Jovan's ABA therapists and Dr. Suzanne Goh use an amazing communication/typing device to teach Jovan to communicate through typing. The therapist and Jovan type their texts to each other and then the therapist emails the typed comments and Jovan's typed responses to my husband and I and our ABA team working with Jovan.
Jovan has made incredible progress using this type of therapy, and has grown his communication skills, typing skills and has broadened his vocabulary range. Even his sense of humor shines through this set of typed text between his ABA therapist Melissa and Jovan as he describes his excitement for his upcoming family trip to Hawaii. We are so grateful for the incredible leaps and bounds Jovan has made with his communication skills and can't wait to see what his future holds. While still non-verbal, this communication opens doors for him that we never imagined possible. We're so thankful to his ABA team and we hope this inspires those parents who may be frustrated or losing hope for their own non-verbal autistic children.
This was included in an email to us from Jovan's ABA therapist at CortiaCare (in the following, "M" stands for "Melissa," the ABA therapist, and "J" stands for "Jovan").
M: Anything you want to say about your upcoming trip?
J: Tell mom the trip the best thing the family do!
M: Do you know much about where you are going?
M: Do you want to tell me something about it?
J: Hawaii beautiful place and far away to go there!
M: have you been on a plane before?
M: do you have any questions about it?
J: the plane the best part!
M: you're super excited to get on the plane!
M: have you heard good thing about being on a plane?
J: yes and the boring home the worst
M: so you're super excited to get out and get away
M: are you excited about anything about Hawaii besides the plane?
J: the swimming everyday?
M: I'm not totally sure but I would imagine that you'd get to swim every day or most days. Would you swim in the ocean or are you thinking about the pool?
J: the ocean for me! The pool boring the house has one.
M: so the pool is old news to you?
M: do you have any other thoughts or questions about the trip?
J: how long the trip?
M: do you mean the plane trip the whole trip or both?
J: the whole thing!
M: I think about three weeks give or take a few days. Do you know how long three weeks is?
M: how long?
J: the longest I have been away!
M: three weeks is 21 days. Maybe you'll be there a couple days longer or a couple days less than that. Would you like a calendar while you're there to know how many more days you have left?
J: the body need the calendar but I think the hours go by fast!
M: yes I bet the hours and days will go by fast because you'll be having so much fun but yes your body does need some amount of predictability so I can let mom and dad know to maybe have a calendar or a count down of days to help your body?
J: the body like the idea!
M: do you want to keep talking about this or something else?
J: the talking nice! The tek
M: we have about four minutes left do you want to finish your thought from before?
J: teacher you are the best!
M: who are you talking to or about?
J: Melissa you!
M: thank you my friend. I think that you are a wonderful boy to teach and I have to say today I am very overcome with amazing pride with how far you've come. Do you remember when we started typing?
M: it was hard.
J: the worst!
M: look at how far you've come! Are you done for the day?
When I opened the conversation, Jovan was resistant to talking about what the plane ride entails. He did type “The plane ride the mom nervous!”.
Here are some tips that I think could help:
-Write out a schedule/checklist in a notebook of all of the transitions and steps involved in the airport/airplane process and check it off as you go.
-Set a timer for the flight duration and show Jovan periodically throughout.
-Make a “loose” schedule for the flight in terms of activities he may do, trips to the bathroom, snacks/supplements and use this to structure/pass the time.
-Have a calendar with you on the trip so that he can see how many days are remaining.
Have a great trip and enjoy your time together! Please take pictures if you can. I would love to use them in session with Jovan when he returns.
Thanks so much.