We parents of autistic kids love our tablets, be they iPads, Androids or TouchPads. Admittedly, I am in the minority of tablet parents with a TouchPad. Regardless, parents love tablets and the worlds that are now open to our kids.
Not that long ago–in fact, less than a year ago–most people would have described my son as non-verbal. In fact, I told everyone who would listen that he was. To be able to not just hear his voice these days, but also to hear him say words I can recognize, is very magical and makes me misty-eyed more often than I admit.
Daniel’s speech, much like his writing, just seemed to start cascading out. In a very short period of time he wanted to say words. With a lot of support from his EA, SK teacher, his twin sister and both parents, we all coaxed words from Daniel.
After he started IBI last fall, the therapy staff were able to work more intensively with him and help his mother and I with supporting his speech development.
Here is where the tablets come in. Daniel loves watching Youtube on the TouchPad, but he calls it an iPad because that’s what his mom has. I am very brand loyal to HP and Sony, but I realize I have lost the battle on nomenclature when it comes to the TouchPad.
Something new started a couple of weekends ago. It wasn’t a deviation from his patterns or an addition to his playlist. It was using one of the songs to teach his old man.
Sitting at lunch, Daniel started saying the letters of the alphabet, but he would leave a long pause after saying each one and point to me. It took me a few minutes to realize what he was doing. He was waiting for me to say the word associated with the letter from one of his favourite videos, The Phonics Song 2.
I could have smacked my forehead because it was so obvious, but I didn’t. I tried to remember the words. When he said “g” I was lost. I couldn’t remember the word. He prompted me a bit and then said the word. Between my, umm, limited hearing and Daniel’s pronunciation, I couldn’t make it out.
Rather than stay on “g” until I clued in, Daniel moved to the next letter and gave me a huge smile when I said the right word. It was just like I would do, or his therapists and teachers would do, when he successfully completed a task. I laughed inside when I recognized he was teaching me. I missed “r” and “v” and he responded the same way as with “g.”
His sister was trying to coach me, too, but I couldn’t get the words.
It was only after the twins went back to their mother’s and I viewed the video that I understood what the words were.
Whenever anyone asks, I say that my kids are my best teachers. With Daniel’s phonics/alphabet lesson, it turned out to be a very literal thing.