Ah, October; time for rain, woolly sweaters, hot chocolate and snuggles.
October is also AAC month. An opportunity to really highlight AAC and communication.
The wider world presume speech, presume social connection and expect that these abilities come naturally to everyone as they grow up. It just happens, a baby isn’t ‘taught’ how to speak; they just do – you speak to them, they babble and then they eventually speak back. That’s how it works….isn’t it?
Prior to Dylan this is what I thought. And to be honest this is what I still thought up until probably about 6 years ago, six years ago Dylan was 8 and I still thought like this. Clearly I have taken a while to get to grips with it all and I now fully accept that this isn’t just something that happens – one doesn’t just speak, maybe someone will never speak, but there still needs to be communication and I am a fully fledged advocate for communication – whatever form it may take.
This week has been a busy week for communication with great improvement. Dylan is persisting with ensuing her has his listeners attention,. This has been one of the biggest blockers to him being listened to or understood. Dylan will often speak really quietly or without someone’s attention and the opportunity for interaction is lost. This week he has began to gently tap or reach out to people. Touch their shoulder or put his face gently towards theirs to obtain attention. He is still attempting to speak verbally but he is getting the gist of gaining attention. This earlier post Persistance pays demonstrates this beautifully.
We have also been working on waiting – not Dylan’s favourite activity and sometimes he has had to wait for days for a chosen item or activity. This has produced some tears but with gentle reassurance and consistency we have managed. Dylan’s confidence is steadily growing and he is enjoying the new found world where he can ask for something and get it!
So, plans for October – Dylan has a new case for his IPad. The case is lightweight and has a shoulder strap. Until now Dylan’s had a heavy duty case for protection but this is bulky, without a handle and he keeps putting it down and leaving it places. When we go out we encourage him to take his ‘man-bag’ with iPad, wallet, ear defenders and keys in but this is bulky and as soon as we are home the bag and its contents are off and hung away.
By having a lighter case with a shoulder strap I’m hoping Dylan will be included to keep it with him and prompt more spontaneous use.
We are also starting the PrAACtical AAC ‘Year of Core Vocabulary’ The purpose being to focus on some core words and develop opportunities to widen existing vocabulary. I am really excited about this. So much of what we talk to Dylan about is food, which is cool as he likes that but if we could EXPAND that? Well the possibilities are endless!