Monday, December 1, 2008
PECS Phase 1 Update
I am really enjoying this PECS journey with Matt, even though it is early days. Matt is getting to understand the basic steps of PECS - I see what I want, I pick up the card and put it in the persons hand, I get what I want.
It does feel a bit artificial at the moment because we are sitting Matt in front of the "communicator" who has a very fun toy or food in hand, and Matt only has one choice of card in front of him. But I know that this is like any other training. I remember the training we did in my high school netball team. All the skills that were required in the game were broken down into components and then practiced in isolation. So we didn't just learn the game by playing it, but we did loads of drills...passing the ball, running, sprinting, jumping etc. So it is with this 1st phase in PECS - we are practicing a few skills which later will be added to others in order to form an effective communication system.
This last week I recruited my mom and two friends to assist with the process. I learnt quickly that I needed to explain things really clearly and that I should not to be afraid to correct those working with me. That way Matt gets the same experience of PECS as he does with Lloyd and me. And my new recruits did great! I was thrilled. I was surprised how Matt adapted to using the PECS process in two new environments as I took Matt to my friend's houses to do it there. Despite other toddlers toddling around and other potential distractions he engaged with the cards well.
What I have learnt so far:
It works best when Matt really wants the item, as opposed to being mildly interested in the item. So we've had to make up some more cards of his latest favourite items. The more motivated he is to acquire the item, the more motivated he is to learn PECS.
Our biggest struggle:
Matt finds it hard to remove the card that has been velcro-ed to the communication board when the board is not attached firmly to something else. Even though I show him to put his other hand on the board and lean on it, whilst lifting the card, he can't quite get it right. So he struggles to separate the board and the card - and gets frustrated. I will need to get advice from our speech therapist on this issue.
It is hard to take a photo of the PECS process in action as both Lloyd and myself are involved. But here are some photos of Matt playing with his puzzle after having asked for it using PECS. He likes showing us the puzzle pieces.