It has been a while since my last update regarding Jude and where we stand with his autism. Jude is still nonverbal but has begun communicating his wants and needs via PECS, a pictorial exchange system that encourages interaction and communication. Right now this is his preferred method of communication and we're thrilled with it.
Before PECS Jude was frustrated a lot. Being unable to express himself to everyone was the cause of most of his meltdowns. While I could interpret his body language well enough to know what he wanted or needed most of the time, there were still times I couldn't -- and no one else ever could. Now he can say what he wants when he wants to using his PECS book and that's been an amazing experience.
He attends an ASD preschool 5 days a week where he gets speech and occupational therapy two times a week and specialized PE once a week. The program is founded on positive enforcement, so he won't go through the same things I did as a kid. He also gets the benefit of socializing with kids his own age, both with ASD in the classroom and without on the playground. He takes a bus to and from school and his separation anxiety is much, much better.
All in all school has been a great help for him and I would absolutely recommend a specialized ASD preschool for all autistic children. Early assistance is key to avoiding frustration and discouragement.