Autism awareness

Autism Awareness Month – Communication

Mouse’s Tale:

At 19 months Bella wasn’t talking, she wasn’t even attempting to talk. She was my first so I just took it that she was a late starter and never looked much further (once I’d scoured the forums of mumsnet etc. that is!)

She is now almost 6 and is classed as non-verbal or non communicative or something similar. She can physically speak and she does, all the time. She has a random little dialogue which includes snippets of TV shows films, songs and words which she has an affinity with.When it comes to communicating, you know chatting, conversation…that’s a whole different story. She has learnt, with a lot of help over the past two years to verbally request items such as food, drinks and occasionally buggy or car. We ran a fundraiser to buy private speech therapy over the summer before she started school as in our area an Autism diagnosis goes hand in hand with getting chucked off the list for NHS speech therapy. I know, craziness! If they can’t cure you (and there is no communication cure in severe autism) then you have to go private. We are a single parent family on benefits so you can imagine the thought wasn’t great. Thankfully friends and family came together and we got her an intensive course where she learned to use basic PECs (picture exchange communication.) These come before speech and some children (and adults) use them to communicate all kinds of needs and wants.

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PEC’s image courtesy of  tailormadefortalking.blogspot.com

 

Before this the only way she could communicate was by taking my hand and leading me to the item she wanted, this invariably ended in a lot of frustration on both parts as I was really having to guess and just show her everything in the vague area. PEC’s were a turning point and now that she uses them every day at school she is quite the expert, the early days were tough as she had to be manipulated to touch the cards which she hated.

At home now we don’t use PEC’s as they just weren’t right for us, she can now 80-90% of the time express herself with a simple

“I want crisps”

“I want orange juice.”

the list of things she can ask for is huge thanks to the fact that her reading, bizarrely is very advanced. She tends to always phrase things as she has read them so will ask for

“I want chocolate chip brioche rolls” very regularly which for a child who struggle to get the “I want” bit out sometimes is a joy to hear. Sometimes she gets muddled up which is cute like today when she asked for doughnuts but meant Doritos.

There is still no chat, I never know what she has done at school, what she is thinking, I can’t ask her what she wants for her birthday or much else. It doesn’t usually bother me at all as Bella is Bella and it’s never been any other way but now writing it down I start to wonder will it come? I’ve always been insanely positive and said it will, but what if it doesn’t? I’m not really sure how I feel about her being an adult who is really not verbal in the way the world expects. One thing doesn’t concern me and I know that we are so lucky and that is that she is smart, she gets what she wants and although she needs help with the most basic of personal tasks she has some in built intelligence. She knows how to distract someone long enough so that she can nick their phone out of the other hand and she has done…to strangers! Yes it’s called theft but we gave it back and she is very cute 😉

If you like this blog and fancy nominating me for a BAPS award I’ll love you forever  http://www.myfamilyourneeds.co.uk/baps/ 
April 1st                April 2nd – Safety               April 3rd – Expressions

 

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7 thoughts on “Autism Awareness Month – Communication

  1. Thank you for explaining this – I was a teacher for years and I know no autistic child is like another so getting an insight into yours is really valuable. Thank you for sharing. #bigpinklink

    1. Thanks for reading, in contrast my son who is also on the spectrum but much more high functioning was a late talker who began with makaton signing thanks to Mr Tumble, now at 4 19 months younger than his sister I can’t shut him up lol

  2. I love the quote! I have very little insight or experience of children with autism, so I have found this very enlightening. I am also astonished that you had to fundraise in order to get your daughter the therapy she needed-that just seems so cruel. It must be a difficult and frustrating hill for you all to climb, especially with both children on the spectrum, but it sounds like you have a right little character there, with a mum who has a great approach. Thanks so much for sharing with #bigpinklink.

  3. A lovely post, your daughter sounds very bright and smart – and persuasive! Expected communication isn’t everything, and she is managing fine just as she is. The future will unfold as it does, all you can do is your best to help her right now, and it sounds as though you are. She will find her way. x

    Thanks for linking up to #FridayFabulous

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