Friday, April 29, 2011

We Have A Voice!

Finally! Sort of. And I've been needing to post this for a while. I know I've been silent for ages, and I apologise for that. I still can't seem to get my head around the things I need to say for some reason. Also, my computer is now usually claimed in the evenings by my hard-working hubby, which means I can't blog after the kids are in bed anymore.

Anyway, anyway.... we have a voice!

My little man has finally got the hang of PECS! He has been at it for a few weeks now, so it's well and truly clicked for him :). He is now bringing me pictures of things he wants several times a day. They are usually food, but sometimes he will bring me a picture of a toy or his blanky. I have slowly been expanding the range of pictures as he grows more comfortable and skillful with the system. I have even started taking a folder out and about with us to see if he can generalise the PECS while we are out... and yes! He can! He does! Yippee!!

But wait! There's more! Not only does the boy give pictures to me, but he has also been giving them to his big sisters! Why is this so great? ... because it means he is beginning to generalise his idea of 'asking'. It means that on some level, he is aware that other people can help too, not just mum.

I think things really started to click for him when I made more of an effort to show him what it was all about at home. He had been going well with the PECS at the SP's office for quite some time before he was able to use it at home. Two of the things I did that I can pinpoint that made a real difference were: 1) Giving him a 'drink' picture at the dinner table. He had to hand me the picture when he wanted a drink. He would also see me bringing the picture to the table from the PECS board, so that helped him understand where the pictures were kept and what to do with them. And 2) I added a whole bunch of new pictures to the PECS board one day, just as a "might as well do this too" task while I was doing something else. When he came home from kinder that day, he seemed to really notice the board and study the pictures. he even selected one (of his favourite toy) and brought it to me immediately! Prior to that, he pretty much ignored the whole thing.

The benefits of this new-found ability are more than some people might realise. First of all, there is now an avenue of communication between my son and other people - (even if it is mostly just myself at this stage) - also, his sisters now have a tangible way of communicating with their brother. I can't say how wonderful this is for them too. My girls love their brother so much, but often become so frustrated by his behaviours and inability for two-way communication. PECS is one step closer to facilitating that between them. More than mere information exchange, it also facilitates the beginnings of a closer interpersonal connection with the family and others. It shows my boy that there are ways to get what you want in an acceptable manner. It also means I can ask him what he wants and offer him some options instead of always 'dictating' him. It has given him a measure of freedom in his world: when you have no way of communicating with others you really are, in a sense, quite trapped. Instead of wandering around the place, maybe feeling like he is overlooked and ignored, he now has a way of expressing himself and making his wishes known without having to cry or scream or pull me towards something. This applies when we are out and about too.

I am so happy - for him and for myself haha! It only took 1.5 years of ST to get here, but here we are! The next step is to set up a visual daily schedule and begin teaching him about structure in the day, timing of events, etc. I am probably about 3/4 of the way through setting this up for him already, so I will post up when it is done :)

It's just truly wonderful. Of course I can't wait for the day when he gains speech, but for now, my little man has found his voice without having to make a sound :)


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Still At It, And Doing Well

Well I'm still going on with toilet training. In a nutshell, it has been getting better and better, though we still haven't 'caught' anything yet. We've been at it for almost three weeks. I would propose that most regular kids would be done by now. My girls were, though Miss Jane would often have accidents. But I'm not even putting a time limit on this with my boy. From the beginning, I was not entirely certain what to expect, or how long it would take. I have heard cases of it taking 3 days and other cases where it has taken years. I think the bottom line is, there are different and unique variables for each kid. So it doesn't matter how long it takes for us, as long as progress is being made in some way.

And we have progress indeed!

Although we still haven't caught anything on the toilet yet, my little man can now sit on the toilet with minimal assistance. He will sit for a very reasonable period of time, and he will sit on our toilet, kinder toilets and grandma's toilet. Woohoo! It really is a great achievement. The one little problem he has is that he sometimes stands up during the 'sitting' time. By this I mean we get alot of; stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down. I usually need to remind him to sit down again. But he mostly complies and will do so on his own. Sometimes, I don't have to say anything and he will sit back down again by himself. Other times, he still needs some 'encouragement' (read: gentle restraint) to remain seated. But this does not distress him, and he doesn't need it much. In fact, there was one time where he took my hand and placed them on his hip for more support/help.

Another thing I have noticed; The cheeky little monkey knows when he needs to go, and he will hold it. This is good news!! It means he can read and interpret the signs! It also means he can exercise some bodily control, which is a great achievement for any kid that age! I will usually sit him on the toilet when I can see that he needs to go, but he will hold. Sometimes he even looks slightly distressed and uncomfortable - I can see that he is busting (come on hon, just doooo eeet! LOL). I am hoping to high heaven that he will go! But he holds. After a reasonable stretch of time in sitting, we 'finish' up and he is allowed to leave. Within 5 minutes of putting his jocks back on, he lets loose (nooo!). This has happened several times now. It bothers him - he knows what he has done - and he is initially resistant to me cleaning him up. Nevertheless, he always complies reasonable well anyway. Good boy :)

We are now at the point where I don't need to reward him for being in there, and I am even phasing out rewards for sitting. He will get a few tiny pieces of chocolate while he is sitting, to reward the act. But that's it. I am waiting to catch something before I up the rewards again.

So all in all, while we are a long way from success, there has still been some significant progress! It is encouraging and I am feeling alot more positive about it all. I think that aside from continuing with the sitting skills, there is not much more I can do at this stage. Now it's up to him. I need for my little man to relax and let go! Once we achieve some skill at that, I can move on to teaching him to let me (or someone else) know when he needs to go. PECs for that... and that's a whole other story!


Friday, April 8, 2011

Blah, Blah, Blah!

It has been a while since my last post. I've been wanting to post, but I have had a case of 'writer's block'. And in the middle of that, my internet went down. So now I'm back, but my brain still isn't really cooperating right now.
There are several things I've been wanting to post about:

Another retrospect post.

PECs progress.

Toilet training progress.

That"normal" post I once mentioned I would do.

Another cake recipe.

Thoughts about the purpose and continuation of this blog.

So yeah, there is lots going around in my head, but I can't seem to gather my words and formulate them into a nicely articulated thing to read - and you can probably tell by reading this anyway!


More later :)