Day 2 - Son-Rise
Today session on designing the playroom, and another on language development. They were both fascinating and left me with a lot of questions. Good thing I have a consultation booked for Thursday.
The Playroom - the idea of the playroom is to be a safe, distraction free environment for the child and parent. It's a room in which we can give the kids full control of their situation. They can have whatever toys they like, for as long as they like. We say "Yes" to everything in there. I'm going to set up the top of the stairs, I think. Anyway, the playroom is where we can play interactive games, or I can just join him in his isms (repetitive behaviours) so that he feels safe, loved and accepted just as he is. They were very clear about keeping the child in that room, so that he can learn that he can have control, can feel safe and loved, and that it is predictable. The outside world is so unpredictable for people with autism. I'm concerned about this for Crackle, because he loves to be outside. He loves the playground. And he sleeps a lot better if he gets to go out a lot. And what about the backyard? And when it's too warm? Obviously, I'll do what's right for him, not what they tell me to do (btdt, spft (still paying for therapy)). :) But I may try it their way for a while just to see if it inspires language and social interaction.
No electronic anything in the playroom. LOL. So none of Crackle's favourite toys. Gotcha. That blows, but I understand the point. Actually, they want us to remove all screen time from them. Not going to happen. Not that Crackle is interested in screen time (he's more of a bleepy bloopy toy boy), but Pop is. And he uses them to interact. They're not getting in his way.
The playroom is to be the happiest place on earth. Like my own personal Disneyland without the evil and noise. I have to be happy to go in there, show him how much fun it's going to be. I'm a bit nervous about it, so I'm hoping I get over that, because he'll pick up on that for sure.
Language - Wow was there ever a lot of information here. It all depends on what stage of language development they're at. For Crackle, I'm going to be doing a lot of celebrating any sound he makes and pretending that he was asking for something in particular with the noise so that he gets the idea that making noise gets him something. He already sort of does, so I hope this works. There's a technique called "highlighting words" that I think may be quite useful. The example she gave was about playing a game of "swing". So I'm swinging him and instead of saying, "WHEE!" or something, say "Swing! Swing! Swing!" When I put him down and he wants to go again, look at him and say, "SWING!" and then do it again. If he makes any sound, celebrate as if he said it perfectly and swing him. NOT that there's room to swing in the playroom I have planned. Hell, there's not a room in the house big enough for that.
For Pop, we're going to work on some imagination games. That should be a lot of fun! It is to stimulate spontaneous language.
We're supposed to stop talking so much and do some listening. Don't narrate. Don't fill silences. Only speak to communicate. Give him time to process and respond. Should be interesting.
Another interesting piece was assuming that they have receptive language, even if it doesn't test well. Because they are probably simply not showing us their understanding. So we're to explain everything, in detail, because hearing what's going on will help them to process what is otherwise baffling. "Why can't I have another grape? You've given me 50 in a row! Why all of a sudden no more?" So the idea is to explain in detail that if you eat any more, you'll get a stomach ache, and then you'll be uncomfortable and you won't like that, so I'm not giving you any more because I love you and want you to be comfortable." Flies in the face of ABA. Again.
The battery on the laptop is dying and I don't feel like getting up to get the charger, so I'm going to bed. My roommate is not snoring tonight, so I should be able to sleep. The earplugs suggestion was good, except that I'd have slept through the alarm. Tomorrow she knows to wake me. Goodnight comrades!