Ok there are two parts to today’s story. Dad texted me Sunday night to convey two Dude-isms from the day. I’ve decided to type out the text conversation here, but first you need some background.
Back story #1
Lately, Dude has been doing a lot of initiating. It’s highly unusual and our family is still amazed every time it happens. We’re especially amazed when he initiates something as it relates to his personal comfort. Dude rarely voices whether he is hot, cold, sick, etc. because he simply doesn’t have those descriptive language skills. Our immediate family is so attuned to his body language that we know what to watch for and how to accommodate his needs accordingly.
Back story #2
Dude goes through phases of being absolutely, positively obsessed with things. For a very long time, it was bowling. Very, seriously bowling. We had to tape every single broadcast of the PBA tour (on VHS tapes!) which he would watch and rewind over and over and over to the point that the sound started to become warped. For well over a year, there wasn’t a single day that bowling was not on the TV at our house. And we’re one of those weird families that only has one TV, so when Dude was in control of it, you either had to sit there and suffer through it, or you had to occupy yourself elsewhere in the house.
And then, suddenly, bowling was no longer his favorite obsession.
But now, we’re back on to bowling again! I was visiting my family this weekend and made sure to record Sunday’s broadcast of the PBA tour for Dude before I left.
Back story #3
When Dude was diagnosed, early intervention wasn’t enough. Our parents set up an intense Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) in-home program that supplemented his early intervention hours as well as out of home speech, physical, and occupational therapy.
Even today, our basement is an homage to the years of therapy that Dude received in our house. (Read: we haven’t gotten around to going through all the old toys and donating them yet.)
One of the things that still survives down in the basement is his old exercise/therapy ball.
We used the ball as a therapy tool to try to help him create more awareness about his body and improve his muscle tone. He was so floppy when he was younger that the PT suggested that sitting on this during his therapy sessions might help him improve his muscle tone and balance.
It could also be a tool of fun! During breaks, sometimes the therapists would bounce Dude on it, much to his delight.
Anyway, when I was home this past weekend, I noticed that the exercise ball had migrated upstairs to the family room for the first time in over 10 years (no exaggeration). I chalked it up to Mom wanting to have options for in-home exercise when she couldn’t get to YMCA. The ball was propped up against the hearth, just underneath the TV.
Whew. Ok. That was a lot of background info. You with me so far? Now, onto the story!
Dad (8:55pm): Dude asked to put on his gray coat. I asked him if he was cold. He said yes. I offered his blue fleece. “No. Gray coat please.” So now he is pacing the kitchen wearing his gray coat!
Me (8:56pm): His outdoor coat?!? Weird!
Dad (8:56pm) Exhibit A.
Me (8:58pm): Tell Dude I said he’s silly and he makes me laugh.
Dad (9:00pm): Dude says “yeah, yeah” (with emphatic head bobs).
Dad (9:01pm): BTW – he watched some of the bowling today sitting on the exercise ball. He did it on his own!
Me (9:02pm): What???? Who IS this person??
Dad (9:03pm): I KNOW!!!! He is really doing LOTS of interesting things!