Friday, January 22, 2010

Update-Stephen's ipod touch as a communication device, the dentist and a blood draw

Stephen is doing really well with using his ipod touch and the app that makes it a communication device!

We took the kids to the dentist last Friday. This appointment was a stellar event for Stephen on many levels.

#1-He breezed through x-rays (hasn't been an issue for him in the past couple of years since I started going in with him).

#2-He sat through a cleaning with the electric device they use! He has not allowed them to give him a cleaning for a couple of years. The key to this being a success was that I asked the hygienist if he could sit up in the chair. He associates laying down with either getting a filling or having a tooth pulled. She wasn't able to do the tooth poking and scraping. I think Stephen also liked the hygienist. She was very calm and patient so I made sure he had her for his next appointment : )

#3-No cavities!!! Stephen has had many, many crowns and fillings since I found a dentist that would work with him. His poor dental health was due to being fed pounds of candy a day while he was receiving ABA for a couple of years when he was much younger and the fact that he wouldn't let us near him with a toothbrush until he was about 6 or 7 without it being a battle royale. For the past 4 years Stephen has not only allowed us to brush his teeth but also likes having his teeth flossed and has learned how to rinse and spit with water : )

#4-He used his ipod to communicate!! He used it to let us know he needed to go to the bathroom before and after his cleaning. After he was done with his cleaning he and I went to the waiting room to wait for Pat and Olivia. My poor little squirrel had another cavity due to her severe GERD that even Prilosec cannot tame at times. He started getting antsy and getting a little vocal so I gave him the ipod and he pressed the icon for "I want to leave". So I said, "I know you want to leave but we have to wait for Olivia and Daddy" He calmed right down.

Later that night we took him for a blood draw at the hospital about an hour before he takes his seizure meds so that his levels could be checked. Just like last year, he sat on my lap and didn't even flinch or make a sound when they did it! There are many, many "normal" kids that freak out when they have to have a blood draw. Needless to say, I was very proud of him for being so brave.

He has been using his ipod touch at school with his classroom staff and it is going really well. His teacher told me that he was doing some math work this week and was becoming upset. She gave him the ipod touch and he pressed the "I want computer" icon and she explained that she understood what he wanted but he had to wait until computer time. He calmed down.

Today, he came downstairs and sat on the couch and kept looking at me and was all smiley. I kept asking him what he wanted. He went into the kitchen and opened the cabinet where the snacks are and I figured he wanted a bowl of Cheerios. I pointed to the bowls and he wouldn't take one. Finally, I grabbed his ipod and gave it to him. He chose, "I want" and "to read a dictionary". I never would have guessed that in a million years based on his behavior at that moment. So, we went up to his room and he pointed to his dictionaries. I told him to take them out one by one. He wouldn't. I pointed to a single dictionary and said,"Do you want this one?" and went to the "yes/no" category on the ipod. He pressed the ,"yes" icon and I told him to put in on the floor. I did this a couple times and he pressed the "yes" icon each time. And then he was able to take each one out one by one and make his pile with just my verbal prompting. Then one by one make them into a pile on his bed. He likes to put together "collections" in a big pile and flip through them. He just stood there looking at me like he wanted me to leave. I went into the "hi/bye" category and had him use the "Good bye" icon and sure enough the minute I closed the door behind me I heard him flipping through his books.


I have always said that many times Stephen becomes the most anxious or very rarely, angry, when he is not able to simply communicate his wants and needs. It's not because he thinks he will get what he communicates it is the ACT OF BEING ABLE TO COMMUNICATE his wants and needs that makes him feel better. We all need to be able to express our wants and needs regardless of whether or not we get those things. Just having others HEAR us and ACKNOWLEDGE that they have heard us and UNDERSTAND us is a basic human need. My son is a PERSON with Autism and he has the same needs to be heard and understood. All of us bloggers who share, vent, entertain and try to lead others know how important the act of just expressing ourselves is to our well being.

3 comments:

kristi said...

We had tooth brushing problems for YEARS. Now it is hair and toenail cutting, check out my blog!

almandite said...

I've worked with two boys who are having similar experiences with AAC devices, although it's taken them longer to learn to maneuver them. They're wonderful inventions.

"It's not because he thinks he will get what he communicates it is the ACT OF BEING ABLE TO COMMUNICATE his wants and needs that makes him feel better. We all need to be able to express our wants and needs regardless of whether or not we get those things. Just having others HEAR us and ACKNOWLEDGE that they have heard us and UNDERSTAND us is a basic human need. My son is a PERSON with Autism and he has the same needs to be heard and understood. All of us bloggers who share, vent, entertain and try to lead others know how important the act of just expressing ourselves is to our well being. "

I think that's a very important, and very true, statement. Thank you.

Queenbuv3 said...

almandite-thanks for linking my blog to your blog!