Article Featured with Mrs. Speechie P for Autism Awareness Month 2018
This is my friend Cody, who I swear is the most adorable boy ever! I love that he almost always has a smile on his face and takes the time to greet me in passing either verbally, or on his speech device! His mom has an amazing blog over at Autism Through His Eyes, and here’s what she has to say about her sweet boy:
“Meet Cody Rivers. His unforgettable blue eyes always leave an impression on so many. His sense of humor and smile draws people in but some may not understand how he communicates and learns, so some may shy away. Cody Rivers is a 5 ½ year old that is mostly nonverbal with autism. He uses an iPad to help him communicate. Because he is nonverbal, I have observed some people who think he may not understand what they are saying. And some people who even talk about him, while he is present as if he was not standing there. When a dear friend reached out about running a feature during the month of April for autism awareness and asked if I could submit a read, I knew exactly what I wanted to share. Just because he can’t speak, doesn’t mean he has nothing to say.
One of my highlights of my week, is when I go to Speech therapy. When Cody and I arrive there is a sibling, same age as Cody that is always in the waiting room while his brother attends therapy. He is so intrigued with Cody and how he uses a iPad to communicate. At first of course he thinks it’s an iPad full of game apps. Watching the two of them is so raw, yet new for Cody to learn how to engage with peers his same age who do speak. As a Mom, I bite my tongue often allowing Cody to navigate in his own way on how to handle and learn during these social interactions. The children often look to me and ask, “Why does he not talk?” I respond, “He uses his device to speak but he does understand what you are saying.” I love the pure innocence of when children ask questions because they take out all the filters and are just blunt and direct with their questions. As a parent with a child with autism, I like questions. Blunt questions. I like teaching moments and I remind people often there are no dumb questions. Some people feel they can’t ask, my thoughts are, ask away!
Also, at school recently he has a close friend who also is very interested in how Cody speaks. His teacher supports by showing his friend how Cody speaks and responds using his communication device. Where this may all sound simple, you must know that it’s not. Most children all learn from imitation. Children with autism do not learn this way and must be taught everything. I mean EVERYTHING. It took us 12 months of ABA therapy to understand how Cody learns. Since then, we have been able to capitalize on this and teach him at a faster pace during these critical years of early intervention.
So what are my 2 takeaways? 1. Just because he can’t speak, doesn’t mean he has nothing to say. 2. In a world where you can be anything, be kind. Remember autism does not have a certain look. Ask questions and learn how they learn. This is when the real personality comes out”
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