DIARY NOTES – Notes of encouragement…In 1990 this was our third trip and the last session we had with Vanessa at the Carel du Toit Centre in Cape Town.
Vanessa always gave me a lot of encouragement and praise, which inspired me to go home with lots of new ideas of how to work with Hughan. This is what she wrote in our diary before we returned to Gaborone in Botswana…
Time to bid adieu – can you believe it? Time flies doesn’t it? Once again it has been an absolute pleasure working so intensively with you.
Thank you for all your patients, dedication, hard work and determination! You are a very special lady and your sons, Hughan and Vil (Jamie) are extremely fortunate to have you as their mum.
Some aspects you must please give attention to, on a constant basis at home:
1) Auditory training:
• Intensive -it must be done daily, as well as throughout your day – as much as possible.
• Remember to imitate the sound with your voice after you have made the loud noise (so as not to drown your voice).
• Point to your ear: “I can hear”.
• Make intensive use of animals sounds especially as you frequent the farm and as Hughan loves animals and has already acquired “ooo” for “moo”. Reinforce this at home through storybooks, play etc.
• language from Hughan. Give him an opportunity to respond vocally (verbal turn taking). eg: “open” (pause and expect with your facial expression, your posture everything) and then put that word into a single sentence “open the door”.
• In this way we are also emphasising certain words by isolating them that encouraging one word utterances.
• Reinforce his receptive vocabulary (words he understands) by labelling everything. Using everything was named.
Banana: this is a banana, give me the banana, Hughan’s banana, peel the banana,
the banana is yellow, it is a long banana and so on – labelling is interrelated with meaningful repetition.
• Imitate and interpret his babbling (this you do very nicely).
3) Receptive language:
continue to extend his receptive language – to determine what he understands without any visual clues. Remember should you give a command and he doesn’t respond DON’T gesture. Rather do the command yourself and simultaneously repeat the appropriate language.
4) Incorporate Vil (Jamie) as much as possible:
• Don’t rush your “activity”
• Be patient with Vil and have realistic expectations of the understanding you want him to have.
• Intensive turn taking.
• Control the pace of the activity – one toy at a time.
• Use language on Vil’s level when talking to him (challenging him linguistically).
• Encourage Vil to communicate verbally as much as possible with Hughan.
• Model for Vil (with his attention) so he knows exactly what you want him to do.
• Remind Vil not to touch Hughan to get his attention, but rather to make a loud noise or click his fingers, clap his hands etc. You could say …” Remember what Vanessa told you to do…..”
5) Be aware of your interaction. Be natural. To aid his concentration on shifting your stress eg: don’t always emphasise the last word.
• Tell continuous made up stories with puppets.
• Sing nursery rhymes and other songs (do the actions).
6) Note the occupational therapists home program. Use her ideas for activities and in so doing kill two birds with one stone.
Read through your session notes as often as needed – plenty of information from, ideas, examples etc. are in them.
Have a safe journey home. I hope the boys enjoy the Smarties.
Thanks once again.
I’m already missing you guys and I am looking forward to your next visit in November.
Please keep in touch. Your long letters mean so much to me. My regards to Willem.