Wednesday, June 19, 2013

So what's Alan been up to?

It may seem that I've been overly preoccupied with Joe lately.  In a big part, it has been because I see so much of him every day.  He is not working yet (please God, let that happen soon!) and therefore I think of him a lot.  My last few blogs were about Father's Day (and after all, Joe is the one who first made us parents) and the cats (and Joe was the one who really wanted both Misty and Diesel) and so I really haven't said much about Alan -- although I did arrange a funny collection of his climbing pictures on Facebook!

But Alan has actually been having a very good summer.  His first week was rough.  Despite having our back to school "conversation" that made me so happy, his first week of summer school had some difficult hellish afternoons.

A big part of it was just the different schedule.  He used to get home from school around 4 pm.  We eat early around here so he could have a snack and easily make it to dinner time.  But now he was getting home at 12:30.  Uh oh!  That didn't cut it.  He actually had to eat some healthy stuff or play or something to pass the time.  He spent the first four days sitting less than three feet away from me saying "medicine, medicine, medicine" until I thought I would lose it.
Unfortunately this picture wasn't zoomed.  This is how close he would sit to me -- ALL afternoon!

After Alan figured out the schedule, he has practically been my dream child.  He has been doing amazingly well at school, too.  He is really getting the hang of his school issued iPad with the communication program Go Talk Now.

When he wanted to watch his videos, he used to sit in front of the TV holding the DVD box in his hand and just bellow "downstairs" (when he was upstairs) and "blue ball" (when he was in the basement -- long story!)  Of course he never (or rarely) watched TV on the main floor.  Figures.

After a little work he now goes and gets his talker (what we call the school issued iPad) and proceeds to press the buttons so that he tells us what video he wants to watch -- and NO bellowing.  He is even doing this for the babysitter and when we had company over.  The best was when he tracked down both of us (on different occasions) when we were nowhere near the talker and handed it to us.  Success!!!!

And this is how he gets out of bed in the morning.
For those that do not know, Alan has apraxia (an oral motor planning problem) so that when he wants to say something, that isn't always what comes out of his mouth.  I knew this, but it has been sort of awe-inspiring to see the way the GTN has improved his ability to communicate and really cut down on the screaming.

Some very clear examples are the time he verbally asked for a cherry pop-tart but typed out blueberry on the talker.  I gave him the blueberry and he took it without a fuss.  If he had truly wanted the cherry, this would have been a time to pitch a fit, but he happily accepted the blueberry.

And just this afternoon he asked for The Star of Christmas DVD (a Veggie Tales movie) verbally, but I waited until he had typed in on the talker and what he really wanted to watch was Thomas' Ultimate Christmas.  So here were two very obvious times that would have caused stress in the house if we had listened to what he said but by using the talker, we bypassed the difficulty.

Now we just have to move him into abstract concepts.  OK, that might be a bit down the road.


  1. Praise God you have found something that works so well for him in the communication department. Wow. Wow. Wow! And he has not had it very long? So I bet this is just the beginning of how much of a blessing this is and will be. I am in awe. I struggle with technology a lot. I think it hates me. But boy am I so very grateful for I-pads and computers and kindles. They have changed our whole life here too. It is so much easier to home school the children. And my son Antonio, who can't play with anything because of the twisted state of his hands and body. Has learned to navigate his I-pad and sit and play many different educational games. He feels like he finally has some say so and input into what he wants to do. Praise God! Great post!

  2. Oh my Gosh I am so happy for all of you! Boo has tired apraxia, when she is stressed or just done her brain has a difficult time making the conversions. Luckily she tends to stay in categories (i.e. call a dog a cat not a banana) and after observation it really is when she is overtired. Thank goodness. I am so happy that Alan has a way to get his pop tart. Hopefully he won't figure out how to access the Disney channel on the IPAD. Boo is totally addicted to it!

  3. I am not too worried about the Disney channel, he has enough videos on him personal iPad that he can watch and fast forward and drive Mom, Dad and big brother crazy for hours on end! :-P

  4. So glad to read that he's found a good way to communicate! My son will turn four this July and we're not yet sure how much help he'll need communicating down the line. And also? While I'm grateful for extended services this summer, what's UP with getting out at noon each day? Ugh. Too early. My son's school also starts an hour and 20 minutes earlier (at 8 rather than 9:20). Seems crazy that the schedule is so altered for kids who already have issues with routine. Hang in there - you're doing a great job!

  5. I know what you mean, Kristi! The teacher has defended it to me ad nauseum and said that the kids are much more productive and motivated. I believe her and yet it is tough to make that transition for myself and probably many other moms. I think I would be happier with the short hours if it at least went more weeks. Our program is only 4 weeks! Luckily Alan starts camp next week and that is longer. :-) Hang in there, yourself!