Archive for April, 2010

You’re Welcome

Clay loves music. A wide range of music. His tastes jump from Johnny Cash to Louis Armstrong to Smash Mouth to Green Day (although just the song Good Riddance) to George Winston to Mister Rogers. Sadly, he is rough on CDs, which quickly end up scratched or cracked, and his fingers don’t work so well with the tiny controls on an iPod. Our solution recently has been to add music to iTunes on the computer he uses. The album covers are easier to recognize and click for a boy with visual processing issues.

I figured he appreciated me adding an assortment of albums and singles earlier this week when I heard him squealing while listening. But then he gave me a gift in return. Read the rest of this entry »



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Any Final Thoughts?

We were wrapping up an hour-long session with Clay’s communication teacher, Jessica, a few weeks back when I asked him if he had any thing else to add. Here is what transpired. (Jessica is on his right. That’s his Mom providing some support on his left.)

Such a polite kid.


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Mystery Solved

It was late one Sunday morning at the end of spring break, and Clay couldn’t stop crying. We were all frustrated.

Was he sad? Angry? In pain? Since he is nonverbal, it is a guessing game based on body language and other circumstances. Sometimes a mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes. He banged his head a few times with his fist. That often means he has a headache. While the rest of us seek quiet and soft lighting when our head hurts, we’ve learned that Clay often reacts in the opposite manner, becoming loud and mobile. We know we guessed correctly if he quiets down about 30 minutes later. Sometimes he bangs his head with his fist because his brain is not working the way he would want. As if he is trying to kick start it. Sometimes he is frustrated about something he can’t do. Hard to know for sure.

But now that Clay is learning to use a talking keyboard, we had an opportunity to get an answer directly from the source.

Read the rest of this entry »


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Still Looking

My wife and I take a different approach to cooking. She can scan the refrigerator and pantry at 5:30 and ad lib a healthy, tasty meal we are happily chomping on by 6:15. Me? “Winging it” is not in my vocabulary. I follow recipes. With great care and precision. I double check amounts. If the recipe calls for 1.267 ounces of curdled fish sauce, I’m adding 1.267 ounces of curdled fish sauce. (“Season to taste” in a recipe drives me crazy.)

So, the other day I was cooking a lentil stew and had all my ingredients neatly arranged on the counter. (Since we have to keep our pantry and refrigerator locked, it’s easier to get everything out in one trip.) I was carefully following along with the recipe. Read the rest of this entry »


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“Have Mike Read”

The consultant’s office was filled with hand-held spinning lights, noise makers, squeezable balls and lots of books. Clay particularly enjoyed a vibrating “snake” he could hold in his hand or loop around his neck. But nothing was enticing him to sit at the table in front of the electronic keyboard we wanted him to learn how to use. He chose instead to spin in an office chair, explore a desk and computer setup on the other side of the room and make frequent dashes for the steps that led to freedom.

I moved my chair in front of his escape route. My wife sat a few feet away. The consultant and a guy named Mike who was watching Clay a few afternoons each week, sat at the table. We had a couple hours ahead and no plans to leave until Clay engaged in some manner with that keyboard. Read the rest of this entry »