Sunday, November 23, 2008

Elvis Says "No!"

Interesting language use this week with Joy.

We are still not really hearing words on a consistent basis, though there's been a fair amount of vocalizing. Our "Popeye Sighting" (when she used the word "ug-ug-ug" for "hug" a while back) has remained in the Elvis Sighting category -- I've only heard it once since. There are a few other words that come and go:

-- "gog-gog-gog" for doggie
-- "chuh" for chair (her mealtime booster-seat)
-- a few sounds from the farm See-n-Say, her current favorite toy
-- one blessed Elvis-Sighting string of "ma-ma-ma"

The most interesting recent Elvis Sighting to me, though, is her use of the word "no." She's been doing some deliberate "nuh-nuh-nuh" to mean no, but there have also been just a couple very clear, distinct, definitive "NO" utterances.

Here's the interesting bit -- unless I'm mistaken, they've all been said to just one of her 5 intensive-autism therapists (who reads this blog faithfully, so, hi!) Not to me, or her sister, or Lynda at daycare, or JoyDad, or her school district therapists. The context tends to be when this particular therapist asks Joy to give her something that she doesn't want to give. Joy has, on just a few occasions, pulled the item away and said no, clear as a bell.


She's also been responding better to "no" or "stop" from adults in a certain stimming situation she's been very persistent about. Which would be... umm, how to say this... oh well... humping. Pillows, stuffed animals, her blankets. She can get very... intense about it. Such a little sensory-seeker, our girl! It's not exactly that it's a problem, but it's the primary activity that keeps her awake when she oughtta be sleeping, and also pulls her into her own little world when she could be doing more useful, or interactive, or socially-acceptable things. So when she's not alone in her crib, we've been working on getting her to replace it with other activities.

It reminds us a little bit of another sensory activity that she was once very persistent with, which involved playing balance-beam with our low picture-window frame in the living room. There's just enough of a ledge, about a foot off the ground, for her to teeter on... and she went through a long phase of absolutely loving to teeter. Unfortunately she often teetered too far, and picked up lots of sad little bumps and bruises!

JoyDad's been the leader in these situations. I'm too much a softie, tending to think along the lines of "well, if that's the input she needs, I hate to get in the way." But JoyDad doesn't give up so easily. And, with repeated gentle admonitions (together with physical redirecting if need be), he eventually gets Joy to respond to a "No" or "Stop" voice-prompt. It eventually worked on the ledge-teetering issue -- I'm sure that he's the main reason the dimmer switch eventually slid to "off" and she stopped doing it altogether. With the "Joy loves her stuffed animals" situation, she is now willing to stop on voice-prompt. First she only accepted it from him, now she'll respond to the "no" from me (and I think from Lynda too) in that situation as well.

Yay, JoyDad!


Niksmom said...

Slow and steady. Sound slike she's making some wonderful progress with communication and following "instructions" (even if they are "Stop" or "no", they're still instructions!).

Yay! :-)

(Ahem, my word verification? "trysmut" I kid you not! And I thought this was a nice family-oriented blog! LOL)

mama edge said...

As I told you the other day, "NO!" was Taz's first word when he was two. I sometimes think that he really couldn't be bothered with talking until it really mattered to him.

Everyone should see how hard you work with Joy, grabbing every opportunity where she can be encouraged to use and hear words. You are amazing!

JoyMama said...

Niksmom - "trysmut"? That's what I get for blogging about humping, LOL!

Mama Mara - incorporating language use at Joy's level into everyday life was drummed into us first with Hanen training, then with lessons from "Agency 2", her intensive-autism program. I'm a big fan of the approach, as you might have noticed! It's rather become second nature at this point.

Anonymous said...

I've seen parents (and others) work the language issue in constant and seamless style - like Mama Mara said. It is a beautiful thing. It's rarer for people to understand that kind of attitude works for developing motor skill, too. No doubt you three 'get it'. Barbara

Anonymous said...

The context in which Joy clearly says "No" reminds me of Rhema. Some time ago when she had to get some blood drawn, the nurse came over with the needle and Rhema began to chime "Nooo waaayy, Nooo waaayy." We'd never heard that before! After that, my husband suggested we carry around a needle and pull it out when we wanted some language from her. =) But, I agree with Mama Mara - motivation seems to have so much to do with it.

Glad to hear Joy's responding to No voice-prompts. The constant physical re-directing can get so tiresome.

datri said...

Kayla says NO to her teacher at school a lot. And the other day I was playing with her VTech Alphabet Town and she got mad and said "I WANT IT!" My jaw about hit the floor. Ticking her off seems to be a great way to get her to verbalize!

As for following instructions, Kayla will stop for a second when you say "stop", decides if she wants to obey, and then often goes on her merry way.