Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Talking Without Words
For a couple of weeks, we have been trying to increase our gestures and facial expressions. We sent off a video to our consultant. She replied that we are doing a great job of communicating without speaking, and that Alan understands us. However, our goal is to not only get this accomplished, but to elicit gestures and facial expressions from Alan.
I have watched Tammy do this with her daughter, Pamela, with great success. I wish I could import Tammy to teach me how to do this with Alan. I asked the consultant if we can talk to Alan a bit about what we expect him to do. She said yes, but not to over-explain, but rather to introduce the idea to him and then set up scenes where he is most likely to respond. One is to change places with him...say at the table, moving only when the guide nods or smiles. The direction of movement can also be done by tilting the head or moving the eyes in the desired direction.
There are a lot of videos of cute little kiddos learning to do this. Their patient parents have set up back yard soccer, walking in the mall and other scenes where success has happened. Last night, at the parent meeting, a dad was showing how his son had learned to take turns playing a board game, with only the gestures and noises he and the grandfather made. Dad said that the little one hardly stayed at the table to play Chutes and Ladders when it was first brought out.
So, along with our holiday preparations tomorrow night, we are going to try to capture Alan on a video to send to our consultant. We need to slow down our actions to speed up his success.

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Blogger The Glasers said...

I give Pamela a lot of the credit!!!

First, because she is lower functioning (i.e., at 18yo, she still feels comfortable bringing a big pink bunny to hug at the Christmas concert last night), she is more playful and willing to play silly games.

Second, language is such a struggle for her that going nonverbal is a relief for her. I think she enjoys being nonverbal and communicating with her body.

Third, it took about three weeks of daily practice for her to get following eye gaze. The final trick was when I grabbed a toilet paper roll and showed her how I was looking with my telescope. That clicked and, from that point on, it was a matter of using it in real life.

I'll be praying for you and Alan. It can be a wonderful skill to have when you are out in public. You can communicate things without speaking or drawing attention to yourself or Alan.

4:33 AM  

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