Parents of a non-verbal child on the autism spectrum miss out on many activities that parents with neurotypical kids take for granted.
I am the working parent who has the easy job of going to work each day, while Courtney has taken on the thankless responsibility of homeschooling, teaching all the fundamentals of communication and daily care of our son while trying to squeeze in being the world’s most important role as a mum.
I have always tried to focus on all the fun, sometimes weird and wonderful routines and activities that I get to do with my little guy.
But every now and then… I see my brothers playing with their son’s and realise that whilst my interactions with my son are no-less special. They will always be a little different.
Reading has been a major part of my life, and I have always looked forward to opening up a book with my son and showing him the limitless world that books can offer.
I have had to let go of many ‘normal’ activities that a father can do with their son, because it is just not something that is on the cards for a little guy with limited ability to express himself verbally or otherwise….yet.
For years Courtney and I have been reading to our son but it always felt like he was just waiting to get to the end so he could move on to a task or activity that made sense to him.
It was obvious that he enjoyed the pictures but the words just got in the way of him seeing the illustrations on the next page.
I was getting to the point of accepting that this might just be another activity I would have to accept is not going to be something I can do with my son.
Enter the world’s most devoted mother.
Every time we show our son a word or phrase using his iPad, he seems to pick up on it much quicker than trying to drill it into him verbally.
One of the most difficult parts of non-verbal autism is seeing that our son is clearly capable of learning but it takes so much more time and effort that it really does feel like we have to be constantly doing some form of therapy or another to get progress.
The thing is, doing ‘modelling’ and working with him in this way makes it always feel like we are in a 24/7 therapy session with him and sometimes we just want to enjoy a normal routine.
Courtney has always been super creative and so she figured; why not use the images he obviously has an easier time learning, and incorporate them into a story book for him to be able to follow along and “read” in his own way.
From the moment we opened the draft book Courtney created, our little guy followed along the words/images with his finger as we read it out.
This was the first time it felt like he was reading along with us.
I felt so excited to have such a fundamental and life changing activity as reading, not only back on the activities we can successfully do together but he is actually following along with the words and story, plus it’s part of his therapy so I don’t feel so useless in that department either.
There is no way of telling if he is fully comprehending or understanding the words on the page that I know of, but I am certain that he is learning and also, enjoying hearing the story of the Three Little Pigs with the words now starting to sink in and have more meaning.
Courtney is still working tirelessly every day to ensure he understands and properly comprehends the words but I can see that my son is starting to fall in love with reading the same way I did as a kid.
It has made this particular form of ‘therapy’ an enjoyable one that I would happily spend several hours doing like a normal father and son.
The incredible part of this, is that I can rest assured that this activity is also helping my son learn and progress at the same time!
I always knew my wife was an incredible woman, but starting her own publishing company to create special books for our son is going beyond what any person perceives as a mother’s duty.
The least I could do is use my business skills to promote this incredible gift so other parents can experience the thrill of doing ‘therapy’ while also enjoying a timeless tradition of reading with their child knowing that it is helping them learn and grow their ability to communicate.
We look forward to growing our library of books for our son and giving you the chance to take advantage of all Courtney’s hard work in creating these books to be able to read to your kids.
Please take photos and upload them to Instagram with the hashtag #adaptedpublishing #adaptedbooks so we can see the impact these books are having and more parents can help get their kids to fall in love with reading, like our little guy is doing.
To learn more, help promote or purchase a book. Head to www.adaptedpublishing.com