Tomorrow is The Boy’s birthday (Just FYI – there will be another birthday related post tomorrow. Birthdays are a big deal). Today’s post is about verbalizing. The Boy is verbal. In fact, if he is speaking about interior dome lights in cars, he is downright verbose. But he is not always verbal about what he wants and needs, nor is he verbose when asked direct questions. This is fairly common with autistic kids. They can tell you every plot point of the latest Disney movie, but ask them to make up a story and you are met with complete silence.
The Boy has always been this way. When he was younger and Webkinz were a thing, he would receive a new one for his birthday or Christmas, and could not come up with a name. They were often named whatever the first suggestion I offered was.
He will tell you what he wants (in terms of toys, games, etc.) while in the store, when they are staring him in the face. This is why we came up with the strategy of taking pictures of them with my phone and putting them on “his list”. This helps us get out of the store without having a meltdown about not purchasing what he wants then and there. And you may be thinking, “Great! Then you know exactly what he wants when it comes to birthdays and Christmas, because you have pictures of them right there on your phone!” But often, he never speaks about those things again, and I am left to wonder whether he really wants those things, or whether he was just attracted to them at the time. Was it true love or was it just lust?
Therefore, I did a mental double-take last week when we were at the store last week, and he saw some fleecy sleep pants he liked. He pronounced, “Mom, you could get these for my birthday! I want these for my birthday! Take a picture!” He repeated some variation of these three phrases for a couple of minutes, and I think he was as excited as I was that he had verbalized his want for something specific for his birthday.
A couple of says later, I casually asked, “Do you still play with your Bionicles?” He said, “Yes, I do. You could get me a Bionicle for my birthday, too.”
It may seem like a small distinction, but it was huge to me. He has never before asked for something specific for his birthday, and he continually amazes me by making these small (but huge) steps toward independence.