ASD, Autism, Canada, Disabled, Grade School, HIghschool, Individualized Education Program, Manitoba, Non-Verbal, Ontario, Preschool education, Special Needs, Speech and language pathology, Speech Devices, Winnipeg
Troy is basically non-verbal.
Yes, he says ‘mom, mom, mom’, usually when his bottom lip is coming out and he is terribly upset about something and this is the only time you will see him cry.
He use to say ‘bwah, bwah, bwah’, which we think meant Brian, his stepfather. He would say “bwahbwah”, which are sure meant his brother. He would mimic sounds that he heard from us and go up and down a scale with them. But we rarely hear that anymore.
A long time ago, I heard him say ‘grandma’ once and “crash” but those words and a few others have all disappeared.
He can sign. He signs “I want” by rubbing his thumb against his pointer finger. He can sign “please” by rubbing his chest round and round. He signs “drink” by pulling on his lips and ‘eat’ by circling his fist over his mouth, or is that the other way around? He can make a sentence with them all, though sometimes it’s back to front or middle to front, etc.
He can use a speech device, which took years to get. When asked specific questions, he can press the button for his answer. Many of us wonder, if he just does this randomly or it’s what he really wants.
Speech Therapy was offered Pre-School, but the Ontario Government weren’t paying therapists enough and so we went through quite a few in a space of 3 years. In got to the point of being ridiculous, I wrote the government and requested all families receive the funds owing, so we could hire our own. That didn’t work out too well, as there weren’t many to hire independently back then.
In Grade School, we had two speech programs. Troy didn’t qualify for either because he didn’t speak. Say What? Yes, you are reading that correctly and never did I receive an explanation.
I had been using picture symbols on my own and having some success with them; however his teacher and a Speech Therapist (who was trying to help) insisted we teach Troy PECS. I attended a half day session with a specialist, along with his EAs, his teacher and a few others. I diligently went through the arduous process of PECS. I wasn’t having much success once again, but I stuck with it. The end of the year IEP brought to my attention the school hadn’t bothered with the process.
Since Winnipeg, with the exception of one year we have had the same Speech Therapist. I don’t like her. The main problem is she doesn’t listen. She just goes about her own agenda and against my wishes. Stupid things, like insisting Troy must push a button on his communication device to say “next page”, yet Troy can physically change a page without asking to do that. Seriously, what person in this world says ‘next page’ when they can do it themself. Then there is the three times she wiped out the entire contents of his communication device. She also likes to take credit for getting us the device, but she didn’t. I did, but that is a different story. Or Troy having to say “more” either via sign or the communication device, every time he wants a bite of food or a sip of a drink. My other kids ask for more when what is infront of them is done, not each and every time they want a bite or drink. I understand these Speech Therapists have a lot of demands on them, but I think common sense should be a mandatory requirement for the job.
So today, while watching Troy say “I want”, I began to fill in all the blanks. Juice, food, outside, camp, change the channel, the dogs, sleep, change his diaper? As usual, I have no idea what he really wants.
But I know what I want. I want Troy to be able to communicate.
To tell me if someone hurts him, neglects him. To tell me what was the most exciting thing about the camp he was at last week was (he ziplined…WOW). Is he hungry? When he hurts, where and how? Why is he sad? What happened at school? What his friends did? What sport he loves watching the most?
Yes, I have my own want. I want……