Speech and Language Therapy

All posts tagged Speech and Language Therapy

#Autism – Leapfrog LeapReader Review

Published April 4, 2014 by mandzmagee

A child doesn’t have to be on the Autistic Spectrum to be difficult to buy for, however when they’re not able to verbalise what they’d like to have as a new present, or often not willing to accept new things into their lives or a change of activity into their routine without it turning into a melt down it makes it a massive challenge for everyone at times like Christmas and Birthdays.

As we seemed to hit gold with Theo this birthday I thought I’d share a review of his new found favourite educational toy and all the benefit’s we’ve found to go along with it!

Here I introduce to you the LeapReader made by LeapFrog,

LeapReader

LeapReader

LeapFrog http://www.leapfrog.com/en_gb/landingpages/leapreader.html

IMPORTANT

  • Access to the internet is required!

The LeapReader is an audio pen that allows the child to interact with books, maps and activity sets to aid in developing skills such as listening, reading and writing.  Discovering through stories and games with favourite characters such as Disney, Cbeebies, Nickelodeon to name a few in area’s such as Mathematics, Social Studies, Science in a fun and hidden way!

To get started you charge the pen, you are provided with a USB connection lead, connect to an internet accessible computer, and follow the instructions to install LeapFrog Connect.  This tool gives you easy access to the application store where you can find the download resources for the books that you buy.  Connect also gives you a link to the Learning Path which gives you a history of your child’s usage of the LeapReader, details which books are most commonly read, activities most commonly used and suggest new material that your child may be interested in!

World Map

Theo's Collection

Learning Pack

Once you’ve downloaded the audio software for the products that you’ve purchased it’s all go!  Jump from book to book, page to page, map back to book, if it’s installed it’ll automatically recognise the item and take you on that learning adventure.  So the child can just pick it up and play!

The positives that we’ve found with Theo

  • Bigger interest in books
  • More word repetition (maybe doesn’t know how to use the word in sense but has increased his vocabulary!)
  • Improved fine motor skills
  • Improved concentration time on specific subjects
  • Introduced new topics of interest
  • Improved social sharing to include others to read with him

I admit that the books and accessories to go with the LeapReader can be quite expensive however I’ve found that on www.amazon.co.uk you can buy lots cheaper!  You just have to be very careful that you’re buying for the LeapReader and NOT the LeapTag system.

Advertisements

When You’ve Met One Person With #Autism

Published January 16, 2013 by mandzmagee

Over the past few weeks I’ve spent time with people who’ve wanted to learn more about ASD.  It’s been interesting hearing what their perceptions about it has been and where they learn their perceptions from.  After finding out how they base all their knowledge on films such as “Rain Man” and “Mercury Rising” and the such likes, I begin to tell them about Theo’s daily routines and how life is for him.

I try to express as strongly as possible that “When you’ve met one person with Autism, You’ve met ONE person with Autism”.

I could talk forever and a day about Theo, about how life is different for his siblings and our family.  I could talk forever and a day about how if his routine is messed up it can take from hours to days to try and settle him back into his normality depending on how upset and anxious this change has made him.  I could talk about how moving from Dumfries to Washington has made such a dramatic impact on his development that the things I was told he’d “never achieve” have been accomplished and how he’s surpassed his believers expectations never mind the disbelievers.

I always come back to the same line however “When you’ve met Theo, You’ve only met Theo”.

It doesn’t matter if you know a million and one children with ASD, you still know another million and one more that have ASD affect their lives in different ways to the first lot!

I’ve found myself suggesting groups and blogs to people via facebook and I came across one group which I found perfect to reference people too, people with ASD, parents, carers, family members have all posted up a picture of “The hidden disability” and a little bio of the person with ASD’s likes and dislikes.  It shows how such a small label is different in such a vast variety of ways.  It’s also very very humbling to read.  The page is available here … https://www.facebook.com/AutismShines?ref=ts&fref=ts

I absolutely encourage you to help your knowledge of Autism grow and develop by looking at the page!!

Requested Advice – #Equality #Autism

Published December 22, 2012 by mandzmagee

The Situation –

My first piece of requested advice (yay!) has been from a respite carer based in America who has been caring for a 7 year old Autistic lad for four months.  Her problem is that while out and about the little boy has very openly and matter of factly pointed out the differences of other people, it hasn’t mattered on the situation, colour, ability, disability, walking aids, wheelchairs, you name it as soon as a difference is noted the little boy feels that he has to comment on it.  With it not being visible that the little boy himself has Autism the carer has faced verbal assaults, disgusted and judgemental comments and facial expressions, being judged and labelled because she “hasn’t brought up her son properly”.  The family have tried talking to the little boy about how he’s making others feel by doing it, he doesn’t understand or remember this and continues to do it.

Personally I’ve never come across this situation, well, the judgemental people towards my parenting and looks I have but it’s always stemmed from public meltdowns or overly loud screaming etc. it’s never been because of comments about others.  So any advice that someone may be able to offer would be greatly received!!

My Suggestion – 

The way that I would gear Theo up to acceptance of others, if he wasn’t obsessed with the program already, would be to let him watch “Something Special”.  The program is shown on a BBC channel called Cbeebies, which is aimed at children with development delays.  They include the use of Makaton signing (for visual learners), show clips of children with various disabilities and difficulties, cover situations that can seem terrifying to children like the doctors, dentists, hairdressers etc.  Lots of the program is directed to children through song which helps to keep their interest too.  I hope that you’re able to view the video but if you’re not able too try searching http://www.youtube.com to see if there is any that are viewable out of the UK (Damned licensing laws!).  If you are finding these clips available to view there are loads of them on there, plenty of viewing if the little boy will tolerate it!!

Failing that perhaps your SALT could suggest visual books that would be appropriate?

I genuinely believe that the more common and normal it is that children with or without ASD see people with differences the more that differences are accepted!  I hope this helps and I hope that other people come forwards with their suggestions!

David Cameron’s “Rehab Revolution” – #Politics

Published October 23, 2012 by mandzmagee

After sitting watching the news tonight I seen an article about how David Cameron wants high risk prisoners to be given support and education to help them turn their lives around.  He claims that this will be a “Tough but intelligent” approach to make the prison system work, help offenders stop re-offending.

It’s clear to everyone that the prison system is not working and something does need to be done to tackle our over populated prisons.  Is the answer not in the sentencing that is being administered instead of education I wonder though.

For the law abiding citizens of the United Kingdom who are living through this recession that the country is in very few can afford to go into education to better their job prospects.  For that matter there’s very few that can get a job to pay for further education at the same time.  In my opinion the education is being offered to the wrong area of the community entirely.

Mr Cameron went on to say “”We’ll never create a safer society unless we give people, especially young people, opportunities and chances away from crime.”.  Yes Mr Cameron this is entirely true – however taking away the front line youth work in the areas where these young people grow up isn’t exactly giving them the opportunities to be educated and kept away from crime before they’ve even considered committing any is it?

I feel that his targets need to be shifted firstly by making prison seem more of a threat, don’t sit these prisoners down to give them education, get them doing the jobs of maintaining the prison gaining work experience and references to say that they’re willing workers and get sentences to be recognised as something to be feared.

Secondly if the young people are who you want to be educating and helping in the communities, educate them before they’re given the chance to offend, get better youth work provisions put into place especially in areas of deprivation, this will get the young people off the streets where they can be tempted into crime for something to do and give empower them that they can commit themselves to something worthwhile in their life.

It’s important for young people to realise what they’re capable of and what they are able to achieve at a young age, instead of having a label that they get judged over after spending time in a prison in my opinion.

#PECS and how they’ve helped Theo – #Autism

Published October 19, 2012 by mandzmagee

From an early age we’ve had to incorporate PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) into his life which on a day to day basis he’s still using now – At home he doesn’t really need them unless his routine is changing however at school they’ve a picture for everything!

In the beginning when we started using PECS with Speech and Language support, we kept it simple to introduce the cards to him, if we were going to the park we’d show him the park card, if he was going for a bath we’d show him the bath card so on n so forth.  Trying to get him to focus on the cards to start with was a bit of a nightmare but he clicked that if he showed me the card of what he wanted to do he was rewarded with the task that the card showed (the park card was deffo his favourite!).

Once we’d got to grips with using cards for EVERYTHING we started using it to schedule his time.  We got a laminated card and stuck velcro down the middle, Laminated all the PECS cards and stuck velcro to the back of them also.  This way the reward for Theo was taking each picture card off with the completion of the task and it showed that he was finished with that part of the day!

In this picture we’ve got “Bath”, Pajamas” and “Bed”, this was organising his bedtime routine!  He knew that he wasn’t getting TV before bed, so he wasn’t expecting it!

When Theo had gotten used to using the cards as a routine guide we started giving him the option of two cards for a task that he’d like to do.  He’d get the option of “Toys” or “Books” or “TV”.  Theo loved this because he knew when he’d done something that we wanted him to do he was getting rewarded with a task he’d chose!

The only problem that we came across with the cards was that when he was going through his colour obsession if the card didn’t match the colour of the object he’d refuse to take part or it’d cause a meltdown!  Say the packet of crisps for snack time on the card was green and I was handing him a red packet – he’d refuse, scream, throw them away etc.  However I found the way to get round that was to print the picture out in either an outline or a grey scale picture!  Problem solved – Thankfully!

I’ve found a couple of sites online that do free cards/samples which I’ve listed below, before spending a fortune on software that you can print out speak to your Speech and Language Therapist they’ve always supplied ours so we’ve never had to go to the expense! Also its always worth a google search!

 

http://visualaidsforlearning.com/

http://www.practicalautismresources.com/printables

Theo’s Education #Autism

Published October 18, 2012 by mandzmagee

Before we moved to Washington Theo’s schooling was an absolute nightmare.  He was stuck in a mainstream school that had a Learning Centre that was for children with additional needs.  He had a one to one support worker called Mrs Herries, she was an angel with invisible wings!  He really took to her and stopped having anxiety attacks leaving me because he loved her company, she lifted such a massive weight off my shoulders it was unreal!  The head teacher of the Learning Centre however was her absolute opposite, I call her “The Battle Axe”, (I called her it to her face so I’m not being two faced!).  This woman wouldn’t accept help from Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Sleep Therapists, no one and nothing was up to her extended knowledge of children who were needing additional support.  Her idea of a school day was for Theo and his angel to go walks as soon as he showed signs of being stressed – normally this was spending five minutes in her company!).

The Battle Axe told me nothing other than “Theo will never do this”, “Theo will never accomplish that”, negative, negative, negative! The best line she ever came out with was “Miss Magee is such an incompetent mother, it’s the lack of parenting skills that has stunted his development.”, I couldn’t speak to her at the time, I couldn’t trust myself not to bite her head off and stick it where the sun didn’t shine!

He was only there for two years, then Stuart and I decided that we were moving to Washington, it was killing him being away from his son for as long after being used to seeing him every day.  When we made our decision that we were going to move my eyes were opened up to see what a different educational life Theo was going to have.

After we’d found a house and got all the moving dates sorted out we had a meeting education for both Ali and Theo was next on the agenda.  Alisdair was going up into secondary school – massive step for him that was coming several months early with the difference in the education systems in Scotland and England.  Alisdair was a bit nervous about it – he knew he wasn’t up to the same levels of learning because he was basically missing a year out.  He coped with the move fantastically though, the support that they were giving him for his Dyslexia was amazing in comparison with Scotland!

Theo on the other hand was going to be starting a specialist school for children on the Autistic Spectrum.  I met with the Head Teacher and his Class before he started and I was absolutely amazed at the school.  The head was very proud to tell me that the school was one of the top five in the country, I completely understood her pride!  I went onto be introduced to the Speech and Language Therapist and Occupational Therapist who were based at the school.  I had to double check that I’d heard that right and it was true, they were infact based at the school!  We’d only received a letter from SALT at the beginning of the school year to say that Theo was on a waiting list for SALT in Dumfries as he wasn’t a priority.  To actually have this support on site, every day he was at school, absolutely amazed me!

Theo’s class was fantastic, there was him and seven other children in his class.  One teacher and three – yes three learning assistants!  Each one of them were amazing, not one of them questioned Theo’s Autism, they were all filling in his home to school diary with all the positive things that he’d achieved, what they were going to be trying to do with him next, I genuinely couldn’t believe there wasn’t a system put into place like this in Dumfries with the amount of ASD children there is there!

The activities that the school were involved with amazed me too, horse riding every week, swimming every other term, football coaching from the professional coaches and players at Sunderland Athletic Football Club, just to name a few!!

Over the past three years both Theo and the school has completely blew me away.  Nothing is ever negative, I never hear what he wont achieve, I never hear what he’ll never be able to do.  If there is something that is becoming an issue the school consults with me then we as a team put a strategy together for to try and help him.

Today I received his school review and it’s been very tear jerking to read!  He’s made phenomenal progress, when I sit and compare the difference between the two schools where there’s only just over 100 miles between them it astounds me the differences.  Even the differences in him, he is now a much more confident little boy, has learned self calming techniques so he’s able to participate so much in other things that before were just never possible!  He’s truly amazed me and does so every day!

%d bloggers like this: