Ready, Set… JUMP!

William said his first word to me yesterday. Amazing for a 6 month old, but true. This is how it happened… He was standing on my lap and I made up this game. I said, “Ready… set…. JUMP!!” He seemed to enjoy it, so we just kept playing. I knew he was anticipating the jump, when I said the word ‘set’. He used his ‘face’ language:

William with an expression of anticipation.

We must have done ready set jump over 30 times. A little later in the day, I thought it might be fun to play ready set jump again. So I said, “Ready… set…” and this is what he said: [Note: this is a schematic view that Sidra helped me with – will replace when we capture it with an actual photograph.]

drawing of William's 'no' face

I know it was a word, because he only kept that face for 5-10 seconds. I didn’t do the ‘jump’ part, and his face resumed its happy configuration. This worked a couple of times. Never did his “I don’t want to jump” face progress to crying. It was him telling me that he did not want to jump.

Visit to Mike

I’m going to try something similar when I visit my brother Mike, who is autistic, profoundly retarded and nonverbal. I haven’t seen him in quite a while. I don’t think that Mike ever communicated with me in the kind of way that William did today, but I will investigate. I will also look for Mike’s crying face, which is what happened once before when I hadn’t seen him in a long time. I did not quite know how to interpret it at the time. I thought that the counselor might have thought that Mike’s reaction to me was about some bad feelings he had. But it could have been an emotional reaction in a good way.

The difference between William and Mike is that I knew what William’s face meant and to what it was responding.

Another discovery

Later, when were awaiting dinner and William and I were just pacing around in the living room, he discovered something else.  The blinds_were drawn back from the sliding door looking out on the darkness. William noticed a double image of his mom outside. When we turned, he saw his actual mother. I’m sure he was amazed. He had his data_gathering face on. He also seemed to notice a double image of the dining room table and the rest of the room. I told him it was virtual image through the double-paned weatherproof_glass. I think he’ll go with more data_gathering for a while, and make up his own mind some day.

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