Welcome to my crazy house blog. Fall is here, I love this season, everything is so pretty in browns, golds and purples they are my most favourite colours 🦋
Today I’d like to share with you all, my personal experience and tips I’ve learned over the years about communicating with my non verbal / now very verbal, but still not quite what you would expect son, especially now that he has hit the “teen years”
The good the bad and the unexpected…
Taking all those parenting classes, speech and language workshops like more than words etc. Were great and all, but to actually implement them into our already busy life was fustrating, not only because I wasn’t seeing any signs of results and it takes up so much time and effort. Makes you just want to scream and throw a fit right along with them.
I’ve learned alot about what actually works and what doesn’t for my son.
First Then! I’m sure if your reading this you know what I’m talking about. The “first then” (the Hanan program), they try to get every autism parent to use, it was quite interesting on how they want you to get your child to communicate with you. Which is what every additional needs parent dreams of and it does work… But…. yes there’s always a but.. lol, some like my son need these programs to be tweaked and modified to really meet their ability of understanding to make it work and to outsmart them since they are extremely clever little creatures. Some like my son need the routine of it and the consistency of doing all the steps multiple times every single day, for much longer periods of time than some others may need. Like light years longer!
Although my son was clever enough to turn it back on me, once he got a hang of the concept, which was quite amusing and fustrating at the same time, because even though he was now speaking actual words!!! He came accross as being extramly blunt to the point he was sounding rude. Even though I was doing what I learned to a T from the book at the beginning, as I’d double check myself. I was doing exactly that. Along with giving him what he was requesting right away and using the visuals, because I’m so over joyed to hear his sweet voice say actual words, instead of just grunting sounds. My son just wasn’t being satisfied. The meltdowns turned into unimaginable blizzards, our tears were drowning us, just because he was stating what I wanted him to say instead of actually requesting something he wanted or making any real understandable statements. Asking Yes / No questions weren’t working either. Because his first impulse response to everything was NO. Which lead to us both being irritated with each other and getting nowhere.
He was using “first then” but wanted something immediately, for example he would say “can we go outside first then have a cookie”. But was actually asking for a snack but always felt like he needed to add the “first then” or he would put something I was asking for out of my reach or hiding it to mimic the concepts we were trying to teach him to ask for or guesture for.
From that I learned to use the concept but modify it into a way that worked for us. With that being said. I began to speak to him like he was the most brilliant person I knew. I began to always include him in all conversations even with strangers who had questions. I never made him repeat or speak for him again (instead I’d repeat what I heard him say and give him time to process and respond if he wanted to) while still offering lots of opportunities for him to do so as he wished.
This was starting to work and slowly started to open up to the concept of having a conversation of short two to three word sentences.
However, I often still made mistakes of answering for him when he didn’t respond or excusing his silence as being shy. Which lead to unexpected behaviours and outbursts that seemed to come out of nowhere, because I was completely unaware of what I was doing wrong.
Raising a child with additional needs is tough, being a mom with ADHD is even tougher. Sometimes I just talk without thinking, I often interrupt or finish others sentences, or do things without waiting for the response that it takes to get him to respond on his own which is a whole other level of fustrations for us both.
It’s a journey we’re doing together and everyday it gets a little easier, even on days that I mess up. I apologize and try to move on.
Here are some more examples of our poor communication blizzards hopefully they may help you understand your child a little more.
*when he was little he took the biggest meltdown. His dad and I took turns holding him so he wouldn’t hurt himself or completely distroy our house. We made the mistake of assuming he wanted to help his dad polish his shoes for work. But his dad was in a hurry so I tried to playfully distract him. …Later realized it was because his play table was being used and he wanted it back where it shoud be and cleaned.
He would have huge meltdowns that looked like tantrums. The screaming, hitting, kicking, throwing what ever he could reach. Some days we be so bad I’d have to take his little sister and lock ourselves in the washroom and just ride out the storm till he stopped and try to figure out what caused it because it just never seemed to be what it looked like. Sometimes it was from a ear infection, routine out of order, weather once it was because JJ Clark from cctv wasn’t wearing his glasses, that one I’ll never forget was so unexpected.
*”there’s Daddy!” Meaning he went there with his dad 🤷
*”I don’t want to go to school, I don’t want to do my project, I’m not going!” he was yelling, and after finally getting him to go I realized he didn’t have his flash drive with his pictures to do his project. Thankfully I figured it out in time to rush to the school and save his day.
*my son was so happy that my brother in-law was going to take him fishing. After driving an hour and a half to get there he jumps out of the car with the biggest smile ever and my brother in-law asked him “Cam ready to catch some fish” my son replied with a quick no. Brother in-law asked “are you sure” Cam just smiles, doesn’t answer, so we move on inside. …Fastforward to leaving he throws a fit screaming, bitting his hand, hitting the car door all the way home. Trying to calm him down, asked questions why he was upset to only find out days, I mean days later that he did want to go fishing, but the equipment was in the trunk therefore he wasn’t “ready”.
*supper was late one evening, as I generally have someone prepare our meals for us. He was saying can supper cook faster, mom can you cook it now, etc. So I was doing my best to get the baked macaroni in the oven as fast as I could to avoid the predicted meltdown that was brewing. Unfortunately that was unsuccessful because later realized he was trying to ask if he could grated the cheese so that supper would be done sooner.
Even now he seem to talk well but he is still misunderstood more often than not. But will try to explain hours after the fact so we can make things right. He is still very straight forward and blunt to a fault like Sheldon from the comedy series “the big bang theory”
So what I’m saying is don’t give up. If something isn’t working don’t abandoned the idea, tweek it and adjust it to your needs.
Bye guys going to hang with my not so little babies.