Posts Tagged ‘ Speech for children with special needs ’

A Teen With Autism Speaks At Graduation: Extreme Inspiration

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

It’s an achievement and honor for any student to speak at their school graduation. But for Dillan Barmache, 14, it was an opportunity to let people to know he has a voice.

Dillan has autism, and is non-verbal. He used an iPad and a letter-board to address the graduating class of Hale Charter Academy in Woodland Hills, California, rapidly choosing letters to form sentences. He got a standing ovation from classmates, parents and teachers—along with a social media one from special needs parents like me. This gives me so much hope for my son, Max, who has cerebral palsy and who uses the Proloquo2Go speech app as his main form of communication. Next year Dillan starts high school; he’ll take general education classes, and might study psychology, per KABC news.

I love not just that Dillan did this, but that the school welcomed it. My dream is for more schools, programs, workplaces and the world in general to have this open-mindedness toward people with special needs. As Dillan’s mom, Tami, said, “We all want to share who we are, we all want to share our thoughts and ideas and questions and worries, and I think every individual has that right.”

The full speech:

“When I examine each day, it’s just incredible how a student, an autistic one, could ever feel a part of a class of future academics. Education is a better institution when all students have opportunity, plus a chance to take an idea and see the lessons within. With your mind, no one can place limits on where an idea can take you. Living without a voice creates almost no way to be heard, but there are people who refuse to think in a box. Open your mind in high school. You will learn to think about different ideas, and examine new findings. Always look inside other peoples experience in order to gain another perspective outside of books. Only then are we able to start opening our eyes to the amazing things around us. I so believe that there is so much more each one of us can do for other people, causes, and fields of study. I know too that the thought of high school is daunting, and also exciting. We will be challenged to think for ourselves as we live each day out. Part of education is showing what we have learned, so then tests measure our ability to learn, and are necessary. However, another measure of learning often seems based on insight and guidance. Insight is a guide that separates our knowledge into what we are taught and what we are capable of doing. Take a chance to experience your education in a meaningful way, and think outside the box, into yourselves. Insight always leads to truths that an individual either chooses to accept or not. Always consider looking to your own insight and seeking another viewpoint. We are the reality of our thinking life and are capable of so much if we just open our minds.”

From my other blog:

The kindness a neighbor did for my son that I will never forget

The Supreme Court ditches the term “mental retardation”

The best gifts to give a baby in the NICU


Image source: KABC video screen-grab

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A New Speech Program For Kids With Autism, And Other Therapies

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Back when my son, Max, was a baby, my husband and I were game to try anything to help him: He had brain damage from a stroke at birth. The doctors hadn’t given us much hope for his future. Our motto was, “If it could help and it won’t hurt, let’s do it.” So we took him for hyperbaric oxygen treatment sessions, said to help spark dormant areas of the brain. My husband or I would lie down with Max in this giant, clear claustrophobic tube as pure oxygen shot into it. We did craniosacral therapy in which a therapist massaged various parts of Max’s head. We tried MEDEK. We infused his food with various forms of brain-nurturing Omega-3s.

We were so panicked.

At 8, Max is doing pretty well for himself. He has what’s considered mild cerebral palsy. He walks well, he’s bright, and he is one of the most charming kids I’ve ever known (I realize I’m not the most objective source). He has challenges articulating words and using his hands, along with cognitive delays. He gets all of the traditional therapy—physical, occupational, and speech. We’ve gotten admittedly more laid back about trying new stuff with him, though we are considering returnig to aqua therapy to help strengthen his core (a common challenge for children with cerebral palsy). I recently learned about something called “manual therapy,” which involves massage and other hands-on techniques. I’m taking him in for a session, and we’ll see.

Parents’ September issue has a feature (page 38!) about a promising new program to help boost communication skills for toddlers with autism. It’s called More Than Words, and a study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry found it to be effective for some kids. It’s designed for kids under 5, and aims to help improve social skills, back-and-forth interactions and language comprehension. The Parents feature also mentions the ROCK method, which sounds good for any child with communication challenges: R Repeat what you say and do • O Offer chances for him to respond • C Cue your child to take his turn • K Keep it going and keep it fun.

What sort of therapies have you been into lately? Tried anything alternative?


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