Friday, January 18, 2013

On talking...

Max has been doing some new Science units in school recently.  He learned about matter, and the states of matter, Solid, Liquid and Gas, over the holiday break.  Luckily for us, it was FREEZING every day so we had no trouble with his experiment of turning water into ice, then into steam.

The unit he's on now is Volcanoes.  I've showed him a few videos of volcanoes, and we've read him a couple of books.  His teacher had a neat experiment to do with him on Wednesday that involved using a boiled egg as a model of Earth.  He then peeled the "crust" of the Earth off to reveal the "mantle", and eventually the "core" in the middle.  Max thought it was a neat experiment, at least he tolerated it and answered a couple of questions about it so I thought he enjoyed it.

The next day in Speech Therapy, I asked him to tell his therapist about his experiment.  Their previous time together, Max gave us a list of describing words for volcanoes, after watching videos of them.  He told Ms. J that volcanoes are mean, quiet, loud, hot, heavy and narrow.  So, she was curious to know what else he had learned about volcanoes since she had last seen him.

(Ms. J helping Max with steadying his arms so he could accurately hit his switches.  It can look like we're pushing the buttons for him, or keeping him from pushing the buttons, but all he needs is a little steading of his arms to be able to concentrate his efforts on accurately pushing the switches when he wants to.  Max is always moving, and it takes a tremendous amount of concentration for him to slow down and do a task that involves accuracy.) 

I told him he could spell the easy word for the experiment he did.  Max has a page on his talker that will allow him to spell words out, and will auto-predict words for him once he starts spelling.

All he had to do was choose "e" then "g", and it would auto-predict the word EGG and he could just choose that from the top row.

Max went a different route.


Looks like a bunch of words thrown together, right?  Let me interpret his talker talk for you.

Me and Ms. J - Max tell us about your experiment yesterday, you can spell the word.

Max - Please wait for me to answer

Yes ability - Max says he has the ability A LOT!  He really likes to throw this out there as a "proud of himself" word.  So, he was proud of the experiment he did.

He calls his therapist Jack

So he said, "yes, ability, my Jack, earth."

He thought "Earth" might be enough for his explanation and we would give up.  Instead, I really wanted him to spell the word EGG, it's an easy enough word for him to spell.

He fussed through it for 30 minutes!  He did not want to spell EGG.  Instead, he went to his food page, I thought he would go searching for the word EGG there, but he surprised me.  It wasn't until he was all done that I understood what he was doing there.

He chose PIZZA, then went back to his spelling and worked with Ms. J to get E back up on his screen, then he chose G.  After that, it did indeed auto-predict EGG.  He went right up to his row to scan and skipped right over EGG and went for EGGSHELL.

(the rest of it was just allowing him to play with his words, since he answered the question, he had free time to talk)

Max's experiment involved an egg, that he peeled the shell - which represented the Earth's Crust...the only part of a PIZZA Max tastes.

Getting it?  Ability - proud of my experiment.  Jack - his therapist.  Earthly (he had Earth first and went into auto-predict, so chose Earth again) - the egg represented Earth.  Pizza - pizza to Max = crust, and the eggshell was supposed to be the Earth's crust.  Finally, Eggshells, the whole thing we were trying to get him to spell, but he wanted to be more specific about it.

And THAT is how we communicate with Max.  He has so much to say, and it's constant practice from him, and us to understand what he's trying to tell us.  But, he got that experiment completely.  He knew exactly what we were asking of him, to spell EGG.  But, he thought he'd give us the whole rundown.

Not too bad for a kid who "can't talk".

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