Expect the above scene to get repeated approximately three times a day until next week, when my mom and dad---Po Po and Gong Gong, Cantonese for 'maternal grandmother' and 'maternal grandfather'---head back home to California. You can be sure, they (and my beloved Great Uncle Walt) have been aiming cameras of every sort at Charlie since he was just a few weeks old. It's probably a good thing that digital cameras came along or I'm sure my parents would have an entire room of their house devoted to photos of Charlie.
Charlie's been showing how used he is to the routine by saying 'smile!" himself while flashing a very nice one. He's also been saying 'How's my Charlie?" with a very pleased grin; it's a phrase that my dad has said to him over the years. Guess Charlie is making it his own.
Too, in a convenience store as he and I stood in line to pay, he looked at me (holding onto a few items he had selected) and said 'thank you,' to which I said 'you're welcome.'
Saying 'thank you' after receiving something isn't what many would think of as a part of a conversational exchange. But it's a step in that direction for Charlie, who's not said 'thank you' (1) on his own and (2) at the appropriate moment consistently, ever.
Also in the car Monday morning en route to school (his last day of the 'regular' year), Charlie said a word he's never said on his own before. The sky was bright blue and I'd made some passing remark about the sun shining in our field of vision. From the backseat came, clear as a bell, the word 'sunny,' as it indeed was, and in contrast to another word that Charlie has been saying on and off of late, and that makes him, for whatever reason, grin, 'raining.' Actually, Charlie said both words, 'sunny' and then 'raining' and yes some may say, no big deal.
But he was certainly right about it being 'sunny.'
And he'd connected 'sunny,' a weather word, to another weather word, the aforementioned 'rainy.' I was reminded of the years that Charlie has had a 'weather' program on his IEP. His teachers and I had gone back and forth about how to teach him to identify the weather. Photo flashcards had not worked (Charlie was not sure what to identify in a photo of 'sunny,' which might have been of a landscape lit in bright sunlight; landscapes are of course full of things that he thought we were maybe asking him to identify). Colored line drawings had most definitely not worked; these are an artist's version of things in colors and lines, and Charlie has tended to identify the colors, lines and shapes. One teacher tried what seemed like a very sensible method, having Charlie look out the window and say whatever the weather was; Charlie didn't seem sure what he was being asked to identify and often just said the name of whatever (a tree, a fence, the play structure) caught his eye.
'Weather' got tabled, until yesterday when a few more words got added to Charlie's vocabulary.
And should anyone doubt the benefits of teaching Charlie and kids with disabilities, a few words by me at Care2.com on a topic I can never blog or say enough about.