How we got to Thursday is a mystery to me. Is the week really almost over? Either we’ve been so busy that we haven’t noticed time flying by or the days are just melting into each other. Either way…it’s THURSDAY?????
The one who woke up from a non-Kardashian related nightmare in the wee hours of this morning was yours truly. It was one of those nightmares in which you recognize gestures, voices, attitudes, faces, and that’s why they are scarier…because something bad happens and you manage to wake up right before you hear what it is. J woke up as happy as a lark, but noticed I’d been jostled out of sleep so he’s been super-helpful this morning. We are on the second load of laundry, and he has already helped load the dishwasher, made his bed and helped make ours.
I realized last night that I’ve been talking a lot about our new “board” and haven’t really shown it, so this morning I took pictures of the board, our current PECS arrangement and the timers J uses for WAITING. Nothing is fancy; nothing is groundbreaking; everything is made here from materials bought at the store and we adapt to our own needs so, as you will see, it’s all very basic.
The board used to be a 3-foot by 6-inches and allowed for the seven days of the week, two activities per day and a slot for TODAY IS. The new board is 24-inches square and offers a lot more space for tasks and activities.
Our PECS (and maybe we shouldn’t be calling them that, I know…trademark and all) are mostly home-made and apply to our own circumstances. We paste, print, cut, laminate and put Velcro on the back. We do have two sets we’ve bought over the years, but some things (like FOLDING LAUNDRY) were not included.
In another area of the kitchen we have two zippered pouches where we keep the KITCHEN and FOOD/GROCERIES PECS. These are mostly home-made. We use these to instruct J on what items we need for cooking, for setting the table, etc. We also use these to make the grocery list of the things he wants, and we can also make a longer list of things we all need.
The chalkboard you see above these is the Menu Board. Now you are privy (if it’s legible enough) to what we’re having for dinner on June 17th and 18th.
Then we come to the timers J lives by…or J uses to control us. (I insist Pavlov was as trained by the dog as the dog was trained by Pavlov.) The large-face time timer is for his soda, purely and exclusively. J has to say and sign I WANT TIME FOR SODA PLEASE. He gets to determine how long the wait will be, and he averages 30 to 45 minutes. He gets the one single, solitary soda a day so he usually asks for it early, gets told NO and asks again after lunch. His insulated cup gets full to the brim with crushed ice and he nurses it for about an hour. By the time J is done with his soda, it’s pretty diluted, and he knows that’s it, that’s all, it’s FIBBY (his sound for FINISHED.)
The three small timers allow us to give him WAIT time, WORK time and NEXT TASK time concurrently. These have worked quite well.
J’s reaction to all these changes has been positive. He obviously enjoys being engaged in different things throughout the day, and being able to see these things on a schedule at home has helped a great deal. That’s why we don’t just stick to the PECS we bought from the website. J now finds the cards for the Farmers’ Market, library, store we’re going to, etc. in the corresponding boxes and puts them on the schedule. He even has a picture of his favorite place for a walk by the river, having that handy has made him more enthusiastic regarding the prospect of “going for a walk.” J also likes checking the mail when there are magazines and parcels for us.
Last night, before bedtime, I realized that there was one PECS left on the board, the one for TICKLE. It shows a mom and child tickling each other. I grabbed it and went upstairs to J’s room. He had been out on the deck until past 8 PM, and had just gone back to his room. As a general rule, once a task is completed, J removes the PECS and stores it in its box. This PECS was just hanging there, lonely and sad. I knocked on the door and found J sitting on his bed, inspecting his feet. I told him “you owe me, sir! We have this TICKLE hanging between us and it must be done NOW!!!” I walked up to him and he started smiling with his eyes closed, like he does when he’s being silly. J is so tremendously ticklish that I don’t even really have to touch him before he starts giggling. I pointed my fingers at his belly and there it was…a loud, generous giggle to complete the day.
Today’s routine has followed the board, and it is now lunch time. This time my husband didn’t leave J with instructions so my food will be safe from plans of which I’ve not been informed. After lunch comes music, and maybe some writing exercises, and then J will (like Kant and his impeccable sense of time) remind me it’s bath time. Our walk to the mailbox will follow, and then we’ll settle into the late afternoon hours.
If it all goes as it did yesterday, I shouldn’t be surprised to -once more- catch J vigorously dancing while loudly vocalizing the music from Bugs Bunny’s Hare Tonic cartoon. I suggest you google this…not J’s dancing it, but the cartoon itself. Then mentally insert J there and imagine the arm and leg movements, and the loud HEY!
I need to make a PECS for that. 🙂