This week Ethan had his second speech therapy appointment. Unfortunately there is a bit of a problem with regards to who is holding Ethan’s appointments as the speech therapist that assessed Ethan during his observations is now on maternity leave and they can’t get anyone in to cover her. So as it was the Easter holidays one of the speech therapists from a local special needs school offered to come in and see the children on her books.
Now I could let this anger me as as I think that it is terrible that the children that need this service could potentially be left for a year without any help but I also know that this is the state of the world we live in today. With the financial crisis and all the doom and gloom public sector services and companies are cutting down to the bare minimum staff they need which means things like sick days, holidays and maternity cover can potentially cause major issues. I also realised with this appointment that we aren’t rich and can’t afford to send Ethan to weekly speech therapy sessions or on an early intervention course at the cost of thousands of pounds a year so any appointment we are lucky to get I need to pick the persons brains as much as possible so that I can then become Ethan’s teacher and help him progress as much as I possibly can.
The speech therapist was already aware that I have now realised, with the introduction of Makaton, how hard it is to get Ethan to look at you so this appointment was set up to talk us through PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and how to start introducing it into Ethan’s life.
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a form of alternative communication and is typically used as an aid in communication for children with autism and other special needs.
There are six stages of PECS and our goal is to work on PHASE 1
Teaches learners initiation of communication through the use of a single picture for a desired item.During phase 1 the trainer reacts to picture exchange as though the child has just spoken. This reinforces the act of communicating.
In our session Ethan showed interest in a spaghetti ball so I had to hold it and Ethan was guided to a blank card which he then had to give to me in exchange for the ball. Ethan did this three times with guidance and then he had enough but the speech therapist was very pleased that we were able to introduce this in the session quite quickly and she said he showed good potential for learning to use this system.
The word potential was like music to my ears, not a word that I have heard at any of the appointments with have had with Ethan but such a fantastic word to hear.
So again we left with homework to introduce this system into our everyday life which will of-course take years be we all have to start somewhere…