Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Unknowns...

I've been thinking a lot lately about the enigma that is Anderson. Specifically, how even though he talks from the minute he wakes up until the minute he falls asleep, he really struggles with language.  His IEP puts it best..."Anderson has excellent auditory memory for sentences but does not process spoken language as well as expected, given his age...".  Essentially, he can repeat anything, but doesn't necessarily know what he's talking about.  He is making a lot of progress with using "original utterances" (aka non-echolalic phrases), but when he's sad or upset, he almost always reverts to echolalia.  What is interesting is that he always echoes a time in his life when he had the same emotions of whatever is happening in that moment--if he's feeling angry, he echoes a time when he was angry (or when someone was angry with him). If he's sad, he echoes a time when he was sad.  This is intriguing and often a little comical because he tells on himself a lot--he echoes what his teachers say when they are not so happy with him.  A common one in our house when he's angry, is, "ANDERSON! YOU will SIT in the SAD CHAIR!". Ummm...wonder who was in time out that day? :-)  Another common one is, "THAT makes me SO VERY SAD!"--another teacher line.  He even changes the expression on his face to match that of his teachers, which is definitely funny! He has a real knack for impressions.

Sometimes, his randomness isn't so fun, though.  Like the night he had a severe and sudden ear infection. He couldn't just tell us that his ear hurt, or that he didn't feel good--instead, he echoed times when he was stressed out. He wouldn't go to sleep--he just cried and echoed, cried and echoed.  He spiked a temp in the middle of the night and we realized that he was sick, thankfully, but it wasn't until the next morning when we saw drainage in his ear that we realized the real issue.  Obviously he was just fine after some antibiotics, but it was heartbreaking to realize that my baby, who knows so many words and has  perfect articulation, couldn't just tell me what was bothering him.  Of course, my overly reflective brain started really thinking hard about this, and I realized that if he can't tell me when he's in physical pain, he's certainly not going to be able to put into words when he's having emotional pain.  All you mamas out there know--there is nothing worse than not being able to help when your baby is in pain.  Wrapping my head around this was T-O-U-G-H. It also motivated me to get working on getting him more speech services, so that we can start helping him really develop that receptive/expressive language.

I am not in denial about the autism at all--definitely not like I was about a year and a half ago, when I didn't even want to say the word--but I think I am kind of clueless about the challenges that we are going to face. That one was certainly a little bit of a shocker, and I know that there are so many more that I'm not even aware of yet! If you know me at all, you know I'm a planner, and that I kind of freak out when I have to deal with a lot of unknowns.  Hope there's enough medication in the world to handle me these next few years...

In other exciting news, we *might* be starting to move out of the elevator obsession!  He's suddenly very interested in printers...he does a GREAT printer impression, and he's spending a lot of time using our computer desk to "print" papers. Guess we will be watching videos of printers soon--wonder if those exist?  In the meantime, though, he's mixing up his man buttons. Today, it looks like this:

Cats. So weird. :-)


  1. That is the worst thing I deal with, is my boys.not being able to tell me what hurts. As mommas, we would do anything, anything to fix it. But how can you when you don't know!? I really feel your pain. :(
    But,.chin up, we are trying. Hugs and kisses and lots of, I love yous go a long way, I have to believe that.

  2. A friend of mine told me about your blog. Thank you so much for sharing. I do a lot better accepting all that comes with my son's high functioning autism. I had to laugh about your son's printer obsession. My son once he starts to print something, will print things for hours. We finally had to set some limits and try to get him to focus on something else, because we were going through so much printer ink.

    1. Hi! Wendy! Nice to meet another Wendy--I don't know many! I dread the day when Anderson can REALLY print things...I suspect we will have the same problem. It's always something... :-)