Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I have loved you for a thousand years...


Today was one of those days. 
The kind where PJ's train ends up in the toilet.
More then once.
Announced by a gleeful
"OH NOOOO!"
Every time. 
{sigh}
PJ's joy would have been more tolerable
Had I not had to stick my hand in the toilet.
More then once. 
Eh.
At least he didn't flush.
Dinner started as a disaster.
PJ disintegrated into a teary, screamy mess.
(Mainly screamy.)
It looked like this:


(By the way, he wasn't wearing a shirt because he poured water all over himself.)
It took every ounce of my being to keep my cool
And not "accidentally" let PJ wander out the front door
Or at least burst into tears.  
Instead, I took a deep breath, and
s-l-o-w-l-y
Talked him down.
He eventually asked me if he could have
Something else for dinner.
These days, when he tantrums
I have a much better chance of getting him
To communicate why he's upset.
The strides in his speech
Take some of the edge off the tantrums.
Some.
At any rate, tonight,
I got him into his jammies
And read him a story.
PJ always sits with Mommy for stories,
Even if Daddy is home.
Book are our thing.
Even when we have a rough day
He plops into my lap and snuggles in while we read.
After, he hops into bed and
"Blows out" his light on the count of three.
I ask him,
"How much do Mommy and Daddy love you?"
And he answers,
"All the way to the moon and back."

{bad day repaired}

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tomorrow, there'll be sun.

{stream of consciousness}

Memorial Day is winding down, and I am able to finally reflect a bit on all that our Armed Forces have done for our country, and feel appreciation and heartbreak for some many men and women who lose their lives, fighting to make our country safe for my son. PJ, my sister and I attended the small Memorial Day parade in the next town over. It was tiny, but so sweet and respectful and heartfelt. I could feel a small bloom of thanks open in my heart for these men and women I had never met.

The past week was a difficult one. Poor PJ was sick for much of last week, and while he had a GI bug of some sort, the pyrotechnics of it all didn't slow him down a bit, so I had a very spirited, very cranky, very bored boy on my hands while I wiped and Pedialyte-ed and cleaned and laundered. Pete has been helping out as much as he can at the hospital and taking advantage of the overtime pay available. It's all a huge help as far as our wallets go, and I am proud of Pete. He is a hard worker and very good at his job. But it's been a long, lonely week for PJ and I and I'm thankful that tomorrow night is the last of a very long stretch of work for him. We find ourselves rowing the same boat but using two different oars (ahemstupidmetaphors)- drivng the same ship but doing our own thing to steer it. We need one motor. Pete and I desperately need to find a way to reconnect.

PJ has been having a rough time, aside from being sick. He seems to be plagued with allergies (sorry, Dude. That's all me.) and is constantly swiping at his nose. I don't know if it's the nasal discomfort, but he's had a hard time controlling his little body. He's been hyper and prone to tantrum. Yesterday, during a huge town fair, he screamed while I carried him home. For five blocks. Through a crowd. Screaming. I know that he is not the first child to tantrum, but I find myself in that same abyss where I don't know if it's just a typical little boy episode or a phase that he will never come back from, courtesy of Autism.

We have been through stretches like this before, and we always come out okay on the other side. His speech has been coming along so beautifully lately- a milestone that has been keeping me afloat while I try to sort out his other needs. I know we'll be fine. I know he'll be fine. It's just been...difficult, and tonight I am allowing myself the luxury of hashing it out instead of bucking up.

And tomorrow is coming. PJ will be back at school and a day closer to being fully ensconced in his routine again. I will clean up the mess that has accumulated over the past week. Pete will have a few days off and I will remind myself that I can engage him and our marriage.

Annie did say, "The sun'll come out, tomorrow."

Preach, sister.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I'll march my band out, I'll beat my drum...

{a whole bunch of} Things On Thursday

Oh, friends. It was been quite a crazy week around here, filled with fairs and walks and showers and series finales and Small Boys With Illness. After PJ has gone to bed, I have had too much energy to follow suit and not enough to do much more then pour a cup of coffee and watch TV.

Ahhh...nigh time coffee. Favorite.

At any rate, we'll rewind to last Friday, when PJ's school hosted a Spring Fair. When PJ started school back in November, I felt so sad and cheated- I wanted more time with my newly-minted three-year-old and for Autism to go F itself for stealing my baby. I still think Autism can go F itself, but I had no idea how much fun it would be to have a school age child. School projects to hang on the fridge, good behavior awards to collect, and school events to attend. Pete was even able to come for a bit before he left for work, and my dear friend Carmen joined us, along with her handsome nephew Noah. The boys bounced, hooped, played, danced, carnival gamed, and ate until we had to drag them out of the school yard!



The next day was the Autism Walk (and there will be a bit more on that later). PJ and I started off by oversleeping (!), but we rebounded nicely and met up with the walkers from his school team right on time! Resplendent in our green team shirts and laced sneakers, we posed for a team picture before setting off on the walk. The day was cloudy and PJ, to be honest, was a giant (but very cute) pain in the ass! But, PJ and I raised over $300 in just a few days, and it felt good to drink in the feeling of we can beat this, and until that happens, let's hang out and have fun! There were amazing sponsors feeding hungry walkers, tons of information on treatments, research, and support, and a bounce house for PJ, who also had a blast checking out an ambulance!

Also? I will never be able to properly thank the friends, family, and people I haven't met in person who donated to our Walk and this Cause. These are the people who may just give an encouraging word on Facebook, or leave a sweet note here on my blog, or you are in the trenches with me every day as Pete and I experience all of the joys and amazement and struggle and heartache of raising a child with Autism. Y'all put your money where your mouth is, and I in turn put my heart in your hands with gratitude.


Sorry for all of the Story Books, by the way, but I got a new phone and can't figure out how to get pictures off of it yet. Meh.

Sunday brought a baby shower, and I got to enjoy the company of friends and family, eat good food, and fete the impending arrival of a sweet baby-to-be-born. I don't think that watching people open baby crap ever gets old- I am one of those nerds who coos and awws over every onesie, bottle, and rattle! It was a lovely afternoon and clearly showed (to borrow a phrase from Momastery) that Love Wins. And oh, the excitement and joy and anticipation of a new life to love!

And after that, it was all PJ and his GI virus. He never had a fever and his appetite and spirits were high, so just imagine a normal kid who poops and pukes a lot. It was a very, very long three days- we didn't want to send PJ to school until his GI upset (or as my Mom-Mom would have called it, The Shits) resolved, so we had a very bored Dude on our hands. I was not bored, as keeping PJ entertained while contending with many piles of barfy, pooped-on laundry kept me hopping. Either way, he's on the mend and went back to school today. PJ was so excited when the bus pulled up that he jumped up and down and cheered!

I love that kid.

Lastly, I have a debt to pay. When I was hustling my Facebook friends asking folks to reach into their hearts and make a donation to the Walk for Autism Speaks, I got close to $300 in donations. I wanted to up the ante, so I promised that if I reached that goal, I would share an absolutely hideous video of me that Pete took without my knowledge a few months ago. Almost immediately, my amazing, supportive, dear friend David from high school ponied up. I inwardly cursed myself for making such a promise, but it was for a good cause and a deal is a deal.

A few months ago, for whatever reason, Pete and I started bickering about "The Humpty Dance" by the esteemed Digital Underground. Pete didn't know any of the lyrics, a fact that I found astounding. Such a classic song surely is known by all! So, I started singing it, mainly to annoy him but also to show off my lyrical prowess in remembering the song. Except I didn't know it as well as I thought I did, and had to keep interrupting my slick dance moves to consult my phone. Pete was kind enough to record it without my knowledge, and here it is, in all of my annoying, chubby, messy-living-room, nerdy glory:




So, there's that. {shudder}

After all of that, we're at tonight. PJ is sleeping peacefully after his first day back to school and life is how it should be. I hope that your time has been filled with as many blessings (and fewer barfy kids) as my time has. I can hardly believe how close summer is!

Godnight, friends...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

She's like the wind...

Picture it, Sicily, 1945 Fifth Grade, sometime in the late 80's.

A young girl is sitting in her classroom. Her teacher is teaching a lesson as four rows of students, lined up in front of her, all watch with bright, inquisitive faces and alert eyes.

The girl has reached an awkward stage- that delicious medley of pre-pubescent nonsense when undeveloped style, social, and hygiene skills have yet to catch up with the burgeoning hormones that leave her with teeny boobies and a smattering of acne. Her hair is fizzy because she hasn't yet discovered how to manage her curls and she squints a lot because nobody has discovered that she needs glasses.

Something she has discovered? Allergies. Terrible allergies that left her head whipping back and forth as sneezes were realised from her body as though possessed by Satan himself. This particular day, her allergies were fierce. She sneezed every few minutes, finally eliciting instructions from the teacher for the students to not "bless" her, as it was disrupting the class.

The teacher had no idea what was to come.

The girl tried to pay attention to the lesson, but the constant tickle in her nose was too much to contend with. Her nose felt like a high-capacity magazine and the sneezes like bullets.

ah-CHOO! ah-CHOO! ah-CHOO ah-TOOOOOOOOT

First, silence. The girl waited with her breath held. Had they noticed? But then, like boiling water, a giggle bubbled to the surface. Then two. Then a smattering of giggles. And then, the whole damn pot boiled over:

SHE HAD SNEEZED AND FARTED AT THE SAME TIME!!

Now, a reaction to a fart in a fifth-grade classroom is like much like the reaction to the opening of the doors at Filene's Basement for the Running of the Brides- swift, crazed, and relentless! The other students gave over to the type of hilarity usually reserved for comedy shows. The teacher tried to gain control of her classroom but it was no use. A fart had been unfurled and it demanded the full attention of the fifth graders it held in it's loud, horn-like grip.

The girl felt like she was in another dimension as she absently groped for a tissue while hoping that the world would open up and swallow her all together. She still remembers the reaction of a kid named Jason, whose face switched from the hazy absentmindedness of a kid struggling to pay attention to the face of a kid who just woke up and realized it was Christmas, his birthday, and the day he lost his virginity all rolled into one. One "snart" (a sneeze and a fart, obvi) and it was like the angels of joy had descended.

The moment eventually passed- the teacher was finally able to regain control of her classroom. But for months, the students unmercifully teased the poor girl about her gaseous social gaffe.

The girl was me, and the Jason...was Jason Statham!

...actually, the boy was named Jason, but he wasn't Jason Statham! I think it was Wolf and I have no idea what happened to him! I was just going for a Sophia-esque feel for this story! I am sitting here laughing so hard, I'm crying, but oh my God! At the time, it was one of the worst things that had ever happened to me, an exclamation point on the awkward, angst-y tale of my pre-pubescent stage. I can still remember how I felt as my sneeze ended and the fart began. Of course, I am now a 36-year-old woman and farts are still funny, but as a fifth-grade girl at the mercy of my peers, a fart was the DAMN KISS OF DEATH! I told this story to my husband, who is a grown man, and he laughed his head off!

Pete: {wanders into the room} Soooo...did you really fart and sneeze?
Me: Yup. Totally.
Pete: Wow. Really? At the same time? Was it a wet fart? Did it smell? Was it loud?
Me: O_o
Pete: {wanders off laughing his ass off}

However slightly-painful it was to tell this particular tale, it's for a good cause- PJ and I are walking with his school in the Walk for Autism Speaks- South Jersey! I promised my Facebook friends that I would tell this story when I reached $25 in donations and within minutes, my best friend Randi and my friend Amy had ponied up! They did their part, so here is mine! In fact, I have already surpassed the donations needed to post a particularly harrowing picture of my from the sixth grade, so look for that next!




 
You can support our walk and the precious funds needed to support Autism research and care by using the link above! Stay tuned for more fun as we raise money for Autism Speaks!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My love's coming down like rain...

{stream of consciousness}

It's gloomy and grey and rainy and I love it. While I'm not ready to move to Seattle or anything, there's just something about a cool, wet, spring day. I love sitting inside with the lights out, a candle lit, the windows open and a coffee in my hand. It's my favorite weather to write in.

Of course, it has its moments, like when the sky opened up just as I was walking out the door to get PJ to his bus and I realized that all of our umbrellas (...ellas, ...ellas) were in the car. Damn it. PJ had his cute raincoat to keep him dry but Mommy got a little wet. It should be illegal to send your baby to school on a day like today. Rainy days are for snuggling. Or for having a picnic lunch in the living room in PJ's dinosaur tent. I'll put that on the list for today.

While I'm blogging about nothing in particular, a small rant: with all of the talk about the "sanctity of marriage", that fruitcake Mark Sanford was re-elected in South Carolina after the whole cheating-on-his-wife scandal?!?!?!?! What. The. Hell??? People scream about the "sanctity of marriage" but it would seem like heterosexuals can choose to interpret this however they choose? This nerd abandoned his office to go have a fling with his mistress! For six days, nobody knew where he was! The office-abandonment annoys me much more then the wife-cheating on. Being a crappy husband does not mean you are crappy at your job (ahemBillClinton) but when you need to go bang your mistress so badly that you're okay with walking away from an entire state??? Pfffft. Whatever. It's your state, South Carolina!

Lastly, my sister Marla posted her own rebuttal to the Dad-Camp.com piece that I wrote about a few days ago. My version was just the story of a pissed-off sister, but Marla's version is the story about how his piece hurt her directly, and possibly others like her. I did get a response from Buzz and I'll share it later, but for now, go read what my sister had to say.

For now, it seems like the rain is passing, so it's time so get a few things done around the place before the Boy gets home from school. I am looking forward to a cozy day with him, and I hope all of you friends get to enjoy some cozy family time, too!

Linking up for Whatever Wednesday with Rolled Up Pretty!

(check out her blog post today- she highlights some bathing suits that are so stinking cute I put down my Swiss Roll!)


Monday, May 6, 2013

Light's gone, days end...

Tonight...

...I danced with PJ to Killing Me Softly by The Fugees (via Roberta Flack, of course). His dimples popped out and he held up the appropriate amount of fingers as Wycleff sang "One time...two times...", laughing while we swayed. Bliss.

...I am pleased that I got off my ass and made an attempt to get back into the exercise groove I had been keeping up for so long. I fell off the wagon (as I so often do), but yesterday, my best friend ran 10 miles in less then two hours after training her ass off. Today I ran less then 3 miles in about an hour. Heh. But, I moved.

...This song. OMG.





...I am thinking about my husband, who has been working so hard for our little family lately. We were waiting for PJ's bus to come today, sitting on the front step and laughing together. Our marriage is a tightrope sometimes, as we try to balance so many things and not have them come crashing down on our heads. We are not always good at attending to our marriage, and it's something we need to work on. We annoy each other, but mostly, we love each other.

...I am also thinking of my sister, whom I spent all weekend white knighting on the internets! It's been a lifetime of precarious health for her, and it's never been more so then during the past few years while she battles lupus. I guess that for me, the difference between her childhood illness and her adult illness is that now, I've had my lifetime to know her. It raises the stakes. If I had lost her then, as horrible as it would have been, it would be nothing compared to if I lost her now. It would be even worse if I lost her tomorrow, and the day after, and so on. You get what I'm saying. So after so many kicks in the teeth for her when it came to her health, you can't know how it felt when he found out she does not have pulmonary hypertension. Blessings abound.

...I'm so flattered that Steph from Life According To Steph shared my blog post from the other day! My little blog is almost woozy from the hits, ha! Steph has such a fun space on the internets, filled with pugs and yummy food and Invalid Lairs. I know you want to know what that last one is all about, but I'm not telling. You'll just have to stop by and tell her hello. :-) And hello and welcome to all of the fun folks that have stopped by from LATS!

...it's time to go back to cultivating my newly formed addiction for "Song Pop"

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tell me what is this thing that I feel like I'm missing?

Oh, the weekend!

I can't believe how slowly it went by- an unusual sentiment. The weekends tend to blaze by for us, but this one seemed to take it's time. Clearly, now that I'm 36, I can't keep up.

Yup. Thirty-Six. My birthday was this past Friday and it was celebrated quietly. I met up with some of my best girls at my best haunt for our Friday Morning Coffee Club and was treated to a birthday candle in my croissant (*snort*, that sounds kind of dirty!), followed by an afternoon with my best Boy. Pete had to work that night so it was a quiet night as I alternately watched TV and wrote an angry blog post. The victim of said post actually responded, and if I get his okay I will share it. It was quite a bit more frank and forthcoming than I expected, if he was going to respond at all (which I figured he wouldn't).

Anyway, back to thirty-six. I feel like every year, when my birthday rolls around, I play that "Where I Am vs. Where I Thought I'd Be" game. I didn't play that so much this year. This was partially due to the fact that PJ has been kind of high maintenance lately and needs a considerable amount of my time and energy, but because when I did have a second to reflect fleetingly on Where I Thought I'd Be, I realized that it's where I am. All of the times that I thought my life was going off the rails led me to something amazing later, so who am I to question the ride?

Something that did happen this weekend? My oldest/bestest friend Randi ran her first major race, The Broad Street Run! Let me tell ya, folks, I was pretty proud of her! Even thought I don't understand running just to run (as opposed to running from hot lava or the Gestapo), Randi has been amazingly dedicated to her training schedule and looks damn hot as a result of all this exercise. She did ten miles in just under two hours and even though I couldn't be there, I tracked her live online and cheered her the whole time. I'm pretty proud to be her friend today!

And now, after this brief note, it's time for me to haul my weary bones off to bed! Goodnight, friends!

Friday, May 3, 2013

...and I am telling you I'm not going.

Buzz Bishop, who blogs at dad-camp.com and Babble.com, wrote an opinion piece entitled "Get Outta the 'burbs- My Problem With Married Couples Without Kids". It was syndicated via Babble on Shine Parenting, part of Yahoo.com, and from there found its way to the computer screen of my sister. This is my rebuttal to his piece.

Once upon a time, a boy and girl fell in love. After the appropriate amount of dating, they became engaged and were married in a lavish ceremony (that was held on a Friday so they could afford it), celebrated by their family and friends. The girl climbed the ranks in an acclaimed children's hospital as a nurse, and the boy climbed the ranks in the tech field. They bought a condo and then, a few years later, they moved their wedding gifts into the house of their dreams. A brand-new, two-story, two-car garage, four bedroom home on a neat lot in the suburbs, a veritable monument to the dreams they had of life, love, and children.

Houses were built around the house the boy and girl built, houses filled with couples and their young children. The new suburb bustled with the sounds of happy families, while the house the boy and girl build held only the sounds of contentment. They had worked hard for this house. It was theirs to enjoy (and pay property taxes on that benefited hundreds of children that were not theirs). Soon there would be a change of scene but for now, they were happy and proud of the home they worked so hard for.

Time went one, but it was still the boy and the girl. They had hoped to welcome children but instead, the girl found herself battling an unknown foe in her body. Soon enough, the illness had a name, and it slowly began to build a storm inside.

Outside, the girl battled a different foe. This one did not cut like a blade or pierce like a bullet- instead, it sliced like a thousand paper cuts and pricked with a million pin pricks. Whispers and gossip swirled around her, sometimes behind her back, and sometimes to her face concerning her "choice" of lifestyle("Oh, you don't have any children? Are you going to stay in that big house?"). The girl now had a soul that joined her body in betrayal. She wondered if she should be ashamed for having so much material that she didn't have to share. She tried to keep a sense of humor about the situation, trying to laugh off the comments of people who suggested she didn't deserve the things she had earned. She even took a picture of a car window, with stick figures proudly proclaiming a family consisting of a husband, a wife, and a pile of money in place of stick-figure progeny.


kids
The picture lifted from IG as featured in the
"article" (click to be taken to the original piece)

Then one day, a writer "wrote" an opinion piece on how he felt about childless couples who move to the suburbs. With nothing to support it, he claimed that childless couples are the reason children aren't attending a better school. He derided couples who spend less on travel cost as a family of Two, rather then a family of Two Plus. The Twos can enjoy a single king-sized bed, while his family of Two Plus has to reserve a suite. "Married couples with kids just don't get it, " he declared. It was bad enough that the article was poorly written, with half-assed arguments and unsupported "facts" that were hastily loaded into a gun aimed directly at the girl and boy. It was worse that slapped at the top of the "article" was the very picture of the stick-figure family the girl had posted to Instagram, complete with the outline of her head, hairless from her illness, reflected in the glass of the car window.

We all make our own choices in life, with a healthy does of you never know what can happen thrown in. One person decides to build a big home and fill it with children. Another makes the same decision, but the children never come. Yet another makes that decision and didn't ever want kids in the first place.  Those three houses can exist as part of a whole community as long as one doesn't start flinging garbage over the fences at the other. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, of course. My opinion is that this "article" was nothing but poorly written, poorly supported, poorly aimed garbage, flung in a forum where it didn't belong. He claimed in a rebuttal piece that it was aimed at two specific couples, but when a writer uses a huge forum like Babble.com to tell "you" that your decisions should confine "you" to certain areas to force you to make certain choices, that's wrong, no matter what Newsweek sources he uses to fortify his case. Especially when that opinion is punctuated with a stolen Instagram picture from one of the very childless couples he rails against.

The original picture posted to my sisters IG
account, e-mailed to me by her.
This last bit is just for myself. Buzz , my name is Brie. I am one of those selfless, married couples who decided to have a child. That child, my son PJ, is the light of my life and I would not only pay exorbitant property taxes to ensure that he gets a good education, but I would die for him. As it stands right now, our son is Autistic, and attends an amazing public-school program in a part of our town that we currently rent in and likely could never afford to buy a home in. It never occurred to me to blame the people who already live there for the affordability (or lack of) of the neighborhood. Instead, my husband and I take personal responsibility for the growth and well-being of our child. When he succeeds, it will be because we made the best of the hand we were dealt, along with a shit-ton of hard work.

Also, the story I told above? That's about my sister. She and her husband own a home in the suburbs, and for you to suggest they don't deserve it, and that living there somehow is a threat to the households with children is irresponsible and petty, even if it is just an opinion. As someone who once sent his children to private school, you have also contributed to the decline of demand on the public, neighborhood school. He who lives in glass houses shouldn't throw bullshit blog posts.

After this, we will all go our separate ways, with you continuing to write for Babble.com and your blog and me continuing to ignore them both. I hope this note stands to remind you that as a Dad, as an example to other fathers and, most importantly, an example to your beautiful children, it is your responsibility to use your pen (keyboard?) to draw good and not blood.





Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"Say, say, say what you want..."

I am so excited to welcome Valerie Johnson from the Healthline.com network as a guest blogger! Healthline.com is a "comprehensive health information site that offers trusted medical information and rich, interactive visual tools to help you make better health decisions." Offering anything from fitness tips to a symptom search, Healthline.com is a comprehensive online community that leaves pertinent health information at the convenience of your keyboard. You can join the community on Facebook and Twitter.

I was particularly excited about this post because speech therapy is a vital part of PJ's array of therapies for Autism. Our voices and the ability to raise them play such a vital role in our connection to this world and it's a tool that we want PJ to develop as much as possible. Valerie discusses the benefits of speech therapy in children with Autism in her post, and we thank her for the contribution!

***********************

The Benefits of Speech Therapy for Children with Autism


With diagnoses of autism on the rise, caretakers everywhere are looking for effective ways to address this condition. Autism is a disorder that affects brain function from birth, and it can result in abnormal communication patterns and habits. Those with autism tend to have more trouble than others interacting with others, meaning that communication can be very difficult for people with autism.

In order to combat this effect of autism, caretakers can bring children to work with speech therapists. These specialists can be extremely beneficial, working to decrease the effects of autism and improve the child’s social skills over time.

Complications with Autism

Individuals with autism have a variety of communication issues. Autism affects social interaction in a variety of ways, some of them related to speech itself and some related to skills in conversation.

When it comes to speech, autism tends to inhibit the formulation of words for normal conversation. Individuals with autism may talk in a variety of abnormal ways, including by using extra-lingual sounds or humming. Alternatively, those with autism may communicate by repeating statements that other people make, or they may not speak at all. Speech problems tend to affect approximately a third of people with autism.

Another level of difficulty arises in relation to communication skills. This is more common than technical speech issues, although it can make communication just as difficult. On a basic level, those with autism frequently lack the creativity that is required to carry on a conversation, including following conversation topics (rather than just memorizing what is said) and interpreting words in contexts other than those in which they were learned.

How Speech Therapy Helps

The term “speech therapy” actually encompasses a large field. Speech therapists work with patients in a variety of areas to improve communication skills—not just through speech. Speech therapists work in a variety of settings, including schools and private institutions, and they use a number of tools to help people develop their communication skills.

When it comes to autism, speech therapists are some of the most important specialists for making diagnoses and improving children’s skills for the future. In assisting children with autism, a speech therapist will use a number of techniques. First, they will focus on non-verbal communication. They might use picture cards or word boards, in addition to providing assistance with electronic speaking devices and computer communication tools.

Speech therapists can also provide assistance for picking up the basic skills of speech, including formulating words appropriately and learning the appropriate context for using words. For children that struggle with both the technical and contextual aspects of communication, speech therapists can provide great assistance in preparing them for communication in the real world.

Getting Started with a Therapist

As autism has become more understood and received more attention, the specialists that work to treat autism have become easier to find. Today, many speech therapists are covered by insurance, meaning that families can afford to work with these specialists.

To find a reputable speech therapist, caretakers can go through their children’s schools or medical facilities. In order to gain the most benefit from working from a speech therapist, you should take your child to work with a specialist as soon as possible. Typically, diagnosis is possible as early as 18 months, and most cases can be identified before three years. Because early-life development of speech is so important for lifelong communication, it is vital that children begin working with a speech therapist early on.

Research indicates that the children that receive the most support from therapists tend to have the strongest social skills, and the data indicates that two-thirds of children that work with speech therapists can develop fairly strong language skills and normal communication habits.


Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.