Bryan has PDD, pervasive developmental disorder, which is on the autism spectrum and basically means everything is delayed, get it ,pervasive? In any event, so much of our focus for him is on language. I like to describe his issues like this: he is a fully stocked language and vocabulary warehouse, when it comes time to retrieve something, like a word, phrase, etc, the arm that does the retrieving does not work so well. Sometimes it gets it right and sometimes the wrong phrasing comes out or it just doesn’t work at all.
We spend so much time encouraging him to speak in full sentences, to answer questions, to have a conversation. Sometimes, however, you want to say “shut up” and that offers a tremendous amount of guilt, sorrow and overall bad feelings. He used to say “I love you” thousands of times a day and even though I wanted him to be quiet, I felt all of the families of nonverbal children in my heart. Wouldn’t they kill to hear their child say “i love you” even just once. The guilt is beyond.
So, why do we feel this way?
Here are some fun examples:
1. Last week Bryan told Marcia, his speech therapist, “Marcia you look like Fat Albert.” Not the best thing to say to a woman.
2. Last night Bryan said to me “Mommy, you’re fat.”. No explanation required.
3. He often says, “I don’t touch animals’ wieners.”
4. He will repeat the same thing, like “no school on Saturday” every 45 seconds, all day on saturday.
5. When I play playstation with him, he loves to play Shrek and he says to me, “Mommy, you’re Fiona Ogre”.
Now you are thinking, how can you put up with this stuff. Well I will tell you how.
Here is the thing, any language is better than no language. But there are times where you get that taste of reality, that glimmer of hope that makes the rest of the nonsense seem just like nonsense. Bryan takes risperdal, great medicine to stop impulse control, not so great for your waistline. Bryan is an eating machine and we try to police it as best we can. This morning I came downstairs to find that my nice Jewish boy had just eaten a whole container, approx 1/2 pound of ham. I said “Bryan you ate that whole thing of ham, that’s not ok, you need to wait for mommy or daddy before having breakfast”. So he said, “sorry mommy” and then he said “I’m sorry I ate the whole thing of ham”. Well I will take that fabulous sentence, he knew what he did wrong and articulated it. All good.
The worst part is he doesn’t lie, so I guess I am fat. That’s another blog.