Thursday, September 23, 2010

I guess this post is about Speech Therapy :)

I feel like I need to post something, but I don't think I have much to say. Which bothers me, because I want to be able to say there's been progress.

Joseph hasn't gone to speech therapy since school started. The last session before school started, I sort of got chewed out by the ST for not working enough with Joseph at home on PECS and I haven't wanted to go back because I can't honestly say that I've fixed the problems yet. When we started Joseph in the social skills group at the Hilliard Close-To-Home branch, it was during his old ST appointment. We got put back on the waiting list, and now when they call with an appointment, we just don't take it.

The idea is that we give Joseph this PECS book, and when he wants something we teach him to give us the card with the picture representing what he wants on it. When he gives us the card, we reinforce that verbally, (ie, Oh, you want a Banana? Here's a Banana!) and eventually he mimics that. In the beginning, it worked to some extent, mostly with food and drink stuff.

The problem is (and I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it before) Joseph always seems to be able to get what he wants. He prefers that we get him a drink, but if we don't he just gets the milk or juice and a cup and he pours it himself. The kids have so many toys that he just gets what he wants. We don't have a locking cupboard with all of our toys neatly put away like they have in the ST office. If he doesn't have to go through us to get something, then he's not going to use the PECS book.

So until we have a lock on the refrigerator, pantry, and toy box, I don't feel like I can go back to speech therapy. I just don't think toddler locks are going to cut it on the fridge. And frankly I'm not sure we could afford even that small expense anyway.

But now here's where it gets interesting. Joseph has been in school for four weeks now. And his speech has progressed more than the whole time we were trying to use PECS with him at home, and taking him to weekly ST appointments. So I'm questioning the efficacy of PECS for Joseph. Maybe we should be doing something else entirely.

Maybe I should have told his ST all of this instead of just avoiding her out of embarrassment. I don't exactly blame her. She was frustrated with me, and she has in the past always been very nice. I'm sure it wasn't typical of her. Maybe she was having a bad day. I don't feel I can tell her that I don't think PECS is right for Joseph at this point, we haven't really applied it the way we were supposed to, and we haven't been able to afford the $70 book she told us we should read. I KNOW that we know Joseph better than she does, and we're supposed to be his "best advocate" but I don't FEEL that way. If I was in her place, my response would be, "Well, maybe it's not working because you're not applying the system properly. You're not trying hard enough."

I think I need to consider what my priorities are for Joseph, and then we can figure out a plan. Right now, I have two goals for him: teach him how to communicate with us, and give him the skills he needs to learn on is own. In other words, teach him to listen, talk and read, preferably in that order but maybe not.

I guess I had a lot to say after all. I would like this blog to be many things. A way for people who care about my family to keep up with Joseph's treatment and progress, a way for other parents of children with autism to read about what we're going through so they don't feel as alone, a way for other parents of children with autism to offer us advice, but first and foremost as a way for me to process and organize my own thoughts and feelings, and I think it's serving that purpose today.

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