Tuesday, September 24, 2013

You Have Not Been Successful

While my son has a long way to go before he communicates at the level of Carly Fleischmann, it is interesting to get quick flashes into his thought processes every so often.

At his last preschool, there was a programme at every term's end, when the children would prepare a dance number, go onstage class at a time, in costume, and perform for their parents. This happened at the end of October, before Christmas break, and in March when school broke up for the year. As Little A attended that school full time for three years, he had many a "programme day."

While he generally did not like the noise and mayhem, Little A did like being around his classmates and having people there to show how proud they were of him. The feeling of being a part of something mattered, and we could see that.

As part of a self-imposed desensitisation programme to the sound of applause, he took to finding videos of children performing for parents. He searches youTube for videos of his favourite nursery rhymes performed by live children (or, for some unknown reason, Hindi cartoon characters), and recently typed the name of his school into the search bar as if to say, I no longer go to Toddlers (his old school was called Toddlers and Teachers), but I'm watching them perform anyway.

Over the weekend, on one of his many trips a day to play with the stray cat he befriended in the parking lot, the feline was not there. It sometimes disappears for a while, only to return a little later. Little A has taken to sitting in a particular spot and waiting for the cat to come out, asking me to call it by saying "Pah, pah," which basically means, "Meow, Mummy!" When I bring my mobile with me, he types "Cat meow."

This time, after sitting patiently for about 10 minutes (a huge feat for a child who can't watch a half hour tv show in its entirety), Little A gave up and stalked moodily back into the building. On the way, he gave a quick, annoyed scream, grabbed my phone, typed in a word and showed it to me. The word was "Fail," but before I could say anything in response, he deleted it and carefully turned on the caps lock key to spell "FAIL." He screamed again, once, quickly, to express his frustration, then calmly walked into the building.

It's funny how even non-verbal children pick up on the slang of their time. I never use the word "fail" colloquially, but he knows it means something didn't happen, as when our Internet connection is slow and the phrase "Failed to Open Page" pops up. He sometimes spells this phrase out with letter tiles, as if to tell us that the Internet is acting up again.

Lately, I've been explaining to him that he has Apraxia, and that's why it's hard for him to talk. I have yet to spell it out, but I know my clever boy will quickly see that this word contains the same letters as one of his current favourites - "Pixar" - and hopefully he will intuit that being non-verbal is not too bad, as long as there are other ways in which he can use his words to communicate.

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