Back to square one, after so much progress last year to come back to square one, is disheartening for me. But I am not the one who has anxiety my anxiety is placed on me externally rather than a daily internal process. My role is to work on how I respond focusing on whether or not he is talking, I don't want to contribute to the situation too.
So to share this is what has been working so far:
- Sign language, before this all happened we took part in a course teaching sign language called Baby hands (please see the link on the side bar) and this has meant that Josiah has at least some form of communication small as it may be but it helps. So to encourage this we have been using flash cards from signing stars and baby hands as the sign language is used in conjunction with verbal communication, but it removes the pressure to speak if it is too much.
- Relaxation Exercises, as mentioned in a previous post. We worked on part of a relaxation exercise a small part, but something that he is able relate to. Simply it is about clenching fists, counting to ten and then exhaling. I do this about 3-4 times or more depending on how much he needs it. We tried this one morning when he was particularly anxious and it actually worked, he seemed to be released a little from the anxiety, which is nice to finally have one small strategy, in the midst of it all.
- Now Holidays are over we are able to get in touch with some professionals. We have been able to get in with the Private Psychologist which was fantastic as Josiah feels comfortable with her and he is even able to say a few words in front of her, she also knows sign language (a little) so Josiah can even communicate this way as well.
The next step is looking at the Picture Exchange Communication System or commonly known as PECS. I have been in touch with the Public Speech Therapy we have been accessing and we will be looking at this on Monday, I am thinking of doing small pictures laminated for school words of importance I am figuring right now are toilet, hurt, asthma, help maybe some more, I am hoping he will be able to communicate non verbally as well, but we will only know when he starts school in a few weeks.
As we have been trying for some time we are seeing a Private Speech Therapist we are able to access this through the Allied Health Plan which means basically just like the plan for Psychology we get a rebate for Speech Therapy. I am anxious about how this will go, I know I need support to help Josiah he has a moderate-severe language delay and it would be great to get more help to address this issue as well.
Lastly through my work I saw a book which is like an introduction about another client. So I was thinking of doing one up for the Speech Therapist containing information and pictures about Josiah what works with him and what doesn't and also the information that I have gleaned from the Selective Mutism Resource Manual, I plan to do two so that I can give one to the teacher at his school as she does not yet know Josiah.