Thursday, July 8, 2010

Speech Therapy

It seems to me that most of Joseph's problems are being caused by his inability to communicate his needs and wants to us, so speech therapy is possibly the most important thing we're doing with him at the moment. He's been going to half-hour speech therapy sessions at Nationwide Children's Hospital since May. His mother was taking off work every Thursday taking him previously, but we had his cousin at our house today to watch Maria, so I was able to take Joseph to his therapy session.

Joseph's speech therapist has been working with us to introduce Joseph to the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). You may seen it in films, I think I saw the boy with autism in Mercury Rising using something like it. Basically, there are a series of pictures on cards that he can show us to tell us what he wants. Then when he initiates that request, we verbally reinforce it by saying, "Oh, Juice! You want Juice! Here's a glass of Juice!" It's already helped him learn to verbally request cookies and juice. I think we need to expand his vocabulary and add more cards though, which his therapist gave me the go-ahead to do this morning.

Additionally, she said that he was much more focused than he has been in the past, when they struggled to keep him sitting down and engaged. She hasn't seen him since before summer school, which was three weeks long and ended last week. So I think summer school has made a big impact on his behavior and ability to sit still and focus as well.

This video shows Joseph using a PECS card to request an additional peg that he then sticks in the little peg-board. This is the most basic level of PECS, which has a strict routine for progressing through the system.

Also, the video shows the compulsive behavior of sorting the pegs by color, a behavior considered symptomatic of Autism Spectrum Disorders. First he fills all the holes, then when he has more pegs left, he sticks the pegs on top of pegs of the same color. While building the first layer of pegs, he only shows minor concern with grouping like colors next to each other. At 3:50, he removes a red peg he's placed, and puts it next to another red peg. But yellow, purple and orange pegs are not placed next to each other.

In this video, we test whether Joseph will choose the correct card out of multiple, in order to request the puzzle he's playing with.

We're going to attempt toilet training soon, as soon as we can get some rubber pants! So you have that to look forward to reading about. :) I hope it's quick and painless!

1 comment:

  1. A friend of mine actually had a lot of success with her son in toilet training. Her son has autism as well and responded well to "potty times" - specific times it is time to potty. She still keeps these "times" very consistent, and it seems to work for him.