Communication cross-roads.

Thomas is our 10-year-old son and he is autistic.  That sounds a bit like an introduction at an AA meeting doesn’t it – Hi my name is Tom and I’m an Autistic.  But hey if the kid could say that he’d be in a much better place in the world right now. And I wouldn’t feel the need to write about him.

But lately I feel that we are at a cross-roads with Tom. His behaviour is once again regressing and we are being challenged outside our skill set by him. In other words I have no idea what to do with him lately.

A bit of history on Tom; he was diagnosed before he turned two as being Autistic on the spectrum as severe, along with a global development delay, major sensory issues, and asthma thrown in as a bonus later on. He communicates with other humans very rarely and his only motivation to do so is usually food. He is also not toilet trained. And that’s just for starters.

Anyway Tom seems to be increasingly frustrated by his existence lately. I can tell that he is trying to get a message across and when he can’t his only option left (to him) is to throw a huge tantrum. So what can we do? His current communication system uses PECS communication pictures, where he picks out a symbol or picture of the item or thing that he wants to do assembles it on a sentence board and brings it to us as his request, is just not enough for him. Occasionally he will say the word of the object he wants, but this is now disappearing.   So I am now searching for a new communication tool for him. I am leaning towards trying out the ‘go talk’ system, that plays a childs request using a pre-recorded voice that says what they want. I’m thinking this may be a way of bringing  back some speech with him. Where else do I turn with such a child?

In other news his sister Georgie, who was only diagnosed a year ago, is responding to all our intervention efforts and we are starting to hear clear speech, lot’s of singing, and GET THIS she is almost toilet trained – hurrah.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have them both progressing well at the same time?!

4 Comments

Filed under Autism, The Kids

4 Responses to Communication cross-roads.

  1. 5kidswdisabilities

    I empathize with you on dealing with your son….wish I had some magic answers, but it is all trial and error.

    Lindsey Petersen
    http://5kidswdisabilities.wordpress.com

  2. It must be incredibly hard to see Thomas struggle and not be able to help him find his way through the communication maze.

    I hope the new plan works otu for him.

    Wow on Georgie it must be a huge relief to see her making good progress.

    Just aside would Thomas benefit from one of the new autism therapy ? dogs ?.

  3. Arna

    Hi Candy

    I just discovered your blog today. It’s great!

    I’m a mum to a 13 year old with autism and can relate to what you’re experiencing with Thomas. Matthew has very limited speech. He did well with PECS – it was the stepping stone to him regaining his ability to talk during early intervention – but PECS is unfortunately very limited as a way to communicate with a maturing child and teenager.

    I yearned to be able to communicate with Matthew, and I could tell that he wanted to talk with him with me and the people around him. I just didn’t know what to do. Speech therapy seemed to be making little inroads.

    Then, just over a year ago, and thanks to an observant teacher at his special school, we discovered that Matthew can communicate using Facilitated Communication or ‘FC’ for short.

    FC involves supporting Matthew by the wrist so that he can type using a regular qwerty keyboard (or a print out of a keyboard).

    All I can say is that it is starting to open up doors of communicating and relating that I had thought not possible with my beloved son. Really, he has blown us away in being able to share his thoughts and feelings at a much deeper level that we could ever have using PECS.

    I encourage you to look into this. I asked around and found a trained therapist who is training me to facilitate , and training Matthew to use FC as a way to express himself.

    All the best 🙂

    • Thanks Arna, I will investigate that. I don’t think that my boy would be suited to it, as his communication is very limited, but it is worth a shot 🙂 Am googling it right now!
      Thanks again for your lovely comments. I hope we get to chat more.

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