From Amanda: This week, at the Autism Treatment Center of America, we have a family from Portugal, and they have brought their four year old autistic child for a week long Family Intensive. I had the pleasure of being with this little boy for quite some time this week I love him to pieces. We’ve had so much fun playing Noddy together, laughing as we run around the room, and loving eachother with hugs and tender looks; All while we were speaking Portuguese to eachother. Yes! Portuguese.
Our mission for every family, is to help them feel at home when they come for their Family Intensive. So, before a foreign child comes to the intensive, we send English language sheets to the parents, so they can fill out basic words in their language. There are words like, squeeze, toilet, eat, drink, bounce and many others we have found to be useful to the child. We also ask the family to make a recording of those words, so we can turn it into CD’s that are then handed out to our Child Facilitators. This CD recording is a study guide for the weeks leading up to the Intensive Program so we too can learn the language. Two large posters are also made with the English words and the foreign langiage translations, which are then hung in the playroom for reference.(Although we use these CDs, and posters, and language sheets to help us speak to the child, our most useful communication comes in the form of love and acceptance. There are no words for that!)
So you see, just because a child speaks another lanuage, doesn’t mean we can’t communicate with them. Language is not a barrier in this situation, but instead it’s an opportunity to grow. Our intention is to do our very best to learn the language when a foreign family comes, so we can celebrate and love each and every child with words they will understand.