Home Not-Alone

monsteroncouchI’m very fortunate to have a flexible job that lets me work from home when need-be.  Even as a manager, since my teammates also can work from home (which they often do on Fridays), I can settle in at the dining room table with my laptop and get my work done, which frees me up to watch the kids if they’re home from school, and frees my wife up to get things done.

It also gives me interesting insight sometimes into the Monster. Continue reading

I got drink juice

The Monster's Talker, July 2016Yesterday was the assistive technology training session for the Monster’s support team at Gateway.

Well, it was the training session for the educational team and my wife.  Since the Monster’s still quarantined at home due to hand-foot-and-mouth, he had to stay home with me and R, rather than all of us being at school to learn how to use the “talker”.  But the important take-away from it is that everything’s in place to see if this helps him with communicating his thoughts, wants and needs. Continue reading

When It Works Properly

IEPWe had the Monster’s latest IEP meeting yesterday.

To be fair, the meeting wasn’t a full IEP review – it was to evaluate his progress since the IEP was approved, to go over the assistive technology assessment, and to review a request by us to have the Monster retained in the second grade.  But the phrase “IEP Meeting” usually strikes such fear into the hearts of the parents of children with special needs, and…

Well, some times, the process works the way it should. Continue reading

Communication Matters

Monster with his communication bookUnderstanding what the Monster wants or needs usually’s harder than it looks.

He’s not bad about expressing the basics of his needs, most of the time.  He’ll use single words – “eat”, “drink”, “bed” – which usually expresses the gist of what he’s looking for… but getting to the specifics, and to a format that others’ll understand, is another matter.

And at eight years old, this is really starting to become a problem. Continue reading

You’re Doing It Wrong

The Monster’s favorite toy around the house is his iPad.

Granted, the iPad is a snazzy thing – I’m still shocked at the sheer number that I see of any tablets at all around in public, much less the sheer number of the sticker-price-shocker that the iPad is.  ON the other hand, I sometimes question the effectiveness of the device alone in his hands. Continue reading

Technology and the Autistic Child

We’re closing in on the end of the first week with the iPad.

Yesterday, the wife and I went to the local tryouts for Wheel of Fortune, held in an empty big-box store.  Now, I think that I’d worry ordinarily about a public meltdown in a place like this – hundreds of people, loud noise (let’s be honest – the shell of a big-box store is hardly going to suppress echoes and the like), and most of all, two of his Favorite Things in the Whole Wide World in One Place (letters and a spinning wheel). Continue reading

The Thing in the Box

As I mentioned a while back, there’s a decent amount of software that works well with autistic children.  We have a few of the smaller free applications loaded onto my old iPod Touch, which we let the Monster play with when he’s being good (or on long car rides).  There’s also a good deal of paid software that could help, especially with trying to get the Monster to communicate better.

And he does love his technology. Continue reading

Push The Button

For anyone who didn’t see the 60 Minutes segment either the first time it aired or on this weekend, it’s available online here.

When the Monster was 2, he really wasn’t verbal in the slightest.  Certainly, he had a good mass of words to pull from, but was using a single word at most for communicating his wants and needs.  Baltimore City Infants and Toddlers Program put him into the PIES program, where they introduced us to the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) which was a marvel to us – suddenly, he could follow a schedule, show us what he wanted within a selection of limited choices, and it helped to foster his development of the canned phrases he’s using today. Continue reading