Speaking of…

We are preparing for Camden’s annual ARD (Admission, Review, Dismissal) meeting. This is where the team comes together to check student progress, set goals for the year, see if any adjustments need to be made, etc. Camden’s teacher rocks. She’s great. I appreciate that she treats me like a teammate, which should be the case with every parent and school team. Parents are the experts on their child, and they are a valuable and essential part of the ARD committee.

So…we’re going over Camden’s progress, analyzing his assessment data, considering new goals, etc. For a student with autism like Camden, our district uses the ABBLS (Assessment for Basic Language and Learning Skills) to track a child’s progress. I always recommend that SPED parents are aware of how the district is assessing their child. I purchased a copy of the ABLLS for my reference to track Camden’s growth. Camden’s teacher and SLP update the ABLLS each year before his annual ARD. I also like to update it at home. Always interesting to see what skills he’s mastered at school that I wasn’t aware of (like this year, I didn’t realize he could name all the coins), and interesting to see what he’s mastered at home, but not at school. I am often surprised by how much more language Camden expresses at home than at school. Though I probably shouldn’t be so surprised. School is more structured. There are more kids. More focus on academics. There is not a lot of flexibility during the day. It’s more overwhelming. At home, he’s comfy. I have two kids, so it’s easy for me to focus on them. While we are structured at home, it’s different. There is flexibility within our structure. We play a lot.

speak 2

I am super grateful for our school, and for now, I feel it’s a good fit for Camden. I also love how he grows and flourishes at home. And I love his summer ABA program that has a balance of play-based therapy and focus on goals. It’s all a good mix for us.

But the language gap between home and school does make me think. I wish Camden’s teacher could see him and hear him at home. She actually encouraged me to jot down examples of Camden’s language throughout the day to give her an idea of what it looks like. Cool!

Camden actually joined in on the meeting I had with Camden’s teacher and SLP this week. He came over to hug me and mess with my hair and then he said, “Camden’s house. Upstairs. Thomas and Friends. I eat popcorn and orange juice.” Camden’s teacher remarked that it was the most she’d heard him speak.

I decided yesterday that I’d make note of all (or most) of Camden’s vocalizations yesterday. I don’t plan to track the best of three days or whatever. Just did yesterday. I should do stuff like this more often to see where we are and give thanks for how far we’ve come. I shared before about Camden’s speech progress from when he was just shy of four-years-old. Hopefully, this will be something I look back on to see growth and celebrate how far we’ve come.

I opened up the notes on my phone and transcribed what Camden spoke throughout the day. Carson, my little guy, asked me what I was doing. I explained that Camden doesn’t talk as much at school as he does at home, and that Miss B asked me to track Camden’s verbalizations to give her some insight. Carson said that in the same way that he doesn’t rub Little Dog’s nose at school or around people that aren’t family, maybe Camden is more comfortable with his family. Maybe so, kiddo.


For the record…Camden’s educational paperwork would label him as “functionally non-verbal” just to give you an idea of where he falls in the area of speech. Taking into account the “functionally non-verbal” label, really makes things like this super precious…A couple weeks ago, Carson says, “Mom, Camden sure does love Jesus.” Despite being “functionally non-verbal”, that boy loves to sing about Jesus, to pray, to say Scripture. A sweet reminder that no matter what labels the world may put on us, that doesn’t limit God. He’ll use any that are willing.


And FINALLY, here is the email I sent Camden’s teacher with Camden’s vocalizations on 9/15/2015 at the age of 7.

You suggested tracking some of Camden’s vocalizations to see what he’s chatting about at home. I was gonna do this on Saturday, and I’m glad I didn’t b/c it was time-consuming…in a good way! =) Here is what I got, in between making dinner and such…. FYI…you mentioned Camden saying “sprinkles” today and I swear I’ve never heard him say that. =) I thought that maybe you misheard him. Nope. He said it several more times tonight. =)

Camden’s vocalizations for Tuesday. I’ll bold what Camden said:

*AM vocalizations before school. Camden didn’t sleep well last night (up from 2-5AM), so he came downstairs at 7:25 and we left for school at 7:40.

Sit at table (when I grabbed his breakfast for us to head to the car, he asked if he could sit at the table to eat)

Bathroom (asked to go to the bathroom before we left)

We’re almost there (on the way to school)

tickle (on the way to school)

Hang on tight! Here we go! (as we took off when the light changed from red to green)

*PM vocalizations (after I picked him up from school)

Time for snack (when I picked him up for school)

Band-Aid (looking at bug bites on his knee and then looking at me to request.)

Trucks trucks trucks

Follow that bus (request after I picked him up since he likes for us to follow the bus)

Going right (wanted me to turn right out of the parking lot to follow the bus)

I want music (requesting MP3 player in the van)

Tickle tickle (requesting tickles on the way home)

Rolling (referencing the golf ball rolling around in the van)

Gorillas don’t eat people (scripting from Bubble Guppies)

Garage (spontaneous ID as we pulled into the driveway)

Blow the whistle (request to blow the whistle hanging in the garage)

Move on back move on back (reference to Wheels on the Bus)

Help (threw or rolled some cylinder piece that goes to Carson’s bike down a hilly street to watch it roll)

Oh no! (cylinder pieace going down the hill)

What’s so funny? (Camden dropped Carson’s bike piece down a drain in a neighbor’s yard. I scolded him, so he diffused with his “what’s so funny?” go-to phrase)

I like to share with my friends and they share with me (Yo Gabba Gabba song that’s been on his mind this week)

Rolling (referring to the bike piece that “rolled” down the drain)

Sleeping (Me: Camden, that is for Carson’s bike and your put it down the drain. That’s not nice. You don’t do that. Camden: laid on the sidewalk pretending to sleep. Cracked me up.)

Scooter (referring to the scooter Carson was riding)

That’s OK friend (trying to diffuse, I assume)

Be very careful (thinking about the bike part that we couldn’t get)

Dad can help us (thinking about the bike part that we couldn’t get to)

Look at the house

Watch out

Down the hole (still thinking about the bike part, I presume)

Ringing doorbell (when we return home, Camden went to the front door to ring the doorbell)

Knock knock knock (as he knocked on our front door)

Who is it? (Daddy opened the door)

Orange juice (request for OJ after school)

I want orange juice (self-corrected his request for OJ into a sentence)

Tickles (ongoing request, as it’s a preferred activity 🙂 )

Thomas and friends Helping Each Other (request for a specific Thomas and Friends episode to watch during snack time)

Blocks. I want blocks. (wanted me to find his wooden alphabet blocks)

Takeout. Takeout numbers. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9. YAY, you did it! (This is scripting from the Teach 2 Talk videos, but he did it in appropriately with his number puzzle)

(I had to make a phone call, but walked into the playroom to hear this going on….)

Say oval. Green oval. (Camden likes Team Umizoomi on NickJr. It’s a cartoon that focuses on math skills. One of the characters, Geo, likes shapes a lot. Sometimes, Geo will build things with his shape belt. For example, he’ll build an ice-cream cone and say something like, “to build an ice-cream cone we need a triangle. Can you say triangle? Triangle. Okay, next we need a circle. Can you say circle? Circle. Great job. So…while Camden got the idea from Team Umizoomi, he makes his original dialogue by using his Melissa and Doug shape puzzles.)

Time to make a train. Say I need circles for wheels. Circles. Great. Now say red rectangle. Red rectangle. Next we need triangles. Say yellow triangle. Yellow triangle. And last we need a square. Say blue square. Blue square. Choo choo. Go. Stop and start. (more imitation of Geo from Team Umizoomi, but not scripting as he did it using his original puzzles.)

Come on. Let’s build a house. First we need a yellow triangle. Say yellow triangle. Yellow triangle. Great! Next we need squares. Say squares. Squares. Great. And last we need a rectangle. Say rectangle. Rectangle. Great job. It’s a house. A puzzle. (more Team Umizoomi-inspired play and language.)

But it’s getting away. Uh oh! (pushed some down the stairs)

Watch out! Say cup up. Cup up. I did it. (Went into our bathroom. A Dickey’s BBQ cup that we use to rinse the boys in the tub fell to the ground, so that’s what he said)

I want black iPad (request for iPad while I made dinner)

Eyes nose mouth (said while touching each one)

Race. I want to race. (came into the kitchen to request I race/run with him through the house)

Tickle tickle. I want tickles. (the usual 🙂 )

Bouncing stop (wanting hippity hop ball bouncer thing from Carson)

Take a picture. Say sprinkles. (holding our 35mm camera)


My bouncy ball. earth planet earth (holding this little bouncy ball that does look a bit like earth)

Babies babies Muno Brobee etc (holding his small Yo Gabba characters)

Neck. speakers (looking at the Plex character and verbalizing what he sees)

look look look (Wanting to know what to call Plex’s antenna ears) look look look (wanting to know what the handle is on Plex’s stomach)

Back-and-forth back and forth back and forth (moving Plex’s antenna back and forth)

Look look look (Brings Muno over and asked me what the bumps were) Then he looks at the Lego table and says bumps

Look look look (Brings me Toodie to look at tail. I tell him it’s a spiky tail.) Look at tail. I see spiky tail.

Earth. the earth. (as it gets the bouncy ball again)

Bouncing (watching the bouncy ball)

Earth. planet earth. rocket. 5 4 3 2 1 0. blast off. earth. planet earth. the earth. (has the bouncy ball in one hand and a medicine syringe in the other hand…doing PRETEND PLAY!!! BAM!)

Look look look (Brings Foofa to me and points to tummy) Look at Foofa’s tummy.

*sings the dinner prayer with us and shares his blessing for the day. Golf cart.

Eating dinner. Then black iPad. (not ecstatic about dinner so he’s pep talking himself with first/then)

wash wash (after he spilled beans on his shorts. Not thrilled about being messy.)

Almost done (one of the things he says when he is eating)

You did a great job (pep talk at dinner)

All done (finished dinner and put his plate away)

Ready set go (in trampoline outside and wanted daddy to play)

Lookout (big bouncy ball coming at him)

I want Ready, Set, Go. I want to push. (Trying to get me to push him on the swing)

Drill (receptively IDing while Daddy is working on a building a wooden bench)

Drive (said while he’s riding his bike)

There are no horses here (shaking head no) (He said this 3-4X. Scripting, but mot sure what it’s from.)

I’m stuck (his bike got stuck in grass)

Look. Stop. (at the stop sign)

Catch catch. (wanted me to catch him on his bike)

Bathroom bathroom (needed a bathroom break while we were on the main road during the bike ride…why didn’t we go before we left home?)

Tickles (the usual)

Driver on the bus says Move On back Move On back. driver on the bus says Move On back. all through the town. (sings Wheels on the Bus a lot lately)

I want ready set go (requesting for Daddy to ride the scooter down the hill)

Ready set go (again)

Wind (says as he holds a house for sale flyer that is blowing in wind)

Going up (requesting for daddy to lift him up to the chin up bar during the bike ride)

Going up (another request to be lifted to the chin-up bar)

No Thank you. No thank you. No thank you. (protesting when we didn’t go the route he wanted on his bike.)

Growled. (Daddy told him to simmer down) What’s so funny? (that’s what he says to diffuse trouble 🙂 )

Sprinkles (not sure where this came from)

Eyes nose mouth (as he touches each part)

Oh no (When threw his shoes off the top of the playground equipment)

What do fishy wishes do? I don’t know. What do fishy wishes do? (not sure where this came from. He’s been saying it for the past week.)

tickle tickle tickle tickle (standard request)

Gorillas don’t eat people. (line from Bubble Guppies)

Back (requesting a piggy back ride on the way home from the park)

Tickle tickle (the usual)

Ha! Gorillas don’t eat people. (line from Bubble Guppies)

I got I got I got you got you got Loco legs (song from the Fresh Beat Band)

Back (asked to get back on my back even though it was hot and uphill and I was pooped)

Tickles (the usual)

I like to share with my friends and they share with me so have a good time sharing together sharing forever fun together sharing forever fun together sharing forever (song from Yo Gabba, even though he doesn’t really love to share =) )

Gorillas don’t eat people (line from Bubble Guppies)

1234 Main Street. (states our specific address as we walk up to our house)

I want orange juice (request when we walk in)

Trains and helicopters (looking at one of his dvds that he likes)

We did our family time after our walk. Camden selected the music dvd and since we were short on time, each boy got to choose one song. Camden requested The Great Adventure. We read our Bible story for the night. Typically, we pray for a family member, but we sang the Doxology instead. Camden sang along with us.

Close door (Asked of me when he was going to bathroom)

Bathtime. It’s bathtime. First bath, then bed.

It was Brian’s night to put the boys to bed, so I stopped with the transcribing. =)

Hope this helps! I haven’t done this in a long long time. SUPER EXCITING for me to see the progress!! It was pretty interesting and somewhat entertaining to follow his train of thougth. =) And this was just from 20 mins in the morning and 3-8:15PM. Woohoo!

We have our ARD meeting on Monday. No one is trying to be mean or hurtful, but the school gives SPED parents this laundry list of things your child CANNOT do in comparison to their typically-developing peers. I’ll cry for a day. Hopefully, my mind will go back to things like I’ve shared here and I will remember not to forget how far we’ve come and simply to celebrate our precious Camden.

In other news…on a bike ride the other night, we saw a policeman. After he finished his task, he came over to chat with our boys. He gave them a Jr. Officer badge/sticker. It was a good opportunity for Camden to tell his address to the officer. Such a nice guy and a positive experience for our boys.
McKinney PD My precious little man started kindergarten last week. He is at our church. 8 kids in class. Super sweet teacher. He is loving it, and was actually disappointed that he didn’t go on Friday, as it’s a Monday-Thursday program. I miss him, but am thrilled that he’s enjoying himself. Such a neat kid.
Carson first day


2 thoughts on “Speaking of…

  1. Genesis September 22, 2015 / 12:29 pm

    Keep up the good work, momma! You are blessed to have him! And he sure is blessed to have you! #teamcamden

    • Candace September 22, 2015 / 12:41 pm

      Oh girl!!! Thank you so much! I am giddy to see your name come across my screen! =) Hope you and your crew are doing well. We miss you BIG!

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