Thursday, 10 April 2008

More For Autism Awareness

This will have to be a quick post as I need to start cooking dinner in a bit and then I'm out at Bunco shortly afterwards. So, to continue from yesterday...
Josh loves anything electronic always has even from being very young. One of his earliest fascinations was with the light switch. If I could have held him by the light switch on the wall all day he would have been quite happy just switching the light on and off from sunrise to sunset. He thought it was fab. Because of Josh's love of electronics he had bought for him a couple of VTech Early learning computers/laptops which taught phonics and letter names and a few words and through playing with these Josh taught himself to read. When I realised this was what he was doing and I picked it up and ran with it and went out and bought flash cards to help him to learn more words. By the time he started school at the age of 4 he had a word recognition of over 150 words and that was only the ones I knew he knew there were plenty he knew that I had no idea he knew, if you know what I mean.


Having said that, although Josh was and still is a brilliant reader there are two things I need to point out.
One is that Josh doesn't read the individual letters, he recognises the shape, so often when he is reading he will mix up words like would and could because they have the same shape, if you just say "try again" he will repeating the same word each time and it's not until you make him stop properly and then point out the first letter that he will realise his mistake.
Second although Josh reads the words well he doesn't always understand the content. This is very noticeable when reading fiction with inferred meaning. If it's not there in black and white then it's not happening. It is heart breaking to hear him read sometimes because you know he just isn't getting the depth of it. For example Josh read a book recently and as I was listening to him read I knew that what he was getting from the story was, that the boy was reading his essay in the hall in front of some important guests and the headmaster and the boy started to feel sick, this made him cry and he ran out of the hall where he bumped into his teacher and was really nasty to her and that made him run away and get drunk. What Josh was missing was that the boy had actually had a break down in the hall because his parents were going through a separation and the boy was finding it difficult to deal with because his parents were arguing over him and he wasn't seeing his dad enough. The information about the split was there at the beginning of the book but it didn't say that's why the boy felt sick in the hall and couldn't continue reading, it didn't say the boy was having a break down, all these things you need to put together for yourself and unfortunately it is this that goes straight over Joshua's head. When I try to explain to him the things he's missed Josh can't understand how I get that from reading what he's just read.


I'm really sorry I'm going to have to stop there. I should have more time tomorrow so I'll write more then.

9 comments:

ScrapMomOf2 said...

Fiona, I'm finding this very interesting. What I also find utterly fascinating is how well you know Josh. You seem to be very in tune with his capabilities and limitations. Once again, the word "hero" comes to mind. I love the photo you posted! What a cutie!

The Barbie head idea you mentioned does sound brillant! You really might be onto something!

Ana Baird said...

A lovely picture and your post is really interesting. Thank you for commenting on my projects.

Inspiration Alley said...

Josh is very lucky to have such an understanding mum. Love the beaming photo of him, you've obviously created a very secure world where he can thrive.

Nancy Grant said...

Thanks again for sharing and making me more aware.
:-)

SammieJay said...

Thanks for sharing this. I listened to a programme on World Radio Switzerland last week about autism. As they said, most people's knowledge of autism run s to Dustin Hofmann and "Rainman". It was very distressing to hear how lonely many of the mothers of autistic children had felt -feeling that something wasn't right, but constantly being told that their child was a "slow developer" and by 6 or 7 would have caught up. Many seemed to have gone through diagnostic tests and had the condition diagnosed only to be told that that was the end of the road -no treatment, no support groups. ... how shocking in a wealthy-ish, civilised, advanced country to be told that no help is on offer! Thank you for sharing your experience. Josh looks such a handsome young man. Does he have Asperger's? I'll be back soon to discover some more of your story -thank you for sharing it.
SammieJay

Corie said...

Oh my he is so adorable. Thanks for sharing about autism. I truly think that knowledge is power.

Lee said...

These are such priceless memories and experiences. Even though I'm sure there are such heartbreaking and frustrating times......the uniqueness and gift in your son comes shining through you!!

bubblegum said...

Fe - what a fabulous mother you are - you understand your son so much and give him everything he needs. You must be a very patient person and strong also to fight for everything Josh needs. You should be so proud of yourself. ;)

Understanding and giving your time and devotion isn't alwasys easy, but it is the best thing you could give. :)

Josh looks so cute and full of life and happy. :)

Debbie x

Mrs. C said...

Awwww... he's so cute!!