Saturday, April 28, 2012


I'm such a sucker for happy endings.

I like Hollywood conclusions, the chick flick that finishes with a nice, neat package and a pretty bow resting on top. I want warm, fuzzy and happy.

And I want it now.

A few months ago, I posted about a breakthrough our son had experienced with his new speech therapist using "Yes" and "No" picture symbols. (CLICK HERE to read about it). After that post, I had visions of riding off into the sunset and soon having real conversations with our older son.

I'm still waiting.

These two magic cards...
...while definitely an exciting step forward for our son in his language development, aren't quite so...magical. At least they aren't proving to be magical at home.

I started carrying those cards in the pockets of my pants when our son was home so that they were handy.

"All done!" is what he'd tell me any time I'd pull them out. Translation: I'm at home mom. Home is not school. Put those away.

Fed up one day and refusing to be bossed around by a ten-year-old, I pressed forward, letting him know that I realized he was tired from school but that he was going to answer just five questions.

He answered, but he answered all five questions in the affirmative. Something just seemed fishy to me. On a whim, I decided to test him.

"Is my name Bertha?" I asked. (It's not.)

"Yes," he pointed to that card and also vocalized. That stinker.

"Aw, c'mon! You can give me a better effort than that!" I prodded. "Tell me, is your name Fred?" I asked. (It is not.)

"Yes," he again pointed and vocalized.

Go away, he was saying to me. I don't want to talk to you.

While I did't take this slight personally, I was disappointed. I had wrongfully assumed that once we found an avenue of communication to which our son related, then we would be propelled forward by leaps and bounds.

I envisioned opening the flood gates, asking and answering ten years of questions that I've had about my very own child. I wanted to hear his thoughts.

The truth is, he is still autistic, and part of being autistic means that social interaction really isn't at the top of his list. At that moment, no, I didn't need those cards to show me his thoughts. I could see them. Right then I was almost positive he was thinking that he'd prefer that I throw away those cards and leave him to sit alone in his room so that he can play with his favorite vacuum in peace.

He knew how to use those cards. He was just being non-compliant in an effort to get me to leave.

"Last question," I said to him. "Do you want me to go away?" I asked.

"YES!" he pointed and said emphatically.

Well, I guess the cards worked on that one. Deciding to end on a positive note (I think?), I got up and walked away, leaving him alone with his vacuums and his thoughts for a moment longer.


  1. Sounds like you were thinking/hoping it would be a Helen Keller/Annie Sullivan moment, that now that he *could* communicate, surely he'd have all kinds of things bottled up he couldn't wait to share. So sorry it didn't turn out that way - at least, not yet.

  2. Just like his other moments of breakthrough, I am sure there will be that moment in regards to this at home with you. I can relate to his feelings of "being done with school" and not wanting to see the same tools at home. I am that same way with when I come home from work. This is my home time and I don't want any reminders of my work day.

  3. Well, he certainly does know how to communicate! Message received.

    More will come in time. In his time.

    And if I haven't told you lately, you are a rock star mom.

  4. Message received, understood, and answered!!


  5. I fail to see your problem here. I mean, he played the game you insisted on playing. He told you something in response to your questions, didn't stare off into space and when he is so motivated, he might even decide he likes those cards at home. But as with all things autistic, it's a crap shoot! He's so smart and so stubborn and so his own person. On a lot of levels, those are all good things. He has his own rules of engagement and you are invited in sometimes! Gonna have to do for now, I guess.
    Sorry Mommy Extraordinaire, today isn't the day. ♥

  6. The phrase I learned while he was still very little was "to pick my battles". What was I going to push on, what was I not going to focus on? For him, safety was the main issue, even though he is non-verbal as well. When he wants to communicate, he does now, through sign language and spelling, in addition to spoken words. It's frustrating on phone calls, but his aggression is down, so his life is balanced.