We were living in Brazil when we Jay was diagnosed with Aspergers. We had flown back to the states for evaluations. His diagnosis was not a shock to me. I suspected it for a long time. In fact it was I who insisted on having him evaluated so that we finally had a label, direction, could get the help and resources we needed.
The main recommendation was to get him into Speech Therapy to work on pragmatic and social skills. Easier said then down when you live overseas. We went back to Brazil and began our search. NOTHING. We could not find a qualified professional. Then one day Erin and her family arrived in Brazil. Erin was a certified speech therapist and was approved by the Department of State to work with our American children. Not only was she qualified and spoke English… she was wonderful. Jay adored her, still does. If it wasn’t for Erin I do not think we would have survived 3rd grade. It was a tough year for us but Erin was there to guide us through things, holding both Jay and my hand every step of the way.
Erin’s husband’s tour ended and they moved back to the states. Shortly after we too moved back to the states. Erin and I had toyed with the idea of still continuing some how Jay’s therapy sessions, but how? By this time Jay was enrolled into public schools. At first I was actually naive enough to believe that the school would provide for Jay the help he needed. NOPE. You see as long as he was getting good grades, which my boy does as academics is not his problem, well they deemed that his social issues were not hindering his learning and therefore he did not qualify for other services. No Speech, no OT, no PT. Granted he does work with a special resource teacher whom we love and are extremely grateful for, but it was not enough. My boy still needed to acquire the social tools that would help him function in the so-called TYPICAL world.
Then our Angel floated back into our lives. Over the summer Erin called me and told me that she was finally going to do it. She had figured out a way that would allow her to offer therapy services online. And so Worldwide Speech was born.
Using their virtual therapy room, Worldwide Speech is able to provide clients the opportunity to obtain private speech and language therapy with qualified speech pathologists anywhere in the world. Skilled speech pathologists offer face to face interactions and provide appropriate therapy materials that meet the individual needs of each client.
No special equipment is necessary. Clients only need a computer with a standard web browser, a web cam, and a high-speed internet connection.
And it works. Jay loves having his sessions via the computer. It actually seems more interactive. I love not having to drag him and my poor daughter to yet another office. It is so convenient. I help Jay get online (it is only a matter of time before he will do it all on his own because it really is simple to log on and get going) and then I can put a load of laundry in, check my daughter’s homework you name it. I keep coming back every so often to make sure he is still on task, hasn’t been distracted by the dog or surfing the internet! So far none of that has been a problem. Erin keeps him extremely engaged.
Erin is not paying me to write this blog. I am writing it because I really wanted to let you all know about this option. I know many of you have mentioned that there are just not many resources where you live. Perhaps something like this would work for your child.
Also Erin and I have been brain storming about putting together a social skills group ONLINE for kids with Aspergers around Jay’s age. She would still be the leader but they would be able to interact with one another. Think about the possibilities here people. Turn taking, staying on topic, INTERACTION and all done on a medium that most of our kids not only feel comfortable with, they excel at! I get goose bumps thinking about it. But Erin can’t put the time into figuring out how to do this, if there is no interest. SO that is why I am writing this. Is there anyone out there who would be interested in getting such a group going? If so please leave a message here and feel free to visit Erin’s website or contact her directly via email!