Wednesday, February 20

Communicating with a Non Verbal Three Year Old

We still don't know anything about Bryce's acceptance into the Conductive Learning Center's summer camp in Grand Rapids. So I'm going to do a little distracting with tonight's post.

You've heard it a bajillion times before: communication is key. And it's so true. Though many of us struggle with it for one reason or another.  Bryce struggles with it daily, hourly maybe even from minute to minute.  Thankfully, it doesn't seem to bother him nearly as much as you would imagine.  And no where near as much as it would bother me!

But I digress.

What I'm getting at is there are some exciting things on the horizon.  Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to attend a communication workshop for children with visual impairments along with Bryce's teacher, vision instructor and school speech pathologist.

I think they all already knew everything Phillip Sweagert had to say that day.  But I learned a LOT.  And even better, I got the chance to spend an entire day talking about Bryce with some very special ladies.  I have to say as well, amongst the 5 districts with children in the workshop that day none of the others had parents in attendance.  Leander was there with two children, Bryce and a middle-schooler, both of whom had entire teams on hand that included moms. 

Now I could assume that Leander has some pretty special moms, and while I don't doubt that, I fully believe Leander has some pretty amazing special needs teams.  As a matter of fact, the lead speech pathologist for Region XIII, who hosted the workshop, took video of Bryce's teachers materials to share with the other 59 districts in the region as an example!

Now if I could just get that amazing system together at home and actually use it we might be getting somewhere.  But it just ain't ever that simple.  I've got a lot of work to do and very little extra time to do it in.  I'm excited though and can't wait to get it going and share the process with any other special needs moms out there that might be struggling through these same challenges.

Anywho.  I said there were exciting things and that wasn't even it.  So here are the top 3 reasons I'm excited about Bryce's communication right now:
  1. While at hippotherapy this week, Bryce's PT reported that he used 3 signs together without prompting.  He signed, "Go horse, please."  Not only is he using more signs but he's bossy and polite about it.  I knew that kid was mine.
  2. Bryce's teacher reports that yesterday he was trying to get her to do something with her.  She didn't understand what he wanted so he used his walker to walk to her, grab her hand and proceed to pull her in the direction he wanted her to go.  That doesn't seem like a big thing but it's a whole box on the communication matrix, y'all!  And going that extra step to really try to get his point across, well, well that takes me to 3...
  3. Today I earned the mommy of the year award when I bribed Bryce with a package of 2 Oreo cookies in order to get him to take a nap.  He came home from school wound up like a top and I knew if he didn't get a nap soon it would bad.  Really, really bad.  So I used my tools of persuasion, what can I say?  Of course, I had to deliver after he napped.  But you wouldn't believe how quickly that skin and bones kid can take down to Oreos.  And when they were gone he was using his "B" sound to get my attention and furiously signing more.  I kept explaining to him that there weren't any more cookies (it's no accident we don't keep cookies in the house).  I'm not sure if he didn't understand or just didn't want to hear what I was saying but he began to cry.  Again I explained and again he signed more.  Then out of frustration he picked up the tiniest little crumb of a cookie, held it out for me to see and then signed more in the most assertive way I have ever seen him sign anything.  We still didn't have cookies but I promptly got him some organic chocolate graham bunnies.  
All three of these things seems small and inconsequential but I'm telling you, my mommy intuition is working in over drive and I have a good feeling that these are building blocks.

I'm so excited I could go buy some Oreos right now.

Well, that's all for today.  Sorry there isn't more to say about summer camp.  But I'll be in touch.


  1. Knowing how badly Bryce wanted those Oreos made me cry. No wonder he was so assertive! Go buy some Oreos and work that boy. He and you both deserve them. Yippie!

  2. Wow! That is all so cool. I think you both should get Oreos. Yeah Bryce.
    Love you both.

    Aunt Gene

  3. Awesome! That is super exciting news. Go get that sweet boy some "more-more" Oreos! How cute is it that he picked up a crumb to show you like you must really not get it?

  4. I had just asked a counsellor how she communicates with none verbal clients. You did a wonderful job of helping me understand. Best of luck to you and Bryce.

  5. Isn't Oreo's comfort food??? That's what I eat when I need comfort, I like double stuffed! You are such a talented writer, loved the post.

  6. If it's oreos, then so be it! That's awesome, Bryce! Now, tell mommy "Skype Traci, NOW! Please."


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