I'm starting something new this Autism Day. Janey has never shown much interest in AAC apps (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). This year, however, her school has been using a program called TouchChat to has her say certain things, like to help her ask other rooms if they have any recycling or to help her participate in morning meetings. Reports were she showed some interest in it, and I decided to go for it---to really try to do AAC at home.
The first thing I needed was a more up to date iPad for her, and the very kind gift of a dear friend helped us out there and allowed me to buy Janey a brand new one. She still is using the old one we got her, and that thing has been through hell and back, protected with a Gumdrop cover. That is one product I will recommend to the stars and back. So I've ordered a cover for the new iPad. Today, since it's Autism Day, a lot of AAC programs were on sale (although not TouchChat). Since we got the help with paying for the iPad, I decided to toss caution to the wind and buy 3 different AAC programs---TouchChat, ProLoQuo To Go and Aacorn. The last two were on a good sale. I figured I'd fool around with them some before showing them to Janey, and see which she likes, or if she likes a combination.
So far, after just a little bit of testing by me, I really like Aacorn. It is set up in a very kid-friendly way, and had a great tutorial. But that's an extremely early observation. I'll be writing about our AAC attempts in days to come, I'm sure.
How am I celebrating otherwise? Well, Janey will get her trip to the ice cream store when she gets home, and we'll watch some videos, and Daddy will probably make her some soup for dinner, and we'll snuggle at bedtime. There might be a car ride, too. Nothing much different than what we do every day, because in a way, every day is autism day here. We've figured out the routines that work, mostly, and we don't stray a lot from them.
I'm not going to try, this year, to say anything summing up or meaningful or awareness-raising for this day. Part of that is just tiredness. Part of it is a growing realization that thinking about autism as one entity, one type of life, is like calling all different kinds of fruits just "fruit". There are way too many ways autism shows itself, way too many different variations, to be able to say much about the autism community in general without over-simplifying. I can talk about Janey, and I can talk about our family, but I can't really speak for others in any general way.
I can, though, sent out a special wave of love to everyone out there with a life that includes autism, whether it be those who are autistic themselves or those who love someone with autism. Happy Autism Day!