Thursday, June 26, 2008

PECS and Speech Therapy

Today we had speech therapy. Last week Beth made us some picture cards. We are working on another means of communication for Harlie called Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). Each card is laminated and it has a picture of an object or activity or feeling, etc.

The goal is to have them velcroed in a notebook so if she wants to go outside (for example) she can pull the “outside” card and hand it to me. The goal is to broaden her ability to communicate. While she is great at learning signs, there are plenty that are just too complicated to expect her to do at her age. Plus, we are the only ones who know what she’s saying. Whereas with the PECS, she can hand anyone a card, and they will know what she wants or needs.

Last week we worked on getting her to look at two cards to identify an object. So, we would show her two cards and ask her which one was the car, for example. Today, Beth started showing her that in order to get an object, she had to hand her the card that matched that object. I don’t know if that sounds easy to you – but let me tell you, repetition is NOT easy – for anyone to handle. Personally, I was exhausted after less than 45 minutes and I just watched!!! How Beth has the energy to do that all day, I’ll never know. I am very impressed by her, let me tell you.

Anyway, first Beth started with just one card – a picture of a ball. Harlie would throw it to Beth and if Harlie wanted it back, she had to hand Beth the picture. She did that over and over again for a while. Then she added another card. By the end of the session (up to two cards) she would go for a card and you could see her think about it, then she would realize that wasn’t the right card, and she would grab the one that matched the object that she wanted. It was really amazing to watch her learn and figure it out! I am SO proud of her!!!

One of the things that really amazed me was that she didn’t get frustrated or mad that she had to learn a new way of communicating. I mean, she knows the sign for ball and would sign it, normally resulting in her getting the ball, but this time she wouldn’t get it that way. You would think she would get mad or something. It’s almost as if she understands that we are trying to teach her something. Amazing when you think about it…

Anyway, we got Murphy’s room switched over and he loves it. He is so excited about the baby. He keeps asking me when the baby is getting here. The other night at dinner he asked if the baby was laying in all the food. I have to admit that I was confused for a second. But Tom was quick and told him that the baby lays in a different part of the tummy. Kids are funny. It really is a whole different experience expecting now that he understands a bit. In a good way, I mean. Well, that’s it for today. Thanks for checking in!

Take care,
Christy

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