Feb 10, 2012 0 Share

Gearing Up for Success

Man holding white board that says "Support."

It has now been four months since Cody has had day rehabilitation service and finally a new provider has come to our aid! So I have been gearing up to make it work this time.

Cody’s new service tech was here for the first time on Monday. I was very encouraged that not only did he have a degree in Psychology but he also has an impressive work history in this field. Nevertheless he is young. And I could tell that he has probably not worked with many individuals who had been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder. But I still have hope and I feel a certain responsibility to Cody and to his staff to do everything I can to make this experience enjoyable and successful for everyone involved.

So today, I took a trip to one of the local home school stores. I bought a schedule poster to give Cody and his staff a visual representation of what each Monday, Wednesday and Friday from the hours of 10:00 a m. to 2:00 p.m. will look like. This will be placed on the kitchen door to the family room which is a highly visible place. Now Cody will see it each time he walks through the living room, dining room and kitchen. Each time he looks at it he will become more familiar with his schedule. Once he grasps the concept that these are the things he will be doing each day at this time or that time, then it will be easier for him to focus on each task at hand.

He will also see when his breaks and free times are, and when he has community outings which he looks forward to very much.

I also purchased a dry erase board to place on the kitchen door as well. This gives Cody’s staff a place to leave a short note as to how Cody’s day went. When Cody sees that, he will know that his parents are working with his staff as a team and we are communicating with one another about his progress. His staff may also choose to use it as a visual aid in teaching Cody the academic skills he needs to know to have a more self-sufficient life.

I have expressed concerns in previous columns about Cody’s need to learn basic math skills. Today I bought flash cards and an addition and subtraction key board that tells you what the answer is when you press the key with the math problem which is engraved on top. I also bought a giant calculator to be used as a tool in his learning process. It’s blue … his favorite color.

Many individuals with PDD have significant communication problems. Cody is no exception. Especially when he needs to answer Where, When, What, Why and How questions. So I found a vocabulary workbook that I thought would be a good starting point for improving his communication skills.

He also has a bit of a problem with antonyms. Asking Cody, “What is the opposite of happy?” and expecting him to answer is a bit like herding cats. Here again if he does grasp the concept of the word opposite, it is not evident in his communication skills. To aid him in either understanding the meaning of opposite I found flash cards with one word on the front and the opposite on the back.

In essence, any teaching tool I could find that would give Cody a visual for these basic skills caught my attention in the store. And a great deal of it ended up in my cart as well. I also purchased needed supplies such as pencils, markers, dry erase markers of different colors and an eraser to go with them, and finally a large blue plastic bin with a cover in which to keep them organized and easy to access.

Finally, I met with Cody’s staff and showed him everything I brought home from the store to aid him in teaching my son. I asked him to tell me any other suggestions he might have. We sat for a few minutes and worked out what would be a good schedule for each day he was here. And then I made sure to allow him time at the end of each day to leave detailed notes for us as to how Cody’s day went and what they did during their time.

Then, I hung the dry erase board on the kitchen door and the finished schedule poster beneath it.  Now, let the progress begin!