Some back story: My son, John, has been expressing a lot of frustration lately. He has started saying “no” to every question I ask him. He is even saying “no” to the things I know he likes, wants or needs. It is clear to me that John has something more to say.
He tries very hard to tell me things and gets so upset when I can't understand him. He often shuts down and cries. He gives up. After many frustrating events (for the both of us), I have decided enough is enough. No more waiting. No more me being the nice guy and no more agreeing with things I disagree with. I believe John has outgrown his current Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device and is telling me so in his own way.
My job is to secure what John needs when he needs it. The next step, the most important step (as I see it), is a more robust AAC system. Making a choice between “yes” and “no” is no longer meeting his needs.
My dream for John is no different from any other parent's. I want him to be happy. I want him to have a ‘voice.’ I want him to be understood. And I want him to feel confident when communicating with others.
I realize that some of you who know John think my timing is a bit off since John is only four years old. I’ve heard your comments and disagree. I don’t think his age should be the lone determining factor. If John is ready for a more robust AAC system, why wait? AAC is giving people a voice, and technology has become a way of life. If a more robust AAC system has the potential to help John as a communicator and decreases his frustration, why not!
I know that expanding John’s communication will take much work, but I am up to the challenge. I believe he should be given a chance. I also believe he is ready. Wish us luck. I meet with the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team in the next month to review the assessment results. Let’s hope that they agree. If not I will request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE).
If only time could stand still until we figure it all out.
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