Spider Game – Speech Therapy a’la Mama Bear

Summer means no school. For most families it means fun on the beach, camping, sleeping in tents or traveling across the country (or abroad), spending tons of time outdoors, etc. For many ASD families on the other hand, it means no break from autism, more tantrums, lockdown and tons of time spent indoors, not to risk losing your child who is determined to run away… But we learned to get used to our “Groundhog Day” life – same stuff different day.

My options to where I can go with the kids are limited, as I don’t have a spare car to take them for a ride to the park or playground. I’d be going to the swimming pool with them during the day but it is ALWAYS packed and I don’t do well in crowded places, plus I am not the best swimmer, nor a lifeguard, and our Booboo swims fast and straight into the deep end (but of course!). Imagine a 10 year old boy, swimming like a cross between a frog and a puppy, and his overprotective mom, wearing arm bands, looking like a survivor from Titanic, throwing her arms everywhere trying to grab onto something “safe”.  Oh, and I completely forgot there should be another child of mine, out there somewhere, swimming in a shallow end. Panic!!! I just laughed out loud to my thoughts but it’s so NOT funny!

Since I cannot do the above, I decided to take advantage of the time given and try speech therapy with my boy. To my surprise, he seems to enjoy it. It is a hard work but he’s getting there. He tries to pronounce words clearly. It is difficult for him to say words starting with “sp”, so I figured it could be fun to play a “spider” game. I basically use tickling him as reinforcement  every time he says the word “spider”. We started with single letters “sssssss” like a snake, then “p” like papa, then joining into “pie” and “der”. Within two days he had no problems saying “pider” but still struggled to put “s” with it. I increased the “spider walk” (tickling all over him) and looking at him, pointing to my mouth, as I was putting more input on the “sp”. He was recording everything in his beautiful mind, and the next day he started asking for “spider” game. This made my day!

Although I do have a Master Degree in Social Rehabilitation and Probation and I did my internship with a childhood psychologists and special ed teachers, I never really practiced what I learned after I graduated from university, due to various circumstances in my life. As I am working with my boy, all that knowledge comes back to me. I am sure there are new therapy guidelines that psychologists follow to work with non verbal kids, and no doubt, I am not up to date with the latest trends, but I know what works for our boy!

Another thing I am working on is “labeling” all the things in our house. Yes, literally putting words on sticky notes and placing them on every single item, so that Booboo can visually memorize written names of the things around him, which will hopefully help him with reading and writing skills.

This Mama Bear is super excited and pumped up. I just need more coffee please, ha ha!

P.S. Please visit my Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/URSA.Autism.Mama.Bear/) and see the video of my “spider” speech therapy.

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