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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Writer/Curator/Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project. Contributing Author to Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood, and Concepts of Normality by Wendy Lawson, and soon to be published Gravity Pulls You In. Writing my own book. Lecturer on autism and the media and parenting. Current graduate student Critical Disability Studies and most importantly, mother of Adam -- a new and emerging writer.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” -- Baruch Spinoza

Thursday, December 29, 2005

I am in Florida and have had no time to write down anything...until now. Adam has been keeping me busy here...he loves the waves of the ocean, running up and down the beach (with a huge grin I have to add), and enjoys throwing sand in the water when not letting it spill from his hands so he can enjoy the visual part of this. He still jumps up and down and flicks his hands in the air -- his visual self-stim. It really is the most interfering behaviour he has. Everything else is manageable -- he doesn't stim to self regulate, he is easy to transition, enjoys novelty. We are lucky -- but I wonder how much of the work that has been done with him has helped too. I remember when he was so stuck on his routes and if we took one wrong turn away from the park, there was a major meltdown. So, we just kept breaking our routines to keep him flexible. One thing is for sure, as a parent, we have to endure the crying to move beyond the stickiness of autism -- the areas where our children find it either difficult to transition or can't disengage from something.

I have started reading When Babies Read: A Practical Guide to Helping Young Children With Hyperlexia, Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism, by Audra Jensen. She writes down everything as prompts for her child. Now that I'm getting into potty training with Adam, I'm going to try what she suggests -- putt9ng index cards around the house "I need to go potty," and at scheduled times, go to the card, make him say it, then take him to the potty. It worked for her child to articulate that he needed to go -- the most challenging part of potty training for Adam and I right now. In an attempt to get Adam to speak, my therapists want to pull back to one-word mands because Adam is chunking his sentences (ie; confusing "come here Flor" for everyone instead of just "come here"). This says that Adam doesn't truly understand what he's saying (the difference between the command and Flor's name in this instance). Yet, everytime I write something down, Adam understands what to do. I know it is still a prompt, but who cares? I want my therapists to really understand his reading capability to prompt and teach him. I also want Adam to learn to read before it's too late (the window begins to close at 4, apparently). Adam can read and decode words, but he can't do it with all words. He needs to be taught phonetics. Once he has this tool, then it is easier to teach him so many things.

Of course, I feel I need to jump all of this today, as the sun rises in front of me above the ocean. Ahhh. But I think I'll hold back a bit and just use a card here and there this week. Adam is on his vacation and I only want to help him enjoy it.

Check this out:


Blogger Brett said...

When Zeke was young, our fear that he had hearing problems was quickly replaced by an understanding that he had a problem understanding spoken language. Almost like he just didn't hear it (even though he could hear Barney come on the TV from the other side of the room!) A little bit of research on-line led us to a new word: HYPERLEXIA.

As with Adam, anything we wrote down he would understand and do. On the recommendation of his (excellent!) speech therapist, we wrote labels for EVERYTHING in the house on 3x5 cards and taped them where appropriate. Door, window, toilet, bed, etc etc.... We also carried around a small white-board and markers wherever we went (and I mean everywhere).

Of all the things we did, this one simple thing had probably the most visible and immediate effect. Best of all, it had the long term effect of helping the transition from written to verbal comprehension.

ps. Thanks for the quick plug of my site.


11:53 PM  

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