Saturday, February 21, 2015

Yes or No

It's been quite a while since my last post, and I really feel like I've let everybody down!  But don't worry, I haven't forgotten you.  As with anyone, life throws a lot of bits and pieces my way, and honestly, blogging is not the highest priority on my list.  Having said that, I do miss it and feel that I have missed out on recording lots of incidents that are worthy of note.  Nevertheless, I am here today!

Mr Man is now in his third year of schooling.  That puts him at the equivalent of Grade 2.  It is amazing to watch him grow bigger and stronger all the time, and frankly, more handsome :).  Yep...still biased.  He absolutely LOVES school, and I love that he loves it.  This boy thrives on the stimulation and routine that school provides;  from the bus trip, right through to the activities designed to teach him how to ask for something or take turns.  School holidays are worse than boring for him.  It drives him bonkers, and usually leads to a much higher rate of stimming (which in turn, drives me bonkers).  But we manage.

Last week, I had a Student Support Group (SSG) meeting with his teachers, for the start of the school year.  On the list of things I wanted to discuss were;

1. Literacy - reading and writing
2. Toileting - nope, still not trained yet.
3. Speech development - an ongoing concern
4. Introducing Yes/No questions
5. Absconding behaviour

We only had one hour to talk about all this, so it was a real challenge (mainly because I talk too much!).  But kudos to those wonderful teachers; we got through all of it.

The main reason I'm writing today is to talk about number 4 - the Yes/No questions.

During the last couple of weeks, my husband and I found ourselves in one of those talks where we were sighing and talking about the pain of how AD has affected us and our children.  You know, just letting it all out and connecting with each other about it all.  I found myself saying:  "I wish I could just ask him a question, and have him answer yes or no.  Just yes or no.  Even that would be a massive step above what we have now" (which is literally nothing).  It stuck with me, and I thought, well, why not?  It should be possible, given what I hear of him doing in class at school!  I decided to ask his teachers about that possibility this year.  They both said there is no reason why not.  He is showing enough comprehension at school be able to do this, so they were happy to help me try at home.  Yay!

The next day, he brought home a little strip with four PECs on it:  Wait, Help, Yes and No.  I was so excited, but at the same time trying not to get my hopes up too high.... we've done all this before.  Still though, he does seem better positioned now to respond to these attempts to teach him.

So this morning, I brought out the Yes/No strip, and took it over to where he was playing with his iPad...

"Erik, do you want to have breakfast?" ... I showed him the strip.  He did not pay attention.  But of course he won't, until he finishes the current activity on his game!  So I waited a few moments, and when he got all the stars and took the robot home, I asked again.
"Erik, do you want to have breakfast?"  I put the strip in front of his face (yeah, I do that) and pointed to the Yes and No PECs.  "Yes or No?  Do you want to have breakfast?  Yes or no?"

He pointed to yes.  Yes!!

Just to make sure, I assisted him to pick off the Yes PEC, and place it in my hand.

"Yes!  You want breakfast.  Okay."  I went into the kitchen to get my son his breakfast!

.... but then I had another thought....

I took the strip back to him with another question.

"Erik, do you want Corn Flakes?"  (He usually has Weetbix, but will eat Corn Flakes too)

Clear as day, he pointed to Yes.  Woohoo!!  Happy dance!  Happy dance!

It's only the first day of trying this, and I know I shouldn't get all happy like we've made it, but man, it's a good feeling to see something actually work!  Yes/No questions do have limitations, but for us, they would be a massive step in giving my son a voice.

It's a little win today, that could end up being a big win.