J’s enthusiasm for Christmas this year is legitimate. He has been happy, engaged, and fully participant. Last night, as I was putting the finishing touches on our dinner, he motioned for Dada to get the Twelve Days board ready. I then sent them to the closet upstairs to each pick a package for last night’s round of gift-giving. No sooner had they returned to the kitchen that J wanted his shirt changed…apparently the color was wrong for pictures.
Off he went, burnt orange shirt in one hand, and returned wearing an oatmeal-colored one. He was happy and photo-ready.
The night before we had been standing in front of the PECS board while J went through his schedule for the next day. Wednesday is PIZZA day, and J was happy about this, but moving quickly towards the card that showed the First Day of Christmas. We made a chant out of it…EXERCISE, PIZZA, SODA, SWEEP, FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS!!!!!! By bedtime it had evolved into something longer (involving other activities), and always ending with FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS!!!!!!
Last night we had to do the same, only switching over to SECOND DAY OF CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!
Methinks this will be a “thing” now.
Yesterday, J’s new neighborhood companion stopped by to keep him entertained while I wrapped Dada’s presents. Yesterday was, as it were, the true test of if this arrangement is to J’s liking.
The young man is amenable, kind, and very patient. We have made a point of explaining that J might not interact in a proactive manner to start with, but will eventually relax into it as time progresses. The kid (a teenager) is totally fine with it; I can hear him talking to J even when J doesn’t answer back. It is not forced, stilted, or stressful…he just talks about whatever he has on his mind. This all bodes well for the recommendation letter I will write for him in a couple of years when he starts applying to colleges: so-and-so exhibits an open-mind when dealing with individuals who are different from himself, and patience in situations that are unfamiliar and potentially stressful for the uninitiated.
When I told J about his new friend stopping by in the afternoon, he was fine with it. When his new friend walked into the room, J was fine with that, too. I went off to wrap presents and could hear the gentle monologue being conducted by his young companion. J was giggling and humming. Even with Annie playing on the TV, and J’s music playing on the iPad, our Dashing Young Friend kept his cool beautifully. The letter of recommendation progresses nicely: DYF can focus on a task while being presented with often-clashing stimuli that would turn the spine of a grown person to jelly. (On a personal note: I am often tempted to start climbing walls like Spiderman when confronted with this type of overstimulation.)
The interaction was so successful that I asked the DYF if he would allow us to take his picture for J’s PECS board. With the solemnity of one who understands he has been accepted as part of a tight-knit clan, he stood in the kitchen and posed. When told it wasn’t intended for a WANTED poster in the P.O. he relaxed and smiled genuinely.
It is that relaxed and kind demeanor that J now has on his Proloquo2Go, its chosen voice announcing DYF’s name, and on his tray of PECS in the kitchen.
All is as it should be, and the Second Day of Christmas progresses nicely… So does the note-taking for the future college-application recommendations…