It’s half term and it’s mind blowing what Toby has achieved in such a short amount of time. I know I keep saying it, but literally every day there’s progress. Last week I had to strip the images out of my last education report for SEND tribunal - updated in September - and I actually couldn’t submit it because it was SO out of date!! Every statement needed updating. Where Toby wasn’t even counting to twenty, he’s now smashed numbers up to 100. Where I had got stuck on spelling, he’s now way past where he was. Where reading was slow to come back, following a regression, he’s now got those words back and is racing ahead.
It is not just academically. Toby's speech is becoming more clear with more odd words popping out that haven’t been taught e.g. fork. He keeps telling me things eg he tapped me on the shoulder in the car and said ‘Rosie school’ as we were driving there. He told me ‘milk finished’ as an instruction to put the milk away.
We are so fortunate to be accessing good quality SLT at present thanks to an indisputable report kindly funded by the DSA. Whilst in some ways the lovely therapist has taken us back a step, you can see why. So we have focussed on mouth awareness, tongue positioning, blowing and sucking, and finally just vowel sounds for a few weeks. Theres been a lot on waiting and control eg doing things when asked or X number of times. We can see how this practise is becoming easier and so the sounds are being done more unconsciously. We have started to add syllables back in eg b, w, d, m.
We have done lots on information carrying words which Toby can do easily. Apparently speech runs in line with information carrying words and understanding for a long time, but in Toby’s case they have diverged with his understanding being way better than his speech. Everyone is reporting how much Toby’s speech is though. Which is so lovely to hear from independent people.
The other area that has really accelerated is Toby‘s understanding. It’s easier now to have a conversational type of discussion eg about what to do or what we can see. Also in understanding instructions. When Rosie started secondary school I remember having Toby on my own and asking him to pick up the sock that was next to his foot. He literally had no idea what I wanted. I was pointing and trying to get him to look but he had no clue. We had other frustrating times where I needed something but Toby couldn’t understand. Now I can ask him to go and get items from upstairs whilst putting something somewhere else en route, I don’t even have to point now. So today there was milk on the table and I casually said to get some kitchen roll and off he went.
There’s been yet more progress in life skills…even though I didn’t want any! This week Rosie has been performing at school, so has been home late. On Wednesday I was late with tea as I was finishing something off. Then Toby materialised with the correct number of slices of bread and the butter pot on a plate with a knife. I told him I was coming, and by the time I got to the kitchen, he had unlocked the microwave, cooked his bread, spread butter and was eating his tea! What made me laugh is that the microwave lock clearly is redundant! This was the first time Toby has brought me tea too though.
Toby has also perfected the arts of: carrying lots of things in the crook of your arm as well as something in each hand; carrying a plate in each hand; stacking plates, bowls and cups and then carrying them in a pile; and finally stacking the dishwasher correctly (without being explicitly taught) and even putting the tablet in ready to go! He’s also an utter delight. He’s taken to shrieking ‘mummy’ which is just so cute. After years of silence it’s so sweet.
He’s also a monkey too. Heaven help us when we have to try to get ready for school in a morning again! We have perfected the art of the 60 second dressing routine as the tutor comes up the path!!
It’s all so good at present. I don’t think Toby will ever get a better education than he gets right now.
Meanwhile tribunal is plodding along. It’s not long now until the hearing but there’s been issues on the way. Not least that our LA are refusing to issue Toby’s Y7 phased transfer EHCP. We have asked tribunal to intervene. It’s an anxious wait to see if tribunal goes ahead on time or not. I’ve been told to expect a postponement.
However half term starts today and I am SO ready for it! It’s been the longest half term ever!