Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Why I don't mind hanging around on street corners (with my son who has autism)

Boy with autism copying letters on street sign

I spent more than a few minutes last year hanging around on street corners... with my kids.  And mostly because of our son David, who has autism and a wonderful thing he's started to do.. on street corners.

David interacts with the world around him differently to many five year old boys. He's not interested in the same things, finds it difficult to follow simple instructions and, to put it frankly, doesn't really talk.  David is pre-verbal and may stay that way, continuing to be one of the 25% of autistic individuals who are non verbal. David started school last year and he's been doing well, but it dawned on me, how is he going to read or write when he doesn't talk and finds interacting and learning difficult?  Most kids start with phonics..what about David?

He's always had good number recognition and can count using his fingers and some verbalisations to 20.  He can also match these numbers to values. School have worked very had to helping him make different sounds and engaging him in 'pre-writing skills'.  He's been semi-forced to make shapes in every material you can think of; sand, gloop, glitter, foam, slime, paint, flour, sugar, dirt, you name it. But I've never seen this materialise into anything until the start of the summer. Then there was a sign of change.

It was my husband's birthday.  We got a cake, and stuck to the rules and routines about Birthday's we have in our house with autism.  ''HAPPY BIRTHDAY' was emblazoned in bright multi-coloured capital letters across the plain white icing. We blew out the candles and then stood in amazement as David traced over the letters one at a time.

Before he'd got to the end of the line I stood in front of David, and spoke the letter signs whilst making the Makaton signs for the letters.

"tu, hu, du, aaah"

And then David said "a"

Not strong "aaah", just a little "a"

We gave him a high five.

Now we stop at many road signs, hanging around on street corners while David and his younger sister trace over the letters.  And as they do I make the phonic letter sounds and then echo them. 

My son may still well learn to read and write.

If you think we are weird hanging around on street corners, or behaving oddly in public have a read of this letter I wrote to those who would be disturbed by my kids on public places.

34 comments:

  1. This is brilliant, really fantastic that he's taking such an interest in letters and sounds! #dreamteam

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    1. Definitely thumbs up! Thanks for
      commenting

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  2. I don't know much about autism (to my shame), but I do believe that, whatever helps them learn, however odd other people might find it, is good for them, keep up the good job #DreamTeam

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  3. That is a really clever idea, a great way to adapt to your needs, very impressive! #bestandworst

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  4. What an amazing thing to do. It's great that you've found a way to help him read that works for him. You must have been stunned when he sounded out the letters on the birthday cake.

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  5. I bet you were so surprised and pleased when this happened with the cake and even better you can get out and about and help David learn more. Hope it continues to help :-) Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst x

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  6. how wonderful that you were able to discover this, and good for you for recognizing the opportunity #bestandworst

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  7. What a great thing to do, sounds like he's really learning from it and engaging with the letters. Fresh air on street corners sounds good all round! Thanks for sharing with #WotW

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  8. What a brilliant mummy's recognising your sons needs and responding so brilliantly to them. I love your posts ❤️ Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

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  9. What a wonderful moment. I bet that cake will stick in your mind for a long time. Our childminder used to do the same with street signs with her pre-schoolers. Often came across them around the village. Such a dear sight. #wotw

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    1. Can see the cake still clear as daylight! Thanks for commenting

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  10. Trusting your instincts is so important, you should be really proud of yourself and your son. I think you have to do whatever it takes, wherever it takes, to support your children no matter how strange it looks to the outside world! It sounds like your son is thriving & learning from it, so keep it up!
    #WordOfTheWeek
    xx

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    1. He has plenty of difficulties so it's great to grab hold and work with something when it happens!

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  11. This is so fab, I love you commitment to give David the best chance and do you know what with that commitment you will get there x

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  12. That's fabulous. So glad that David is taking an interest in letters and tracing those on road signs is a brilliant idea. #WotW

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    1. Less fun on the winter probably!

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    2. Lol, yes probably less fun in the winter! Thank you for linking it up to #ftmob :-)

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  13. Aww this is so nice! Amazing how signs help. My son learn reading from them too as he loves them as a kid. Amazing.. simply amazing read =) #wotw

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  14. This is fab - it must be incredible to see the development all of a sudden :-) Thanks for linking up to #dreamteam Great to have you x

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  15. The words will come in time. And that time sounds near. What a great acomplishment!

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  16. what a lovely step forward, and I hope you have all the time in the world to stand while he does his thing. #WotW

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  17. Aww fantastic, a lovely development for you all. Reminds me of how we'd look for numbers everywhere whilst out - buses, house numbers, shop prices. Well done your boy!
    Thanks for linking up with #SSAmazingAchievements

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  18. Wow! Just Wow! That really is an amazing achievement. You must be so delighted at that step. I wonder what school made of it when he returned? Absolutely brilliant - well done little man xxx

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  19. What a fab thing to do! How amazing that David sounded out the letters, I'm so happy for you. A wonderful achievement x

    Thanks so much for being part of #MMBC. Hope to see you tomorrow too x

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  20. Sounds like you have all the best ideas and I hope with your help David will learn to read. #ToddlerApprovedTuesday

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  21. What a beautiful post. I do believe learning outdoors is best. My son was born 10 weeks early and struggles with learning. He wouldn't sit down at home and learn by looking in a book so we started doing it in nature, it worked so well. It sounds like this method works well for your son and I do hope that one day he is able to read. Thank you so much for linking up such an inspiring post to #ChasingNature

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  22. What a brilliant achievement! Such a wonderful post <3 #ChasingNature

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  23. This is a very touching post. Thanks for sharing it on #ChasingNature

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