Wednesday, March 19, 2008

If you give a mom a cookie. ...

Well, we ditched her. The SLP that is. Two weeks ago I just couldn't take it anymore. I interrupted their session, sent Oliver out of the room and had a heart-to-heart with her. I didn't really have the intention of stopping her services when we began the conversation, but when she started telling me that all the ridiculous picture-based activities (Hand me the angry face -- said in that fake, soothing professional voice) were because she was trying to measure his receptive language ability and "everything you read about autistics is that they are visual learners." I had a hard time keeping my temper. Then she held up a book and said that what she really wanted was to have a dialog with him about the pictures in a book but that he simply wouldn't attend to her enough to be able to do so, well, I knew what had to happen.

I mean, why do people think that all those with autism are visual learners? Because Temple Grandin is? What about OLIVER ever made her think he was a visual learner? Why is OK to generalize about a whole population of people? And what? he won't pay attention to her stupid book so he suddenly has an inability to attend? What about her own ability to make it interesting or meaningful to him? Why isn't that ever questioned?! Maybe if I typed this in all caps you would get a better sense of my outrage. And my outrage isn't directed at her (well, she is a convenient target but actually, she is a nice person -- just incompetent). My outrage is directed at the whole friggin professional world that allows so-called experts to make these kind of generalities and to have these kinds of low-expectations and just get away with it and then look at me like I'm some kind of nutcase for pointing out that, gee, the emperor isn't wearing any clothes. I'm so sick of it I could just spit. In fact, I think I will. Wait a minute.

Ok. I'm back now. I feel better. But only slightly.

After she left that day I turned to my lovely boy and said: Oliver, can you get me the eggs? I think we should make some cookies. Without missing a beat, Oliver went to the fridge, got out the eggs and put them on the counter. Then he moved the stool over, climbed up and started reaching for the sugar.

I mean, how's THAT for receptive language ability?

But of course, just interacting with my boy, you know, the one who just happens to have autism but who also makes a mean chocolate chip cookie -- well, that would call for a bit of creativity, wouldn't it?

No matter. More cookies for us!


  1. That is horrible. I'm an SLP and that story made me want to go spit, too! I'm so glad you let her go, she had no idea what she was doing or saying. You will find someone better. FOR. SURE.

  2. Anonymous7:39 AM

    I'm sitting here cheering (silently, of course), but cheering for your bravery and your commitment and your confidence and your understanding of what Oliver is capable of.

    I think one of the hardest things for us parents to do is to go against what the "experts" are telling us, to trust ourselves to know that we DO know what is best.

  3. Wow, I didn't realized that we used to share the same (old) SLP! "everything you read about autistics is that they are visual learners." WTF??? I know so many kids on the spectrum who are NOT visual Nik included. (In fact, I've got a post about this aspect of AAC brewing somewhere but it's not quite done...)

    No caps necessary...I felt the outrage as I was reading! SOOO glad you dumped her.

    What's next on Chef Oliver's menu? Cookies sound like a pretty great language experience to me! LOL

  4. Good-bye SLP, HELLLOOOO Cookies!!!

    It's all about interest and creativity. I know I need to be motivated in order to attend. I am known to drift off when something is boring me. We always laugh with Adrew because we could be asking him to pick up something he just threw on the floor and he will totally ignore us, but if we say "lets make cookies" or "how about a lollipop?", he will turn his attention to us right away.

  5. Good riddance and good for you. I can't stand it when people generalize when talking about my boys either. I wish I could send you our SLP - we have a gem, but stubbornly she refuses to fly :)

  6. Great job! You know your boy. The only thing I wish is that he had witnessed you giving her the big goodbye. I have a sneaking suspicion he would have understood and appreciated it, because saying goodbye to an incompetent SLP is good like homemade cookies are good.

  7. Life is too short to keep trying to work with professionals who don't "get" our kids -- as individuals, that is, not as a textbook profile. Enjoy the cookies!

  8. I have been there too with Gabe. I love Temple Grandin, she's amazing, but so is Gabe, so is Oliver and so many kids with Autism. It's like saying all cancers should be treated the same. (Not that Autism is a Cancer, but it is the importance of specific individual treatment that I was getting at) There are "guidlines" to follow, just like driving, but I would drive a Porsche much differently than my Scion. Both can go fast, both are awesome, but need to be driven very differently. Good for you for standing up to your SLP. Cookies are a much better motivator than a SLP that shows only pictures of things that Oliver may not find interesting at all.

    Hooray! I did it! Way To Go!

  9. Anonymous3:03 PM

    i'm SO GLAD you fired her! i know what you mean about the visual learner knee-jerk response. people are always saying that to me about fluffy and while i think we ALL benefit from visual aids, it's not a GIVEN!!!

    i share the outrage! i've been living in my little bubble over the past couple of years, not having to contend with professionals who are not using their heart or common sense. of course, the down side is that i dont' have enough help! but i'd rather wait for the juicy inspired help than deal with the do dos.

  10. If you can believe it I have heard that line too.. umm for my VISUALLY IMPAIRED AUTISTIC SON!!!!! Sorry, I needed all caps for that. Glad she is gone, hopefully you will find someone much more qualified.