Despite the last (very depressing) post, it doesn't take much to make me smile. Small steps in progress are a huge thing for us here.
In the speechie sessions, we are working on getting our boy to engage somebody for interraction. There is no actual 'speech' happening yet. The first line of communication is when you engage another person, and so that's where we are still at for now. But he is still quite young, and we haven't been at this for long anyway.
We have begun to slowly introduce PECS also. In case this isn't familiar to you, PECS just means Picture Exchange Communication System - where the non-verbal person uses pictures to communicate what they need (obviously :P ). Our speechie informed me that this does usually take a long time to establish, so not to worry if it seems slow in progress.
Last week, I had just got into her office and was chatting with her about my son's recent behaviour patterns, when lo and behold, he walks over to me and gives me a picture! Well, the speechie went nuts with excitement and rushed around the room to reward him with whatever it was that was on the picture. She got so excited that I couldn't help but get happy too. I think I was too tired and out of it to fully comprehend what my son had just done at the time. The session that day was not very different to most other ones we've had, except that he seemed to 'get' the whole PECS thing a little bit more than before. She told us to keep working on the PECS at home, as well as using pointing/gestures and using 'item exchange' as we have been (ie. bringing items to me to help him open/use). I left there that day feeling very encouraged.
This morning as I was washing dishes, along came my little man as he often does, and started tugging on my legs to get my attention. I pulled off my gloves and bobbed down to attend to him.
"Mah-meeee!" I always say as an example for him to address me; "What does Erik want?" and I hold my hands out in a questioning gesture as I ask him.
He took my hand and started to lead me somewhere. To the microwave it was. And he stood there looking up. I bobbed down again and asked him; "What does Erik want?" - 'cause I honestly had no idea haha!
He took my hand.... and started to shape it into a point! Then he help my whole arm out towards the top of the microwave and shook it!
In case you haven't quite 'got' what was happening here, he was basically using my hand to point with. Not exactly what we are aiming for - but very close!! I was trying really hard to contain my excitement at this stage. But what I want him to learn is how to do that whole thing himself; point to what he wants with his own hand, not mine. So as I have done before, I took his hand and shaped it into a point, and said; "You point. You show mum".
Often, he tends to fist up when I try this, but this time he did allow me to shape his hand into a point and direct him to point up where he was using my hand before.
"Here," I said as I helped him. "What does Erik want? ... here".
And I picked him up to see what was on top of the microwave there ('cause I still seriously had no idea what he was after). He leaned over in my arms, and got his drink bottle. Ahaaaaa! Now it makes sense! - But it didn't have any water in it, and the lid wasn't on. I put him down and said "Ohh, you want a drink! Erik wants a drink. Give mummy the bottle, mummy help you. Erik wants drink".
Now, I don't know if he can understand any of this, but hopefully, in time he will. He's still holding the bottle, so without a helper from the other side, I had to grab his arm, and 'make' him hand me the bottle. Without boring you with more details, my boy got his drink.
But that's not the end!
It seems he is starting to get this whole pointing thing! About two minutes later as I was resuming the dishes, he came over and started tugging at me again. This time, it was to the cake box on the table. He didn't shape my hand into a point this time, but he did push my hand towards the box. Again, I helped him form a point - which he smiled at - and pointed to the cake box saying; "Cake! Erik wants cake!". And he then was given a cupcake.
Small progress, but progress nonetheless! I hope - truly and desperately hope - that these little steps are keepers for my boy. You know, he never kissed me again after that first time. And sometimes, he does things once or twice but then stops. But he is still feeding himself, and like that, I really hope the pointing is for keeps.