Oral placement therapy & AAC
My son Rohan is autistic and also non verbal. During the first four years of Rohan’s life he struggled with understanding the world round him and in getting his most basic needs met due to having no means of communication. He had no words to describe past, present and future or to indicate his emotions, feelings or to tell us he is in pain. Rohan wasn’t able to ask questions or share his fears and worries. During the early years I saw Rohan’s slow attempts of trying to communicate being impatiently ignored by friends, teachers and family, people taking it upon themselves to speak for him or to second guess what he may be thinking and feeling…as his parents this made us very sad and very scared for his future.
Over the past four years Rohan has been fortunate enough to work with some very skilled and committed Speech therapists. Together with his team and his loving devoted family we have worked timelessly to open up other communication methods for Rohan. With the help of speech therapists we initially Introduced the picture exchange communication system to him and he was able to reach sentence level. I then went on a AAC course (Alternative And argumentative communication) and it was here with the help of professional speech therapist I learn’t because of Rohans love of the iPad, the way forward with Rohan was slowly moving on to a more high tech method of communication like the iPad. A communication software programme was installed and I was taught how to use it and within days Rohan was communicating with us and was able to ask for what he would like to eat and which programmes he would like to watch….totally amazing! We were able to use the iPad out and about as well as in school. Being able to communicate meant little if any meltdowns and a happier little boy. After a few months we noticed Rohan was becoming more vocal and was making some sounds. We turned to Juile Clarke and was very grateful she could help us with Rohan. In no time at all with weekly speech therapy sessions Rohan was making significant and very exciting progress.
The technique used to encourage Rohan to talk have been amazing. Rohan has gone from making sounds to being able to say words…when he said his first word ‘Apple’ there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, videos were going viral to family members around the world! I sometimes sit and think of how lucky we have been with making the decision to involve a professional speech therapist as they can change someone’s life forever. We have a long way to go but for us Julie Clarke will forever be known as the lady who gave our son his voice…to whom we are eternally grateful.