Wednesday, June 20, 2007

the next big thing

Following a pattern that he has right along, Jacob's scripting (quoting lines from movies, books, and conversations he hears) tends to increase steadily as he's working on a major developmental gain. He reaches a point where we think we're going to all scream "enough already!", but then suddenly we see something completely new from him that we've never seen before, and the scripting drops off again.

Jacob's scripting has been through the roof the last several weeks, getting worse as each day progressed. In fact, it got so bad, that he started exhibiting other classically Autistic behaviors along with it -- throwing his body repeatedly (perseveratively) into things, hand flapping, spinning. We figured he was either on the verge of something truly spectacular, or we were going to need to start RDI from ground zero again.

Tonight was the magical night where we finally saw what his brain's been working on this entire time.

We've been doing some spring (ok, so it's a little late....) cleaning around the house, and we moved the boys' dollhouse into a different room tonight. Of course, that sparked an immediate interest in it (funny how that always happens) and the boys, especially Jacob, started playing with it. He got things set up the way he wanted them (which is usually where the play ends unless Zoo Boy jumps in and gets a storyline going). The next thing I knew, I could hear a running conversation between the dolls -- but it was only Jacob's voice. I stopped what I was doing as I heard "Hi Hunter, hi Charlotte! I come to visit you from the time machine thing."
I shot a quick look over a The Map Man, who had also frozen in place. I said "Did he just....?" and didn't need to finish, The Map Man knew exactly what I was thinking and said "That would be incredible!"

What we were so astounded at was not only the storyline, being obviously invented and powered by Jacob, but also the use of the NAMES. Was it possible that, for the first time ever, Jacob actually spontaneously NAMED something? After years of trying to coerce him into coming up with names for pets, toys, dolls, creations, artwork, musical pieces, had he finally gotten to that point in his development that he had a desire to create his own labels/names for things?

I couldn't control myself. I scurried down the hall, grabbing my camera as I went. I tried to act casual. I watched the storyline play out a bit -- kids playing in their clubhouse, interacting with their grandfather. As casually as I could, I said to Zoo Boy, "I wonder what their names are..." Jacob immediately interupted his play to introduce me to his "friends". He said, and I quote:

"I named this boy Hunter, and this boy I named Fred. I named this girl Dorothy. And this girl over here I named Charlotte."

I took a couple photos then slipped out of the room as casually as I slipped in to rejoin the Map Man. He asked "Is that from...?" I shook my head. "No, so far as I can tell, that's entirely HIS."

We stood in silent wonder for awhile. In the background the dolls' conversation continued:

"Oh, hi there kids!"
"Hi Grandpa!"
"What are you kids doing?"

Child development is a mystifying and powerful thing.


At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHOA! You uh, didn't happen to catch any of this on video by any chance? - Bev

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Harvest Mom said...

Haha, Bev! No, I didn't. I COULD have, but I didn't even think of it. I'm so not the grab-the-video-camera kind of girl. You'd think more than 2 1/2 years of RDI would have rubbed off on me by now, wouldn't you?? :-)

At 11:12 PM, Blogger Mom without a manual said...

That is great!

At 11:15 PM, Blogger Willa said...

I didn't know it was called "scripting" -- but my son with CP does this during times when he is anxious or facing a new challenge. Thanks for the new word.


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