Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Go Downstairs." Huh??

Most kids that are Jonathan's age talk about things that happened to them in the past.  Sometimes that past was 5 minutes before....but they talk about it.
"Mom!  Remember that time we went to the zoo?"
"Mom! Remember when the cat ate the bacon?"
Things like that.

Jonathan can't do that. He can't tell us the things he is thinking about or remembering. 

But if he really wants to do something or go somewhere he's been before, he tries hard to have us recreate what we did. 

Yesterday he came up to me with a piece of paper in his hand.
"Mommy.  List!"

OK.  So I got a pen and sat down with him.  And he told me what I should write.
"Number one.  Go Potty.
Number two.  Put on shoes and socks.
Number three.  Go blue car.
Number four.  Go downstairs.
Number five. Read "Pajama Time"
Number six.  Read "Snuggle Puppy."
Number seven.  Read "Barnyard Dance."
Number eight. Go blue car.
Number nine. Go home!"

OK.  So I looked at this list. And realized....I have no idea what he's talking about.
I knew he didn't mean downstairs at our house, since we have to travel in blue car.
And we have all those books. 
But I was at a loss. 

Maybe he meant going to eat at the Draft House, around the corner from us.  Last time we went, we brought those books.  And we sat in the downstairs area. 

So we got in the car and drove.  But when we made the left to go there, Jonathan started yelling, "Go right! Turn around!  Go Downstairs!"

So I thought....humm...we went to Barnes and Noble once.  They have a downstairs area.  Is that what he meant?  So I asked, "Do you want to go to the book store?"  He responded, "Go book store!" 

So we turned around and started driving.  Jonathan decided to direct us..."Go right.  Go left. Go straight to signs.  Two more lights."  His directions were taking us no where near the book store. And honestly, I still had no idea where he was taking us. 

So I drove us in the most round about way to the book store.  And he was content....until we got to the book store. 

"Jonathan!  We're here!"  I said when we pulled into a parking spot. 

"No,  go downstairs. No book store."

So I said, "Can you tell me about downstairs?"

This was a type of question they've been working on in therapy...having him tell them descriptions about objects.  I thought I'd give it a try.

So he said "It had a cover, and pages and you read it.  What is it?  A book!"

We were getting no where. 

Now, normally I wouldn't engage this type of mystery for so long.  But he was so adamant in what he wanted.  He knew what he was thinking.  And it broke my heart that he could not tell me more.  I called Mike (who was making dinner during our mystery drive).  He was as equally stumped and sad as I was.

So we drove home.  Jonathan yelled about going downstairs.  I told him we would have to try again another day.  It was getting dark.  He as satisfied with that answer.

This morning, he said "We go downstairs and read books?"

I still can't think of where he wants to go.  But we must have had a really good time when we were there.

And hey, he keeps trying.  And that is progress.

In the meantime, he has focused on something else to keep him occupied.  Like this new numbers game.

And we just keep trying to think of what downstairs really means. 

1 comment:

  1. Dear Jen,
    My name is Marta Pons and I'm doing my last year of secondary school in Spain, where I'm from.
    As a part of my school work I have to do a research project, and I picked the subject of children with autism.
    I saw your blog and i was wondering if you wanted to help me by answering me some questions. I'm trying to compare the help from the governments from different countries, which characteristics are more often in children with autism, what type of therapies do they do, etc.
    It would be very useful if you could help me.
    My e-mail is:
    Thanks in advance,