21 days of modelling… day 10

Pie and pets.

Not together obviously!

Limited time at home for me today so made sure I used it to model as much as possible.  

Home from work just in time for dinner!

And then popped to the pet shop for a browse and to create some opportunities for commenting and observations. 

New words- 14

Total words -75


21 days of modelling… day 9

This warms my heart.

Interest, understanding, attention.

So often when a person has no verbal speech it is often considered that they are unable to show interest, demonstrate understanding or maintain attention.

So when Dylan is able to talk.

To converse and describe.

To share and report.

It makes me so happy and my heart warm.

New words -6

Total words -61


21 days of modelling… day 8

 Looking back over the recent memory on the app today there is only one side on the conversation.  Looking deeper into the set up it seems that because the Ipad speaks when each word is touched there doesn’t seem to be a need for Dylan to press the speak button. It’s pressing the speak button which speaks the whole phrase and also logs the phrase or sentence within the apps memory. 

So I’ve changed that!

Dylan will now need to press the speak button to have his phrase heard and then we can really log the conversation.

The other side of the conversations recorded show that Dylan has been told to wait for his requests throughout the day -a difficult concept at best! He has also had the elements of time added in a new folder to expand on his ABA time programme.  Now Dylan can concentrate on working out telling the time instead of having the added burden of trying to find the words verbally for what he’s needing to say.

New words -4

Total words -55


A written version of Winterbourne View

Here we are. Late summer 2016. Another day and another failing CQC inspection of support for autistic people. This time the much feted National Autistic Society (NAS). A harrowing read. The NAS hav…

Source: A written version of Winterbourne View

Death would have to overcome me before I allowed Dylan to be placed in a NAS ‘home’.

My soul weeps.


21 days of modelling… day 7

On the 8th August 2011 we first started Dylans ABA programme. Fast forward five years and 8th August 2016 we are 1 week into the 21 day aac challenge.

That’s what I love about this journey.

‘Progress. Effort. Trying. Giving it a go. See what happens….’

These phrases have been said more by me in the last 5 years than my whole previous life put together!

So we’re 7 days into immersing ourselves in the swimming pool of modelling. Progress so far has been good.

  • Definitely more speech. That’s more VERBAL speech. The Ipad isn’t motivating which I think is making Dylan more focused on getting his speech clearer so that he hasn’t got to get the Ipad out of his bag to use it!
  • Dylan has tried to initiate play by calling Hal and taking his raggy toy to play.
  • My Mum visited this week and commmented on Dylans eye contact and willingness to comminicate with her verbally. She also noticed that his articulation is clearer.
  • In the last few days the Ipad is being taken out with Dylan every time we go out and its use is being instigated by all of the family.
  • We’ve realised that reading is possible and actually a lot of the ABA work that has already been learnt is going to be revisited with the Ipad to try and ensure that learning is concrete and to widen the scope for comments and general conversation.

New words: 9

Total words: 51

That’s 51 words in a week. Amazing 🙂

Just goes to show, some things you need to just jump right in.


21 days of modelling… day 6

A long walk to town. A drink. The sun shining.  

It’s the little things that make life good.  

I’m now seeing these little pleasures as opportunities to model. To talk. To state the obvious has become an opportunity to converse. 

Talking with the Ipad is getting easier, even slightly quicker. Dylan and I huddle around the screen eagerly awaiting what each other will say next.  

In recent years I never imagined that Dylan would talk. Obviously when he was a baby and before I noticed anything was different about him I planned for him to talk as every patent does. But once Josh was born and he quickly overlook Dylans milestones and then Grace did the same leaving Dylan behind I had resolved many years ago that Dylan just didn’t have anything to say. 

I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry I had no expectation. I now realise my errors and will work double to make up for the time we have lost.

Strolling on this warm afternoon I look over at Dylan; he will often run in front for a bit but then comes running back to me and will walk with me gently clutching my hand. I look at him beside me as his face tilts upwards to gain full strength of the suns rays and his mouth opens wide capturing the gentle breeze that blows around us. His eyes are shut as he takes in the warmth and tranquility of the world around him.

He’s so strong but so gentle

So brave but so timid

He amazes me. 

New words today-12

Total words- 42


21 days of modelling… day 5

I have tried to explain modelling to the family.  Some are on board and get it. Others not so much. 

I am of the impression from what I’ve read about aac that the more enriched in aac the environment, the more opportunity there is for learning and encouraging language development. 

Today I’ve tried a different tact. I’ve asked that we consider the Ipad as a foreign language that we need to learn. We need to learn where the buttons are placed and think about what we want to write instead of just blurting out things to say. 

It’s slow but it’s working. I found conversations on the Ipad between Dylan, his dad and his siblings. Everyone has appreciated how slow it is to find the buttons and in turn considered how Dylan may need to time to process and find the words that he would like to say.


Not so many new words today but the process is becoming ingrained 🙂


Cutting it.


Haircuts have not always been as manageable as they are now but we’ve put a lot of work into it. 

3 years ago we had a whole ABA programme dedicated to the desensitisation of the sound of scissors cutting. 

In those days haircuts used to occur every 6 months; only when Dylans hair would be too long and thick for him to see through it. I would sit him down and I try and prepare him and I would try and cut his hair. 

The fallout of this would have been impossible to manage at a hairdressers. He would sit and let me cut but scream and wail and then we would both end up sobbing.  

I never thought he was being naughty, it always occurred to me that Dylan just couldn’t manage having his hair cut. Likewise I just didn’t know what to do about it. 

ABA saved us. It saved Dylan from the perpetual fear of haircuts and saved me from the psychological misery of having to inflict this misunderstood anguish on my darling boy. 

Here we are 3 years later Dylan independently having his hair cut with scissors *and* clippers. 

Afterwards with support and prompting he took his IPad to the barber and told him ‘thankyou’.

Proud mamma.

Josh and Dylan haircuts 2016


21 days of modelling… day 4

“If you want something, just ask.”

How many times do we say this a day?  Within my day job I feel I say it constantly.  

To colleagues, to patients. 

There’s a reliance on those that need it to ask for help, of them being able to ask for assistance.

Often the responsibility to access help is left with the one person needing it to ask for it. 

Is this right? 

Today was sunny so we took Dylan to the park. We modelled and used the Ipad to discuss and comment on our surroundings at the lake and the park.

After playing Dylan indicated that wanted an icelolly. Sometimes for Dylan the components he needs to gain others attention and coordinate the sentences are difficult, muddled or incomplete. 

Communication was particularly difficult for Dylan today. No obvious reason. Sometimes the conflicting combination of autism and dyspraxia mean that no two communicative days can be the same. 

So today we stepped up the modelling. I completed the task for Dylan so that he could have his needs acknowledged and met. The kind girl in the ice cream kiosk was patient with us both; It took me a while to find the right icons and we had to spell out the lolly from the price list on the wall as it wasn’t already on his IPad. I could feel myself getting flushed and apologetic for taking so long. The cashier was lovely but it was a brief and unpleasant insight into the reality of communication for Dylan.  

This is why modelling is so important;  Not only to demonstrate AAC but to normalise it and allow empathy with the difficulties this different mode of communication can bring. 
So I completed the task from start to finish and got Dylan the icelolly he needed. 

We’re in this together kiddo.

New words- 4

Total new words – 30


21 days of modelling… day 3

There’s two things that motivate Dylan. Food and footballs.

Dylan has to have soft spongy footballs as he loves to smash them at the house, next doors fence and whoever happens to walk past so it’s safer to use balls of the softer variety. It’s Dylans enthusiasm which often causes kicked footballs to escape the secure fencing of the garden and go whooshing out of the garden and then need retrieving.

Today Dylan was angry that he didn’t have any balls left in the garden to play with so we used it as an opportunity for him to talk about where the balls were. He seemed distracted from his agitation at losing his toys by having his attention focused on the Ipad and was able to construct a phrase well after being shown it only once.

We then set the Ipad ready and Dylan went to knock next door to ask for his ball back! First time ever! He has seen Josh do this before  and was very clear that this is what he wanted to do. Grace took him round next door for support but sadly no one was in. It’s definitely an exercise that he wants to try though!

New words-10
Total new words – 26