Building Blocks for School Success. Some food for thought…
Came across a great book recently, 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s; Ellen Notborhm and Veronica Zysk; Future Horizons; 2010 and it was discussing the issues associated with Communication and Language. Gave lots of food for thought:
‘Consider for a moment how easily typical kids capture our attention with eye contact and pointing. With a slight turn of the head or a small finger raised, they communicate, they connect without words or language. They tell us how they feel about their world and what attracts their attention in it. Most kids with autism, however, have difficulty indicating interest. Their over- or under-sensitive sensory systems can interfere with visual processing, their impaired social thinking can hinder their ability to know what to reference, and their motor sensory systems can’t plan, coordinate and execute in a way that produces that spontaneous gaze or gesture.
Bottom line: we can’t rely on what kids with autism or Asperger’s do or don’t do, from either a movement or speech perspective, as an accurate gauge of their interests, inner thoughts and feelings, or an indicator of their desire to communicate.
. . . Our job, as the communication-proficient adults in our children’s lives, is to break down their complex landscape of communication into smaller, more manageable parts, and give them a meaningful, reliable and functional communication system, in whatever from it may take.
. . . All children have something to say to us. It’s our responsibility to listen in a manner that allows them to be heard.’
In lots of ways, the term autism or Asperger’s can be substituted with the term Primary Language Disorder. And our role is “helping children to speak . . . and find their voice”. Speaking with a parent of a child with a language disorder recently, the father was talking about how he and his 7 year son would take a driving holiday together once a year, and his sadness was that he could never have a conversation with his son as they were travelling. He couldn’t talk about what they were seeing, what they had done, how his son was feeling . . . and that was what he wanted most. Our job as professionals who work with children with language disorder is to assist with making those wants into reality. Attached model – Building Blocks for School Success, allows for a clearer picture of this disability and the relationships between language, the sensory system, social development and the motor sensory systems.