Saturday, August 29, 2015

Eminem Helped my Speech Delayed Son

    Yes, you read that right. Eminem.

Before I go any further: **DISCLAIMER** This post is in no way endorsing that Eminem will help your child speak better. I am merely relating OUR experience.

    I digress. So, my son is on the Autism spectrum. He actually spoke early, but was super hard to understand. We were translators for years, and sometimes still are. I was told when he was 5 that even though he spoke, it was still considered a speech delay.

    Let me take a minute and say THANK YOU to the two women who have been my son's SLP's. He's been in speech therapy since he was 5. People can finally understand what he's trying to say, and he's doing much better with context. However, he sometimes stutters, and still has issues with some words. This is where we feel Eminem has helped.

    I love music. We have always exposed him to all forms. (Hearing your 2 year old sing Jailhouse Rock, is adorable. Even if it was hard to understand what he said.) When he turned 7 he decided that his favorite was Eminem. He LOVED to listen to him rap. I downloaded all the CLEAN versions I could find and filled his tablet.

    Liam would listen to the same song, repeatedly, all day. If it came on in the car he would screech until everyone was quiet so he "could rap." Little by little, he was getting it. If you're a fan of Eminem, you know how fast that man can speak. He also speaks very clearly so you can tell what he's actually saying. This was great for my son.

    While Liam can't keep up with all his songs, there have been a select few he has nailed. Of course, they are his faves, and I really couldn't count how many times he has listened to them. Practiced them, rehearsed them.

    We were headed to Vestal today and he asked for "his" Eminem. I obliged. It wasn't long before Pita and I were tuning out Eminem, so we could hear our son singing. He nailed it. EVERY word. (Except for the curse words since they're spun out. ;) )

    To hear a boy who was once so hard to understand, speak so clearly, so fluently, and with such confidence, well, it warmed my heart. Warmed Pita's too. I commented quietly on how much Eminem's music has helped him, and he agreed.

    15 years ago, while listening to "Slim Shady," I never thought that my future son would be such a huge fan. I also never thought that Eminem would be helping my son to speak better. Funny how life works.

    Therapies come in all forms. In so many ways. Something that may seem like a kid, just listening to music, could be a child learning to speak better.

    I give you, Liam.... (recorded and uploaded with his permission)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Back to School, Special Needs Style

    Back to school means many different things for many different families. The lists, the shopping, and so on. Many moms are excited to have a break. Many will miss their kids. Many are worried.

    Special Needs parents are no better than NT ones. Our lives are just different. Back to school for us, means more worries. How will our child handle the change? How will they do in school? How will they handle the bus ride? Will they ride a bus with NT kids? If so, how will they handle that? Will their IEP be followed? How often will we get a call from said school?

    I'm lucky in this department. Our decision to home school was one of the best I ever made. (It was a no brainer after our local school violated our son's civil rights) This isn't to say I don't have worries.

    We still need to get a routine down. This sometimes takes a couple weeks. Liam, like many autistics, loves routines, but only if they are HIS routines. For me, "mommy mode" needs to be turned off and "teacher mode" needs turned on, at least for part of our day. So it takes us a bit to get into our groove!

    Then his therapies start back in for the year. Since he has in home OT and PT, we just work around those times. Speech is at our local library, so that's the one we schedule for "after school." Oh, and then he has a mobile therapist, so we must work around that too.

    He also has an IEP. Yes, he is "home schooled" with a PA cyber school, so he does get an IEP. They also provide all the above therapies except the MT. (His insurance provides that.) I have IEP meetings just like you do. Except I don't need to get dressed and leave my house! (home school perk number one!)

     School shopping? Pffftttt! I don't have to do that either. Liam, like many autistics doesn't care for clothes, so he does his lessons in his underpants. No need for a whole new wardrobe! School supplies? The cyber school mails them to us! Everything he and I both need for a successful year. (home school perk number two!)

    Bed time? No need to prep for that! We have Liam on an "asynchronous" course. That means we do his lessons, on his time. Sleep is for the weak in this home, and Liam is RARELY in bed before midnight. So if he sleeps in, cool! We start classes around 11 or noon the next day. This gives him time to do something he wants, and then we do lessons, and then he can play outside. (home school perk number three)

    This also means if he's having a rough day, we can skip lessons. So no calls from school about rough days! We can also double up on lessons on good days! Last year, Beans was done with school in APRIL! Yes! We have been on summer break since spring! (getting into our groove may take a bit this year!)

    School bus isn't a worry! (Thank God, because the 4 days he rode it in kindy he was bullied for his lunch snacks)  (home school perk number four!)

    Doing school from our living room is a blessing and a luxury! As you can see, personally, we have many perks, but I still have worries. Thankfully, they aren't as severe as the special needs parents that don't have the option to home school. I've had those worries before and it wasn't fun. So I feel for all of you. Keep that in mind as you are sending your NT kids back to school.