“Mommy, I want to make pancakes please!” Emma said sweetly the other morning. A simple sentence, no big deal, right? Except to us it was an enormous deal. Pronouns all in their proper place and used appropriately, a polite “please” added at the end to ensure a positive response to her request, how could we say no? And since it was the weekend, we didn’t. Though we did tell her, she would need to wait a little while, which she did.
Someone, years ago, asked me what I hoped for when it came to Emma’s progress and I responded with something about giving my right arm if she would only ask me for something. At the time, it was a worthy objective. Please, just let her ask me for anything and I’ll be happy. Thankfully I did not have to relinquish a limb for her to get to that point and now those requests have become commonplace. “Mommy! I want to go to the Vanderbuilt Y please,” “Daddy, I want to go to the New York Botanical Gardens with just Daddy!” or “I don’t want to eat the pear. Please Mommy, no more pear!”
Now that we have the “I want,” “I don’t want” sentences, we are moving on to the lofty goal of commenting on surroundings. “Oh look, Em! Look at the bird outside the window! Do you see it?” And then we wait. “Yes, I see the bird. There’s a bird flying outside,” Emma might respond or she might then comment on something else. “It’s raining outside. We cannot go to the park.” The idea of using language as a way to connect, a bonding experience or as a way to share an experience with another person remains somewhat elusive, though she is making strides in that direction. We are not able to carry on a conversation with Emma yet. But we hope to get there eventually.
For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to: Emma’s Hope Book