Utter Autism

February 22, 2008

Dentist Day

So today was our re-scheduled dentist appointment after last attempt’s disaster.

With a fully charged Dynovox V, everything proceeded according to plan.  As expected, Adrian was a bit confused about where we were going.  I was able to show him the dentist office visual scene showing the chair and equipment we’d see.  When he started to throw a little fit, I was able to get him to talk to me about what he wanted after we finished at the dentist.  He calmed right down.

We walked into the dentist office on the same page.  First we’d do the dentist thing and then we’d get some french fries.  It was a good deal for both of us.  Adrian was happy and compliant.  They got some x-rays, checked his teeth and managed to do a mini cleaning and fluoride treatment.  While we waited he used his Dynavox to talk to me about where he wanted to go next. 

It was a great visit and I’m sure next time will be even better.  We know he doesn’t care for certain flavors now so next time we’ll try some others till we find the right one.  Knowing the routine should make the directions easier to understand and follow.

After our visit we went to the grocery store to get french fries, as promised.  We put Adrian’s Dynavox in the front of the shopping cart and he pushed it through the store himself.  Besides french fries he asked for some fruit punch, cereal, cupcakes, fruit snacks, chicken nuggets, ice pops and candy.  We got some things and left others behind.  He was an angel throughout.

February 17, 2008

Back in Business!

I’ve got to hand it to DynaVox.  Less than two weeks after we sent out our DynaVox V for repairs, it’s back! 

Adrian laughed when he saw it come out of the box.  I breathed a sigh of relief.

I failed to back up my files often enough so there’s a few pages I’ll have to redo but for the most part everything is as it should be.  The timing is perfect.  This week’s school break should give me a bit of time to fix it up before we send it back to school.

I’m grateful to DynaVox for putting us back in business so quickly!

February 12, 2008

Word Up

Filed under: Autism, Family Life With Autism, Parenting Autistic Children — Carol @ 9:11 pm

One of the more frustrating drawbacks of Adrian being non-verbal is that it’s very difficult to determine if he can read.  He’s surprised us many time in the past by navigating through electronics (computer files, cable menus, etc.) seemingly by reading key words as he went.  But there’s really no way to know for certain if it was because the words were meaningful or if he was able to pick up on other clues to get the job done.

Adrian’s interest in books as always been with the pictures.  Occasionally he’ll point to a title on the cover, written in the font from the movie the book is based on.  I always assumed he recognized them as a picture or graphic, not as actual words. 

Tonight Adrian was looking through Disney book, an encyclopedia of sorts.  He brought it to me to show me.  Rather than point out the pictures or characters as he so often does, he pointed to words.  “The Little Mermaid” written in small print, regular font. 

For those of you who just missed that.  He pointed to words!

Yes, the words were special enough, meaningful enough, important enough to warrant drawing attention to them.  He read the words, recognized their value and shared them with me.  This is big. 🙂

February 4, 2008

Backup Plan

Machines are funny things.  Computers in particular sometimes seem to have a life of their own.  As such, it pays to have a back up plan for when a communication device goes out of service temporarily.  How do I know?  Well, we’ve found out the hard way.

While Adrian’s device is out for a tune up, we’ll be using multiple strategies to hold him over till it gets back.  First, I’ve created a communication book from screen shots taken from my backup copy of the pages from his device.  Adrian doesn’t find this way of communicating nearly as satisfying but it will hopefully help us avoid the worst of the tantrums. 

Second, the school has a device they can loan him while he’s there.  We’re lucky to have this option available to supplement what ever PECS they’ll use to get him by.

Third, we’ve got the old Speaking Dynamically Pro/Boardmaker software and boards loaded on the computer here at home.  It’s not portable and the computer isn’t as easily accessible, but we’ll at least have a place to take him when we see his frustration level rising.

Having backgrounds in computers, my husband and I understand better than most that these things happen.  It’s a good time to see how the backup strategies we’ve got work out, plan for device down-times in the future and really appreciate fully what a big role the device plays in the quality  of our life. 

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