The last six weeks have been pretty incredible. Toward the end of December, both Baguette’s day care and our workplace closed for the holidays. At the same time, her evening ABA therapist got married and took a few weeks off. We did schedule one session with the therapist who goes to her daycare, but for the most part it was a real break for all of us.
We’ve discovered that these breaks are very important. Routine lets Baguette learn new skills; the breaks are when she shows us what she can do. And when this break ended, she kept going. Here is a not even remotely exhaustive list of the new things we’re seeing from her.
- She answered a question with a specific response: When Rockin’ Elmo said, “What do you want to do now?” she answered, “Run on the grass.”
- She didn’t just quote, but imitated the “how do you wrap a present” segment from the Elmo’s World about birthdays.
- On New Year’s Eve, she let Bestie watch videos with her on the iPad.
- One day, after several viewings of a “Happy Halloween” Sesame Street compilation on YouTube, she came up behind us when we were in another room and said “Boo!”
- One evening, she said, “Want carry you.” Then she jumped up into my arms and yelled, “Whee!”
- Another evening, before bed, she sang first the first two lines of her favorite lullaby by herself.
- She played with her Connect Four game and took turns with her stuffed lion.
- When coloring, she enhanced a drawing of an elephant to show it spraying water with its trunk.
- This morning, she used her Sesame Street-inspired gift-wrapping skills to help wrap Bestie’s birthday present.
- At the zoo:
- After climbing and playing on the elephant statue at the zoo playground, she ran back, hugged it, and said “I love you. I love you.”
* “The elephant is eating the carrots”
* “Look, an elephant”
* “I see a lion”
To a lot of people, these developments may not sound like much. But for Baguette, and for us, they’re huge.
She’s communicating in ways she never has before. She’s expressing a complexity of thought that is new. She’s interacting in ways that we haven’t seen.
Because not only will she let the lion take turns at Connect Four, but when she completed a task at day care and her teacher asked her if she wanted to pick a friend to jump with, she walked up to one of the little boys in her class and held out her hands to him.
It’s hard to know who was happiest about this–us, her teacher, or the little boy, who apparently was overjoyed that the girl who talks to no one had picked him out of the group. But probably the answer is that we were happiest. Because we know what it took her to get here.