This morning, I woke up with a migraine and thinking that I wish more people knew and understood the importance of sign language outside of the deaf community. Not only is it useful to people who interact on a daily basis with the deaf, but it is also a useful communication tool for some children with Autism who respond well to signs, which in many cases leads to verbal communication. That was at 7:28 a.m. right before my alarm went off this morning to tell me it was time to head off to my local Social Security office to see if Monkey qualifies for SSI. Leaving Monkey and his daddy in bed, since I knew Monkey had therapy later today, I headed off by myself only to find that arriving 30 minutes early meant waiting outside the office for fifteen minutes because the office doesn’t open it’s doors until 9 a.m. As I waited in line I told the person in front of me that if I’d known I wouldn’t be able to enter until 9 a.m, I would have slept a little longer.They, in turn, informed me that the line would be much longer once the doors opened, but the line wasn’t longer. As, I spoke to two people in front of me, they asked why I was there. “For disability?” they suggested. “Well, for my son. He has Autism,” I told them. One of them then said, “Oh, I had a cousin who used to have Autism.” I told him, “The diagnosis doesn’t go away. It’s just that with help, the symptoms can become lessened.” Then the man asked me, “So, does he talk too fast?” “No, he doesn’t talk much at all,” I told him. I feel as if every day I am reminded that people are still very uneducated about ASD and how it affects those who have it. After taking my ticket at the office, I sat waiting for 15 more minutes until my appointment time at 9:15 a.m. and began to realize that I probably could have arrived 5 minutes before my appointment and still been called back at 9:15 and not a minute before or after. Finally, I was called back only to find out that this month, my school refund check counts against our income and Monkey’s eligibility. It doesn’t matter to the SS office that that is money for school and I only get that money every six months. They qualify that as income, but it won’t count against us next month, the woman assured me. This was a bit annoying because the money I get for going to school isn’t income. It’s a loan, which I have to eventually pay back. And other than this, we have no other means of income until my husband begins getting paid for his new job. He won’t see his first pay check until some time in September. So, I went home wondering if it was even worth a trip back next month.
A little while later it was time to get my husband and son up and start getting them ready to go off to ST and OT. My husband gave my son a bath (my son almost climbed into the tub with all of his clothes on, he was so excited about bath time) and then I gave my son something to eat. Then I realized that I needed to go get some cash from the bank so that we could buy a surgical brush for the Wilbarger Protocol (which is explained here: http://www.thetherapyplace.net/newsletter/3_2.htm) for my son while we were at therapy today. I went off to the bank and withdrew $3, feeling silly doing so, but knowing that it was necessary. The surgical brush would only cost $2, but I wanted to account for any sales tax if any would be added. Once I got back from the bank it was time to go off to therapy. I was glad that this time I would be going along because last week ended up being such a disaster in my absence. (I had another appointment at the same time that couldn’t be changed and Monkey already wasn’t feel well, so he was so uncooperative once he got there that both his therapists suggested that my husband take him home and bring him back this week if he was feeling better.) We arrived and went into the play room where my son immediately went to play with Lego blocks while we spoke to another parent who will also be working with my husband this semester. At some point, my husband realized that he’d forgotten his wallet, so he left to go retrieve it and go to the grocery to pick up a couple of things and then Monkey’s speech therapist showed up to take him back.
She was really glad that my son was feeling better, but once we got back into the little room, she informed me that she has taken another job, so Monkey will only have one more appointment with her before she leaves. I understand her need to make this decision, however, I know that we are going to miss having her in my son’s life. She plans on exchanging emails and keeping in touch. She also informed me that she does not want my son to have to wait for another ST, so she attempted to get me a new one right away. The upside is that the new ST has a lot more experience with Autistic children. After this big bombshell, I left my son in the room, so that therapy could take place and things sounded like they were going really well. I still sit outside of the room so that I can hear how my son is doing. When his ST came out of the room, she was amazed at how wonderfully my son had done. He had said several words including cat and some other words I can’t recall now. I also asked his ST whether or not it would be useful to buy a PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) binder. If you are a fan of the show House and watched the episode about the autistic child who had worms and saw squiggly lines, then you’ve seen such a binder in action. They look like this: http://www.difflearn.com/category/picture_communication. She assured me that this would definitely benefit Monkey and I have intentions of either buying or making one of my own, though making one is a lot more difficult than just buying the binder and making the pictures to go inside.
Then it was time for OT, which is almost always a difficult time because we usually have to wait for several people to clear out of the room that we use and then have to walk through said people to get into the room. This always puts my son in a bad mood and I don’t blame him since it bothers me to go through that many people as well. Though my son was fairly uncooperative in OT today, it was still quite interesting since my son decided to grab a peanut ball, which looks like this: http://avonshop.co.uk/shop/Assets/images/prod/prod_1046110.jpg and say, “Gimme that!” I know I heard him correctly because his OT responded with, “Hey now, that’s not very nice.” A few minutes later, while she was attempting to get him to color with finger crayons, (he wanted two of them; one for each hand so that he could visually stimulate himself) he said, “Gimme that,” again several times, crying when he didn’t get what he wanted. I was really glad that he was talking, but not very pleased with him being mean. I’m extremely happy that the talking has begun to emerge, but now it is also time to teach my son to be polite and use nice words. Before we left, we also informed Monkey’s ST about what he’d said during OT. She was thrilled with Monkey’s progress and seemed genuinely sad that she wouldn’t get to see him every week anymore. Then we paid for Monkey’s surgical brush and left.
After we got home, I had to take a nap to attempt to get rid of the migraine. It’s still not completely gone, but I am feeling better than I was before and upon waking, my son was playing with a blue marker and I was able to get him to say, “blue.” So, it’s been another great day for verbalization and I am so happy about that. This makes me glad that my son will be starting preschool soon, but being a mom, I’m still dreading sending Monkey off to school because of how much I’ll miss him during those hours. Preschool is only three hours a day, but just like any mom, I’ll still be dreading those first days of school.