Friday, October 31, 2014

He Gets It!!!

Often people will ask me questions like, "Is Matthew excited about _________"?  Fill in the blank with anything such as Halloween, Christmas, his birthday, etc.  And I'm never really sure how to answer, because it's hard to know how much he understands about abstract concepts like that.  If I were to ask him, he might nod "yes", but a "yes" answer is not always reliable.  When he shakes his head "no", he usually really does mean "no", but I think sometimes he nods "yes" because he knows you are asking a question and therefore should reply, but doesn't really understand the question.  (Abby and I have done a few experiments, where we ask him goofy questions where the answer would most likely be "no".  For example, "Do you like to eat bugs?" and he nods, "yes".

This year though, something exciting happened!  The pumpkin basket that he uses to collect his trick or treat load has been floating around our house since last Halloween. Honestly, I'm pretty sure I put it in the basement, but things in the basement tend to find their way back upstairs.  Singing Easter bunnies sometimes make appearances in the summer.  The snowman pillow finally had to be hidden. I think you get the idea. The week leading up to trick or treating, he pointed to the pumpkin basket and then signed "walk".  I think between trying on pieces of his Halloween costume, Abby practicing putting a pirate beard on him and working on signing Trick or Treat during therapy he was really starting to understand about Halloween.

Fast forward to Saturday (Trick or Treat night in our neighborhood) and the boy could barely eat dinner because he was so excited.  Abby left a little early to go to a friend's house because the "big" kids were trick or treating together this year.  All his actions were saying, "Come on...let's go!"  We drove down to the blocks where all the action was happening.  With prompting, every house that we went to he signed, "Trick or Treat" and "Thank you".  It was fun to see that several people asked how to sign "you're welcome".

I'm proud to say that we didn't have any running incidents.   He did a little pulling when he saw our neighbor's van (it is an obsession of his), but he was able to be re-directed.  Last year, I remember we would sometimes get stuck at a house because he had to tap/pound on each pumpkin.  It got a little dicey when he tried to take the top off a lighted Jack o' Lantern.  He didn't do that this year.  The only thing that held us up was that he would hold out his hand to take the candy because he wanted to put it in the basket himself. Then he would just hold the candy for what seemed like forever and I would have to prompt..."Put it in your basket".  I was surprised that at one house, when he could choose between candy and a mini container of Playdoh, that he chose the candy, because he loves Playdoh.  Considering what a sensory seeker he is, I was also surprised that the only sensory seeking that he did was to tap the bowls that people were using to hand out the treats.  His favorite was the house that was using a big aluminum pan.  He had to spend a little while scratching the ridges on the side.  I was worried we might overstay our welcome at that house.

Matthew lasted 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Actually, he would have kept going, but WE were done!  I thought he might have fun helping hand out candy the next day during city-wide trick or treating, but he just kept signing "walk".  He totally would have gone Trick or Treating again!

I can't wait for Christmas - it'll be fun to see what ways he shows us that he "gets it" this year!