Repeat this mantra – “non-verbal does not mean mute”.
I’m constantly surprised at how folks comment on how ‘verbal’ the Monster is, without understanding that while he can say a great deal, he doesn’t communicate a lot. He does have words, but they’re often hard to pull from him to get at the crux of what he wants at any given moment. Like a lot of parents, we frequently grumble about how we wish he’d just tell us what he wants.
I started out this morning on this topic on Twitter, and realized I probably should just expound on it here instead.
When we’re out and about, we usually refer to the Monster as “non-verbal”. I took him with me to a meeting on Thursday night, and one of my friends commented that she doesn’t understand why I refer to him as “non-verbal” when he’s clearly able to speak.
The Monster’s last day at Middle Rockers, 2016-17 season
Ordinarily, I handle getting the Monster to his school bus anyway, and then leave straight for work. The point of this being, if his school bus is late or doesn’t show, I can then run him to school before it starts without my wife being made to run a huge loop to drop both kids off. While she’s on Injured Reserve, this responsibility still lands square in my lap.
So of course, today being his first day back at school after spring break, the bus didn’t come. Continue reading →
I’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.
Like many children with Autism, the Monster is working with a serious language deficit.
He’s certainly by no means wholly non-verbal – he does have quite the interesting vocabulary, and it’s more often than not the manner in which he uses it. His use of language, primarily, are one and two word utterances, and it’s an IEP goal to encourage him to stretch that out.
I was gone for most of the weekend at one of my bonspiels, so as usual, the kids at least seemed to give some show of having missed me while I was gone. (Now, we all know that they really don’t care, one way or the other, when I’m gone, since they love Mommy more and I’m the disciplinarian. But it’s nice that they pretend. 😉 ) But I returned yesterday evening, and while the wife and I were preparing food in the kitchen, the Monster came wandering in. Continue reading →
As I’ve discussed numerous times, the Monster’s not huge on novel verbal expression. He can handle mildly scaffolded phrases that he’s familiar with and riff on them, and he can give one or two word utterances that express the general needs that he’s feeling at any moment in time, but most of the time, we understand him because we “get” how he communicates.
As we’re preparing for an IEP meeting at some point in the near future, the thing that keeps jumping out at us is the need for an environment where they can intensively work on his communication skills.
Now, it’s never been a secret that the Monster has issues with communication – R, his younger brother by four years, speaks in nearly complete sentences on a regular basis, while the Monster speaks in fixed snippets most of the time. He can read letters, and he can make out some sight words, but he’s hardly “reading”, and he’s not really speaking on anything approaching an appropriate age-level. And half the time… it’s a guessing game. Continue reading →
One of my daily tasks is taking the Monster to the school bus, since it no longer just stops in front of our house.
Last year, when the Monster was on IEP transportation to get to Garrett Heights EMS, our daily procedure was that he waited inside, and I tended to either watch from my study, or go outside to stand on the curb myself to watch for the bus going up the nearby street on its way to us. This year, though, there’s a couple of centralized pick-up locations, and so I drive him around the corner to one before I zip off to work. Continue reading →
So, as I mentioned on my tweet feed, I’m on a business trip this week. I don’t travel often for work – perhaps two or three times a year – and it’s as disruptive as you can imagine.
As I write this, I’m looking out my hotel window at La Vista, Nebraska… and the mostly empty terrain around my hotel. (Apparently there was supposed to be a shopping district put in here, but it fell through.) I’d be out doing something else, but I’m more than a little tired due to the hour I had to get up so I could get here, so I’ll be going to bed shortly to try to get myself reset for tomorrow. Continue reading →