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Our RDI Experiences With Jackie

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Courage the Cowardly Dog Plushie

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Autism Voice

Email Pamster

September 2003

I am so happy to report that Jackie is really doing well! Just over a year ago he had his tonsils and adnoids removed because they were obstructing his breathing, by while sleeping and while awake. Since then he has been breathing a lot easier and sleep much better. The doctors don't do that kind of surgery as routinely as they used to. Only in cases like Jackie's where they are affecting the child's breathing. If your child is snoring or breathing with some difficulty, as scary as it is, I think having the surgery is worth it. As an adult I suffer sleep apnea and it is so much harder to go through that kind of surgery as an adult that I don't think I can, but Jackie was a real trooper. He was so brave and we spent three days in the hospital. I hardly left his side.

Since then he has been feeling a lot better and his behavior at night especially has improved. He has been transfered to a special school for children with emotional and behavior problems. I really feel he is getting what he needs there. The teacher is wonderful and the entire school is set up so that it is a very supportive and nuturing environment, which means the world to me. I am so proud of the progress he has made. Some people think having their child in a regular school in what they call a 'inclusion' type situation where the child is in the class with other children who do noth ave any kind of challenges like those with special needs do.

I have to say that he was in that type of setting for three years of pre-k and last year when he was in kindergarten, it was becoming too much for the school to handle and that is what motivated me to look into other alternatives. I am so glad I did. He is talking a lot more and using language appropriately, which any parent of an autistic child dreams of hearing. The really great thing is that the teacher he had for kindergarten moved along with him and a few others from his class. I am so proud of him seeing the things he is doing now in kindergarten. He can count to twenty and knows the entire alphabet and all his colors.

The 'work' that they've sent home is so impressive. He is able to perform some tasks in regard to grouping items that belong and circling sets of items. It is just remarkable! The teacher told me he is making friends with his peers and last year, before the end of kindergarten, she was asked by another child to help them with a puzzle they were working on and Jackie just loves puzzles. With no one cueing him, he got up and went over to help the child with the puzzle! It was just wonderful to hear such good news like that. And recently he told hte bus driver, "Bye-bye, see you later. Have a nice weekend!" I was overjoyed by hearing this.

Since early April of this year we have been going to see a Behavior Analysist who has been working with us every friday-some fridays were off days though, but the things we've ben doing really prove just how smart he really is. If you've never heard of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) I would definitely recommend looking into it for your child. It has really helped Jackie realize he can use words to commuicate and that sometimes he has to be patient because he can't always get what he wants right away. We are almost done working with them and we've been using PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) along with having him say the words that are on the cards.

I am so happy for all the great things that have been going on and that is a big part of why it took me so long to make an update for his pages here. I hope everyone who is interested in trying these two things, ABA & PECS, that sharing my experiences with them here will help you to take that first step. I am sure it isn't easy to try something new-believe me I understand, but this was really worth the time it took before we began seeing real progress. So if you start ABA & PECS don't get discouraged, hang in there because it really might be something that really helps you and your child to communicate better. If you want to join in on the Disability Support forum I have on my message board please feel free to register a name and jump on in. I can promise you this board network will NEVER spam you or sell your email or personal information so don't let that hold you back from joining.

Thank you all for your emails about Jackie and about these pages. It is because of you that I continue to update them and share some of our experiences.