~ “Johnny had an okay day. Johnny was very emotional, kept crying. Took him for walks and read him books which calmed him down for a bit” ~
This is what the EA wrote in Johnny’s daily communication book on Thursday about his morning at school. Wednesday night when we tucked Johnny in he was sad about having a hard time expressing himself and making himself understood. I wrote about it in a previous post here: http://wp.me/p1KVmo-af.
When I read the note left by the EA I can’t say I was surprised. Johnny feels very deeply and develops deep bonds with caregivers and will get very upset if he thinks he is disappointing someone. I can’t help but wonder that even though he is making communication break-throughs that being around other neurotypical children other then his sister after over a week vacation that he is reminded of what he “can’t do” well yet and not how far he’s come in such a short time. We have been trying to congratulate him a lot more and build his confidence up so that he practices talking in front of more and more people.
After wiping my tears away I decided I am even more determined then ever to help him. A wise woman once told me that until Johnny finds his voice, that I will have to be his voice when he needs it. Well he needs me now to speak for him and this is part of the note I wrote to his teachers to help them better understand his point of view.
~ “At home Johnny has been practicing speaking a lot more and trying to tell us about important things in the past that happened, comparing how he felt back then to relating how he feels now. He is also trying to tell us about things that happened at school that are important to him.
Sometimes he is sad right now because he’s trying very hard to speak and he wants everyone to understand him. When asked he will tell you that he wants to talk like his friends at school. When he thinks about this he gets sad. Lots of praise about how he is doing well and trying hard etc works well because right now he needs confidence to speak more in front of everyone. What I do if he gets emotional (his version of an Autistic meltdown) is give him lots of hugs but use very little words until he has self-regulated and is calm. Re-direction can work but if it feels like you are in a loop where it gets better for a short time and then its back to where you started then remember Johnny always needs an ending. When he is calm I ask him very direct questions or comment on what has happened to get him to interact about it.”~
On Friday when I picked him up from school they thanked me for the letter and giving them insight into what is happening with Johnny. They have been amazed at how much he is trying to vocalize since coming back after Spring Break and trying to let them know things and what he wants and needs. They were particularly happy when he was playing at play table and then later at the water table with his classmates that started trying to communicate with them and a beautiful interaction between all the kids started to take place. They didn’t have to prompt at all and instead just witness and enjoy. Interactions with his peers and spontaneous verbal communication. Thank you Johnny for putting a big much needed smile on Mommy’s face.
In future posts I am going to share more of Johnny’s progress including trying to talk about past events, relating them to the present, and then relating how he felt then to how he feels now and how books have helped in the respect as well.