color commentary


{image is a slightly blurry photo of Brooke from the other night. She has just wrapped up a Godspell script while roller blading in my room, as you do.}

Okay, so this is one of those moments when I am dying to write because Oh my God, I soooooo have something I want to tell you, but this whole, ya know, real life and job and actual responsibilities are really infringing on my “But I really want to write” time. I know, right?

Anyway, here’s the three-minute version of what I’d really like an hour to share …

While Brooke’s ability to communicate verbally is almost always progressing (I want to write so much more about what that means, but aargh, time .. ), there are moments in time when Luau and I notice that her language, while not necessarily more “functional” per se is becoming, well, more colorful. God that was a terribly constructed sentence. Oh, the irony.

Anyway, it’s hard to explain what I mean and even harder to quantify in terms of progress, but it’s as undeniable as it is hard to explain. Each time that it happens, her speech moves farther away from it’s limited, rote roots and starts to feel increasingly colloquial. It’s also just plain fun to listen as she sprinkles in words and expressions that she’s never used before.

In this latest surge, the additions to her repertoire have included “Totally” (said like a consummate 80’s Valley Girl) in response to a question such as, “Do you like that?” and my favorite, “What she said” which she uses when someone sneezes and I say, “Bless you” or a waiter brings our food to the table and I say, “Thank you.”

But last night, she came up with something so deliciously unexpected that I really, really wish I could give it its due and not rush through this, but dang it, I’m seriously out of time, so here goes.

We were sitting at the dinner table. Brooke was eating spaghetti, which she’d covered (and I mean literally COVERED) in parmesan cheese. The consistent use of utensils rather than fingers remains a challenge and, well, spaghetti with cheese became, as it always does when I’m not paying enough attention, finger food. By the time she’d finished her plate of spaghetti-as delivery-system-for-cheese, she was a mess. She was essentially wearing a cheese moustache and full beard. When she got up to clear her plate from the table, I said, “Brooke, you have cheese all over your face,” to which she responded ..

“Well …. what’s your point?”

And that, my friends, is what I wanted to tell you. Have a great day!


24 thoughts on “color commentary

  1. OMG!!! She’s speaking like a nero-typical girl!!!! I don’t mean that in a MEAN way, as, I LOVE her non-neuro Autism Spectrum Self…But…, as this makes her sound more like her Neuro-Typical peers…OMG THAT’S COOL!!!!!! (I say this because I know a little bit about “fitting in” and how hard it is, as I too, am not quite a “Normie”. I am in a wheelchair. And I find it pleasing when I can “fit in” more with my non-disabled peers.) Still, I LOVE HER UNIQUENESS, and I agree with her sister. If she were anyone else, she would not be “Brooke”. 🙂

  2. That is awesome! I remember when our oldest (on the spectrum) went from her extremely clearly enunciated speech – “I am going to the store” – to more slangy pronunciations – “I am goin’ to the store”. It was fun to hear and clear that it was a deliberate choice. Yay for Brooke!

  3. ahahahahahaha – I love that!! Isn’t it fun when they start using sarcasm??? It’s like the first time I hear Nicky say “whatever”, or my FAVORITE to-date: “My bad”. 🙂

  4. I just wanted to say thank you. I’ve tried before to find good autism parent blogs and was repulsed by the gif-heavy formats used by many, but I was referred to your blog by a friend’s Facebook like, and am so glad I found it. My son is 5 1/2, diagnosed with PDD-NOS at 4, and I’m just now getting over my defensiveness that comes from years of denial. So many things about your wonderful girl make me laugh (this post!), cry, and identify (Brooke’s “in how many you go?” reminds me so much of my kid — “In of which house is Auntie’s?”). Looks like we live in the same area too.Thank you for taking the time to share this. Your love and acceptance and understanding of Brooke is inspiring and contagious. I’m really looking forward to reading more.

    • Welcome, June. I’m glad you’re here! What’s a gif-heavy format? You mean those little mini videos? (Just curious :))

      • yeah, for some reason i kept coming across “highly recommended” (by nobody i know) blogs that were full of those little videos — a distracting and annoying format. i’m 33 but i have the cranky-curmudgeon power of someone 3x my age.

        my ASD kid (oldest of 3) is obsessed with hand dryers right now, ooommmggggg. i’ve given up discouraging it so i’m trying to use it positively as rewards (put on your pajamas, brush your teeth, jump in bed and you can watch TWO hand dryer demonstration videos!”) and encouragement toward more expressive language (which kind of hand dryer do you like best?”) but it is honestly the most boring monomania i can think of. if you have any posts about how you’ve handled fixations, i’d love to read them 🙂

      • i don’t think i have any posts specifically on ‘fixations’, so to speak, but i do talk a lot about how using our kids’ passionate interests can be wonderful springboards for learning. as you menitoned, they’re great as topics for expanding language, but also for all kinds of academic and incidental learning. brooke’s teachers have used her favorite characters to teach her key concepts (examples would be creating a word problem in math using dora and boots or having her read and discuss a ni hao kai lan book) and we often use the godpsell characters to talk together about abstract concepts / social relationships. if your kiddo is at the point where science / engineering is of any interest, perhaps you could help him research how hand dryers work – what’s the science behind pushing the air out? how are they powered? why is the air warm? how does that help speed drying? what are the most efficient models? you could help him think about what would make them more efficient in the future. (clearly i have no idea if any of this is even remotely develmopmentally appropriate, but you can adjust accordingly.) perhaps he could draw pictures of the dryers to work on fine motor skills, like brooke does with her godpsell worker pictures (ALL over our house!).

        One thing that, thanks to autistic adults sharing their experiences, we’ve learned to be very careful not to do is to use the things she loves as rewards any more than we would with a typically developing child. While I’ve heard the refrain before, Kassiane of Neurodivergent K recently wrote something on this that really hit home for me. It was in a post about the systematic dehumanization of people on the spectrum and she said, “Real people don’t have everything they love leveraged to make them perform.” The post is here .. Definitely food for thought.

        Hope that’s helpful.:)

  5. Language evolution is awesome! My younger NT keeps trying out sayings he hears in school (usually not in the correct context which is great fun!) and my ASD son and I had a great exchange this morning:

    (Me in dining room drinking post-run fruit smoothie)
    A: Can you go drink that in the kitchen please?
    Me: Why?
    A: I don’t want to have to smell it.

    He often asks questions, he often self-advocates, but this one caught my attention for some reason. Because he put the two together? Because he gave me a contextual answer for something? Because of it’s reciprocity? Can’t put my finger on it, but don’t care. 🙂

  6. Thank you, Jess, that’s a really good point I wouldn’t have thought of (at least not any time soon). You really go above and beyond for your readers and I appreciate it so much!

  7. OMG. The description of her plate is the description of my son’s dinner almost EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Including the inconsistent utensil use, even at age 13. Love this!

  8. This made my heart smile :o) I have two amazing sons, now 22 & 24, who are on the spectrum . . . We still have these amazing moments. I actually giggled when I read, spaghetti as a delivery system for cheese, this is my 22 year old, if he doesn’t have more cheese than spaghetti, he eats something else!

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