“Oh, Declan! You look so sad!” I said putting on my saddest face. “Look!” I pointed to the kitchen cabinet. “You look like you are wearing a very sad face!”
Declan looked at the cabinet with a frown. He closed his eyes and two little tears popped out the side. Then he let out a sob.
If you came to my house a couple of years ago you would notice one thing.
We lived in a visual world.
Every where you looked, there was some visual cue. Some way for us to communicate something with Declan in a way that he would understand. And a tool for him to communicate with us.
On one cabinet there was Declan’s schedule in pictures. An easy visual cue for him to know what he was going to be doing next.
On every door he was not to open, there was a large stop sign.
To learn how to potty and brush his teeth we worked in pictures and rewards
And we worked on learning emotions.
On every cabinet in the kitchen there was a picture of an emotion. Great for me to point to when I could tell Declan was feeling something.
And I wrote Declan a book for him to learn about the emotions he was feeling. Of course, the star character was Declan!
These cues were great and Declan knows his emotions very well now.
I was thinking of them recently, when Declan hands me pictures now to reiterate how he is feeling.
This one is John Cena giving a high 5.
These pictures really make me smile.
We had hoped the visuals would help us communicate information to Declan in a way that he would understand. To help provide him with a fortune of information he was having a hard time receiving verbally. A way for him to point and communicate his wishes with us and to tell us what he was feeling.
When Declan is feeling something now, he tells me. I can see his emotion. The monkey moves from its magnet position on the fridge.
And every now and again, he draws me a picture of the face he learned so long ago.