Jan 25, 2013 0 Share

Talk to Me

Illustration of man's face in silhouette with multi-colored shapes from mouth.

I have never had any trouble ascertaining what Cody’s needs are in the way of learning or with what he has difficulty. Language and appropriate sentence structure has always been a struggle. The words come out jumbled and sometimes it sounds as if he is complaining about things with which he has never had any experience or things which shouldn’t concern him.

Right now for instance, he has been talking about “the server.” While the words Cody is using are mostly intelligible, the meaning is not. “We would kinser the server," he has said. "We would get him generous. We would get him the colonial marker as a stopper as a force.” What does all that mean?

There are many things which Bill and I have been able to figure out when it comes to deciphering the “Code Talking.” And that stands to reason, as I have lived with this young man since his birth and Bill became a part of his life just before Cody turned 3 years old. But there are still things he says that not even we understand. If we don’t understand what he means when he converses, it must be incredibly difficult for other people to understand what he means.

While ascertaining what his needs are may be relatively simple, figuring out what is causing the difficulty is not so easy. There is much said in the medical community about what these causes could be. I once had the opportunity to stand in on an autopsy. The pathologist was most happy to answer any questions I had. I asked him if he knew of any differences in the structure of the brain in an individual with autism and that of a neurotypical peer. He said there were differences, particularly in the frontal lobe where language and communication is formed. I did some research and other medical publications concurred with what he said.

In my last column I wrote about our appointment with Cody’s new service coordinator. We came away from the meeting with some newfound hope. The service coordinator told us that there are now some instances where Medicaid is paying for speech therapy if one has a doctor’s order. She also said that she had other clients who struggled with language in the same way Cody does and that they were having good results with speech therapy. But she also said that if Medicaid did not feel that progress was being made after a certain amount of time, then the therapy would no longer be paid for. We were able to speak to Cody’s primary care physician and he gave us an order right away. Tuesday we received a call to set up his evaluation.

The service coordinator also scheduled an evaluation with a behavioral assessment team. They will come and observe Cody in our home and then make suggestions as to what other services from which Cody may benefit. We have not received a call from them yet but she says that too will happen.

I also previously spoke of a facility in Springfield where Cody would actually go to learn life skills and continue in academics. It turns out there is more than just one in the area. The one our service provider suggested has smaller classrooms. She stated the people who work there are more trained to teach individuals on the spectrum to learn to adapt to a more independent life in a mainstream world than those who worked in the area of home services. The autistic adults make and sell things. They are active in the community. And the program teaches every day skills one needs to know to become more self-sufficient.  

Today we will be going to tour the facility and meet with those who would work with Cody. I’m anxious to see the facility and learn exactly what they have to offer. I’m excited to talk to those who run the program and to get a feel for the attitudes they truly have regarding the prospects of adults on the spectrum being able to learn new things and become productive members of society. And then I hope to bring good news and hope to others in my next column.