Yes!

“SCHOOL DISTRICT” displayed across the caller ID screen.   This number may be permanently imprinted across my phone.  Children in the Functional Skills Classrooms have a habit of keeping their teachers in the position of being in constant parental contact.  As for Riley keeping his teacher hopping there are crying fits, caught and hurt himself just about anything, fever’s, food refusals, overly tired, managed to sneeze up all his baclofen, strong allergic reactions, overly hungry and of course the ever increasing seizure patterns.  The list goes on.

Over the receiver, Mrs. E sounded ecstatic: this was not to be a typical report.  “Did you know Riley has a signal for ‘yes’?!  But we haven’t worked out ‘no’ yet.”   This set me off in giggles imagining Riley communicating with such clear intent.  It started with diaper changes.  Each time he was asked if he was still dry, Riley would respond by lifting his left arm and raising his index finger.  Each time he was asked and responded similarly his diaper remained dry.  Eventually, his raised arm gesture was determined to be a “yes.”

How blessed are we and our son to have these dedicated and caring individuals choosing to teach Functional Skills.  I will certainly be keeping Riley right where he is for as long as possible.  His teacher certainly revels in each triumph and joy experienced by her students.

Mrs. E. shares her interaction with Riley last week:

Has Riley been showing off his yes/no skills to you this weekend?  It was so funny, on Thursday he was giving me a hard time saying that we weren’t friends anymore because I scolded him about fibbing about his diaper being dry.

Me: Riley, is your diaper wet. 

Riley: No.

Me: OK, you were dry this morning so let me peek and make sure you’re telling the truth.  (he was wet)

Me: Ok Riley, you’re fibbing. You’re diaper is wet! It’s important that you tell me the truth using your “yes” and “no”. Are you ready to get on the changing table?

Riley: Lips pursed, looking away, no response.

Me: Are you mad at me?

Riley: Yes. 

Me: Ok, do you want Miss Amy to come and help you instead?

Riley: Yes.

I left and Amy came to help. When they came out they put Riley on the sidelyer for playtime. 

Me: Ok, Riley are we friends still?

Riley: No. 

At this point we made a big deal about him saying we weren’t friends.  He started cracking up laughing and every time I asked him he kept saying “no”.

Luckily, on Friday he said we are friends again!

Yes!  It is amazing to think of Riley having a communication method beyond vocal and facial expression.  It is exciting to see him change and become more capable.  It is also desperately sad; just how trapped in his own body could be my son?  He often makes this gesture, it happens to be his easiest motion.  Am I inattentive to his intentions and not taking enough time to observe the response?  John and I have been noticing more connection in his interaction.  I must give my child far more credit.  Fortunately, we have people in Riley’s life to remind me that Riley does still have little miracles.

May113187

Gator Lanes, Fort Myers, FL hosts Lee Schools ESE classes for a bowling field trip. May 1, 2013

Gator Lanes, Fort Myers, FL hosts Lee Schools ESE classes for a bowling field trip. May 1, 2013

May113175

Gator Lanes, Fort Myers, FL hosts Lee Schools ESE classes for a bowling field trip. May 1, 2013

Gator Lanes, Fort Myers, FL hosts Lee Schools ESE classes for a bowling field trip. May 1, 2013

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