriately or to others ‘oddly’ If they approach them he either doesn’t notice or pushes them when they get to close to him – he can’t socialise appropriately as he doesn’t know how to & such situations can cause him to have a sensory overload.

We have tried many times to aid his social interaction by teaching him to share & take turns, needless to say we’ve had very little success. He gets frustrated, often aggressive & at times very upset – that’s why he prefers to play alone, its on his terms, its uncomplicated & less overwhelming.

Every ASD person share problems related to social skills, some more severe than others;

Conversational skills (Greeting somebody, joining a conversation, verbal turn-taking, listening skills, talking about a particular topic, awareness of personal space, ending a conversation.)

Play skills (observational skills, joining play, turn-taking, sharing, compromising, coping with ‘no’, coping with losing, reciprocal play, ending play.)

Understanding emotions (reading facial expressions, reading body language, voice quality – intonation, pitch, speed, awareness of own body language, having a large emotional vocabulary, anger management and self-regulation skills)

Friendship skills (Just like many of the above but also things like knowing what a friend is, and being able to choose appropriate friends, recognise true friends from false friends, develop the ability to share a friend, deal with peer pressure.)

All of the above are vital skills when developing relationships, most of them come natural to you and me but to a person with Autism they take longer to develop as they have to be taught & it can be very isolating for them.

So I thought I would share with you another method I was taught at Early Bird, People Games.

A people game is an interaction routine which involves adult & child taking turns, communicating and enjoying themselves.

The game should be SHORT. (A song or tickling)

Get your childs ATTENTION – try to look & sound interesting, be on their level.

Play the game REGULARLY, always in the same way so rules are easily learnt.

ENCOURAGEMENT to join in, begin taking turns – this could take a while to grasp but stick with it. (Stop if your child is getting to distressed)

HELP them to understand when its their turn by slowing down waiting, and exaggerating your voice or actions at that part of the routine.

TRY making up your own song that relates to the child, replacing a word in a nursery rhyme with their name for example.

Choice of people game will depend on your childs awareness of other people, his/her interests and where they are development wise.

IDEAS FOR GAMES

For a child who has a short attention span who is reluctant to sit still…

Rough & tumble
Running up and down the room

For a child who can respond non-verbally…

A song with actions

For a child with some words…

Again a song, but stop and wait for them to fill in the missing word, don’t wait to long but give them a chance to respond.

A child with more language

Songs – Old MacDonald, Wheels on the bus – Songs that give your child opportunity to join in or use their own words on request, example: the animal or the horn. Give your child enough time to process and wait for them to join in on request – if they don’t respond after you’ve joined in – just carry on & try again

Games should be

Short
Fun
Repetitive
Small steps
Turn taking opportunities
Motivating

The aim is to encourage social interaction & communication & taking turns but its important not to expect too much to soon, it could take a while before your child grasps the idea.

Any other suggestions for games or any comments please share as always.

L x

For todays blog post, i wanted to share with you a small video that was presented to me at my first session of the Early Birds course – Run by the National Autistic Society to help those who had a recently diagnosed pre-school child.

Its informative and for me, was very emotional to watch.

Made using real life drawings from people with Autism, and using narration from those that are able to express their memories and feelings, this short film was produced as part of Channel 4’s Autism Awareness campaign back in 1992 – so it is an old bit of footage but definitely worth the watch if you are touched by Autism or would like to gain more understanding.

It is 11 minutes long but i ask kindly that you do take the time to watch it & continue in helping to raise Awareness of Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPR2H4Zd8bI

Thank you.

As always please comment – if you want to.

L x

As with all parents when A began to babble I couldn’t wait until he would say his 1st word. Me & his Dad had always commented on how clever & alert A was & we both thought he would be a really quick talker.

Then the moment came, he was around 10 months old & whilst babbling away he said ‘Dada’ needless to say we where overjoyed – but I remember thinking ‘Why Dada? What about me? Mummy?’ 🙂

We know now it meant nothing, he was just babbling. A, was a very content baby, a really good sleeper & hardly ever cried – he began pulling himself up with the furniture at around 9 & a half months old, he then crawled the day after his first birthday & started walking at 14 & a half months – we then waited for him to begin talking.

We go on holiday usually twice a year, one at the beginning of the year, one at the end & each time me & his Dad would say, next holiday he’ll be talking, so we’ll enjoy it more, he can say what he wants to do, where he’d like to go – then the next holiday we’d say the same, and then the next…..

– and we are still waiting.

I used to put it down to the fact ‘boys are lazy’ & the more I thought about it the more I began to think it may have been down to me that he wasn’t talking, I always knew what he wanted, you learn to recognise what each sound/moan means, dirty nappy/hungry etc. I would always give him his meals at set times so he’d never go hungry – never have to ask for food.

As time went on, I was more & more concerned that A still wasn’t talking, it was at the time of his 2 year development check that others began voicing their concerns at his lack of speech. I think that’s when I finally accepted, it wasn’t just his speech that was missing. He didn’t make eye contact, he didn’t point at anything, he didn’t play with any toys, he wasn’t interested in playing with other children. Would never answer to his name, with it once being suggested he may have hearing problems…everything began to add up.

A, not speaking puts a great strain on us. His lack of understanding means its even more difficult. He gets frustrated easily and will moan an awful lot, and I can’t just fix it for him by asking him what’s wrong? Its a lot of guess work, you become a detective in a way.

Its even harder when A is poorly, he can’t tell me where it hurts or if he’d like anything to eat or drink, he can’t pre-warn me if he’s feeling sick.

A lot of A’s lack of speech & understanding attributes to difficulties we have such as at mealtimes or if we want to go out, he can’t tell us if he’s not quite hungry, or what he wants or more so doesn’t want to eat.

& then there’s the ‘small’ things, he can’t tell us what he wants for his birthday or christmas, he hasn’t a clue when they are coming so we miss out on the build up of the excitement, although, whose saying it would be a build of excitement? The whole time may be too overwhelming…

A struggles expressing different emotions, he hardly ever cries and as I said before he rarely did when he was a baby. When excited he will jump up and down, makes noises or bite his fist.

We now give A choices of two things where possible to try and see what he wants, he likes that as he likes to be in control.
We use objects of reference when its mealtimes or we want to get him to lie down for his nappy changed, for example show him a nappy or his wipes.

We are also in the process of introducing a visual timetable, I’ve made lots of symbols to give A an idea of what’s going to be happening in the day, they are a symbol of something that A can relate to with a word underneath. On request, A will sometimes copy a word so I’m hoping this will also help his speech to develop.

The only spontaneous speech A has is the word ‘Marmo’ for Mario.

We have lots of hope for A developing speech, we know it will take time but we also know he has the ability to talk.
Hopefully once he gets speech therapy & begins school there’ll be no shutting him up – well here’s hoping 🙂

If any of you have similar stories, please share them below 🙂

L x


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