One simple word.

by beagooddad on September 5, 2006

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Because of Pookie’s echolalia he talks pretty much non-stop. For the same reason, he does not ever really answer questions without some prompting.

A couple months ago, I started noticing that most of the time he would not attempt to do things we asked him, he was not really ignoring us but rather he almost seemed to not be able to hear us because he was in his own world. I started grabbing his chin and pulling it toward me to force some eye contact and then repeating what I had said.
It has worked fairly well, but sometimes I wondered if I was being a little cruel. I am reading Thinking In Pictures by Temple Gradin.  She has autism and gives an insiders look at what life as an autistic person is like.  She mentions that one of the things that really helped her learn to talk is a teacher doing this exact same thing to her.  It helped bring her back into the situation and enable her to focus on what she was being asked.
I read that a few days ago and started feeling better about what I was doing.

So, last night, I am folding clothes in the laundry room.  Pookie comes walking by with this little purse that he carries marbles in.  I casually say, “What are you playing with, Pookie?”  He casually says, “Marbles,” and then jumps into the stuffed animal pile.

Outside of some very controlled vocabulary environments, like the dinner table, Pookie never answers questions without a prompt.  He is getting very good at hearing us say “I” and he finishes with “want (whatever).”  But, I can remember two times where he answered an question the way he did last night that was not in an environment where we always ask the same questions and he always gives the same answers.
It is one of those incredibly simple moments of parenthood where a casual passerby would barely notice but you can barely keep from crying.  Good job Pookie.

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