This week Archie has been mainly sounding like someone from Wayne’s World and has been busy telling me what he’s not doing.
His sentence construction is slightly back to front so we’ve had ‘chip shop not‘ ‘tomorrow Granddad black car not‘ ‘hotel not‘ (I think this was very wishful thinking on his part – Archie loves hotels) and ‘Archie Daddy car not‘. These descriptions of what he’s not doing have been pretty constant throughout the week. By which I mean all day every day. It’s been an interesting insight into what he would rather like to be doing. (Mainly it appears traveling in anyone’s car except mine).
However, Archie has also used the construction in slightly more complex ways. For example when talking about one of the surf coaches ‘Harry car not bike‘ (Harry doesn’t drive a car he has a motorbike) . I think my favourite came this afternoon. On the way back from surfing Archie was messing around trying to get me to tell him off for wriggling under his seatbelt. I obliged by telling him to behave and he immediately replied ‘funny not HA HA HA’ (yes the talker really does say HA HA HA). What’s that about people with autism not having a sense of humour?
Archie had a good surf session today, the waves were pretty big ‘surfing good‘. I do not have any photos from today but last night I put together a video from the session mentioned in this post. Archie looks fed up with the lack of swell, but he was pretty chilled and everyone else appears to be having a good time.
The music is by Ruth Stavrik from her forthcoming album.
We’ve had a lot of talk about car handbrakes (a new obsession) in the last couple of weeks, but today Archie surprised me.
Archie was on the computer and came to fetch me. Click clicked his way to google maps and using that together with the talker told me my neighbour has a new car (she does, although I don’t know which car it is, her husband told me last week they were changing cars). Then he showed me another car that has changed.
Archie could have communicated this pre-talker day by pointing to the cars that have changed on google maps and saying ‘nanee’ whilst signing ‘broken’ (nanee was his pronunciation for broken). But today he could use a lot of other words as well. ‘Car gone’ ‘different car’ ‘green car gone new black car’ ‘car finished’ and variations of these. All these words – car, different, gone, finished, green, black, he didn’t really have a way to express easily prior to the talker.
It was a short interaction but the variety of language used and the flexibility Archie showed in joining different words was noteworthy.
I remember being a teenager and fighting with my parents for control of the car radio during long journeys. They always wanted to listen to Radio 4 while I, predictably, wanted Radio 1. Eventually in 1983 or 1984 they were able to shut me up with a Walkman.
Archie doesn’t have this problem. He’s started demanding ‘music’ via the talker whenever there’s too much talking on the radio. And of course if he asks for something using the Vantage Lite, then he’s pretty likely to get it if we’re able to oblige.
Luckily we have similar tastes in music (not very Radio 1 anymore). At the moment he’s happy to listen to to local boy Cosmo Jarvis, best known for his Gay Pirates.
The Vantage Lite has a little battery indicator panel on it, you can see it fully charged in the photo above. When Archie first received his device we needed to charge it up overnight every two or three days. This summer holiday he has started using it so much it needs charging every night.
The talker is becoming a bit of an extension of Archie. I find myself saying ‘Archie said’ a lot, and then having to correct the misunderstanding when someone says ‘wow his speech has really come on’. He looks for talker constantly and carries it from room to room with him now. This is very different from previous communication systems and the PECS book that often stayed at the bottom of the bag. Today he’s been telling me that losing his temper is ‘not good’ and ‘funny not’ and nice not’. We need to work a bit on word order……
Pretty much the only place he doesn’t take it is on a surfboard.