Dylan has been getting on really well recently!
I was really worried that with Amellia being off school that he would be overwhelmed by her being here all the time as she is a rather noisy and active little one and with his routine changing up with no early starts and leaving the house to take her to school etc but he has done wonderfully!
We have been trying to think of ways to let him know what is coming up, and what to expect during the day, with little to no verbal communication and very little and no understanding for what we are saying to him this was going to be a challenge. We first of all tried using PECS but he just had too much fun pulling them on and off the Velcro and even with actual pictures of the things he enjoys he couldn't link them, so we are thinking that when he is a little older these may work well. So what I decided to try next with him is to show him the actual item that we use for certain things, for example when he is given his much-loved bunnies he knows that it is bed time, and usually this works well and he will walk to the gate and wait for you to lift him up and do his night-time routine. Other times he just throws them away, but will generally still accept that it is time for bed. I am currently trying to teach him that when he sees a nappy it is time to lay down and get his bum changed, as he will be in nappies for a longer period of time than most children so when he is larger it will be a lot easier if he will lay down and not wiggle. This isn't going great, but we are getting there!
One of the things that he has really picked up on with a meaning though is the jingling of car keys and being shown them. When he hears you even more the car keys now he will generally jump up from what he is doing and go and stand by the gate and jump up & down and flap in excitement for what is going to happen next as we have been really working on making sure he enjoys whatever we are going out to do so that going out or the thought of going out isn't a stressful and upsetting thing for him. Unfortunately though this means even if I am trying to nip out by myself even if the keys make the slightest of noise he thinks he is coming with me and will be at the gate and then gets very upset by me leaving, though is generally quickly settled.
The other morning though he was a very cheeky little man! I had left my keys on the table and when we came down in the morning he found them sat on the sofa and started to show them to me and jingle them.. he got rather upset that it doesn't work both ways and that we couldn't go out at 6am! Even with his persistence jingling and running to the gate!
This though was fantastic as really showed to me that he knew exactly what it meant when he was shown the keys and heard their noise! Fantastic! It was doing exactly what we had intended and we had cracked some form of communication!
Now to try to keep going with the nappy one and he will hopefully pick up on that too!
The other night I made my own PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) for Dylan!
There are several stages of PECS, for the moment Dylan is on stage one as he has just started using them! PECS is a form of communication that is used with lots of children on the autistic spectrum but can be used with other children too.It is where they learn to relate pictures to the items that they want.
I have seen lots of people who make these online and charge a fee for doing it then send them to you, I was very tempted to do this until I thought about how often I would need to order new ones as he got new interests, foods he likes etc. So I decided to have a crack at making my own and it really wasn’t that difficult! Took a little time to get all the things together and work it all out, but I did and I must say I’m pretty proud of myself with how they turned out =D So I am going to show you how I did it and what I used so you can make your own too! If you need any extra help/advice etc drop me a comment and I’ll be more than happy to help! =D
I already had a printer, which is the Epson Expression Home 322. I have had it for a while though so you may be better sourcing your own printer! Mine isn’t a very fancy printer but does all that I need and was a very friendly price! I then sourced a Laminator (Amazon.. my favorite place for finding everything I need/ want ;]) it wasn’t a fancy all dancing one, just one with good reviews and could do exactly what I wanted! (Click here to view it) Along with this I also ordered 100 Laminator pouches.. I’m not entirely sure why I ordered 100.. but when I see a good deal I can’t resist! ;] (Find them here) I then needed a paper-cutter as I wanted all the edges to be straight and nice! (This one!) and the last thing I ordered online was some Velcro! (Here) You will also need some paper and few bits of thicker paper too! =]
Now, I am going to try to do this in a step by step stages so it is easy and clear to follow! =] I’ll try and not waffle as we know I do get carried away sometimes! 😀
- To start I made lists of what I wanted to make PECS on. I started off by just doing two, Snacks and TV Programs then thought of nine of each that Dylan liked and wrote them down!
- Next I searched online for clear and simple versions of these images! I found when I searched to put the words “White Background” after whatever I was searching as it means they won’t get distracted by looking at the whole picture
- I then made a folder on my laptop for each PECS board and save the nine images of each topic into the correct folders
- After finding the nine images I then went into the folder and selected them all. You do this by left clicking once on the first image then holding shift and left clicking again on the last picture
- When they were all selected I then right clicked on the images and selected the option print, which opened a pop up.
- When in the pop up I scrolled down the side of it which gives you the options of how to print the pictures until I got to one called Wallet. This meant that all the pictures could be printed off on one sheet of paper and would all be the same size!
- Then I used the paper-cutter to cut them all out. This took a while for me as I liked to make sure they were all exactly the same size! Very simple to do though with the paper cutter recommended above as it has a built-in ruler! =D
- I then put them into a laminating sheet with a good distance between them so that they would all seal correctly and wouldn’t peel once laminated.
- Once the PECS images were done I left them to cool while I laminated the thicker paper that I would be using for the background!
- I then cut out the images again, making sure I didn’t go to close to the image as I didn’t want the laminate to peel off them!
- Next I stuck 6 of the Velcro dots onto the piece of thick paper all evenly spaced of course ;]
- In the middle of each of the PECS images I then stuck the other side of the velcro dots on. (I know I said nine but have only put six on the page, this is so that you can change them about, or remove some and put the other ones on when things aren’t available!)
- Admire your work and feel very pleased with yourself! You have just made some PECS for your child which will greatly improve communication and hopefully make meltdowns less often as your child has a way of telling you what they want when they get used to the PECS =D
These are the ones that I did,and I would love to see the ones you have done! Especially if this step by step has helped you! =D
I wish you all the luck on your PECS journey! =]
Also remember if you have any questions on how to do this etc, Just ask! I’m more than happy to help!