Monday, February 11, 2008

Snippets 2.0

This is the second installment of Snippets.

Two posts on the Autism Hub today reminded me of the topic of speech, of the sometimes fleeting nature of speech and autism. My son, though definitely a late-bloomer in the speech category, has really come a long way in his ability to talk. Not only is he overcoming some of the mechanical hurdles to speech, but also he is perpetually becoming more comfortable with using speech to interact in typical circumstances. His little brother, by comparison, is light-years beyond him in speech development despite being 14 months younger. But in all, Jason is quite pleased with his ability to use his words to interact with those of us who share his space.

As in the first post, I think when having some fun talking about 'Snippets' of speech, it is important to consider other perspectives on the speech issue as it relates to autistic people. Here, then, are two very interesting posts that hit the Autism Hub today on the very same topic.

Adam and Estee

Here, then, are some snippets heard recently around the D household:

Licensing Issues
We have a wonderful puppy in our house. His name is Marley. One must only glance at some pictures of Marley to know that he is the cutest puppy the world has ever known.
Those pictures were taken in July, when Marley was about 4 months old. Now, Marley is close to 11 months old. Still a puppy, right? Yes, if you consider 90 pound dogs to be puppies. And still growing...
Back on subject, Jason has a thing about Marley. In Jason's opinion, Marley is good from afar, but far from good. Its a love/hate thing. Sometimes Jason can have fun with him and sometimes you'll even catch them laying together while Jason reads a book. But most of the time the big puppy is a bit too rambunctious for Jason. When this happens, Jason grabs the "short leash" (a 18" rope attached to Marley's collar for training purposes) and leads Marley to the nearest adult. The dog, knowing what the boy is attempting, fights him all the way which kind of pisses Jason off. So the other day, Jason led Marley over to me and tried to put the short-leash in my hand. "Take him!", Jason says.
I told him that, "No, you need to learn to play nicely with Marley and I can't always take Marley away when you are not playing well together. You need to learn to play together! Marley is our dog, not just my dog. He is your responsibility too! Try some of the commands we've taught you." Jason, looking rather peeved with me, dropped down to his knees. He grabbed Marley's collar in his hand and fiddled for the tag, focusing as best he could while our elephantine puppy twisted and slobbered and danced in place and I watched him wondering what on earth he was trying to accomplish. Once he had successfully grabbed the tag, he turned it to the other side and read the words, "Steve D...... the license says you. Your license. Your dog!" So, I guess Marley is my dog now.

Life in a Fishbowl
I have occasionally mentioned how great the various therapists have been that have worked with Jason over the last few years. Jason's current helper is no exception, and even took the time to see the Autism Hub presentation last month.
One of Jason's former helpers, who remains, like the others, a good friend of our family, gave Jason's little brother a fish for his birthday (is there a pet theme running through this post?) Tony is a bright blue Betta fish. Actually, he is staring at me at this exact moment.
It is Tyler's responsibility to feed Tony and provide whatever TLC is necessary to sustain the emotional needs of a fish (not much, to be sure).
One night after all other D clan members were asleep, Jason and I were still hanging out. I believe this was one rare night that we forgot to give Jason his melatonin (see recent study), so he was going to be lively for a while despite bedtime having come and gone a while before. So while I am catching up on some reading, he is busy cutting some paper with his safety scissors. He eventually comes to me with a cutout. He holds it out to me, as if to say "Behold what I have created!" I think to myself, "Wow, what a remarkably amorphous blob of paper. I wonder what it is?" Jason wastes no time in telling me that it is ........... Tony the fish!
"Great job!" I say. "That's one spectacular rendition of Tony. Did you show it to him?" So Jason trots off, presumably expecting to show Tony his paper counterpart. Next thing I know, I hear water running in the other room. Being a parent of three young'uns, I am attuned to the sound of unexpectedly running water. So I drop my book and dash in the other room.
Jason has grabbed a bowl, placed Tony inside, and filled the bowl with water. That's pretty cool! He made a fishbowl! So he then asks me for some fish food. I declined, saying that the food was for the other Tony. No, Jason, indicated by grabbing the scissors and cutting in short bursts. I had it all wrong, his actions told me. As his little clips resulted in small, confetti-like paper bits accumulating on the counter I realized his plan. Paper fish eat paper food. He was making fish food!
When my wife found Tony's pulpy remains in his watery grave the next morning, she must have been wondering what the he** we do after 10:00 at night.

But that's not the only unusual thing my wife ever wakes up to. Sometimes Jason has things all planned out...
Last week, like any other morning, she came downstairs. She entered the kitchen and immediately noticed a note on the counter. "Find me in the Family Room" it said in shaky D'Nealian script. Hmmmm.
Entering the family room now, her every sense was honed in to finding the mysterious hint-dropper. There it was! On the table, another cryptic note.
"Find me under the table".
Well, with a clue so enigmatic, a mystery so deep and impenetrable, one must wonder how my wife figured out where to look next! Until ... a giggle burst out from under the table. Success! The little leprechaun was found, and today's mystery was solved. All in a day's work for - Mama D!


kristina said...

Each of these is just, well, wonderful---still chuckling over the paper food and those hand-written notes. (A treasure hunt?)

Ms. Clark said...

So.... are you going to put his name on the dog's tag? :-)

Thank you these were very enjoyable. Both of my kids are over 25!! ack! They still make fun of me (and make me laugh).

isles said...

Absolutely adorable! And such a clever little guy!

Maddy said...

I'm very biased when it comes to speech and those are classics. We still can experience 4 or 5 hours of silence, or no communication verbally which makes it all the more precious.
Best wishes

Club 166 said...

These are the good old days.

Enjoy every one of them.


Niksmom said...

The paper fish was brilliant! And the dog? Don't you HATE it when they get ou on a technicality?? SMART GUY!