Friday, August 27, 2010

Conversations with my son

Ethan has come a long way, when it comes to language. He's still most certainly behind in speech and has a long way to go, but I'm proud of how far he's come. I remember right at the beginning, when we first started therapy nine months ago, one of his therapists commenting on how "he is just starting to understand that his words get him things." Motivation is so key. After that first step of using words to get needs met, one of the next steps he's been encouraged to try is commenting on his environment. Ethan most certainly does this now, in his own unconventional way, about things that the rest of us might not comment on.

"Hi button!" he yells when we drive past intersections with a walk button. He likes to point out shadows everywhere. He searches for shapes..."Triangle? Triangle?" he keeps calling in his bedroom as he opens the door. It took me a bit to realize that's because the light from the hallway falls through the slit in the open door and creates a triangle beam across the floor in his room.

He tends to get things jumbled and it makes me smile. He was calling his beloved storm drains water drains so we tried to remind him that they are actually STORM, not water drains. At the same time we had a couple of storms come up and so we were teaching about thunderstorms. This has led to him sometimes asking about storm drains -- when what he means is storms. We were teaching about coughs and coffee (thanks to my affinity for Dunkin' Donuts) and now sometimes he'll cough and say "Cough-e!"

He is trying to figure out the sun, the shadows throughout the day, and really the phases of the day, and how that all plays in with the weather, too. We also like to comment about the neighbors, who live right up close next door. Hence, our conversation this morning:

Ethan (pointing to the window): Sun gone!"
Me: No, it's not gone, it's just not up all the way yet.
Ethan: Sun clouds?
Me: Not behind the clouds, it's coming.
Ethan: Storm drain come?
Me: No storms are coming. The storms and rain are gone today. We had a thunderstorm at the camp, remember? Thunder, boom! And lightning and rain?
Ethan: Boom! No storm. (Looking out window, seeing some beams of sun coming: Sun hot!
Me: A little bit hot. Summer is still here but it's almost done.
Ethan: Trees. Leaves. (Because I told him the leaves go away when fall comes).
Me: Yes, they're still here.
Ethan (looking at our neighbors, Anna and John's house): Mr. John outside?
Me: No, he's inside.
Ethan: Mr. John TV? (We like to guess what he's doing in his house).
Me: Maybe...
Ethan: Mr. John oatmeal?
Me: Could be...
Ethan: Mr. John's fan off (Ethan always likes to check to see if the fan built into their garage is either on or off.)

Of course, as his mom I can understand where Ethan is going with his thoughts so much better than almost anyone else (although Dan tries his best, my mom is pretty good, and I have to say, Anna is pretty darned perceptive for her age). Most of his phrases are two words and often they are scripted. He learns one way to say something, and that's the way he says it. He tends to say things without looking at people, as if he's just tossing stuff out into the atmosphere. But he's trying, and he's talking.

I need to remember this, especially when Anna talks so much I just want her to take a breath and give me some quiet. This is no small feat. This is not something that should be taken lightly. This is not something I will ever take for granted.

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