Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Emphatically Speaking

This yes/no thing is not to be over-rated. It's great. I mean, it's changing our lives. This morning, while we were still lounging in bed I asked Oliver: "Do you want some water?" Because the heat is now on my throat is parched by morning so I imagined his would be too. But his answer was an emphatic "No!" Still, I wasn't convinced. Sometimes he gets them confused and says the opposite of what he really means. So I reached for the water bottle, held it out to him and asked again. He pushed my hand away and again said: "No!" Well, alrighty, that's communication, I thought. Then again, when we went to the kitchen for breakfast I decided to find out what he wanted to eat. Now, if your child is like my Sami, then you wouldn't get why this is such a big deal, because Sami tells me, and forcefully so, what he wants. I don't even have to offer Sam a choice, he knows what all the varieties are and that if I've got it he can have it. But not so with Oliver. Oliver has a hard time making choices. If I held out two different pieces of fruit and asked him to choose he would just sit there or walk away completely. So normally I have to guess. And if I've guessed wrong then whatever I prepare will go uneaten and I'll have to try again. But normally, he is happy with whatever I put in front of him -- which is good because Oliver is basically pretty easy to please. But it is also bad because I would love, love, love to know his opinion about things.

But this morning was pretty much different from any other morning. It went something like this:

Oliver? Do you want a banana?


Do you want a muffin?


Do you want cereal?


Do you want oatmeal?


Oatmeal? You want oatmeal?


And this last yes wasn't just a yes, but one with an exclamation point beside it. It was one with emphatic head shaking. Head shaking!

Another really fun thing about this yes/no trick of ours is that it is opening things up for debate that weren't debateable before. For example, this evening the kids were both exhausted from swimming at the end of the day but I let them watch the Wiggles anyway because Sami is just so cute with his dancing and guitar playing. But then, before the video was over I said: OK, five more minutes and it is time for bed! And Oliver just looked at me and said "No!" with more emphatic head shaking. So what could I do? We watched all the way through to the end of the credits.

Yes and No are such little bitty words, really. But man, I can't help but feel like a rather large and heavy door has been opened. I've got my foot in there and I'm already peering inside. I don't know if this will lead to more language, more communication. But at the moment I am emphatically, euphorically optimistic.


  1. Yes! I am so happy to read this! You guys are making great progress!

  2. YAHOO!! That's awesome progress.

  3. Yes! :)

    Of all the things our son has learned in the 5+ years since his diagnosis, yes/no is the biggest. Those two little words opened up a world of communication that was previously completely shut off.

  4. Yes and no are huge!

    congratulations, and I hope the door keeps creaking open..