I wonder if I can weasel my way outta this one. Our secret! Hmm...
Dear Barbara, I regretfully must decline from participating in your blog carnival- you see, my hair was recently eaten straight off my head by a hungry alien-wombat. Okay, the truth is... I really haven’t done much in the way of arranging my home physically, to enhance Jaysen’s development.
~ When he was younger, and his hyperlexia was in full force, I would write notes and label things to help him understand what was expected of him. ~ When he was around 4-5 years old, I had to put deadbolt locks on his bedroom door because he would have such violent meltdowns that he had broken off two conventional locks, and cracked his door. ~ I had an alarm system installed with a door chime because he was a runner.
Other than those few examples, I have done little in how I had actually arranged my home. I did, however, change quite a bit, the education, actions, and approach, in my home.
To strengthen Jaysen’s receptive language, I had to talk funny. I said sentences with only the pertinent words at first, in chunks, then gradually added the seemingly insignificant prepositions at a later. I used echolalia to my advantage. I had to communicate by scripting if I really wanted to communicate, then move to mitigated scripting, and strive for independent communication.
To strengthen his expressive language, I had to do some seemingly bizarre things. If Jaysen asked for juice, I had to bring him the juice pitcher with no cup. The cup was no longer included- he had to ask for it. When he asked for “cup”, I had to bring him a shoe. He would look at me like I just lost my shit, but I had to keep a straight face and present him with this shoe. He had to re-ask for a cup. I would prompt him in a singsong-y voice “ I WANT a cup!” To which he would echolalate (made up word- shut up), and I would finally present him with a cup. That’s a lot of damn work for some juice. This went on all day for various requests.
For sensory integration, I had to provide Jaren with heavy work activities. This meant my child was allowed to jump on the furniture, take the cushions off of the couches (this still drives Companion nuts), eat an unlimited supply of Tootsie Rolls and fruit snacks, and for other sensory stimulation, play with “messy” things like sand and shaving cream.
I had to be aware that even a minute drop of water on his clothes would cause major sensory dysfunction, and be prepared to deal with the situation. He is a sensory seeker in some aspects, and a sensory avoider in others. I literally had to use brute force to accomplish such invasive tasks such as tooth brushing and taking medicine.
Discipline- Jaysen was almost always given the benefit of the doubt. This was not because I was lax, but I had found that most of the things he did were for a reason. Whether he was not able to communicate, someone misunderstood his intention, or whatever the case- the fault usually didn’t lie with Jaysen directly. Sure he had his moments when he was less-than-cherubic, but most of the incidents could have been avoided or de-escalated with a little introspect and awareness.
Most of all, I learned (and encourage others) to listen to my son with my heart. What is it that he is wanting me to understand? What is it that he needs? There's a lot more to a person than what we usually take at face value. If you listen with only your ears, see with only your eyes, and touch with only your fingertips- you just may be missing out on some of the most beautiful and important things in life.
So Barbara, I do hope you understand that I am unable to participate in your blog carnival this time around. I just don't have anything to wear.