April 12, 2011

"a picture is worth a thousand words"

In our case a picture is usually worth one very valuable word. My oldest son - a sweet, rambunctious 2 1/2-year-old who has Fragile X Syndrome - is currently classified as non-verbal. I say currently because I still have hope that he will speak someday. My hope isn't without validation as it isn't unusual for children with Fragile X to begin talking later than other "typical" children. My son's receptive language is great but he gets extremely frustrated when trying to communicate his needs and desires. I try to prompt him to use his words (he can say a couple words and can sign a few) but when that doesn't work he uses visual aids.

Top row: juice, eat, milk,
Second row: book, swing (indoor), iPad,
Third row: chew, shoes (representing to go outside), TV

This is a lot like PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) but we modified it by using our own pictures. Grant simply peels off a picture (we "velcroed" the pictures to a plastic folder that we can store in a three-ring binder) and hands it to me while I use the picture/word in a sentence. For example, when he chooses the first picture and hands it to me, I say: "I want juice" or "I want a drink of juice."  

Signs: (1) Stop, (2) No Spitting, (3) No Screaming

Because I believe Grant has auditory processing disorder, I also hold up pictures that represent phrases or rules I often say. That way he has a visual reminder/prompt of what I am saying and it is not always mommy "yelling" at Grant. I need to make "no throwing", "no hitting", and "get a chew" prompt pictures as well. :) I am also working on pictures to put in sequences so Grant has a visual "list" of certain routines (ie: the bedtime routine).

Last, but definitely not least, is the iPad. I, along with the therapists, love this wonderful aid. Not only do we use it for various therapies, we frequently rely on the Answers:YesNo application (affectionately known as the "Yes/No app"). Echolalia is one of the symptoms of Fragile X and Grant does it all the time (he just repeats the last thing we say rather than saying what he truly needs or wants). Interestingly, Grant is very decisive when using the Yes/No app - he just has a hard time verbalizing it. We are saving our pennies to purchase Proloquo2Go but we have plenty of other applications that are useful in the meantime.

I have always known Grant is very visual (just like me) and these tools have been effective in unlocking the world of communication for my sweet son.

1 comment

  1. Karen, I'm just amazed at your knowledge and moreso, your love and grace. Thank you for chronicling your days with Grant and Wesley. Such a sweet mom for such sweet boys!


© Choosing Gratitude | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig