I wrote about my friend L about two years ago here, saying at that time that some folks can be harder to reach than others. I won't repeat L's story here, except to say that I wrote it because of a significant breakthrough with his willingness to use Facilitated Communication (typing) to let me know what was causing him to be upset. Please do check out the link, and please do believe me that what happened that day was a BIG deal!
And so was today. It has been a long, slow haul with many ups and downs along the way. L has typed repeatedly that he is much smarter than we realize, he needs lots more typing time, he wants people to see his intelligence, and he wants more people to try typing with him. But almost every session we have had together has continued to be a major struggle, with thoughts, words, even single letters, coming out ever so slowly with lots of movement and distractions in between.
In more recent visits, L's grandma has been joining us - because she keeps hoping that she might be able to support his typing. It was her idea a month or so ago for me to accompany them on a visit with L's psychiatrist, who has shown considerable interest in what L has been saying via typing. Things went so very well that day that we now have another appointment set up, AND the doctor told L that he knows his interactions with many of his other patients will be different in the future because of what L has been teaching him. HUGE victory!!
It was also Grandma's idea to have one of L's support staff sit in on one of our sessions - which also went very well just last week,
And then today, with Grandma and the same support person both present, we had our very best session ever. L remained sitting for almost the whole hour, he was engaged and focused, doing some deep thinking in between his typed comments. When he was ready, he reached for my hand, and was able to type a full thought/sentence at a time - not at all like those early days of one painful letter at a time with all sorts of interfering behavior as we struggled to get a complete word out.
L repeated that he hopes others will learn to support his typing and he typed that he wants me to help him become an independent typer. We tried a few words with much less support, and he beamed with pride when he was able to do it.
When our time was up, I suggested that typing "the end" might be a good way to practice typing with (eventually) no support at all. I lightly held his forearm and he typed "the" but then he pulled away as if he couldn't finish. I gave a little encouragement, saying something like, "Come on, just one more word, three little letters. You can do it!" And L very carefully typed, "beginning."
I can't wait for next week! I absolutely LOVE what I do!!!!