a prayer answered: autism and core words…our next step

Last night,  I asked for a sign.  I don’t ask for much from the man upstairs.  But I did.  I asked loud and hard.  Show me the way, and I will do the work.  He must have been listening, because,  today, well, today was an interesting day, really.

In the morning, I had a conversation with Moose’s speech therapist, that felt undercooked.  The past year, just feels like treading water.  She spoke of PECS systems and communication strips.  I stood firm that we need to move past that.  Time is passing, and we are grateful for every word, but something needs to give.  This language plateau that Moose has been on for the past two years isn’t augmented by strips of velcro and piles of noun cards. His phrasing of choice is I WANT.  For everything.  All the time.

I got off the phone a bit deflated but charged.  I turned to a forum at work where I wrote a question regarding ideas for teaching kids with autism to read.  Many people responded and I reread the thread.  Then I shot an email off to one the teachers who responded in kind.  Susan promptly emailed back with TONS of information and resources.  She has been working with kids on the spectrum for 40+ years.  That conversation, I know, will be something I look back on as a game changer.

Susan, the SLP who also sells on Teachers Pay Teachers like I do,  is now  my guardian angel. She led me to research this “core words” method.

Sure, this method may look like some communication cards to you, but this is the key.  No lost cards. Any parents who has ever used a clunky PECS book knows my pain.  No focus on random common nouns.  All the communication with a focus on the CORE WORDS we use on one low-tech page.  I’m warming my laminator now after I hit publish! This is  sommunication that represents how we really talk.

We can now extend Moose’s sentences by merely pointing and repeating! It’s a prayer answered.  I want to wake him now to try this.

(Image from another SLP blog SYNCUPAUTISM.blogspot.com)

Moose is already familiar with the pictures from the Boardmaker cards, and this is the most brilliant use of language I have seen in my 5 years in the autism trenches.  At this point, it all feels like “been there, done that, have the tee-shirt”.  But this method feels like I’ve won the lottery.

Take your fancy clothes and cars, people.  There’s one thing I want in life: a real conversation with my son.

Look at the phrases possible: Let’s go there! I want more! I all done! You do that!  You get that.  You eat.  I want help.

I am going to cry now, seriously.  It feels like Christmas morning!

This just goes to show.  Never stop learning.  Asking questions.  Keep digging.  Keep asking questions.  Don’t be afraid to question professionals.  When you think you are done digging, go grab some lemonade and dig some more.

It’s our job as autism parents to dig and dig and dig.

To help our children find their voices.


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Boardmaker® is a trademark of Mayer-Johnson LLC.






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  1. I just have few question, the B12 worth the pain and suffering? Do you still using it? Because right now, I feel so bad for my son that I’m ready for quit.

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