A huge motivator for our boy is going outside. He LOVES to go outside. I'm pretty sure he'd live out there if I let him. He'd probably be raised by deer or a red fox or squirrels or rabbits or that other weird creature that I saw in our backyard (an otter, beaver, badger...apparently I need to go back to elementary school). But, I'd miss him too much, so I make him live with us. I'm mean like that. ;)
Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah... Elijah constantly wants to go outside. Awhile ago he started to ask us for things by directing us to what he wanted. A huge step to be sure! But now, Elijah is taking his communication to the next level. He's using words. No, not with his own voice, but with "talkers" we have placed in key areas of the house.
All of the talkers in our house have been loaned to us from the school district. It's given Elijah a voice, where he was once silent. We've seen a reduction in negative behaviors, which makes our life so much more pleasant. And, yes, that might be a major understatement.
The following photos are a good illustration of his thought process. We have a talker by our door that is connected to the laundry room which leads to the garage....which obviously leads to the glorious outdoors. First, he needs to locate his talker.
Then, he needs to ask his desired question by pushing his talker. With this talker he says, "Can you open the door for me please?"
Then he immediately moves to the doorknob to show us what he desires. It's pretty obvious he knows what he is saying.
Next, he moves to the door that leads to the garage, grabs the doorknob and looks expectantly back at us (because we can't have talkers by every door of the house!). He speaks a whole lot in that little glance: "Mom, can you open this door next? Because I want to go OUTSIDE!!! Pleeeeeaaasseee?!" It's quite the feat for a little dude who has had such a hard time looking at us throughout his life. And so, we put on our shoes and play to our hearts content because he asked so nicely.
His communication is so clear. Do I wish he were able to verbalize these desires with his own mouth? Absolutely. It'd be so much easier not to have to figure out what the little guy wants to say so that we can give him the opportunities to say it. Do I hope that he will one day be able to talk to us? Yep. And I'm not giving up on that goal. More importantly, though, is that Elijah is communicating. It's a big deal. It's like watching him take his first steps or hearing his first words. They are his first words in a lot of ways. He's quite articulate and polite don't you think? "Can you open the door for me please?" That's our boy. :)
He's getting it and I'm getting it too. We're communicating and he knows it. He's starting to expect that we hear him, even when he's not saying anything at all. It's a glance, a tiny gesture, or the push of a talker. It's a beautiful, wonderful, spectacular thing.