Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Guess what?

One of the things that I truly appreciate about Bianca is the level of our communication. I understand her like no other person. I know what she means when she furrows a brow just so, squeals a certain way or pulls my hand in a certain direction… and of course when she just plain asks for stuff.

 Her speech is coming along pretty well. More and more she asks for specific things or uses words to describe her environment. Just the other night while at a party she told me “Back home” when she clearly had enough of the environment and all that was going on. That certainly makes things easier and has led to a lot less meltdowns over time, but despite all the advancements her level of communication is still quite different and definitely well behind that of a NT 7 year old.

I don’t know why this particular thing I am about to share is such a source of pride and joy for me. It seems so incredibly silly… ridiculous really. But maybe that is exactly the reason why. It is just fun.

As a dad, one of my goals has always been about creating “moments”; Snapshots in time that my kids will be able to look back upon long after I am gone and smile about. One of those things that I share with my kids is when I go to work. We have a ritual. It isn’t just OK to casually wave goodbye to me… there is a whole routine. We make a big production out of it. I get a hug, a kiss, a high-5, a zerbert (Cosby fans are familiar with this… it is basically forming a seal on the persons skin and blowing to create a farting noise) and a secret handshake. We laugh and the kids try to outdo one another with BIGGER hugs, kisses and zerberts than the other. It makes it tough to get out of the house quickly, but the smiles and laughs are well worth it.

Another example of a “moment” I have created is that when I ask my kids, “Guess what?” they quickly respond “Chicken butt”. Then we have a good laugh. It is completely corny. I revel when a stranger asks my kids the same question only to have “Chicken butt” thrown right in their face. Their look of shock fills me with a strange sense of pride.

We have expanded it to include, “Guess why? Chicken thigh” and “Guess who? Chicken poo!”… We are REALLY clever.

While I include all three kids in these activities, Bianca’s level of participation is slightly less enthusiastic at times. She loves the goodbye routine minus the secret handshake. She just doesn’t seem to care for that part of the ritual. With the “Guess what?” banter she doesn’t really participate because her echolalia usually kicks in when you say, “Guess what?” and you just have the phrase mirrored back to you.

The other day though something seemed different. She was talking more than usual. She was particularly attentive to her surroundings and interactions with me. She was answering a lot of questions about what she wanted to eat, drink, etc. throughout the day. So I  gave it a shot like I had countless times before…

“Hey Bianca!” I said excitedly . She looked at me dead in the eyes right away.

“Guess what?!?” I asked.

“Chick-en-butt” she said back to me with incredible over-annunciation that is just so typical Bianca speech.

A smile broke out across my face and as I high-5’d and praised Bianca, she returned the smile from ear to ear. We giggled and rolled around on the floor. Bianca even repeated the game a few more times. It was an awesome, but silly moment that we got to share together. It was a moment that helped to strengthen a bond that I already felt was as strong as one could be. It was magical and comical all at once.

As a dad I had been working hard to create these “moments” with my kids, things that they could carry with them the rest of their lives… I guess I never realized that they were creating them for me as well. What a great gift.

If you have not already, please take time to watch my videos, "Fixing" Autism and Autism Awareness with Nichole337 and share them with your friends.

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1 comment:

  1. I think I'm going to steal this idea from you! It's true that we just leave memories for our kids and I am sure that saying goodbye in such a special way will always be in their mind and heart. I usually say "be a good little monkey" to my son because he likes curious george but chicken butt will win over curious george any day ;-) you're an awesome dad, thanks for sharing!