This moving radio story is one too familiar to me. Hari Srinivasan is a kind of fellow traveller in two worlds. I congratulate him for his huge accomplishments. I have known the reporter Lee Romney my entire life and I guess you can tell she gets it. She actually edited both my books so by now she understands the challenges of nonspeaking autistic people remarkably well and it shows. The difference between Hari’s current life and his former training in ABA is stark. It is incredible how offensive I found it listening to the jolly infantile voices its practitioners used in the brief segment that described ABA in the program. Ugh. But it is important to show that popular treatment that so misses the mark in order to compare it to the great success of Hari once he found another way.
Please be sure to listen and not just read!
Here I am on my iPad. I am still getting used to it. It is still slow compared tomy letterboard, but it is getting better. I talk about Shakespeare for homework in one clip, and I just chat in the next.
I will post films of me using my iPad soon. It is starting to feel natural to use it, but I hate when the camera is on. At first I get so nervous I make simple mistakes, but thankfully I relax eventually. I love the game Temple Run on the iPad. I am addicted to it. Ha ha. I remember I used to hate games but I love this. Well, this is a lot better than forced drills of playing Candyland. Man, was that insipid. I love improving my scores and getting better. The technology is so awesome today and it helps me in life.
The world of non-verbal autism is changing thanks to assistive technology. When I was small, the best I got as a communication tool was PECS pictograms. For those not familiar with PECS, it is a system of basic needs communication and it looks like this.
In recent years, new devices have flourished. I started communicating on a letter board, a low tech way to point to letters. I still use this method often because it is fast, portable, and if I mess up a board there is no loss of expensive equipment. Here are some types of letter boards.
And mine has a math side too.
Now I have been using a dynawrite also with word prediction and voice output.
Some kids use a fusion,
or an iPad. Recently many non-verbal kids I know switched to iPads and like it. It shows their work in stored memory which is good for school.
The thing is, any method involving letters needs to be taught because autism limits the motor planning to do typing or pointing clearly. None of us learned this skill in school. We all went to someone who had to patiently teach us how to express our thoughts in this modality. Then our moms worked really hard with us at home. The journey to communication is long and hard and starts with the opening of a door.