I asked Ryan if we could write a post about Autism Awareness Month as it begins April 1st. He thought that this was a good idea. I asked him what he thought about a whole month being devoted to Autism Awareness.
His response: I FIND THAT CARING HAS TO BE TOO MUCH MEANINGFUL, SO GIVE IT ACTION INSTEAD.
“So you want to call it Autism Action Month?”
REALLY LIKE THAT NAME. CARING TO USE IT INSTEAD. TOO MUCH TALK. I LOOK FORWARD TO MORE ACTION.
We brainstormed and thought about 3 thoughts for taking action for Autism Action Month:
- REALLY WISH THAT HALLMARK BEHAVIORS LIKE MAKING FUN OF AUTISTICS WOULD BE A THING OF THE PAST.
- MEANINGFUL TO NOT MAKE FUN OF VERY AUTISTIC BECAUSE THEY CANNOT DEFEND THEMSELVES.
“Ryan, your readers are not likely the ones making fun of autistics. What would you want to say to your readers for action that they can take?”
***I thought that it would be a good idea to video the response and Ryan agreed. Yesterday, we watched several videos from some of our favorite bloggers like Philip, Ido, and Graciela. Today, Ryan’s friend Fox was featured on Sesame Street’s Autism Series. Ryan spelled yesterday: CARING TO DO MY OWN VIDEO.
I have been wanting to include a video of Ryan using the letter board for a long time. The biggest concern that I had was to be sure that it is clear that Ryan is doing the spelling and I am not influencing him at all. This is hard to capture on video as in person there is no questioning that the student it doing it. Even Randy (Ryan’s dad) was skeptical watching videos of other children using RPM to communicate prior to seeing a child do it in person.***
3. I AM COUNTING ON YOU GUYS FOR MAKING SURE ALL CARING, CALLING IT AUTISTICS, ARE INCLUDED WHENEVER POSSIBLE.
Recently, it has been suggested to me to have Ryan practice trying to hold his own board. This would be a brand new skill to him as it requires two hands (steady ones). When I spoke to Ryan about this, he spelled: GIVING IT A BIG THUMBS UP. MOM, I WATCH EACH DAY HOW YOU HOLD THE BOARD AND TOO MUCH I AM WANTING TO DO IT MYSELF. UNDERSTAND I WANT TO WORK ON IT A LOT.
Ryan and I have been practicing some dictation words from our RPM lessons each day. We do just a few. I pick short words from the session and I hold the board and have him spell them. I immediately place the board in his left hand and have him shadow the spelling of the word again. This requires a lot of prompting on my part like “get it, move your hand, you’re one letter off, etc.” These are known words and a new skill, so as part of the Rapid Prompting Method, there is prompting (especially in the beginning stages of any new skill like moving from paper choices to the 3 large stencils to the 26 letter stencil).
We are also working on those same words with handwriting. This is done hand over hand for the first two times of writing the word (for muscle memory) and a very light grasp on the the third time writing it.
“This is hard right? I know that this takes a lot of focus. I noticed that you are really looking at the board when you are holding it yourself now. This is a challenge for you when I am holding the board as I know that you have it memorized, but why is it so hard for you to look at the board?”
HARD TO LOOK AT FOR A LONG TIME. TOO MUCH COMING AT ME VISUALLY.
“Okay. I just want you to know that when you look at the board, you always hit the letter and you are extremely accurate. When you are not looking, you are sometimes a little bit off. When you can, try and look at the board, even for short amounts of time, especially when you are doing it in front of other people so that they can know how smart that I know you already are.”
TOO MEANINGFUL TO TELL ME THAT.
REALLY WANT TO BECOME INDEPENDENT.
Ryan would love to answer some more reader questions for the month of April. Please feel free to post any questions in the comments or on our Facebook page.