And he did!!!
His favorite THING! Not based on the category (color, food, movie) that was named. Not based on a set of options. Not based on any prompts from her.
His FAVORITE thing. I know because he makes a beeline for it whenever we go to the mall. Which is quite often!
HIS favorite thing.
And now it’s MY favorite “favorite thing.”
Until you start trying to teach language to someone with a limited repertoire, you can’t fully appreciate how often standard conversation relies on the old stand-by of “what’s your favorite ….?” Especially when we are talking with kids. “What’s your favorite color?” “What’s your favorite food?” “What’s your favorite movie?”
For my son, Colby, conversation remains a challenge. Diagnosed with autism at 19-months-old, Colby, who is now a hulking 19-year-old, has spent years working diligently to build those skills.
Over those years, he has learned, through painstaking practice, to answer the “What’s your favorite ….” questions. The only problem is that I know he was never really expressing a favorite – just an answer. During one stage, he was bombarded with purple items based on his answer, but he gravitated towards orange when left to his own devices. He has articulated a long string of favorite foods, many of which he has never eaten. His favorite movie always tends to be whatever preview he has just watched.
How do you explain “favorite” to someone with limited language? Any visual aid limits the possibilities to whatever you present … narrowing the world down to a field of a few choices.
So now you may understand why this small moment is extremely cool for me.
Colby loves to visit the mall with his beloved therapist, Tammy, to have scavenger hunts to find various items on her list. He is learning to take photographs with his new phone so Tammy incorporated that process into this week’s scavenger hunt.
- 1. “Take a picture of the mall entrance.”
- 2. “Take a picture of the numbers on the inside of an elevator.”
- 3. “Take a picture of something you could give as a Valentine’s gift.”
- 4.“Take a picture of your favorite thing in the mall.”