One of the benefits of the IEP or any evaluation of Bryan is that it starts me thinking about what I am not thinking about as it pertains to him. It jolts me into action in a way. Sometimes the goals discussed or the deficiences in a particular area gnaw at me and make me nuts. It’s good though, he needs us to be focused, to always think about what else we can try and what else might work. Keep in mind executing these ideas is always easier said than done, reality of exhaustion, work, laundry, etc. can take their toll on your idealistic goals. These kids work so hard you can’t always expect them to hop to it just because you had some half-baked epiphany.
Driving home from work last night I was thinking about Bryan and who he is. Bryan has a bunch of phrases he uses when he thinks they are appropriate. Sometimes they are and sometimes they aren’t. No matter what, it is a good thing that he recognizes some sort of response or comment is required. At times he does get things a little backward. For example, when I ask him if he enjoyed a movie he might say “was it good?” and then I say, “No Bryan you need to say the movie was good.” He says I’m sorry a lot and I love you a lot when he knows he has done something wrong and just wants blanket forgiveness. It loses it’s meaning after a while but the concept is there. We try to get him to say why he is sorry and that has helped a lot. “sorry for what Bryan?” He can answer when he is concentrating and not too emotional.
One of the funnier/cuter things he says is “I did a great job.” If he does well at speech, sports, or if he behaves well at some event, we always tell him, hey Bryan you were great, or I liked the way you listened at speech, or you played great at soccer. He will almost always say “i did a great job”. It sounds funny but it’s vey endearing. He gets a little smirky smile of pride and we are confident it is a self esteem booster. The truth is one of his strenghs is his people skills. He can read people’s expressions and knows some of the inferences. He will know he did a great job just by our body language and tone of voice. I tested this a little bit with him last night. I kiss him all of the time and last night I made silly faces to him and then kissed him a few times. He said, Mommy you are silly and started to giggle. So, then I started to giggle and Jason joined in too. He gets the nuance and for a kid with autism, it reveals something we have known in our hearts for a very long time. He gets it. We all love Shrek in our house and when Shrek says “Ogres are like onions, they have layers”, this could be said of Bryan too. Each time you peel away a little more of the wall of autism, you get a little peek to the inside where the good stuff is.