Sunday, June 17, 2007
Where Do the Words Go?
Lately I've been wondering about B's words. They come and go, and often when a word goes, it seems to be for good. I think he peaked last December, when he had maybe ten words that he would occasionally say. At that point, he could also fill in words in songs (sometimes), which he does not do at all right now.
I don't want to be depressing. We are getting back to a stage of having a few words. "Cookie" came into favor for a while, and got his ABA therapist very worked up. It seems to have faded out again, although the ABA therapist says that he can say it, so we should expect him to. He also said "brush" for a few days after getting a new toothbrush which he loves.
I remember reading The Siege, by Clara Claiborne Park, long before I had kids, and even before I started teaching kids with autism. I remember being fascinated by her story. One thing that stuck with me was that her daughter would learn a new word, say it all the time, then move on to a different word. I can't remember how long that lasted, but she did eventually speak in sentences, and as an adult talks well. She's an artist now.
I disagree with our ABA teacher about thinking that B. "can" say the words, if he wants to. I think they are in there, but he can't necessarily retrieve them at will. But her techniques are so gentle, and rely so much on having fun with him, I'm okay with having some philosophical differences. One great result of her working with us is finding out that I should ignore tantrums (I should have known that, but I always end up either in conversations with J., or trying to comfort G.) So the last time J. tantrumed, which as always caused G. to plug his ears and have his own tantrum, I went over and looked at a book with B. It was great, and the tantrums probably did end quicker than usual.