Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sign Language vs PECS

(This pic was at the allergist. He screamed and screamed.)
I recently took Jacob to the allergist to test him for food allergies.  I have heard that many people put their autistic children on the GFCF diet and see amazing results in their children's abilities, not like superhero stuff... LOL... Their kids just seem more "out of the fog" and start to speak or not have as many tantrums. I have also heard that many doctors think that the diet is not good and very rarely effective.  So I decided to be on the fence about it.  I decided to get Jacob tested for allergies to dairy and wheat before trying a difficult diet.  We went to an allergist in Humble who immediately asked me if Jacob had hydrocephalus.  I didn't realize his head was so big and obvious.  I guess because people don't usually see someones baby and tell them how big their head is.  So, as it turns out, he isn't allergic to any of the foods they tested for, including wheat and dairy.  I must say, Cret and I were disappointed.  Sounds strange, huh?  The idea of Jacob's symptoms getting better with just a diet, even a crazy hard diet, was exciting.  It was something to look forward to and hope for.  I left feeling sad.  The doctor called "the diet" crazy quack medicine and kind of laughed at me for thinking it could help.  He really hurt my feelings.  Don't think I'll go back to him.  Anyways, a therapist for Jacob asked me if I wanted Jacob's main form of communication to be sign language or pictures (PECS).  I was thinking, "I want it to be out loud", but I told her sign language.  She then went on to tell me the benefit to each and I thought it was interesting enough to share with all you moms considering both. 
Sign Language   
BENEFITS: Its usually easier to get them to speak from signing.  Its always used with words and its harder than talking, so sometimes they just want to go ahead and say the word. 
DRAWBACKS: Everyone who cares for the child needs to understand sign language and also have the same signs for each word.  Otherwise, the child is signing and not getting the right result and therefore it is not working for them causing more confusion and frustration.
BENEFITS: They can take their pictures with them everywhere, so everyone knows what they are saying.  It is very easy to learn and understand and no one needs training in it. 
DRAWBACKS:  You have to take pictures of everything and you can't lose or forget them.  Sometimes, with a bad therapist who isn't emphasizing the words and sounds with the pictures, the kid may not want to ever stop using the pictures and learn to talk.

After careful consideration, I changed my mind to PECS.  I want Jacob to easily learn a language to be able to communicate with me.  He doesn't even know how to clap, so I can't expect him to learn enough signs to be able to communicate with me.  Also, I have been trying simple signs for months now and he hasn't picked them up.  Additionally, I know it isn't practical to think that my mom, dad, brothers, sisters, babysitters, child care workers at church and other children will learn all the signs as well.  I don't want him to get frustrated, either.  My friend who has an autistic son used PECS and within a year he was speaking, so I feel confident in my decision. 

I was thinking the other day that at only 18 months Jordan, my daughter, was speaking in full sentences.  I mean like, "I poo pooed could you change my diaper?" I know that's not typical, but I would be so grateful to even get an intentional "momma" or "dadda" by age 2.  I can't even get Jacob to clap and it is so frustrating.  Tiny little babies learn to clap.  I know he wants to, he loves when I clap.  The way it was explained to me is that he sees my hands as objects and so he uses my hands to clap, not even realizing that his hands could be clapping.  I think that is so strange since I use his hands to clap.  Immediately after I clap his hands he either puts his hands down or just squeezes them.  So I'm still waiting patiently for a clap....Meanwhile, Tyler, my two year old won't stop talking.  He just talks and talks and talks and then talks, but as crazy as it makes me I always have to stop and thank God because, after all, he 

I think I wanna share this song I keep listening to over and over.  Man it just puts a huge smile on my face everyday.  Its been one crazy hectic day after another lately and I just really love it....Maybe it can make you smile...

1 comment:

  1. Allison, I've read and reread this post. Thank you for putting your thoughts in writing like this. I appreciate your decision-making process, and the thoughtful way you are able to describe it.

    Jakey's gifts will bloom/become visible. Your heart will soar and be overflowing with thankfulness and pride like you could never imagine. At least, that's what I've observed in my experiences. I trust it will happen for you, too. I love you, :)