“Love reading. Love silly,” Joey said to me as I sat down with him on Monday. Love was a new word on his device, and as our session continued it became clear that it was one he was going to utilize often. At one point he dropped a toy and he looked at the toy, pointed at it, then said “love”. Then he pointed at the toy again. “Love.” I’d rather he be a bit more specific with his words, asking me to get the toy he loves, but his message was clear. His beloved toy was on the ground and he wanted it back.
Another of Joey’s new words is bad. Joey used this word frequently as well, mainly to tell me that it was bad when he dropped something on the floor. “Bad.” Then he would point and look back at me. “Bad. Want love”
Once again, it feels like adding two new words to Joey’s vocabulary has opened a new world for him. Now he can tell me what he loves AND what he thinks really stinks. He’s been able to tell us what he wants or needs and label things in his environment, but now he has the words (and the ability) to tell us what he thinks about these things. He has the words to put judgements on what is going on in his environment and communicate his feelings.
Throughout our session Joey told me that he loved reading, loved dinosaurs, his toy, and being silly. After he told me he loved silly, I took out one of Mo Willem’s Elephant and Piggie books. Joey’s smile widened, and he confirmed “Silly.” He’d been able to tell me what he loved, and I was able to respond with something I knew he liked.
In our following session I showed Joey a picture his grandfather had sent me. In the picture Joey is wearing a hard hat and watching the neighborhood street paving. When Joey saw the picture his eyes lit up. “Love,” he said immediately. “Love. Love. Love. Love.”
There is no doubt in my mind what Joey thought of his experience with his grandfather and the construction equipment. A few weeks ago he would only have been able to smile to tell me how much he liked it. Now, he can fully capture what he felt. Love.