Posted in Autism, Down syndrome, Education and Special Needs

Blog #132~Countdown to the End of School

#132~Countdown to the End of School

countdown-timer

The clock is ticking, and rapidly might I add.  Coming off the holidays, I’ve hit the ground running.  You see in less than a month my son, Nick will be aging out of the school system.  He is 21 years old and has Down syndrome and autism.  The day before his 22nd birthday will be the final day that the little yellow bus stops coming to the door.

yellow-bus

We’ve been preparing for this day for months.  The post-secondary transition program he is attending (STEPS) has done an excellent job to map out a plan for this to be a seamless transition.  Last Friday, Nick visited the new facility (an adult day program).  His speech therapists took pictures and made a social story for Nick.  A person with autism benefits from having a visual schedule.  If they can see it, they can understand it.  This helps with reducing anxiety levels.  Here are a few of pictures from the social story:

Adult Day program site……

Keeler

Nick in the gym….

Nick gym

Nick will have a recycling job, elbows to that!

Nick recycling

Starting this week, Nick will be going to the new facility for half the day on Tuesday and Thursday.  The next couple of weeks he will expand his time there.

The other piece of the puzzle is transportation.  We have to insure that Nick can utilize the Ride DuPage successfully on his own. He will be doing some practice runs with his job coach. Then, if all goes well on his own with someone to meet him at curbside. We have requested a car to pick up rather than a bus.  This is the piece of the puzzle that keeps me up at night.  It’s uncharted territory that is giving me anxiety.  Nick actually does well in the car as he likes to be on the go.  Just make sure the window and door locks are set, he has some tappers to stim on and nothing to throw at the driver. I should pick up some Windex wipes so he can wipe the snot rockets off the window as well.  🙂

As the clock is ticking, I’m busy getting him to doctor and dentist appointments, arranging for a new  talker device and case (his current AAC device has to be given back to STEPS) and working with insurance to hopefully get speech and occupational therapy set up in his  new program.  In addition, the waiver to which Nick receives funding thru the state will need to be switched from the child to the adult waiver (which will increase his funds to support the day program).  The pressure is on, this needs to work, it has to work.  Nick needs to be in a structured program.  And this is an excellent one with a caring and qualified staff.  And I need to keep teaching my fitness classes and have my own life (and sanity).  Wish us luck, that’s what is in my “nervous” noggin this week.

~Teresa

Follow Nick:

Facebook

@Down Syndrome With A Slice of Autism

instagram-logo@nickdsautism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Autism, Down syndrome

Updates on Behavior & AAC Device

Updates on Behavior & AAC Device

Nick’s behavior has been escalating over the last few months.  He is 21 years old and has Down syndrome and autism.  The incidences of throwing objects has increased.  This also includes his new AAC Device (talker). AAC stands for Augmentative Alternative Communication.  The school district’s autism specialist has done some observations of Nick and data collection of behaviors.  I did this as well at home with Nick’s behaviors.

The school team met last Friday to go over the observations and brainstorm on how to adjust his behavior support plan.  A significant amount of the behaviors are attention seeking.  The team is working on a system to reward Nick for being compliant. In addition, they will be utilizing his new AAC device to seek appropriate attention and making more requests and comments with it.  He has been throwing the device both at home and school.  The iPad is in sturdy enough case to survive a throw from the second floor of the Naperville Library as well as being pitched out the bus onto Montgomery Road at a railroad crossing.

On a positive note, he is using the device well to requests food, rewards as well as making some comments like, “excuse me” when he lets out burps.  He is learning how to navigate it with minimal prompts as well.

ipad touch chat

Nick’s behavior support plan is much like painting the Golden Gate Bridge.  Just when you think it’s all done and figured out, a new behavior pops up and you have to start over again.

paint golden gate bridge

That’s Nick’s world….. the rest of us are just trying to keep up.  That’s what is in my noggin this week.

~Teresa