I’ve written before, ages ago now, that my son is autistic. We played hell getting him his disability as well as various services and programs he needs. Well, I’m happy to say that next year he will no longer be receiving PT services at school! What little he needed help with, the PT specialist is confident he’s got down and mastered. So, milestone hit!
He’s speaking more, and finally – FINALLY – is saying what he actually wants! Usually. Half his spoken vocabulary is still hard to understand. But this last weekend I think I might have hit a solution. Unfortunately for those around me who can’t appreciate my off-key and tone-deaf singing, it’s going to be quite painful to listen to all the time.
My son loves music. Like any child his age, he loves to dance and move around to music. He likes to try and sing along with songs.
But he also responds to it faster and easier than the spoken word. I made this discovery last Friday evening while making him dinner. He’s a very picky eater, and has never had apple jelly before. He specifically requested apple jelly on his sandwich (unfortunately we didn’t have any. All we had was grape, and my husband’s strawberry preserves). I was goofing off and sing-songing everything, as I do when the Lego Movie is on because honestly, I’m not ashamed to say that “Everything is Awesome” is one of my favorite songs and is actually on most of my playlists on my other laptop. It’s a really great song and my son, of course, LOVES IT.
So, I was singing at him during a commercial break the words “peanut butter jelly bread peaches”. He responded with “apple jelly”. Now, he loves apples. He can clearly say the word apple. And banana. And sometimes pear. When he is requesting a specific food, it is nearly always last in what he is saying. I say nearly because in the last month he’s taken to saying “please” after the object or snack he wants. So, at first I thought he meant he wanted an apple with his peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of peaches. So I asked him “Do you want an apple?” of course that time I didn’t sing it at him. When I realized he wasn’t going to respond, I thought “what the hell why not?” and sang the question at him. His response? A very firm and very no-nonsense “Apple Jelly”. This went on for a few more minutes until I said “We don’t have apple jelly. We have purple jelly.” And he pouted and said “purple jelly.”
Yesterday, I went to the store to get a few things for the house and while I was there decided to grab a jar of apple jelly. When it was dinner time and it was time to make his sandwich I looked at him and I sang “I bought apple jelly. Do you want apple jelly?” And he very enthusiastically shouted back at me “Apple jelly!”
You know when kids take apart an Oreo or other similar cookie to get the cream out of the center and eat it first? Well that’s exactly what happened with the apple jelly on this kid’s sandwich. He pulled it apart like an Oreo and started licking the crap out of that apple jelly. I have never seen him attack a food so enthusiastically before. Not even a McDonald’s french fry, which are his absolute favorite of all the fast foods out there.
So of course after making this monumental discovery of the singing rather than speaking to him and the apple jelly, I immediately messaged his special ed Pre-K teacher and told her about it. (There’s an app called Seesaw that the teachers encourage parents to download and use so we can see pictures of our kids doing fun stuff at school, or the teachers can message us directly if there’s a problem or concern. It’s so freaking helpful.)
So that’s been my weekend so far. Pretty good, considering school is closed today and tomorrow for some ungodly reason. Winter Break, they call it. I call it any excuse to get more time off from classes.