Monday, May 13, 2013

Yes (No)

Communicating with Elijah is hard. That is probably an understatement.

A five and half year old who has no words is a child who gets frustrated a lot. And that's why Elijah's newest development is so ridiculously exciting. It opens up a whole new world of communication for all of us.

Elijah is starting to nod his head to tell us yes. And every once in a while he is shaking his head to tell us no. 

It's pretty cool to be able to ask Elijah questions, stuff like... 

"Did you have fun at school?" Elijah nods.
"Are you all done with supper?" Elijah nods.
"Do you want to go home?" Elijah nods.
"Do you want to listen to a different CD?" Elijah nods.

It's not perfect. There are times we'll ask Eli questions and he'll do nothing at all. And there are times when I think he means no - even when he nods yes. Sometimes we have to phrase the questions in a very specific manner, otherwise he seems confused. And at this point we can only ask him questions that we think the answer will be yes, as his no is emerging slowly and doesn't happen often.  

I have had a few glimpses into what it would be like to have a yes/no conversation with Elijah and wanted to share them... 
One time I was trying to take pictures of the boys (the pictures in this post). Oliver wiggled his way out of the chair, so I continued to take Elijah's picture. In an attempt to get Eli to smile, I asked him if he wanted me to sing the train song. He very appropriately shook his head no. 

"Elijah, do you want me to take more pictures of you?" He nodded. Yes, he wanted more pictures, something I was more than happy to oblige.
And then yesterday, we had a little get-together for Oliver's first birthday (he'll be one this week!). That night after supper after all the guests were gone, Elijah came over to me at the dinner table and climbed in my lap. He was acting like he wanted to eat more (that kid is perpetually hungry). I asked him if he wanted a chip. He shook his head no. That one surprised me because he loves the crunch of a chip and I've never known him to turn one down. 

So we asked a follow-up question: "Do you want a cupcake?" He nodded. Of course! He wanted the cupcake we had promised him earlier in the day. 

We've got a ways to go before we'll be able to ask Elijah any yes/no question and expect an accurate (what he actually means) response. But, for now, it's pretty incredible to be able to get him to answer yes for many questions on a daily basis. And I'm happy about the no's that are few and far between. 

I'm looking forward to the yes/no conversations we will have in the future and the things we will learn about him in the process. Am I excited? Oh, YES! 


Mumsie said...

Oh Elijah.....You are growing so much. It's exciting to know that you are learning to communicate more and more. Sometimes I think I need to pay attention more so I can understand what you are saying. This Nana loves seeing you and spending time with you. When there are so many people around we don't get as much quality of time. But I'll come again and we'll dance to the Beatles. Love you, Nana

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