Monday, July 27, 2015


Every week I drive Matthew to Social Skills class three different days for about three hours.  And I do it mostly because he loves to go, but my hope is that he will transfer some of the skills that he is learning there. This summer I'm seeing the pay-off...I've witnessed some pretty awesome steps forward in this area.  He's just so much more aware of people and what's happening around him.

One of my favorite places to take him is to our neighborhood pool.  There's this amazing sand area that he LOVES.  It's great because its' safe (fenced in) and I can watch him, yet at the same time give him some freedom to explore and interact with other kids.  If you read My Way of Yelling From the Rooftops (if you didn't...go read it!  It's a glimpse of him exactly a year ago at the same sand area) you will know that we have had other positive interactions at the sand area, but that it can also be a little stressful because you never know for sure which way things are going to go.

Two of my "tuck in the back of your brain" stories happened there this summer.  I was sitting on a bench watching Matthew as he stood next to a boy who was deep into constructing a ditch.  He asked Matthew a question.  I couldn't hear what the question was from where I was sitting, but I saw Matthew nod his head. Then he pointed to his bucket.  The boy pointed to the water area.  Matthew went over and filled his bucket with water and came back and poured it in the ditch.  He handed the bucket to the boy who proceeded to do the same thing that Matthew had just done.  They played like this for probably at least ten minutes.  It seemed that the boy would occasionally say something to Matthew, but he didn't seem bothered that Matthew didn't say anything back.  In the second scenario Matthew and I were building a moat around a castle (okay, it was actually a round hump, but castle sounds better!).  Three adorable girls came up and one of them asked if they could play.  I said, "Of course" and took a few steps back to be out of the scene. Matthew did his favorite job of filling his bucket full of water.  Every time he would bring it to them, they would say "Thank you!" and one particularly genuine girl would tell him, "You are SO helpful!"

The other big observation that I have made is how he is doing certain things unprompted now.  In the past, we would need to prompt him to sign, "Thank you" when people gave him things.  Most recently he has started to sign "Thank you" to me when I give him something that he wants like a snack or a toy.  I was telling his doctor this at his annual check-up.  And the end of the appointment she told him that he could pick out two stickers as she walked out of the room.  He took the two stickers and then pointed to the high cupboard in the exam room.  He had remembered that the last time she had taken a tongue depressor and put two same shaped stickers with the sticky part facing each other so that it made a "flapper" for him.  We peeked into her office and asked her if she would make him one before we left.   When she handed it to him, he signed "Thank you" with a big smile on his face.

Another thing that we used to have to prompt him to do was to wave and say "hi" or "bye" back to people. Often he wasn't even aware that it was happening.  Pretty regularly now he will acknowledge people's waves and "hi" and "bye".  In fact, if he walks out of our house and sees our neighbor to the right he will wave FIRST!  Part of me wonders if he is truly being that friendly or if it is part of a ploy on his part to get into their garage and get his hands on their watering can (it's so much cooler than ours).  But for now I'll take it as that one person he feels comfortable initiating the wave with and I'll watch for it to spread.  



  1. That is so great. This summer when I have been down there I really felt that he was looking at me more deeply and was more aware of what I was doing.

  2. Very good information you have shared. THANK YOU FOR THIS.