At least that is how I, we felt at that time. I remember that it felt great to have a diagnosis because it opened up all this help and opportunities for us. Support and help have shown us new ways, new techniques, and I can honestly say that without it we, us, Mikey, would not be in the same place now. The help and advice led us down paths that have allowed us to communicate better, and even though he is still non-verbal, he has his way of communicating what he needs to us.
These may all seem like things you have heard, things people say to you. I know we heard them, but it does seem like you have lots to change, lots to do. I remember that some of the things we started, like imitating in play. The idea being that you spend some time imitating what they do, if they play with something you do the same. The idea is that you want the intervention them noticing you doing the same, getting a look or reaction and even your son/daughter doing some play then stopping and looking over to see if you do the same.
The idea is quite simple to build up that interaction, but its still difficult to get your mind around it at first. It does work though.
We always found that the Now and Next boards can sometimes be difficult. Planning the day out and following through. It's difficult when you go out and something doesn’t go to plan (you need a whoops card) for example. Again, the concept is fantastic as its all about structure. But again, its one of those things you have to teach yourself to do all the time.
We were quite lucky in that Mikey is OK with change. If we say something is next and something happens he doesn’t mind the change - although each child is different so the plan is the same, the integration and reaction isn’t. Again, it's all a learning process.
Well, we are now up to current date where we are using something called PECS; it's about exchanging cards for items. So a card that says Mango on it for a piece of Mango. This in itself brings new challenges and again more to learn. I would say though that by this stance you, we, I don’t feel so overwhelmed anymore. I think you get into a kind of routine, you know you need to learn, you know you need to do this and so you just get on with it.
Well, for us, this next stage is School. This in itself holds more challenge. Our older daughter has been going to school for nearly 4 years now and that process was easy compared. I’m not going to go into that in this post as I reserve that for its own post. I will say though that its not as simple a process that for a child without the need of support.
Well, I wanted to portray that when you hear that it will get better, get easier, it will. It takes time, there is always something new to learn and do. But you eventually get less overwhelmed and feel comfortable in doing what you need to do. And it's amazing how it all helps and fits together.