Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What did you do at school today?

Gabe has been in school since he turned 3 and each day after school I have asked him the same question, "What did you do at school today?"  For more than a year my question was always met with silence.  This is no surprise since answering questions is very difficult for Gabe, but then one day not too long ago he shocked me with a response!  When I asked what he did at school that day, he replied, "bathroom."  I was so surprised to hear him say anything that I felt the need to clarify, "You went to the bathroom at school today?" His reply was, "yes."  

Sure, it would have been nice to hear about the story they read in circle time or the art project he made or a recap of what a classmate said that made everyone giggle, but I will take "bathroom."  I will take ANY response.  It sure beats silence!  

Since then, I have received various one word responses to my daily question, including things like "art," "library," and "working."  I look forward to and cherish that one word that he chooses to sum up his school day!

Yesterday, I asked Gabe "the daily question" and this time he replied, "music/PE."  This was technically two words and he didn't stop there!  He went on to say, "math with Jessica (his aide), reading with Jessica, and news to you."  OH my goodness!  That's 11 words!  E-L-E-V-E-N words to tell me about his school day!  I then asked what he learned in News To You and he said, "Super Bowl!"  Sure enough, in his school folder was his News To You story about the Super Bowl.  

This was the closest that Gabe and I have ever come to having a conversation.  Having this meaningful back and forth with Gabe made me hunger for more!  I want to know what he thinks about school.  Does he like it?  Does he like his teachers?  Which subject is his favorite?  Why does he refuse to eat lunch at school?  What does he think about his classmates?  When he learned about the Super Bowl, did he pick a team that he wants to root for?  I long to know his thoughts, feelings, desires and opinions.  I am reminded weekly by at least one of his therapists or teachers of how bright he is.  The fact that he does not have a firm grasp on functional language should not fool any of us into thinking he doesn't have much to say.  He is very smart and it pains me to think about how much knowledge Gabe has stored inside, but is unable to communicate to the rest of us.  I recently read an article about a young man with Autism who said, "Being able to speak was like a release from the jail I was kept in."  I refuse to allow Autism to hold my son as a prisoner forever.  Daily we are knocking down the prison walls, with one word at a time.  I continue to look forward to our daily school recap and I remain hopeful that someday this will evolve into a real conversation and that day will be the best day of my life!


  1. I am confident that you will have conversations with Gabe very soon! He is improving so much, it brought tears to my eyes to read this! I know how much it meant to you to have him answer you...what a blessing!

  2. This is great! I know how milestones are met with celebration for us...