Lemonade

The monkey has been using his iPad to communicate a lot more lately. I love how he is able to get out of his YouTube videos and then click on his speech app to let us know what he wants. Once he clicks, he will stare at our eyes to see our reaction.

He still loves to go out to drives. I know that the world is coming out of this quarantine little by little but at home, we are still only taking him on drives. He does however attend school every day. I feel this is a great step in re-introducing him to socializing. Hopefully, once the world goes back to what it used to be, he can start coming back to norms. Eventually, we hope he can get out of the car during our drives.

Sometimes on our drives, we still stop by drive-thrus and get him an ice cream cone if he has done something great. Our way of celebrating him. Every now and then, we will also stop by this tiny place where they sell cut up fruit and freshly squeezed lemonade.

A few nights ago, the monkey was falling asleep in one of our drives. My husband thought about getting a lemonade. As soon as we got there, the monkey became fully awake and asked for a sip. We typically buy a large drink and share it with each other. We thought it was cute that he was almost asleep but woke up for a drink of lemonade.

This past Saturday it was just the two of us at home. Both my daughter and my husband had to work. The monkey pressed on his iPad: I want car ride please. I told him yes, I would love to take him. I was thinking of taking a long drive to the west side of our city, but he tried to move my steering wheel to the other side. I told him I would take him there, but he needed to use his words.

He kept saying I want to drink… After he presses the ‘drink’ the folder sends him to a selection of: Water, juice, etc. He wouldn’t pick a selection and would simply press back button. Then he would start again: I want drink …. Back button.

I kept telling him I don’t know what you want buddy. I don’t understand. By then he is getting anxious. I want to drink…. And he’d hit back button and press “Please”. I know you want a drink of some kind but I don’t understand what you want buddy.

Then he takes off his seat belt and goes to the back of the SUV. I pulled over and told him he is not allowed to do this. I told him: You know better than this! You know you are to stay seated with your seat belt as I drive. Now get back to your seat.

He jumps back to the seat and hands me a cup he had hidden. The cup is from the few nights before where we had bought lemonade. He was asking for lemonade and since this wasn’t in the iPad selection, he didn’t know how to tell me.

I was talking to my husband about this. I cannot imagine how frustrating it is to try to tell me something as simple: Hey, I’d like some lemonade today. His communication app is wonderful but only if the selections has what he is needing. If the icons aren’t there, then he can’t communication. And we are back to square one.

But I also loved how creative he is. He was able to find out a way to explain to me what he wanted. I am sure he was debating on going to the back since the beginning of our drive. He kept looking to the back seat. But he knew he’d get in trouble since he had to take off his seatbelt. But he figured this is the only way she can understand. He had to be creative.

I will be adding this picture to his communication device. But this will just be one hurdle. Eventually there will be another one.

His ARD meeting from school was last week. His speech therapist was finally able to get us a communication device. It is called the Accent 800. It is a trial phase. To see how he does. If it works out, he will be able to use this everywhere, including home. But the goal will be for him to start typing on his own as well. This way, if there is something that is not on the list, he can simply type it out.

I am nervous about this. I don’t know if I put too many limits and don’t see that this will actually be possible. But the monkey has surprised me so much this past year. I have hope.

Because when the world gives you lemons, then you make lemonade.

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