Colton likes to take pictures on his ‘talker’ (his AAC device). This is something I knew, and his providers and I have used as a resource from time to time. However, recently I was adjusting some aspects on the device and when I looked in the photo section, something caught me off guard.
It was two different pictures. The first photo was taken on May 27th. It was the first picture Colton had taken on his talker. It was a selfie! The second picture was taken on August 8th. Another selfie! The photos were taken just months apart.
I felt very much on guard to protect him through this process. For a child that has trouble with transition, this was a lot. I prepared for difficulty in building new relationships and increased behaviors due to changes in routine. Every moment of our lives is calculated. Every moment of our lives must have a back-up plan and then a back-up back-up plan. When you are in the thick of it, you sometimes miss seeing what is right in front of you.
Despite the significant changes that transpired in the last few short months, I saw growth in Colton. I saw significant development of functional communication- through his AAC, written & verbal language and emotions. I saw him taking initiative and following directions. Most importantly, I saw confidence- it was confidence that he now saw in himself. I am grateful for these photos because his inner development and confidence were outwardly visible.
The process has taken some time and has been full of ups and downs. There were times when we didn’t know if everything we were doing made a difference. Three years of speech therapy with almost no words. However, looking back speech therapy led to the use PEC cards. PEC cards lead to an easier transition to an AAC. An AAC lead to curiosity and repetition of words. Curiosity and repetition of words lead to communication through writing, reading and the beginnings verbal functional language use. Language use allowed us to build skills and connections. Each step has led to a different level of progress on Colt’s journey. Each step has built his confidence and trust in himself. Each step has led to building his strength, his courage, his happiness, and confidence.
So yes, they say a picture is worth a thousand words…..in this case it’s two pictures and the contrast between them.