Monday, April 12, 2010

The Magic Words...

Age Appropriate...

I heard them today, partially in relation to Billy. And as much as I'm all about not making meaningless comparisons between Billy and other kids, and all about the autism being a good thing... it felt good to hear those words.

We've been really lucky with the government funding Billy qualified for under the Australian Government's Helping Children with Autism Package. We'd done a lot of EI before the funding was established, so we've been able to use it for great extension type activities.

Like therapeutic listening, which was next to useless when Billy was younger, but much more effective now.

And, Fast ForWord, an awesome computer package based around the concept of neuro-plasticity which I initially heard about from hearing Norman Doidge on the radio and then reading his book (The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science (James H. Silberman Books), has been really useful for Billy. Which reminds me, we need to start the program up again, we've had quite a break since Billy had his tonsils out (another story for another day).

We also decided that we would use the funding to get assessments in speech and OT before the funding finishes up on his 7th birthday. Today was the beginning of the speech assessment process.

And it was really, really impressive.

Don't get me wrong, Billy has a lot of speech issues. He scripts his head off. He struggles with pragmatics, his processing abilities are pretty significantly compromised and that makes stamina and multi-step directions challenging. But... his grammar, his sentence structure, his vocabulary, his receptive language, his non-verbals... man, he's come so far.

He loves to please the people he loves, and that's a good thing. He has great cognitive skills. He loves to learn new things. These are all really handy things.

I pushed our lovely ST to say it, but she did say, in the cognitive areas of speech and language, he is definitely in the age appropriate range.

When he turned two, Billy had less than twenty words. Most of those were incomplete approximations of words. Now he's got some age appropriate skills...

Hearing that was magic.

And I know he's got a lifetime ahead of him, but I really feel like our theory of letting him be, but with guidance is really paying off. He is learning and growing. He is loving and he is brave.

It's a long road, but today, it seems like a familiar local road, not a long yawning highway.

We are so proud of you, little man.


Katie said...

Oh, Val... That is fantastic!
Those words give me goosebumps. We've heard them a few times, but the day we hear it about cognitive and speech, I swear to you I will do a thousand happy flappy dances :)
Hope you celebrated such a HUGE achievement.
Great job, Billy!!!

Mama Deb said...

WOOHOO! That is amazing!

Hey--I want to talk to you about the tonsil thing. Did you see big improvements afterward? I keep wondering if maybe THAT is what we need to look into next with M.

Ro said...

Well done to you all for Billy reaching this marvellous milestone!
Has the tonsil removal helped with any ear infections?