Whether it's due to him getting older, having additional therapy, or being the only child in our home (I have stopped watching my sister's kiddos) or the combination of these things, Ethan has been making huge progress over the last several months. HUGE! And while I have noticed these changes, I was curious to see if the family could tell any difference. All of my family members have pretty much said the same thing......"We can tell that he is talking more & interacting more with us. We can also tell that there is something different about him lately, but we can't tell you exactly what it is."
I am THRILLED to hear others say this about Ethan! I am with him more than anyone so if anyone is going to see differences, it would be me. However, for others to notice, that is even more amazing. Yet, I too, haven't been able to pin point a lot of his changes, so I have really tried to pay more attention....and I really noticed something today.
One of Ethan's challenges has been that he answers, "YES," to every question....even if he doesn't mean yes. One example was when a therapist was evaluating him, and she asked Ethan if there was an elephant in the room. He answered, "Yes." Then, she asked him if the elephant was standing on the table, and he answered, "Yes." To be clear......there wasn't an elephant anywhere in the room.
For us, we noticed it was almost like Ethan was AFRAID to say, "no" to something. So, we had to almost give him permission. We began wording our questions to him differently. Example: "Ethan, are you hot? Yes or No?" or "Ethan, are you hungry? Yes or No?"
Overtime, he has gotten better at actually telling us is real answer....but usually only when we give him options following a question. But I've noticed this is changing......for the better......
A couple weekends ago, we spent the day at my sister's house to celebrate my Dad's 60th birthday. When it was time for us to go, my brother-in-law asked Ethan if he had fun playing with his cousins. He didn't provide options for Ethan to pick from....just an open ended question. In the past, I would have been able to tell you what Ethan would have said......always, "YES." However, that night Ethan answered, "Yeah No." WHOA!!!! He actually said NO without being given "permission" to do so!!!! Then, my brother-in-law said, "Did you have fun playing with your oldest cousin?" And Ethan said, "Yes." Then, he asked, "Did you have fun playing with your youngest cousin?" And Ethan said, "No." The whole family laughed & laughed.....it was a very funny moment.
However, this caused me to start paying attention to his automated "Yes" responses. And I have noticed that it is less and less. Not only that, but Ethan has started answering questions with words that are NOT any choices we have given him. For instance, today on the way from Easter Seals to Preschool, I asked Ethan if he was "hot or cold." Two choices for him to pick. Guess what he said?! "I am just fine." I almost wrecked my car!!!!!!! LOL!!!!!!
And these are just a couple of stories of what our Ethan has been like over the last several months. His back & forth conversations are growing longer in length and are less scripted than previously. I have noticed that he is using 2 hands for tasks instead of just one.....something we have been working on for a long time. He is initiating conversations with us as well as others....including his peers! He is showing a desire to be more independent. His tolerance for loud noise is SO much better than ever before. He WANTS to play with me all day instead of asking, "Mommy to go (away)." Now, it's, "Mommy, will you play with me?"
And guess what MY automated response is to THAT question! YES!!!