We were shocked by how fast he moved.
As soon as he leapt off the couch, we knew exactly what he was doing.
Really, we shouldn’t have been surprised. But my husband and I have these little moments every once in awhile, when we look at each other and go, “OK, yep, he gets it.”
This is what I mean by “strong receptive language.” It’s just hard to accurately describe the nuances of that on an intake form.
Sure, this young man has trouble with complex verbal instructions and sometimes has difficulty completing tasks that make no sense to him.
But given the right motivation and goals that are meaningful to him, and he gets it.
So much more than anyone gives him credit for.
Earlier in the day, I had taken him to a local bakery to pick up some cupcakes for a birthday dessert for myself :). He picked out a cookie for helping out, but he had to wait until after dinner for the cupcakes.
Dinner was almost over. Well, the boy’s dinner was over. He usually eats a bit ahead of us, sometimes finishing before we even start. Just another “typical” feature of life in this autism household.
He started asking for those cupcakes, of course, as soon as he was done eating, but he did really well when asked to wait until his dad and I were done eating too. His usual pacing was accented by a repeated loop into the kitchen to check the fridge to make sure the treats were still there. But he was waiting.
On one of his trips back into the living room, where we were sitting to eat our dinner in front of the TV, my husband asked him, “Hey, would you get me a Dr. Pepper?”
“No,” said the Teen-who-says-No.
That’s usually his first response to anything.
Sometimes his “No” is genuine refusal, but sometimes it means, “Give me some time to process that,” or it could mean, “I don’t understand what you’re asking.” It’s often a combination of those things.
He has grabbed a soda out of the fridge for my husband before, but retrieving something from another room, especially something that isn’t for him, is still tricky. Since it’s still a skill he’s learning, it wasn’t clear if this “No” was straight-up obstinance or mid-level defiance with a bit of confusion about the request mixed in.
Husband asked him a few more times, with some encouragement and clarification about how/where/why, but the kid declined his repeated requests. Hubby gave up and finished his dinner sans soda.
My boy finally decided to come sit on the couch next to me, intent on watching for the moment when my dinner was finished so we could move on to the all-important dessert.
After a moment, his dad casually threw out another sure-to-be futile request, with a twist.
“Hey, you know what? As soon as you get dad a Dr. Pepper, it’ll be time for cupcakes.”
Yep. We’ve never seen him move so fast.
Dad got his soda and we, of course, got our cupcakes.
A sweet treat for all of us.
Happy World Autism Awareness Day.
Keep looking for those connections and motivations.
Stay Quirky, my friends.