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Saturday, 29 June 2013 00:00

Diagnosis: Autism

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My daughter, Jessica, turns 14 on the 1st of Jul 2013 - coming Monday!  She was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in 2007, February and spent 2 years on the SNAP Program.  She is now in Grade 6 in Jan Kriel School, Cape Town, and I am extremely proud of her progress. 

My husband and I work like a United Front, just like Annalies (Director of SNAP) has taught us.  We do the same thing, have the same responses in given situations, etc. towards the children.  Jessica even helps with training Jonathan at home.  She is on the "Parent Team" and has privileges that Jonathan does not yet have.  She also has more responsibility.  There are times at home, when the two are alone, that she needs to supervise Jonathan.  I can leave them at home alone for 3-4 hours at a time.  It was a task that took years, because before they were of course also too young, and too 'autistic' - if I may say that, as a parent - and too untrained. 

There is always something we are teaching them, i.e. this 3-week school holiday we will be teaching Jonathan to speak to us on the cellphone.  At the moment he will just press the red button on the cell - effectively killing any incoming call!  I want to teach him to answer the phone, to keep it to his ear or put it on speaker phone, then to say "hello", then to answer any basic question I put to him. 

I need to know that he is safe and that he has done certain things, when I call him at home.  He needs to know to give the cellphone to his sister, when it rings, so that she can answer or he must be able to answer.  We start Saturday morning, that's tomorrow morning 29th of June!  Hubby is on board.  I told him earlier this week, one evening, that this is what we should do on the weekend.  He is very keen.

I will write the script and then Jonathan can answer me from the script.  At first it might seem very rehearsed, but in no time at all it becomes second nature for him to respond appropriately.  To give him the script is like a 'social story', but not quite the same because I'm expecting him to do more than just read it.  He must 'act' it.  I will call from the lounge and Craig (hubby) will help him with a prompt when necessary.  Or Craig will call him from the lounge while I assist - giving a prompt when necessary.  I am excited and can't wait.  Now that Jonathan is older, it does not take as long to teach him something as it used to.  It is as if he just gets is so much quicker. 

I think all the years of training and tutoring has instilled in Jonathan the mindset of being taught, and that he should be learning new things, and obey instructions and commands.  Change is no longer something to be resisted, but to be accepted and adapted to as soon as possible.  Jonathan has realised that the sooner he embraces change and becomes comfortable with it, the sooner 'happiness' returns! :)

If you have any questions on Autism or Asperger Syndrome you are welcome to join me on this blog.


Read 2174 times Last modified on Wednesday, 14 May 2014 14:47

I am employed at SNAP Education as Office Manager and P.A. for the Director. I joined SNAP in April 2006.

My son, Jonathan, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3y8m. He started on the SNAP Program in January of 2005. 

My daughter, Jessica, was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (high functioning autism) in February 2007 at the age of 8yrs. 

In 2010 my husband was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at the age of 37, after being married for 15 yrs.

Next year, in 2014, September, it will be ten years ago that the 'Tsunami' of my children's diagnosis hit our marriage - (Jonathan diagnosed with Autism and Jessica diagnosed with Cancer).

In blogging I hope to share with you some of my coping mechanisms and techniques, to encourage you and give you hope. To help you to stay strong and focused on this new journey - actually, I see it as a detour to reach the intended destination.