Thursday, April 28

What works for us Wednesday

While Tommy and Liam were in the 0-3 year old program, we had access to home based services around OT, PT, speech and our lovely family resource coordinator to keep me educated on all topics of infant and early childhood.  Then when we transitioned to 3-5 yr old early intervention school district preschool services, the OT, SLP and coordination piece became school based and I don't "see" and "learn" from these fabulous teachers.  Our preschool, seriously, is the best practice and has the most amazingingly skilled staff.  We have communication journals that inform us of what happened during the day and what to "work on" at home.  And that works so well.  Plus, the teacher is great at email when she can outside of classroom instruction and bringing me up to speed on current 'stuff'.  But.  I still don't get to 'see' how they are working with Tommy and Liam day to day like the home based services were.  So.  Me, myself, and I decided to take a few classes.  Courses.  Sessions.  Training.  On infant and early childhood intervention type activity and services. 

Part of this decision is because Tommy is progressing in his own unique way (cough cough, not progressing) with communication.  And as much as *all* the folks in his life are working on pecs and sign language.  He hasn't made the huge progress I had hoped for.  At 4 1/2 years old,still no words.  I get a slap on my bum and he points to the kitchen counter and that means bananna.  I sign banana, pull over the pecs for banana, still not initiating the communication.  And some of this is expected.  Delayed vision, delayed hearing equal delayed communication.  But man I'm here to tell you, if he is 15 and still slapping my butt for attention and grunting.  This wouldn't be good. 

So, me and my friend A attended the Ds Community (pacific region of Wa state) conference in April.  Although the topics were for older people with Ds and their parents and caregivers, we learned a ton and met some new people.  It was our first conference on Ds topics. 

Then last night, a bunch of folks and I attended the "my shirt tags are driving me crazy" sensory processing information (jam packed 3 1/2 hour session) on all things for kids that are sensory seekers or avoiders, processing issues in general.  It was amazing.  Tons of information that link, in my mind, to how he is frustrated with communication because he is a sensory seeker.  Big. Time.

And next month, I'll be going to the Wa State Infant and Early Childhood Conference in Tacoma.  Three days on topics of babies to age 8 (I believe).  Here are the sessions in the conference I'll be taking:

1. Toolkit for active learning and successful communication for young children with multiple disabilities (all day class).  This had Tommy's name all over it.
2. Snack talk: increasing communication and social interactions at mealtime.  I wanted to take this one because he has a g-tube and I'm sure there will be ideas.

3. Using visual supports to increase engagement and independence in young children (pictures, objects, words, etc).  We are really looking at the link between the visual supports and his communication of needs.

4. Improving the quality of early literacy experiences for young children with autism and other diagnosis (I'm thinking this may have some hints for Liam too as he has a delay in expressive speech)

5. Multi disciplinary approach to solving infant and toddler sleep problems (read that:  we have a problem)

6. Picture pages- a link to language (heard great things about creating 'picture pages' for my lil sensory seeker that have tons of touch/feel items on them)

7. Identifying and implementing activities that address children's sensory needs

8. Music and early literacy (I can't remember the title but it's the one class I took for Liam)

So, this momma is going back to school.  Would LOVE to hear what kind of classes/sessions are in your area.  Does your local DsO host educational classes for parents and caregivers?  Do they have childcare during the session?  Do you have a parent support network where you can ask questions and learn more?  Do you travel to the national Ds conference?

Tommy Adventures