The Psycho-educator from the CLSC came for a visit on Tuesday. She has referred Juli to the Ted Program, but there is currently a 1 – 1 1/2 year waiting list for this program. This psycho-educator would have been assigned to me if Juli just had the sensory issues and not autism. She knows that we are bad need of services, with all of the private therapies we are investing in, and requested to her boss if she can give me some assistance until the Ted Program has placement for us. She is not an expert in autism, but she is doing research and would like to do her best to help us.
I feel very blessed that I have been lucky enough to get such a good educator to help us. She has been the one following up with me since I made the request after the move and since then I have barely had to chase after her. She has always been the one to connect with me.
I went into her office a few weeks ago to connect with her, let her know all about Juli and gave her a copy of all the evaluation reports. she took all of my information and proceeded to match up any services that she knew of that could help me. That is what Tuesday’s meeting was for.
She knows that I am pressed for time in the mornings as Juli is in school for just over 2 hours and she doesn’t want me to have to worry about being stressed to leave her office on time to pick up Juli. So she wanted to come to me this time and go over all of the resources for me.
She gave me some people/places to contact for respite as well as social groups and she inquired as to what our most urgent needs/concerns are with Juli. I mentioned the transitions. She referred me to a good app on my iPhone that I can use to help with the transitions. A time timer.
Juli’s psychologist had mentioned this in the session when she gave us Juli’s diagnosis. I just hadn’t had a chance to get one yet for her and really didn’t comprehend just how much of an impact this could have on Juli. Man was I surprised!
A time timer is simply a round count down clock that helps to show Juli literally how much time is left till a certain activity in a way that she can actually visually comprehend.
I never realized just how awesome this little device can be.
I decided to try it out for the first time yesterday as it was a pretty hard day for us and anything that could lessen the meltdowns that Juli would go through would make the day just a little better. We got home from school and I knew that she had to listen to her headphones (her music therapy) for 30 minutes at some point in the next couple hours.
I let her eat her lunch and then when she was almost finished I reminded her that she had to listen to her headphones soon. I got the usual protesting on the verge of turning into a meltdown and told her “how about we use your new timer?”. She asked me how. I could see she was getting a little bit excited…. I set the timer for 20 minutes as it was 1:25pm (so we would put them on from 1:45-2:15pm) and I explained to her that when she saw no more red then it would be time to wear her headphones. She was actually ok with this and I was thrilled. It was the first time that I would actually be able to get her to put them on without telling her every 15 minutes for 3 hours straight that she would have to wear her headphones soon. Which trust me is very mentally exhausting.
Usually we come home and from then on I let her know that she will have to wear them and it usually takes her about 3 hours of me telling her this before she is calm enough and willing to accept putting them on. And I have to remember to let her know every 15 minutes minutes that she will have to do it. We have been doing it that way for months.
She watched the red going down and was actually excited about it. “Look mommy it’s going down!” I kept on saying “I know!”. It was really cute! I was hoping and praying that this was going to work. After months of fighting I didn’t think it could be that easy.
I was wrong. It was.
When it got close to the end she was super excited. Then when the soft alarm went off she actually told me that SHE was going to go and get her headphones! I was stunned and thrilled. She did. She went and took them off of the table and brought them into the room and put them on her head. I helped her to adjust them, but she wanted to put them on herself.
Then she actually asked me to put the timer on for when she could take them off. I very happily obliged and set it for 30 minutes. I was waiting for her to get upset at how much red, but she didn’t. She actually accepted it and sat down to do her games while she listened to the music and quiet animal sounds.
Wow, this time timer really is amazing and it really did make this day easier for me. We used it again to prepare for bath time and that went a lot smoother than usual as well :).
Thank you to her psychologist for recommending this to me and to the psycho-educator for referring me to the phone app version.