Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Good Job, T"

T has reacclimated himself to the church service, now that we've been attending regularly again this month. We missed several Sundays in Nov & Dec due to illness, travel, etc, so that when we started back this month, we had a bit more agitated talking and refusals to leave during children's time or go down to take communion. (Only after I asked him if he wanted a piece of bread did he decide it was a good idea that Sunday!)

Today he was very happy during the service, so the congregation was treated only to a few happy vocal exclamations until the prayer. He was being so good and so quiet, with his hands folded in prayer like mine, that I couldn't help myself. I leaned over and said "Good job, T".

Echolalia. If you are not familiar with it, it is very typical for children with autism to repeat either what has just been said, or something that they've heard previously and which they enjoyed hearing for some reason. Lately, not only has T has been echoing lots of what I say, he will even repeat the "um-hums" or "yeah"s that he hears, and demands that I repeat them back. Perhaps it is a way to connect with me, or an initial attempt to participate in a conversation. Whatever the reason, he repeated "GOOD JOB, T" in a most confident and present voice. I had no choice at this point (due to the intensity of the stare) to repeat it back quietly, then thankfully, there was only one more "Good job, T" out of him before he went back to sitting quietly. I just had to laugh - it was so completely charming and funny! And I'm sure that anyone nearby knew exactly what was going on, and the parents at least were silently laughing with me.

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