Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

Autism Education

I've had a lot of people ask me what it's like having a son with autism and what we do to help and what we work on and things like that, so I thought I would do a little post about it. We have been really lucky to have good people helping us and giving us direction. One of the things we have learned to do is use what are called PECs cards. These are just a way for our kids to ask for something they want without using words. They are either not ready to use their words yet, or they just choose not to, so in the meantime, we have other methods. These are the kids morning schedule boards. They have interchangeable cards like the one on the right that we use for bedtime. Owen's is a little different, we use a bye bye card to show that it's time for school. Our kids aren't great at these cards yet and so we sometimes have to help them, but they really are getting there.

 Here are both the boys schedule boards. They are velcroed to the wall (most of the time). The consistency is really good for them and helps them to learn faster. I have to admit, that during the summer when both kids were home during the day these schedules and cards just weren't used. They are a LOT of work together. (Not because they are bad or anything, they just don't play together and so it's hard to work with them one one one when they are both around).
 This is another way we use PECs cards. They are used at every meal. The top picture is Owen's typical setup and the bottom is William's. Owen is getting a lot better at recognizing different pictures and so they change with the meal he is having. William is still getting used to cards and so we have one we use for drink and one we use for food. The idea of the cards is that they do something and they get something in return. So, Owen hands us a picture of crackers and we say "crackers" (so that he gets used to the word and hears it regularly), and then he gets crackers. The hope is that eventually he will make a sound or a word and get what he wants even faster than if he were to hand us a card. We aren't there yet, but we are working at it every day. And they both are doing great so far!

 This is what meal times usually look like. The food is kept out of reach, and so if they want to eat, they have to do a little work. But, once they do ask, the reward is instantaneous!

 This is another way we use the PECs cards. These are William's play cards. After we eat breakfast and check our schedule, I choose 4 activities. They are all toys or books or games that we have that we want him to play with or learn to play with. We move his hand over one of the cards and that means that that is the activity he chooses. Then, we play for a few minutes. This probably sounds easy, but he has a really hard time sitting still or playing with toys for more than a few minutes and so we have choc. chips ready for him when he sits still or does something good. That way he is immediately rewarded with positive reinforcement.
 We have some picture cards that we use for songs as well. We try to make toys and games as fun as possible.
We have tried lots of different things to help them communicate and ask for what they want and one of them is that I printed off pictures of their favorite toys and taped them to the front of their Tupperware containers holding their toys. Sometimes they will bring me the toy or toys they want and sometimes they just sit there. We are learning as we go through this process, that everything is hit and miss and that every kid is different. We are trying lots of different things and using lots of different methods to help our kids the best we can. We love them and love watching how much progress they are making every day. We are also so grateful for good resources available to us. All of our picture cards were made for free for us through the kid's programs. Hope this helps give some incite.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Oozing with cuteness!

So, we used to have William in a high chair and Owen in a booster. Well, we found another booster at a yard sale recently and now they get to sit next to each other. They get little place mats and plates and they are just so stinking cute. I love watching these boys grow up together and be buddies!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What a fun day!

 My husband rocks! He was so excited to take the boys on a four-wheeler ride. I know it looks like Owen is in a head lock, but Zac is just doing up his strap. :) Owen loves riding on the 4-wheeler. He usually laughs the whole time. And Zac and I both love it!!

 William found ways of entertaining himself while they were gone. He is so fascinated with the tires on both of our cars.

 William kept smiling and I only got pictures of him looking sad. He loved his ride too. He was so cute in that giant helmet. :)

They were both pretty worn out by the time we were done, but we had such a great time. I love that Zac likes to do fun things like this and make it really enjoyable for our kids. I am one lucky lady!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A fun new toy!

We found these little tunnels at the DI for 5 dollars. The kids have been loving them!!!