I want to provide help and information to make life easier on the Autism Spectrum.
Canada – Marion Pusey contacted us here at Autism Daily Newscast as she wanted to share with us her resources that she has made for individuals with autism and their families, as well as telling us a little about her son Eric, now aged 30 who has autism.
Marion started her Picture Card Communication business back in 2000 when she visited her friend Janet, whose youngest son; Zachary has Angel man’s Syndrome that has some similarities with Autism.
Marion told us:
“Zach was non-verbal and Janet had gone to Zach`s school and printed out pages of picture symbols from the school`s copy of the Boardmaker. She was trying to make the picture symbols into cards while looking after both her sons. I offered to take the pages of picture symbols home, make them into picture cards, add Velcro, and organize them into a binder. She was happy that I would do this and we added real food pictures from grocery store ads from our local grocery stores.”
During this time Marion did not have a laminator so she glued the pages of picture symbols and the pictures of food to poster boards. She cut out each picture, covered them in clear vinyl and then added Velcro onto the back of each picture card. All of the pictures were then organized into a binder.
“When I brought the communication binder back to Janet, Zach flipped straight through the black and white symbol card pages going straight to the real food picture cards. He grabbed the picture card of a ketchup bottle and took it straight to the refrigerator. Janet and I were amazed at Zach`s reaction !!! It was as if Zach already knew how he could communicate but we were the ones that had to figure it out.”
Marion explained that it was this event, as well as raising her own son with autism and being a former nurse that made her want to wanting to help other people. Enjoying crafts gave her the idea to create her own business which she still rums today.
Examples of the visuals that Marion has created can be seen on Pinterest – Visual Communication tools for children with special needs.
Marion then went on to tell us about the early years with hr son Eric, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 5. When he was born she was working as a nurse specializing in premature babies at the Children`s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
“Everything changed when Eric was born. Eric was born with autism but I could not get a diagnosis until he was 5 1/2 years old. His diagnosis was “autism with severe global delays”.
Marion had to end her nursing career so that she could take care of Eric and her other son Shaun.
Marion told us:
“I figured that I could best contribute to the growing autism community
by helping to provide visual resources ie. Picture Card Communication
and to be a supporting friend to other families who have loved ones
with autism or other special needs.”
Marion explained that there were hardly any resources at this time for children with autism in Ottawa except for the early form of ABA/IBI, so she had to work a lot from instinct.
“From the very beginning, I kept talking to Eric and described everything we did and saw. … I figured that I did not know how much Eric was taking in even though he couldn’t talk. As I found in years later, Eric was remembering what I had said and done.”
Eric was tactile defensive and had to learn about touch and textures as well as having to get used to different sounds, volume and sudden noises eg. balloons popping and school bells.
Marion also explained that Eric had Pica, so he would put everything in his mouth which made feeding him extremely difficult.
“No doctors understood the feeding problem and blamed it on autistic
Marion also found out when Eric was 8 years old that his stomach wasn’t formed properly and he had to have surgery to rebuild it. Eric did not have the ability to let her know how he was feeling physically and emotionally.
You can get in touch with Marion via;
You can view Marion’s Pinterest board here
Part 2 of our interview with Marion can be found here