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    Posted March 28, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Communicating through autism

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    Sammy Blows Out His Candles for the First Time!!!


    Sammy is my 8 year old, severely autistic, nonverbal son. He has taught me that love is deeper than words. Sammy's birthday was about a week ago, and my family gathered to sing the birthday song and give Sammy another chance to blow out his candles. We gathered around him and provided plenty of excitement and encouragement for him. You see, my husband and Sammy's three younger siblings cheer Sammy on frequently. Sometimes, he achieves the task, and sometimes he doesn't. It is OKAY if he doesn't, and we all ACCEPT that, but OH, when he DOES ACHIEVE a task we all get very excited for him and CELEBRATE with him! Sammy is NEVER ALONE! We don't need words. We just need him. My family has learned how to connect. The key is to step into his world and come to truly know him.


    Notice, that Sammy has his orange PECS binder on the table right next to his birthday cake. He uses picture cards to communicate. Right in front of the cake, you can see that he is saying "I want cereal." on his blue plastic sentence strip. He doesn't have a picture card for cake yet, so he decided that cereal was the closest picture he had to cake. He gave me this sentence strip as he was waiting for his cake. I knew what Sammy meant, and I told him to wait for his cake. It took Sammy 4 years to become fluent using his PECS picture icons. Currently, at school, he is learning how to communicate using the iPad. Eventually, he will be using the iPad to communicate, and he will be able to have a larger vocabulary.


    In conclusion, please enjoy this video! Sammy never says a word, but please take time to see how he communicates with his whole face. The smile on his face, halfway through the video, while my family is cheering him on is precious! Sammy blew out his candles for the FIRST time! My child communicates, just not with spoken words. You must slow down and understand him to "hear" him. Please take time to know precious children who have autism. They have a lot to say!


    (Oh, and he is 8 years old, not 4!  I only put 4 candles on the cake so that he wouldn't be overwhelmed with too many candles.)

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