Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Learning to communicate

So as I have written before my youngest son, Sean, is totally non-verbal.  He communicates using gestures, sign language and picture cards.  Sean's receptive language skills are very good.  He understands most of what is said to him but he can get frustrated when he can't express what he wants or needs.  This frustration can often lead to behaviours that can be harmful to himself and/or others.  Over the years he has only used a few signs consistently and picture cards when he is working with his support worker.  Over the last few weeks my husband and I along with Sean's support worker have been taking sign language lessons.  It is our hope that if we use/model the signs with him he will repeat them back to us.  Sean has always learned new skills through observing others. 

Because of this new initiative I have had to come up with some new ways of presenting Sean's communication system.  Since Sean goes to a day program two days a week with his support worker this system also had to be portable. 

I was able to buy a 7x5 inch plastic frame from the dollar store.  I put two stripes of Velcro across the frame.  Then I found the sign illustrations that matched the picture on the picture card, placing them side by side and then printed it out on a business size card.  Once I cut out the card I covered the card with contact paper and attached a small piece of Velcro on the back of the card. 

After I made the picture/sign cards I needed something to store and transport the cards in.  I found this tutorial for this credit card wallet and thought it would be ideal.  The only thing I changed was I made the outside squares 10" and the inside squares 9".  It will hold 38 picture cards which will be more than enough for my purposes.

For ease of transport and use I attached a piece of Velcro to the back of the frame and the back of the wallet so they are together and easily accessible. 

Christmas Crafting--alittle early

Shortly before last Christmas I saw this video on how to make a Swedish Heart Craft. 
I had a great idea to make 24 hearts and hang them on a small Christmas tree for an advent calendar.  With the business of the holidays I didn't get out to get the felt to make them.  While sorting through the stuff and junk in the basement laundry room I found some felt squares that I bought for another craft about 15 years ago when I was doing child care for a bible study group.  There was enough left over felt that I was able to make the 24 Swedish Hearts for this coming Christmas.  I even found some silver craft thread that I can use for the hangers. 


Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Birthday to my boy!

Today my youngest son turns 23 already.  I know we all say it but where has the time gone! 

I have mentioned in previous posts that he is autistic with a severe global developmental delay.  He is also non-verbal and mentally operates at about 3-5 years old.  Yes, I know life hasn't been easy for our family since we had Sean. Now before anyone says anything about how difficult is must be to raise him or oh, that poor thing, or calls him the "r" word, (retarded), a word I despise, I have to say how much I have learned from him. 

His name is Sean and he is totally non-verbal.  Before Sean was born he had a stroke and he had breathing problems when he was first born.  Having Sean in my life has made me more grateful for what we have, to appreciate the small things around me and not to take for granted the things we just assume we will have. He has taught me to look for the positive in every situation.   He has taught me to break down everyday tasks into steps so I can teach him the routines and he has taught me that there is nothing that a smile and a hug from him can't fix.  The unconditional love he shares with us makes caring for him easier and I would not want to think of what my life would be like without him.  He makes me a better person.

For years now Sean has had a favourite stuffed Tiger. He has needed a lot of repairs over the years but for now it is still being well loved.

"Tiger" goes everywhere with Sean.

That is why I decided to make him a tiger cake for his birthday!